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Gull giving 340k litres of ethanol to make 950k bottles of hand sanitiser for NZ's coronavirus battle

New Zealand petrol giant Gull has announced it will be giving 340,000 litres of ethanol to be made into hand sanitiser to help combat the coronavirus pandemic around the country.

A Gull petrol station. Source: 1 NEWS

Gull said in a statement this morning it has released 340,000 litres of the ethyl alcohol from Gull stocks after it was confirmed and approved for use as hand sanitiser that could help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

General manager of Gull Dave Bodger said the company's ethanol was officially 'fuel grade', so it had to be tested to ensure it met the requirement for hand sanitiser production.

"I did let out a large 'woo hoo' when Gull was told our ethanol could be used to help New Zealand," Mr Bodger said.

"We will be releasing our ethanol supplies to our New Zealand supplier Lactanol, a Fonterra subsidiary, for distribution through their established channels immediately."

The release won't effect Gull's petrol supplies, Mr Bodger said, but it could lead to a shortage in their premium fuel in "several months" - an issue the company officials said they're happy to address later, after the coronavirus pandemic is taken care of first.

"Hand sanitiser is not our business but we understand that this massive volume of ethanol can produce over 950,000 half-litre jars of hand sanitiser.

"This, along with other companies repurposing ethanol stocks, should see a very large dent being made in the shortage that New Zealand is currently experiencing."

Mr Bodger added production can begin as soon as later this week.

"We understand that manufacturers can begin production almost immediately after they receive our ethanol product from our Mount Maunganui storage.

"My best guess is those in need may start to see additional hand sanitiser supplies in about a week."