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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Shell to build $3m airport fuel depot Local airlines elated with move

Shell to build $3m airport fuel depot Local airlines elated with move

S hell Company of Cambodia has announced it will build a $3 million aircraft

refueling depot at Pochentong airport after the Royal Government gave

permission. The agreement is the result of two years of negotiations between the

company and officials from the previous and present

administrations.

Shell's general manager Roger Ottenheym says work will

begin immediately and the project is due to be completed by August. It will

consist not only of two new 250 cubic metre storage tanks and aircraft refueling

equipment but also the installation of up to date fire fighting equipment and a

laboratory to monitor fuel quality to ensure it meets international

standards.

Ottenheym, a Dutchman, says the depot is an important step in

opening up the country to tourism.

Currently none of the airlines flying

international routes refuel at Pochentong due to the outdated

facilities.

Refueling at Pochentong will enhance safety by cutting down

the amount of fuel aircraft have to carry and the weight saved can be used to

carry additional cargo, Mr Ottenheym said.

The aviation fuel will be

shipped to Sihanoukville and stored in Shell's new depot and then trucked up to

the airport.

The laboratory will be capable of constantly monitoring the

quality of the fuel and detect impurities of dirt and water so that it will meet

international standards, Mr Ottenheym said.

The construction work will be

carried out by Chiyoda Singapore, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Japanese

parent company using up to 100 workers.

The general manager of Thai

Airways in Cambodia Mr Chatchai Panyoo welcomed Shell's announcement. The

company's 148-seater Boeing 737s on the Bangkok-Phnom Penh route are full

practically every day and passengers are individually weighed for precise

calculations of how much cargo can be carried in addition to fuel for the

round-trip journey.

Mr Chatchai said: " We consider this good news for

us. It will give us the option of refueling at Phnom Penh. Whether this will be

done depends on several factors, particularly what rate Shell will be charging

for their fuel."

The director of maintenance for Cambodia International

Airways

odhi Valliappan said his airline was a likely customer.

CIA

operates its 737s at their maximum range of 3 1/2 hours flying time on their

Singapore and Hong Kong routes, with the aircraft only occasionally being topped

up at Pochentong.

Valliappan said: "If a proper operation is set up we

would fly on half full tanks. This would improve safety, save the company money

and allow us to carry additional cargo."

Ottenheym says Shell's next

project is a joint venture with the French company Colas and the Cambodian state

oil firm Companie Kampuchea des Carburants to build a plant to produce bitumen

emulsions.

The $1 million factory will be inside CKC's Phnom Penh

compound and the emulsions it will be producing are a big step forward in

road-making as they can be applied cold.

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