Monday, September 10, 2012

I've Got a Gas Problem...

Too much information?  Well... I thought you'd like an update on how the situation stands with our ongoing saga to get our hands on a stable source of AvGas.  Here goes...

Here is an update about the different sources of fuel for our airplane:

Possible Source #1:  Libreville international airport- They continue to not keep our type of fuel (“AvGas”; also called “100 low-lead”) in stock.  Most airplanes use jet fuel, here, and there are not many small “general aviation” airplanes around, so the demand for our type of fuel is almost non-existent.  For this reason, the fuel is very hard to find.

I just stopped by the airports’ office of fueling today, just in case they had a surprise delivery of AvGas.  Sadly, there was no AvGas and hasn’t been any there for over a year.  They cannot give me any assurances when any might show up.  So, this is not a source we can count on.

Possible Source #2:  Local Agricultural Company- An agricultural company with plantations throughout Gabon and west Africa has an aircraft based here that uses AvGas.  They import their own fuel from South Africa and stock it at their warehouse downtown.  They have been my steady source of AvGas since our program has been operating.  This is a great answer to prayer!  Even today I stopped by to pick up 3 barrels of fuel (600 liters).

It is expensive!  Almost 3 times the cost of what it is going for in the US!

However, I need your prayers regarding this source!  Last week they stated that they may start having to ration their AvGas as their own airplane is using more lately, and they have not received a restock of the fuel.  That has me a bit concerned.  Another issue is that they have been talking about selling their aircraft, so they would no longer be ordering AvGas.  This is a bigger concern!

Possible source #3:  Our own source!  Of course, you know we have been working to import our own fuel.  This is the preferred route- where we are the ones that can do the ordering, receiving, stocking, etc.  Thanks to our friends at a mission aviation organization in the US, we have folks in the US that will fill up the 78 barrels and put them into a 20 foot shipping container to send.   Also, we have the sponsors that have kindly sponsored all the 78 barrels.  However, we have been praying for the government to excuse us from paying about $10,000 in taxes when it arrives at the port.  To this end, we have had an initial meeting with the first lady of Gabon (the president’s wife), but only got to meet with her chief of staff.  She kindly told us that our dossier needed additional documents (they like to have folders thick and overflowing with papers!) and then they would review it to see if we could have the actual meeting with the first lady.  That was this past spring.

Since that meeting, we have been working to get all the documents together- a long process.  Here, nothing happens very fast as a rule, especially in the summer months.  However, I am hopeful that we will have the dossier ready to deposit by the end of this month and then, perhaps, have a meeting set up by the end of October.

Having our own source is the way to go.  There are simply too many variables otherwise.  We really appreciate your prayers to this end!!!

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