As part of every new season Casey station is resupplied with approximately one million litres of SAB (Special Antarctic Blend Diesel). Unfortunately there are two fuel farms here at Casey meaning that there is a requirement to transfer half of that fuel around June/July from the lower fuel farm to the upper in order to keep the station operational.
This year it was decided that the transfer would be completed in early July. After initial planning and some speculation about the weather it commenced on Monday the 2nd of July at 0800.
Team Dieso, consisting of Cam, Mike, Misty, Jon and Jason, had spent a number of days preparing and inspecting equipment in readiness for the transfer. This meant digging out the lower farm to access the pump (a task that unfortunately was seen as an annoyance, where as one month ago we would have all been extremely keen, given we have completed the lap around Antarctica in the walking exercise, snow shovelling now had the feeling it was for free). Misty groomed a perfect road through Thala Valley to lay the fuel line out, Jon set up the lighting for the arduous trek up and down the hose inspecting for fuel leaks and the line was pressure tested before pumping.
It was decided that this year the operation would be completed around the clock. (Timings were essential as there was the need to consider the third State of Origin match on the Wednesday night, something that we did not want to miss.) Working a 2hr on 4hr off shift, the entire station was put on notice. The roster was made up allowing the first 4 hrs for the set up to be completed.
With no faults noted, the set up was finished and the official pumping of fuel commenced at 12:45pm.
The operation was in full swing, with all seemingly going well. Changeover of personnel in the −17 to −20 degree temps was efficient, fuel was flowing and many conversations were had during the cold night. Many encouraging signs were crafted into the snow for the oncoming shift, notably about the upcoming NSW v. QLD Origin match (thanks Misty).
By early morning things were going very well and we were well ahead of what was considered our planned schedule. (Origin was looking safe). With the flow rate of the fuel consistent, the fuel was re-routed out to the station filling the MPH (main power house) and the vehicle bowser before being redirected back to the upper farm.
At approximately 0910 the pump was shut down and the transferring of fuel complete. We were well ahead of schedule and this was certainly a surprising outcome. All personnel were knocked off to go and have a hot breakfast and catch up on sleep, with the exception of Team Dieso who packed up and officially completed the transfer. We were sitting in the mess and having a well earned coffee at 11:00am on Tuesday. Overall it was a very smooth operation. There were no fuel spills and it was completed in extremely good time, only 27 hours. Well done to all.
Jason Blackwell, Plant Inspector/Mechanical Services Supervisor