Myanmar’s unique aviation fuelling challenges
Myanmar’s government decided to improve the country’s aviation fuelling sector as part of opening up to tourism and new business investment after decades of isolation. Prior to this, all airports in the country had been operated by the government owned company, MMPE, which had no exposure to international aviation standards.
This lack of exposure meant that airports which MMPE operated did not meet the JIG standards for Aviation Fuel Quality Control and Operating Procedures. They also lacked the right training programs for depot fuelling staff, quality control and operational records; as well as only having limited equipment performance test records. The majority of the refuelling equipment also needed upgrading.
Forming a strategic partnership to raise country-wide standards
In 2015, Puma Energy was awarded the tender to form a joint venture company with MMPE – NEPAS, to help bring 11 of Myanmar’s airport’s fuelling facilities and operations up to a higher standard. NEPAS would achieve this by implementing Puma Energy’s global aviation standards; while investing in new infrastructure where required.
The transformation began at Yangon International Airport in November 2015, where NEPAS worked with Puma Energy to immediately install its aviation operating and quality control systems, along with the required equipment performance test records. Task and HSSE training programs were run and the facility was brought up to satisfactory Puma Energy Global Aviation, JIG and IATA standards.
Refurbishing Yangon International Airport’s fuelling depot
Alongside this, Puma Energy invested in a total refurbishment of Yangon International Airport’s fuelling depot between 2015 and 2017, including a new:
- Operations control centre – which now houses the site’s controls and CCTV monitoring
- Workshop building – which provides modern maintenance facilities for the site’s equipment
- MCC building – which contains the high voltage and electrical switchgear for the facility
NEPAS also invested in a new refuelling fleet, including six refuellers, two hydrant servicers and one hydrant pit cleaning vehicle, to improve safety and quality standards of transporting high quality Jet A1 fuel between the depot and aircraft.
Fuel storage facilities were significantly upgraded, including the fitting of a centralised quick flush tank to determine the quality of the fuel as quickly as possible. The two original storage tanks were also modified and two new 2,700 m³ storage tanks constructed. Total storage capacity now lasts the airport twelve days, rather than the original three.
A new hydrant pump station has also been constructed, comprising four 4,000 lpm pump sets which are in accordance with JIG standards. New tanker loading and unloading gantry have also been built with high safety standards.
Upgraded health, safety and security equipment were installed throughout the depot, including 24/7 CTTV monitoring of the entire facility, a new security guard house and static guard monitoring. The fuel farm and gantry draining system were linked to a new triple petrol and oil interceptor, designed to contain, slow and better regulate the flow of contaminated waste water. This was then further supported by an enhanced firefighting system, including a new 400 m³ water tank, foam concentration tank, two brand new fire pumps; as well as foam injection facilities and cooling rings for the tanks.
“All aspects of this project have been a resounding success,” as Dominic Lum, Operations Manager, Myanmar, Puma Energy explains. “Yangon International Airport has now passed JIG and IATA Fuel Quality Pool (IFQP) standards review. The refuelling facility went through 24 audits in 2017 with no major findings.”
The initial phases of the transformation went so well that NEPAS was able to expand operations and take control of refuelling operations for the other airports by mid-July 2016.
Since the formation of NEPAS, it has taken over operational management of all 11 airports. Further investment was made to install modern safety equipment and features for employees, and upgrades to key infrastructure. Further improvements continue to be negotiated including a new hydrant line at Yangon International Airport that will meet JIG Standards.
“Our successes in Myanmar shows the power of what a strategic joint venture can achieve,” Seamus Kilgallon, Global Head of Aviation at Puma Energy comments. “Not only have we brought key transport hubs up to international standards, but we’ve enabled Myanmar’s aviation industry to gain competitive advantage through our resources and created job opportunities for local people. Myanmar is at an incredibly exciting point in its development and we’re thrilled to be playing a significant role in fuelling its growing economy.”