Friday, November 16, 2012

■■ SOUTH AFRICA: 7 million litres of fuel contaminated in pipeline to Joburg OR Tambo International.

UPDATE [16 NOVEMBER 2012 19h00L]The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) this morning issued a statement to the effect that fuel in its AVTUR pipeline to Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport had been contaminated with "off-specification Jet A-1" and had therefore been rendered unfit for use by airlines.

AVTUR Johannesburg Fuel Pipeline
Map of pipelines supplying Johannesburg (Limpopo)
The statement read by ACSA spokesman, Solomon Makgale, went on to add:
"The impact of the contamination on the fuel pipeline is such that approximately seven million litres of fuel, which is currently in storage, is unusable, reducing O.R. Tambo International Airport’s stock levels from four days to 1.6 days. The airport normally receives approximately 3 million litres of fuel daily through the dedicated pipeline from NATREF.

ACSA, together with its airline stakeholders, is engaging the fuel suppliers on what measures can be taken to maintain the supply of jet fuel at O.R. Tambo International Airport. An announcement in this regard will be made later today.

The pipeline in question, the AVTUR (Aviation Turbine Fuel) pipeline, is a dedicated 150mm diameter pipeline which transports JET A1 from the refinery at NATREF Coalbrook, in the industrial town of Sasolburg, to Johannesburg International Airport  via Meyerton.

UPDATE [16 NOVEMBER 2012] ACSA has issued another statement in which it states that the contaminated fuel has been isolated and hence, cannot be used. It also states that Johannesburg ORTIA has sufficient fuel for 1.4 days implying that no delays or cancellations are envisaged.
"Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), the airlines and fuel suppliers met this morning to discuss the current fuel supply challenges at O.R. Tambo International as a result of contaminated fuel received from the NATREF refinery.

ACSA receives fuel in three different ways, a dedicated pipeline from NATREF (Sasolburg), dedicated rail tank cars from the coast and volumes of fuel through a pipeline from Durban. The airport received 7 million litres of contaminated fuel through the dedicated pipeline from NATREF, the primary source of Jet A1.

The contaminated fuel in the two tanks has been isolated and cannot be used. The airport has certified fuel in the other tanks that is being used for refuelling.

Currently, O.R. Tambo International Airport has fuel for 1.4 days and the fuel supply industry, led by Air BP is working tirelessly to address the situation.

No flights are being affected at this stage and all ACSA airports remain fully operational.