Mobil writes in response to the ATSB's letter of 24 September
2001 in which the ATSB indicated it sought more information on the
status of Mobil Altona's actions since the avgas incident in
Following receipt of this letter, Mobil's [name supplied] has had
discussions with yourself and [name supplied] to seek further
clarification on what information the ATSB is seeking.
As you will recall, in July this year Mobil Oil Australia responded
to the ATSB's investigation report titled "Systemic Investigation
into Fuel Contamination". In that response Mobil described some of
the improvement initiatives implemented at its Altona Refinery
which were of relevance to the ATSB recommendations.
In Attachment One to this letter is a table which provides a
breakdown of the major improvement initiatives actions taken at the
Altona refinery that are of relevance to the ATSB investigation
into the avgas incident. The table provides further information on
the nature of the improvement initiatives. In addition, each of the
improvement initiatives has been mapped to the relevant
recommendations in the ATSB investigation report into the avgas
incident. Finally the table documents the status of the
implementation of each of the improvement initiatives.
Mobil is pleased to report that all of these initiatives are now
complete or well progressed.
If you require further information on this matter please contact
[name supplied] on [number supplied].
Attachment 1 Extract
1. Update Unit Operating Boundaries
- The refinery's TDC Operating System alarms when operating
conditions move outside preset limits. Alarms are logged and
require action by operating staff to bring operations back into the
- Any actual unit operations that exceed these boundaries will
trigger an automated alarm. Any planned unit operations that exceed
these boundaries will trigger the refinery Management of Change
- As part of its program of continuous improvement, Altona Refinery
has reviewed the boundaries for each process unit with a specific
emphasis on product quality related issues, as well as, operational
safety and environmental performance.
- In addition to this review, the refinery is presently developing
an enhanced system (MRAA-SHED-10002 Operating Limits System) which
extends beyond the TDC system, to monitor operations versus a more
broadly defined set of Operating boundaries, and to generate
exception reports. The reports will be reviewed by Operations
personnel and management. The boundaries define the limits for key
operational parameters at which the unit can be operated eg
pressure, temperature, rate etc. The enhanced system will be
operational by March 2002 on a trial basis.
2. Enhance Product Quality System
- The Altona Quality System (MRAA-QAB-10214) has been enhanced and
provides quality assurance for the entire operation from product
development, planning manufacture, feed stock selection, chemical
selection and use, product manufacture, blending, certification and
release to the customer.
- The system demands technical and marketing review/approach of
proposed changes ensuring international experience is taken into
- The Quality System is subject to regular local and international
audit with the continuing ISO accreditation providing independent
confirmation of the system health.
3. Employ additional PQ staff
- Mobil created a new permanent Refinery Product Quality Advisor
position and filled it in June 2000.
- As part of the enhancement program for the Altona Quality System,
Altona refinery engaged an ExxonMobil European quality expert with
extensive experience in product quality systems on an 18-month
4. Conducted Product Quality Reviews/Audits
- To ensure continuing effectiveness of the Refinery's Product
Quality System a number of Product Quality audits have been
conducted and more are scheduled on an on-going basis.
- Followups arising from these audits are documented and then
tracked in the refinery Corrective Actions Request System
ATSB Note: The Bureau considers that this response does not address
On 10 October 2002, the ATSB sent an email to Mobil that
included the following text:
"As discussed, please find following the ATSB's current
classification of the recommendations issued to Mobil as part of
the Fuel Contamination report. I have also included our thinking on
what we would like to see and/or clarify in order to close the
recommendations that remain open."