Advisory Council on the Environment

Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (Cap. 499)

(ACE-EIA Paper 12/2002)
For Advice

Environmental Impact Assessment Report
Application No.-EIA-077/2002

Permanent Aviation Fuel Facility


1. This paper presents the key findings and recommendations of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report for the Permanent Aviation Fuel Facility submitted under section 6(2) of the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO). Comments from the public and ACE will be taken into account by the Director of Environmental Protection when he makes his decision on the approval of EIA report under the EIAO.

Advice Sought

2. Members' views are sought on the findings and recommendations of the EIA report.

Need for the Project

3. At present aviation fuel is delivered to the Hong Kong International Airport via an existing temporary Aviation Fuel Receiving Facility (AFRF) sited off Sha Chau. This facility does not have the capacity to meet the forecast demand for aviation fuel during the operational lifetime of the airport. The proposed project will replace the existing facility with a permanent one at a preferred location which has been subject to a site selection study, the findings of which has been presented to ACE members in December 2001.

Description of the Project

4. The proposed project will consist of the following elements:

  • An aviation fuel tank farm of maximum 12 tanks with ultimate capacity of 420,000m3, to be located at Tuen Mun Area 38
  • a jetty with two berths, which will accommodate vessels up to 80,000 dwt;
  • 500mm diameter twin submarine pipeline about 4.8 km long from the tank farm to the facility at Sha Chau;
  • on site operation facility including office

The location of the facility and the submarine pipeline are shown in Figure 1

5. Two elements of the Project, namely the fuel tank farm and the twin submarine pipeline constitute Designated Projects under Item L.4, Item B.1 and Item H.2 of Schedule 2 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance: i.e:

     L.4: A storage, transfer and trans-shipment of oil facility with s storage capacity of not less than 1,000 tons
  B.1: An Airport (including its runway and the development and activities related to aircraft maintenance, repair, fueling and fuel storage, engine testing or air cargo handling)
  H.2: A submarine gas pipeline or submarine oil pipeline.

Characteristic of the Selected Option

6. The tank farm would be located at a site in Tuen Mun Area 38, which is in a heavily industrialised setting. The nearest residential development is over 2km away and the use of this site will avoid the need for land reclamation thus minimizing the potential impact that could arise from reclamation on residents, the marine water quality and ecosystem in the vicinity.

7. Aviation fuel would be transported to the airport via the twin submarine pipeline to the existing facility at Sha Chau and then to the Hong Kong International Airport via the existing pipeline. The alignment of the twin pipeline is the shortest amongst all the options considered and it would run mainly across the existing Urmston Road navigation channel, which has been previously subject to maintenance dredging. By adopting such an alignment, the impact on marine water quality and ecology would be reduced. Hence it constitutes the most environmentally preferred alignment amongst all other options studied.

Specific Environmental Aspects to Highlight

8. The major environmental issues identified for the Project are: marine ecology, water quality, fuel spills and hazard to life:

Water Quality and Marine Ecology

9. The project will involve dredging, pipelaying and backfilling in open waters. Water quality modeling demonstrates that sediment released to the water column is likely to The study area is frequented by Chinese White Dolphins. This species is very mobile and would likely to avoid areas subjected to general water quality and marine traffic disturbance. The study recommended a set of mitigation measures including the use of a bubble jacket for the underwater piling for construction of the jetty, decoupling of noisy activities on the barge with the piling works, setting up of dolphin exclusion zone during piling and dredging works to avoid disturbance to the dolphins. With such mitigation measures in place, change to the dolphin population within the study area as a result of implementing this project is not expected.

Fuel Spills

10. From the experience of operating the existing temporary facility with the associated pipeline to the Airport, there was no record on any fuel spills. For the proposed facility, mitigation measures including containment of all fuel tanks in a bunded area, installation of shut off valves within the wider site storm drainage system, provision of leak detection system for the pipeline, installation of automatic shut-off system will be provided to minimize the risk of fuel spillages. Also a spill response plan would be put in place before the commissioning of the facility. With all the mitigation measures in place, the fuel spill impacts would be kept to a minimum and no adverse residual impacts are predicted.

Hazard to Life

11. A consequential risk analysis has been carried out to assess quantitatively societal risks and individual risks to life associated with predicted worst-case events. The EIA concluded that risk from hazards at the tank farm, jetty, marine approach and rupture of the submarine pipeline all lie within the acceptable range with mitigation measures in place, including the use of tugs, use of pilots aboard every vessel, restricting the velocity of the vessel approaching the jetty, and provision of stop-valve at the stormwater system at the tank farm.

Environmental Monitoring and Audit (EM&A)

12. An EM&A programme has been proposed in the EM&A Manual submitted together with the EIA report and included a detailed Implementation Schedule. For those elements of the project that are Designated Projects, the EM&A requirements will be enforced as Environmental Permit conditions.

Comments received so far from the Public during the Public Inspection Period

13. AA has made the EIA report, the EM&A Manual and the Executive Summary available for the public to comment under the EIAO on 14 June 2002. Members will be briefed on any comments received from the public at the meeting.

Environmental Assessment and Noise Division
Environmental Protection Department
June 2002


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