Petrol giant Gull is releasing 340,000 litres of fuel additive ethanol to a hand sanitiser company to help combat the shortage in New Zealand amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
Many people have been bulk-buying hand sanitiser to protect themselves from coronavirus infection, which has led to supply issues around the country.
On Wednesday, Gull announced they would be releasing ethyl alcohol from their stocks after it was confirmed the ingredient was safe to use in the production of hand sanitiser.
Last week they released 90,000 litres of ethanol, and this week the company has added a further 250,000 litres. Now the product will help to create 950,000 half-litre jars of hand sanitiser.
Gull general manager Dave Bodger says while "hand sanitiser is not our business" the company was happy they could contribute.
"I did let out a large ‘WOO HOO’ when Gull was told our ethanol could be used to help New Zealand - Gull is over the moon," he says.
"We will be releasing our ethanol supplies to our New Zealand supplier Lactanol, a Fonterra subsidiary for distribution through their established channels immediately.
"This along with other companies repurposing ethanol stocks should see a very large dint being made in the shortage that New Zealand is currently experiencing."
Releasing ethanol is not expected to affect Gull's petrol supplies, but it could lead to a shortage of their premium fuel in several months.
Bodger says there is no fuel shortage at the moment - so for now they are focused on fighting COVID-19.
Production is expected to begin immediately.
"We understand that manufacturers can begin production almost immediately that they receive our ethanol product from our Mt Maunganui storage.
"My best guess is those in need may start to see additional hand sanitiser supplies in about a week."