SHARE
Work underway . . . Earthworks have started at a planned fuel storage site. Work begins on a 1250m fuel pipe early next year. PHOTO: CHRIS TOBIN

by Chris Tobin

Preliminary earthworks have started on a $30million, 44million-litre fuel store to be built in Fraser St on Timaru’s waterfront.

Storage buildings from 37 to 71 Fraser St were demolished and removed two years ago but the site was just recently cordoned off to allow it to be levelled.

Timaru District Council communications manager Stephen Doran said the land was owned by the council’s commercial arm, Timaru District Holdings Ltd (TDHL), and leased to Timaru Oil Services Ltd.

“The terms and conditions of that lease are commercially sensitive and will not be released,” he said.

Environment Canterbury said full-scale construction of the pipeline was expected to start early next year.

In November last year, Timaru Oil Services received Environment Canterbury consent to build a 1250m underground pipeline from Chapman St wharf to the planned Fraser St tank farm.

The Timaru District Council gave consent to build four 8000cu m storage tanks as well as an office building and other facilities. Stage two of the development will include two further tanks.

The site is near the bulk fuel storage facility owned by Z Energy.

PrimePort chief executive Phil Melhopt would not comment on the work being done, saying that was a matter for Timaru Oil Services.

Timaru Oil Services director Geoff Baxter, of Auckland legal firm McVeagh Fleming, would not comment either and referred The Courier to Timaru Oil’s parent company, Pacific Petroleum, in Tahiti, which did not respond.

Timaru Oil Services was established in September 2016.

Besides Mr Baxter, the other directors are Philippe Dubau and Albert Moux, both of Tahiti.

Mr Moux is one of French Polynesia’s leading businessmen.

Pacific Petroleum owns BP, Mobil and Shell operations in French Polynesia, Fiji, Tonga, American Samoa, Vanuatu, the Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea and Tuvalu.

Last year Z Energy chief executive Mike Bennetts welcomed Timaru Oil’s plans, saying it was a sign of strong competition in the country’s fuel supply chain.

He said the plans for Timaru represented a significant investment in supply and distribution infrastructure.