Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mount Hagen fuel crisis

Mount Hagen has run dry of all automotive, industrial and aviation fuel.

Fuel deliveries into the area were suspended after a landslip forced the closure of the Highlands Highway near Mindina.

InterOil Products Limited General Manager Peter Diezmann says the damaged section of roadway is impassable to heavy vehicles.

"Some sections of the Highway have been washed away down an embankment.

"In other parts, deep craters have appeared".

"The issue is one of public and environmental safety", Mr. Diezmann said.

"There is no way a vehicle the size and weight of a laden fuel tanker could attempt to negotiate this highly unstable section of roadway".

"The effects of any accident could be extremely serious".

It is the fourth time in recent months the Highlands Highway has been closed to heavy traffic due to flooding and landslips.

 "The situation has gone beyond critical, there is not even enough fuel available to ration", Mr.. Diezmann said.

"The nation's third largest city is now effectively without fuel and we do not know when fresh stocks will be able to be brought in".

"It is only a matter of time before industry, public transport and some important public services begin to wind down".

"I sympathise with our customers who rely on fuel for many facets of their private and business lives". 

"However, nothing can be done until the road surface has been made safe for traffic", Mr. Diezmann said.

"We hope authorities will act quickly to repair and replace the damaged sections of this important road link to the Highlands".

"The ramifications of delayed action could be extremely serious for the regional economy and the livelihoods of many Highland people".

"This is too important an issue for authorities not to act decisively and immediately", he said..


For further information

Susuve Laumaea

Senior Manager Media Relations - InterOil Corporation

Ph: (675) 321 7040

Mobile: (675) 684 5168


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