Pipeline back online gradually
Repair work on fuel pipeline rupture at Ruakaka is complete, but pressure won’t be at top capacity until early next year, officials say.
The single pipeline which serves virtually all fuel to Auckland, including aviation fuel to the airport, has been out action since last Thursday.
It was expected the first jet fuel would be pumped to the holding tanks in Wiri by midday today, said Refining NZ chief executive Sjoerd Post.
The pipeline would only gradually be brought up to full speed.
‘‘We are in a start up process where we are being careful with that in the sense that as you open the pipe you get air in the pipeline and you need to be really careful that air doesn’t start to play havoc with the pipeline pressure, so we’re going carefully,’’ Post said.
The pipeline will operate at 80 per cent until further tests were carried out over the next few months, Post said.
‘‘It’s a bit early to tell [when full capacity will return] but I think very early next year.’’
Damage to the 170km Marsden Point to Auckland fuel line was believed to have been caused by a digger at some stage in the past three years.
At the start of the fuel crisis, airlines cut their fuel allocation by 70 per cent, disrupting travel plans for thousands.
For a time some Auckland petrol stations also ran out of 95 octane fuel.
There may be short periods where certain fuel grades may still be unavailable but Aucklanders should not be worried, fuel industry spokesman Andrew McNaught said.
The industry expected diesel and fuel to be sent into the pipeline after the restored.
The oil and chemical tanker Matuku brought 1.5 million litres of jet fuel and and 7.9 million litres of diesel to Auckland yesterday. Meanwhile Army drivers have been delivering tanker after tanker – carrying 32,000 litres of fuel each – from the Marsden Point refinery to the airport.
Northland Regional Council soon switch its focus from cleanup to investigating how leak occurred. jet fuel supply was will the the
The pipeline will operate at 80 per cent until cleared for full use in the coming months.