press release

Chevron Press Release - Chevron Updates Northern California Pilots On Claims

SAN FRANCISCO, July 11, 1994 -- Chevron says it will pay Northern California aviation gasoline customers for engine repairs or replacement and related costs if their engines operated with contaminated fuel accidentally distributed by Chevron last May.

"As the leading supplier of aviation fuel in the nation, we pride ourselves most on two things -- the quality, integrity and safety of our products and the positive relationships we have with our many thousands of customers," said Peter Kump, general manager of aviation sales for Chevron.

"As we've said over the last several weeks, we deeply regret that we had a problem with our aviation fuel. We have solved the problem that caused the contamination in the first place, and we have changed our procedures to ensure that we won't have such a problem in the future. We will continue to work with Chevron's aviation customers to ensure that they're compensated."

The contaminated fuel was caused by a leaky valve at Chevron's Richmond, Calif., refinery during a two-hour period on May 16. The valve allowed jet fuel to mix with aviation gasoline. One truckload of the contaminated fuel was delivered to two airports in Sacramento. Six more trucks went out the next day with fuel that was much less contaminated to Watsonville, Concord, Oakland and Petaluma.

When it learned of the problem, Chevron immediately undertook a methodical process to work with the FAA, engine manufacturers and with aircraft owners to ensure that all planes that may have fueled with the contaminated mixture were defueled, inspected and repaired if needed. And as a result of what's been learned over the last few weeks about engine damage and customer inconvenience, the company has decided to forego further in-depth testing and inspection and simply pay to repair or replace engines that were involved. Kump said claims will be handled the same for all six airports.

Owners of aircraft purchasing avgas from the six affected airports during the period when contaminated fuel was available will again be contacted individually by Chevron. Correspondence from Chevron to each aircraft owner will outline procedures for their claims.

Further background for editors and reporters:

In piston-driven engines, the contaminated fuel could cause malfunctions similar to "pinging" in car engines, but contrary to some media reports, can not cause an engine to explode.

The fuel involved is not used in military or commercial jets, which use kerosene-based jet fuel.

On May 31, a pilot notified Chevron that he had experienced an engine problem and that his fuel smelled of kerosene. Chevron immediately contacted the FAA and began notifying pilots, owners and airports of the problem. In all, more than 1,200 pilots and owners were notified by the end of June. Chevron encouraged the pilots and owners to have their aircraft fuel tanks pumped out and replenished and engines inspected, and repaired if necessary by their own mechanics, all at Chevron's expense.

Chevron also immediately began work to provide fuel meeting all avgas specifications to all six Northern California airports.

The company continues to maintain a toll-free phone number for pilots and owners to call if they have any questions. The number is (800) 424-4474.

Updated: July 1994