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Commissioned in part to secure gas supply for the nearby 200 megawatt Stratford gas peaker power plant – the first quick-start gas-fired peaking power plant in the country – Ahuroa will help shape the future of New Zealand’s gas and electricity industries. Underground storage will allow Ahuroa owner Contact Energy much needed flexibility in when they can use their contracted gas.

Since the end of original ‘legacy 367’ Maui gas, all gas, including ‘new’ right of first refusal (ROFR) Maui gas, is priced at market rates at least twice as expensive as the ‘old’ Maui gas and with tight ‘take-or-pay’ provisions, meaning major gas users have to pay for and take their contracted gas, whether they can use or not.

Hence there are real incentives for Contact, and other major users, to be able to store gas underground during summer for later use at times of peak demand, typically the cold autumn and winter months.

Australia’s Origin Energy, the majority owner of Contact, project managed the development of Ahuroa and has operated the facility for Contact since the winter 2010.

Ahuroa will enable occasional purchases of LNG on world spot markets, with visiting vessels to Port Taranaki having their own ship-based regasification facilities aboard. Any imported LNG would be piped direct to Ahuroa using existing pipeline facilities for storage and later use.

The project involved the re-completion of an existing well to enhance hydrocarbon flows, and the drilling of three sidetrack wells to access more reserves, enhancing overall recovery from the southern lobe of the field.
OGST involvement in the project.

Ahuroa - companies involved

OGST Involvement

EHL and P & A Energy Services formed a joint venture for design and build through to installation and commissioning on site of a methanol injection package and a corrosion inhibitor injection package. This included the construction of specialist units built in both EHL’s and P & A Energy Services’ Bell Block, New Plymouth workshops before installation on site. Both units were tested before final commissioning by Origin. Further specialist product was supplied, including 220 bar air driven pumps, and pulsation dampeners and flow transmitters, both compliant with operation in a Hazardous Zone 1 area.

EHL also designed and installed a Truck Mounted Hydro-Test Unit on a Wire Line Truck, which performs hydrostatic pressure testing up to 5,000 psi. EHL specialise in the build and supply of compact, efficient and cost effective Test Units in different combinations of pressure and flow.

ECL has been working to ensure the site is serviced with continuous automated processes, through an automation maintenance contract it has held at Ahuroa since 1998. Part of the Origin Energy Support Contract, the work covers all SCADA, PLC, DCS and telemetry controls, across a diverse range of automation platforms.