History of the nz lpg industry
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. History of the NZ LPG Industry. NZ LPG History has had 4 Phases. Pre Kapuni and Maui Kapuni and Maui supply, with an emphasis on automotive use and rapid sales growth. Decline of automotive market and total annual sales. Development of non-automotive markets and reversal of sales decline.

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. History of the NZ LPG Industry.

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History of the nz lpg industry

.History of the NZ LPG Industry.

Nz lpg history has had 4 phases

NZ LPG History has had 4 Phases

  • Pre Kapuni and Maui

  • Kapuni and Maui supply, with an emphasis on automotive use and rapid sales growth.

  • Decline of automotive market and total annual sales.

  • Development of non-automotive markets and reversal of sales decline.

Pre kapuni and maui

Pre Kapuni and Maui

  • LPG has been in NZ since at least the 1930’s. Used mainly in the leisure and camping markets and imported in pre-filled containers. Some LPG was also imported in 90 lb cylinders from the USA for decanting in NZ.

  • 1972 first bulk import of LPG into Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. In 8 sea freighter modules, each having 2 x 2 tonne tanks.

  • In 1974 imported first LPG road tanker.

  • Development of forklift and bulk industrial market.

Kapuni and maui lpg

Kapuni and Maui LPG

  • In 1974 Kapuni LPG supply available which replaced all imports.

  • Late 70’s growing domestic market began to be constrained at times by Kapuni supplies which had grown from 2,000 to 15,000 tonnes/year by 1979.

  • LPG was distributed by rail to bulk depots and then by road tanker throughout the NI. The SI was supplied via rail tanks on the ferries to Nelson or Lyttleton.

  • Maui discovered and agreements to develop were finalised.

  • 1978 the LPG Association formed by request of the Minister of Energy.

Nz lpg distribution system

NZ LPG Distribution System

  • The Government expected that by the late 80’s LPG and CNG would replace about 230,000 tonnes of gasoline. (about 80% of this target was achieved in the late 80’s for a period of a few years).

  • In November 1979 the Minister of Energy announced that six companies had signed a letter of intent to form a national LPG distribution company. Liquigas was formed by BP, NZIG, Offshore Mining, Rockgas, Shell and Todd.

  • “This is the only way in which we could obtain an efficient bulk distribution system”

Nz lpg distribution system1

NZ LPG Distribution System

  • 1982 Liquigas built the New Plymouth export depot and over the following 18 months the Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin storage depots were completed. Seaview Depot was completed in 1988.

  • The 1,000 tonne LPG tanker the Tarihiko was commissioned to supply Maui LPG throughout NZ.

  • Total investment in Liquigas was approx’ $112 million.

Liquigas depots

Liquigas Depots

Port Taranaki

Wiri Depot

Christchurch Depot

Dunedin Depot

Mv tarihiko

MV Tarihiko

Lpg distribution

LPG Distribution

Auckland Depot


Road out from Oanui

Rail link to Seaview Depot

Christchurch Depot

Dunedin Depot

Growth of automotive lpg

Growth of Automotive LPG

  • Government encouraged automotive LPG by:

    • Offering interest free loans to convertees.

    • Offering subsidies to Industry to construct automotive retail facilities.

  • Automotive LPG sales peaked in 1987 at approx 75,000 tonnes used by approx’ 50,000 vehicles.

  • In 1986 Government withdrew all conversion incentives.

Growth of automotive lpg1

Growth of Automotive LPG

Decline of automotive market

Decline of Automotive Market.

  • Industry funded a conversion grants scheme to encourage conversions. Scheme ran from 1986 to 1994.

  • This helped to prop up conversion numbers, but with:

    • Reducing petrol prices.

    • Removal of remaining excise on diesel in Jan 1991.

    • Increasing conversion costs

  • Auto LPG began a decline which continued until 2001.

  • In 2002 auto LPG sales were 24,000 tonnes used by about 10,000 vehicles.

Decline of automotive market1

Decline of Automotive Market.

Decline of automotive market2

Decline of Automotive Market.

Growth of non automotive markets

Growth of Non-automotive Markets

  • Industry responded to the decline in the automotive market by targeting the traditional domestic and commercial markets.

  • Major markets:

    • Portable heaters, barbecues, camping.

    • Domestic and commercial space and water heating.

    • Forklifts

    • Industrial applications.

  • Since 1987 annual sales of non-auto LPG have increased from 25,000 tonnes to 120,000 tonnes in 2002

Growth of non automotive markets1

Growth of Non-automotive Markets

Growth of non automotive markets2

Growth of Non-automotive Markets

Major developments in the non auto markets

Major Developments in the Non-auto Markets

  • Huge increase in the use of twin 45kg cylinders for domestic installations.

  • Reticulated distribution of LPG in:

    • Queenstown.

    • Christchurch.

    • Housing sub-divisions.

  • A number of large industrial loads picked up from fuel oil users.

Estimated lpg market split

Estimated LPG Market Split



  • LPG Industry has overcome the boom and decline of the automotive market.

  • It has developed the domestic, commercial and industrial markets. The non-auto market has grown sixfold since 1987.

  • It has retained core automotive customers in the Taxi, courier and fleet markets.

  • It has had to adapt the distribution system to an increasing winter peak demand.

  • It has had an excellent safety record.

  • It stands on the threshold of the fifth phase of its development as it faces the decline of Maui product and moves to a Saudi CP pricing structure.



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