What does 'production' mean?

‘Production’ is an industry word that refers to the process where the raw oil, gas and water mix that comes out of any well is separated into its constituent parts, in preparation for distribution to refineries or energy distributors, or disposal of waste products.

Within the industry, ‘Production’ usually refers to the factory-like installations that are surrounded by pipes. These pipes retriculate and distribute the oil, gas and water through their separation processes.

Once complete, the separated oil and gas are transported, either by pipe or by truck, to the nearest port for export to refineries (predominantly in Australia and Singapore) or for further processing and/or distribution in New Zealand.

Where are the production stations?

Production stations are sometimes found on a platform at sea, directly above the well, or onland, where they receive the raw mix of oil and gas through a pipe from the well. Currently, all production stations are found in Taranaki.

There are between 15 production stations in Taranaki.

Raw Oil, Gas & Water comes up mixed up

A raw mix of oil, gas and water comes to the production station via a pipe from the well.

The liquid passes through processing equipment to separate the gas, oil and water and ensure the gas and oil are suitable for export or for providing to consumers.

Separating Oil, Water and Gas

Production separators come in many forms and designs, with the classic variant being the gravity separator. Processes are employed to separated the different elements, until required levels of purity are achieved.

Water, left over from the drilling process, is either permanently disposed of by reinjection into approved disposal wells, or purified and discharged according to regulated discharge management plans.

What happens to the Gas

Gas, once suitably purified, is compressed and then transported by pipe for distribution around the North Island, or by gas tanker to various locations in the North and South Island.

What happens to the Oil

Once separated, Oil is stored and/or transported via pipe or truck tanker to a port for export to refineries in Australia and Singapore.


All production stations, all based in Taranaki, are inspected multiple times a year by local government inspectors, and assessed against resource consent conditions.

These inspectors make sure all activity adheres to resource consents granted by councils under the Resource Management Act.

Monitoring pays special attention to storm water discharges, drilling mud storage and disposal, treatment facilities and receiving waters. Inspectors also monitor off-site receiving environments. Water samples are taken of stormwater discharges. Other things looked at are bundled areas, air discharges, laydown areas, any contaminated areas, mix bury cover sites, treated wash waters, sewage systems and bulk hazardous materials.