New Zealand’s largest owner and operator of gas networks, First Gas, is expanding its gas pipelines into Waiuku, south-west of Auckland.

The 8.5km gas pipeline project, which will link Waiuku to the main gas transmission pipeline at Glenbrook, will initially power Gourmet Waiuku’s capsicum growing operation.

First Gas chief executive Paul Goodeve said being connected to natural gas meant the company would no longer need to use coal to heat its 4.7 hectare glasshouse.

“Natural gas will allow them to heat their glasshouse more cleanly and efficiently,” said Mr Goodeve.

“Waiuku is a growing area. We recognise this, and the new gas pipeline network will mean the infrastructure will now be in place for any current or future development in and around Waiuku to tap into.”

The new Waiuku gas network is financially underpinned by Gourmet Waiuku through annual fees for its gas use.

Gourmet Waiuku production director Roelf Schreuder said by using natural gas the operation would be able to achieve a minimal carbon footprint.

He said that not only would natural gas allow the company to do away with its old coal boiler, it would enable the glasshouse growing environment to be enriched with carbon dioxide (CO2), increasing production.

“By using natural gas for heating, we can put the CO2 back into the glasshouse and keep the vents closed, saving energy and enriching the plants,” Mr Schreuder said.

“Capsicums use about 6kg per hour, per hectare of CO2. Especially in the winter, when the vents are closed to keep the warmth in, they will consume all the ambient CO2 within half an hour if it’s not replenished.”

The work on the Waiuku pipeline began in early April, north of Waiuku on Glenbrook-Waiuku Rd. It is expected to be completed by the end of July, with the route going through Waiuku to Gourmet Waiuku.

First Gas would be informing people along the route, either by letter drop or visit, prior to work beginning in their area, Mr Goodeve said.

The trenchless method of horizontal directional drilling is being used to install the underground pipe in public road reserve.

“We are endeavouring to carry out this work with as little disruption as possible. I’d like to thank the people of Waiuku and surrounding areas for their patience while this work is carried out,” Mr Goodeve said.

Based in New Plymouth, First Gas is New Zealand’s largest owner and operator of gas networks, with more than 2,500km of high pressure gas transmission pipes and about 4,800km of gas distribution pipes in the North Island.  The First Gas Group includes New Zealand’s largest LPG retailer Rockgas, and the Ahuroa gas storage facility near Stratford. First Gas’ focus is a safe, reliable supply of gas and LPG to more than 165,000 customers throughout New Zealand.

Gourmet Waiuku production director Roelf Schreuder in the greenhouse amongst a new crop of capsicums.


Gourmet Waiuku.