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New Zealand Refining Says Diesel Supply Near Normal

April 14 (Bloomberg) -- New Zealand Refining Co., operator of the nation’s only oil refinery, said diesel supplies in the Christchurch area will return to normal in about two days after a shortage.

Production of diesel at the Marsden Point refinery is “slightly down on what we forecast with customers earlier in the year,” spokesman Greg McNeill said today. A delayed shipment to Lyttelton port at Christchurch, the country’s third-largest city, also contributed to a drop in supply, he said.

Diesel supplies at about 30 filling stations ran dry yesterday, according to a report from TVNZ. Marsden Point refinery, 130 kilometers (81 miles) northwest of Auckland, the nation’s biggest city, has the capacity to process 109,000 barrels of crude per day, according to Bloomberg data.

“We understand from our oil company customers that a diesel shipment was unloading at Lyttelton yesterday and that as a result, supplies in the area were expected to return to normal within 24 to 48 hours,” McNeill said.

Kakariki, an oil tanker with the capacity to hold 46,697 tons of product, was off the port on April 12, according to Bloomberg vessel tracking data.

New Zealand Refining plans to shut parts of the refinery for about six weeks of maintenance this year, McNeill reiterated today. Replacing a catalyst in the refinery’s hydrocracker will start April 26 and take about a month, he said.

New Zealand Refining’s major shareholders include BP Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., according to the company’s Web site.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Sharples in Melbourne at bsharples@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Clyde Russell in Singapore at crussell7@bloomberg.net

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