Boating Bits

Opal fuel – safe for outboards

FISHOS in the Top End are being assured that a new and improved version of Opal fuel is safe to use in their outboard motors.

Opal fuel is a direct substitute for regular unleaded with an octane rating of 91 which fully conforms to the National Fuels Quality Standards Act 2000.

Opal fuel was developed by BP Australia to reduce the incidence of petrol sniffing in communities at risk. Petrol sniffing is a highly dangerous form of substance abuse and destroys lives and communities.

Chris Makepeace, Executive Officer of the Amateur Fishing Association of the Northern Territory is happy to run Opal in his outboard motor and encourages people fishing in the Kakadu region to fill up with Opal fuel.

“I have to admit that at first I was sceptical of Opal fuel,” Chis said. “However, after seeing the warranty assurance statements from outboard manufacturers on the website, I am quite happy to use the new and improved Opal fuel in my boat.”

Independent laboratory and field testing have found that Opal fuel is safe for use in boats and cars where the manufacturer recommends regular unleaded 91.

Well known NT fisherman and Managing Director of the Arnhemland Barramundi Nature Lodge in Maningrida, Alex Julius, was involved in the field testing of BP’s new Opal fuel in mid-2010. The fuel was tested in one of Julius’s Evinrude 115HP E-TEC high performance two-stroke outboard engines and he says that the new Opal fuel has the same storage properties of unleaded 91, with engine performance to match.

“I can’t wait for it to arrive in Maningrida so we can start using it and save a bundle on fuel additives,” he said.

In March, Opal fuel sponsored the invitational Barramundi competition Kakadu Klash ’11, which was hosted at Aurora Kakadu. Most of the 105 competitors ran the new Opal fuel through their outboards without any issues.

The Australian Government, through the Department of Health and Ageing, is supporting the rollout of Opal fuel to the Kakadu National Park.

The cost of Opal fuel will be subsidised by the Government, meaning that it will not cost any more to fill up with Opal fuel than regular unleaded petrol.

Opal fuel has been available in some parts of the Northern Territory, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia since 2005.

In towns where Opal fuel has replaced regular unleaded, research has found a reduction in petrol sniffing of up to 94 per cent.

More information on Opal fuel can be found on the Opal website or by phoning the BP Fuel and Lubricants Technical Helpline on 1300 139 700.

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