View Full Version : Melbourne airport fuel contamination?

24th Nov 2016, 22:28
ABC radio reporting all airlines experiencing delays due to fuel contamination issues.....

24th Nov 2016, 22:46
Airport is claiming it is a supply issue

Melbourne Airport‏ @Melair
Fuel allocations in place at Melbourne Airport due to upstream supply issues. We’re working with airlines to minimise impact on travellers.

Thats the 3rd issue at Tulla this week, IT issues and a chemical leak earlier in the week

clark y
25th Nov 2016, 00:25
Think of all the extra car parking fees with the delays. Melbourne airport must secretly love these issues.

25th Nov 2016, 01:59
Fuel shortage at Melbourne Airport could force flight delays, diversions - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-25/fuel-shortage-at-melbourne-airport-could-force-flight-delay/8057456)

25th Nov 2016, 03:19
It's not fuel contamination issues at all. It is related to the fact that a shipment of overseas-refined aviation fuel, failed to meet specifications for all the tests for fuel refined to Australian Fuel Quality Standards, as defined in the Fuel Quality Act 2000.

Fuel Quality Act 2000 (https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2016C00558)

The fuel testing covers a range of potential issues that cover everything from allowable water content (yes, there is an allowed level of water content!), through to lubricity levels, corrosion inhibitor content, allowed and disallowed additives, levels of various metals content, and even levels of Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME).

The testing is usually done by independent laboratories, to ASTM D 1655 or DefStan 91-91 standards, and to check against any other specific legislated requirements under FQA 2000.
Believe me, the testing is thorough and is designed to catch out refinery slip-ups (refinery cross-contamination is common), dodgy refinery operators substituting disallowed additives, or straight-out contamination from the oil tankers tanks or sloppy handling.

A failure to meet any of the specified parameters means the entire fuel shipment is not allowed to proceed until it does meet the specified standards and parameters.

The problem we have in Australia (and one that is raised and hammered regularly, without any pro-active response from politicians) is that Australias fuel reserves fall far short of what is required, if a major natural disaster, major obstruction to shipping, or some other catastrophic event such as a refinery explosion, results in a severe curtailment of fuel supplies for an extended period.

25th Nov 2016, 05:26
Thanks onetrack.

thorn bird
25th Nov 2016, 05:45
We used to have refining capacity in Australia until overregulation,environmental issues, licensing, OH&S, along with all the other hoops that must be jumped through before you can pass wind in Australia made it easier to pump our crude oil, transport it to Singapore, refine it and ship it back became the imperative.

How simple would it be for a protagonist to shut the door to shipments to and from Australia? The South China Sea is already being militarised, any thing South would be easy
to blockade, how long would Australia function in that event?

As I recall there was a synthetic fuel plant built up near Kandos in NSW during the war because we didn't have a home grown fuel production.

We ignore the lessons of history at our peril.

25th Nov 2016, 06:08
I lost most of my work because half the Australian refineries closed down. :-(

They shut down because all the operators/ owners were foreign owned and could import the stuff (i.e. Singapore) cheaper than the production cost here. It's all about profit and they couldn't give a rats arse about Australia's strategic capability or self reliance in times of crisis.....

Storage (tankage) is also an issue. If you have a tank full of 3 million litres of off spec product sitting idle you can run short on places to pump fresh output from the refinery (ExxonMobil Altona still produces JetA1)....
Usually (always) product is tested to ensure it's on spec before it's discharged from ship to shore...

The Banjo
25th Nov 2016, 09:45
One sunk fuel tanker then all of those billions of dollars of C17, F18, F35's etc will be as useful as.................:ugh:

25th Nov 2016, 11:16
We can still drink the water at least.....


umop apisdn
25th Nov 2016, 11:48
What would be the capacity of the tanks under the airport and how many A380s could they fill before they run dry?

25th Nov 2016, 12:42
There are very rarely any fuel storage tanks underneath the airport apron or taxiways.

The reasons for this are manyfold. I'll let you think about that, if you imagine the problems associated with burying tanks big enough to hold millions of litres, as would be required.
Also - the amount of internal tank support needed to support the heavy aircraft above them, the need to replace the tanks regularly (around 25-30 yrs maximum, even less if corrosion is detected), and the high potential for water ingress via condensation and flooding (many service stations have serious fuel quality problems with their underground tanks, due to pinholes in tanks, condensation, and flooding - which brings in dirt as well as water).

Major airport fuel supplies are normally held in what is called a "fuel tank farm". This is a number of very large, above-ground tanks that are interconnected, and the fuel is delivered via sizeable diameter pipelines buried under the apron.

Pipelines and wiring is all that is buried under the apron or taxiways - the soil under the apron, taxiways, and runways is heavily compacted to a serious depth - and the depth of the concrete is also substantial - anywhere from a minimum of 300mm to up to 900mm, if the underlying soil profile is poor.

Below is some reading on airport fuel storage design, that you may be interested in. If you aren't interested in the planning and calculations, you can scroll down to "Heathrow" where the Heathrow fuel storage arrangements are outlined.

www.iata.org - Policy - Documents - guidance for (airport) fuel storage (https://www.iata.org/policy/Documents/guidance-fuel-storage-may08.pdf)

compressor stall
25th Nov 2016, 20:18
I was told just this week by a fuel delivery driver that there is now barely enough capacity at the airport. There are apparently about 14 semis a day supplementing the pipeline to the storage facility at YMML. If there is bad traffic on the freeway for more then the morning and evening peaks, then supply at the facility starts to get thin.

25th Nov 2016, 21:06
If there is bad traffic on the freeway for more then the morning and evening peaks, then supply at the facility starts to get thin.

Ha Ha Ha. At 1600 cars being added to Melbourne's road network each and every week, this should be fun. And here I was believing our politicians that all time high levels of immigration were actually good for the economy. Gotta go, the lights just changed after sitting still for the last 15 minutes.

Fris B. Fairing
25th Nov 2016, 21:11
What would be the capacity of the tanks under the airport and how many A380s could they fill before they run dry?

Answers please in the internationally accepted news media unit of comparison - olympic swimming pools.

26th Nov 2016, 06:03
I know how many Para pools but can't do the conversion. PM me if you want the numbers.

26th Nov 2016, 10:14
Answers please in the internationally accepted news media unit of comparison - olympic swimming pools.

Or Sydney harbours' would also be an acceptable alternative.

26th Nov 2016, 22:31
Relative to all fuel types Melbourne is now a 'just in time' port reliant on regular ships berthing to offload. What is not being reported is the limitation on ship draught that prevents larger bulk fuel carriers to berth at Gellibrand alongside an 'upgrade' (code for 'fix what has been left neglected for years') at the up river fuel dock. The issue is much larger than the current 'crisis' and the state's fuel capacity is something that has been the subject of numerous briefings all receiving little more than the bureaucratic 'noted' stamp.