The Motunui synthetic fuel plant, shown here under construction, opened in 1986. It used some of the natural gas produced by the huge Māui gas field, converting it to methanol and then to synthetic petrol. The first of its kind in the world, the Motunui plant was built when oil was very expensive, and the government was seeking to reduce New Zealand’s dependence on imported oil. When oil became cheaper, Motunui made methanol for export.
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