Energy security - to borrow a definition from Australia’s 2019 Liquid Fuel Security Review - comes down to ensuring reliability of supply, and that it is resilient enough to withstand the most likely disruptions. With the global economy facing upheaval after two years of a global pandemic and now, high inflation, the Russia-Ukraine conflict underscores the need for sovereign governments to protect and manage their strategic assets; in this case, energy supply and the risks associated with them.
For that reason, Marsden Point’s decision to become an ‘import only’ terminal calls into question New Zealand’s approach to energy security. Considering the Government struck a deal with Rio Tinto to keep the Tiwai Point Aluminum Smelter open, it puts the spotlight on the government’s decision not to underwrite the refinery. That light shines even brighter when you compare New Zealand’s approach to Australia’s, which is subsidising its two oil refineries on both strategic and national security grounds.