June 22, Hambantota: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Sunday declared open the fuel hydrant system and aviation refueling terminal at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) in Mattala, Hambantota.
The automated Fuel Hydrant System along with the state of the art Aviation Refueling Terminal facility was constructed at a cost of Rs. 5 billion ( US$ 40 million).
The functioning of the automated Fuel Hydrant System along with the state of the art Aviation Terminal facility will become an important milestone in the Aviation Industry in Sri Lanka in many ways for the economic development, employment generation and regional development in the near future, the government said.
In addition to the refueling unit, the facility comprises a high-tech computerized refueling unit, a Fire hydrant system, and fire hazard identification system.
The fully computerized Oil Storage Terminal has the capacity to store 3 million liters of aircraft fuel and the refueling facility can supply fuel to the world's largest passenger aircraft such as an Airbus-340 which can take in 310,000 liters of aviation fuel.
The required Jet-A1 fuel will be initially supplied by 33,000 liters capacity Road Tankers from the CPSTL Kolonnawa installation, until the Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) Aviation storage tank farm at the Hambantota Port facility is ready for operations.
A pipeline corridor from Hambantota Port to MRIA over a length of around 32 kilometer has been allocated by the Road Development Authority for a Jet-A1 fuel transfer pipeline to be constructed in the future, based on the increasing demand for Jet-A1 fuel at MRIA.
Three tanks at the oil storage facility have been leased out to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) for aviation fuel to be supplied to the Mattala International Airport and the other three tanks have been leased out to Litro Gas Company for LP gas storage.
According to the government, the aviation refueling facility incorporated in to the overall plan of Airport & Aviation Services in Sri Lanka and in the design of the Hambantota International Airport (HIA) by M/s. China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) did not have a Fuel Hydrant System and the required capacities in the fuel storage tanks and associated facilities, required for an International Airport of this nature.
Therefore, the CPC and the Ministry of Petroleum Industries undertook the task of building a state of the art Fuel Hydrant System and an Aviation Refueling Terminal with the required storage capacities of Jet A1 fuel in 2010. The total project has cost CPC nearly Rs. 5.0 billion using its own funding.
Initial design of the fuel farm was only adequate for very small airport and not at all sufficient for an international airport which requires a large storage to maintain an adequate buffer stock for any eventuality, the government said.
The Fuel hydrant system within the apron area was constructed by the main Airport contractor M/s.China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) for a negotiated price of US$7,175,326.13 without any variation claims approved.
The construction of the Aviation Terminal and the interconnecting pipelines of 1.2 kilometers long was assigned to M/s. Amana Pipeline Construction LLC of Dubai, UAE on a competitive tender basis with a Cabinet approval for US$ 31,251,504.02 which has been successfully completed without any extra cost to CPC.
Meanwhile, President Rajapaksa will also declare open the oil tank farm and commission the ship bunkering operations at the Hambantota Port today.
The tank farm owned by SLPA consists of 14 tanks and eight of them are used by the SLPA for bunkering. The total bunker capacity is 51,000 cubic meters and the capacity for aviation fuel and LP gas are 23,000 and 6,000 cubic meters respectively.
The SLPA has invested US$ 76 million in constructing the tank farm and bunkering infrastructure that includes offshore bunkering facilities.
Ministers Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Sarath Kumara Gunaratna, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Priyankara Jayaratne, Deputy Ministers Geethanjana Gunawardena, Sarana Gunawardena, and MP Namal Rajapaksa also participated in the occasion.
(Photos by President's Media)