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Monday, Sept. 8, 2014  

Investigation into the Naval Point landslide

Mobil has fully cooperated with ECan for the past six months during an investigation into the events at Naval Point Terminal on March 5, when the terminal suffered significant damage during a major storm and landslide.

Mobil responded quickly to this unprecedented event. The extended response required considerable resources, with additional people and specialist expertise obtained from other Mobil facilities in New Zealand, Australia and around the world.

Andrew McNaught, Country Manager for Mobil Oil New Zealand said “I would like to personally thank all those who assisted in this complex response, including the Lyttelton Fire Service, Christchurch City Council and Environment Canterbury.

“Mobil’s priority at all times was to ensure the safety of our people, responding agencies, the local community and the environment. I am very pleased that no-one was hurt by the landslide or in the subsequent response and clean-up,” said Mr. McNaught.

Mobil investigations have shown that the landslide resulted from flooding during the severe weather, impacting on the cliff which was already weakened from earthquake damage.

The landslide badly damaged infrastructure including two fuel storage tanks. A major operation was launched to recover 1.2 million litres of jet fuel which was released into the concrete containment bund surrounding the tanks, complicated by heavy rainfall and landslide debris on site.

The vast majority of the fuel was contained, however some jet fuel escaped from the secondary bund (which also contained a large volume of stormwater and soil debris from the landslide) into the harbour. ECan estimate that 1500 litres escaped to the harbour.

An environmental assessment found no evidence of adverse effects from the jet fuel which reached the harbour. This is consistent with the fact that jet fuel quickly evaporates.

Investigations into how the jet fuel escaped from the bund have identified that the discharge occurred through drainage holes in an access ramp. Fuel should not have been leaking from these drainage points, and investigations have identified issues in the construction of the ramp itself.

The Naval Point Terminal has not been in operation since the landslide of March 5. All bulk fuel has been removed from the storage tanks.

Media contact:
Samantha Potts
+61 428 686 386