Fuel rationing at Auckland Airport is likely to continue for airlines until next Thursday, a spokesman for the oil industry says.

Since the pipeline carrying jet fuel from Marsden Pt ruptured last week, planes departing Auckland Airport were asked to operate with only 30 per cent of normal fuel levels.

A Mobil Oil spokesman said that rationing - although being reviewed daily - is now likely to last until September 28.

The fuel industry has been scrambling for new ways of getting aviation fuel to Auckland while Refining NZ has been defending the time it's taking to repair the damaged pipeline.


The refinery company said yesterday that a jet fuel loading station at Marsden Pt was now ready to fill tankers as soon as they arrived but a representative for fuel companies said they still did not know whether they could use road tankers or a tank on Wynyard Wharf in central Auckland for aviation gas.

Mobil manager and spokesman for customers of Refining NZ, Andrew McNaught, said yesterday it was not yet known whether most road tankers could be reconfigured to transport the fuel from Marsden Pt to Auckland Airport.

A barge could bring aviation fuel to Wynyard Wharf and then transfer it to a tank being used for storing chemicals but experts were still assessing whether this was possible.

Dedicated jet fuel road tankers are available but he did not know how many others would be available to transport the fuel. The average tanker could hold about 40,000 litres, about an eighth the fuel capacity of an Airbus A380.

The pipeline carried all Auckland's aviation fuel to a depot near the airport until it ruptured last week leading to fuel rationing for airlines, which have been forced to cancel and re-route flights.

McNaught said alternative transport arrangements were still a "work in progress" and the priority remained cutting demand to 30 per cent of usual from airlines at the airport through reduced flying or aircraft taking on fuel at other New Zealand airports or those in Australia or the Pacific.

The Board of Airline Representatives has 28 members affected by the fuel crisis and would meet fuel companies today about allocations of remaining fuel.

Industry figures show there are 8.9 million litres of jet fuel in tanks near Auckland Airport and 9.5 million litres at the Wiri terminal.


Yesterday airlines used about 1 million litres.