Army’s fuel specialists, or ‘Operator Petroleum’, were out in force at Cowley Beach Training Area, certifying and maintaining their unique skillsets for Exercise Overland – Nautical Petros.
The training was essential, as the two platoons leading the exercise offer the ADF’s only capability of moving fuel from ship to shore without support from fixed infrastructure.
The two Petroleum Platoons from 17th Sustainment Brigade looked after different elements of fuel transfer – one over water and one over land.
Leading the Platoon through the marine element of the unique capability was Officer in Charge Captain Gary Tyler from 9th Petroleum Platoon, 10th Force Support Battalion.
“We’re doing this by using a collapsible fuel tank installed onto the deck of an LCM-8 landing craft and taking this to the beach storage area.
“This is our opportunity to see all elements from start to finish and teach skills at the individual and collective level.”
“For this exercise, we’re transporting fuel from a point on the water – where there could be a ship supplying the fuel – to the beach,” Captain Tyler said.
Petroleum Operators conduct fuel pumping missions. Photo: Corporal Dustin Anderson
Specialising with the transfer of fuel over land, Captain Glenn Peebles led 8th Petroleum Platoon, 9th Force Support Battalion, through their training.
His team was responsible for looking after the fuel from the beach storage area to the running tank of a vehicle or aircraft.
“We run approximately two kilometres of lay-flat pipeline from the beach to an inland bulk fuel installation,” Captain Peebles said.
“From here, we establish the refuelling point aviation and are able to refuel a variety of aircraft while they’re in operation.
“By working through our training serials, we’re certifying the fuel specialists from our respective platoons to be able to provide fuel support to Army and joint coalition forces when called upon.”
With high-risk weather season approaching, the expertise of Army’s fuel specialists ensures that the ADF can respond and assist with the restoration of critical infrastructure, where fixed infrastructure may not be in place.