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(Wednesday, December 12, 2012)


In an emergency meeting held yesterday via telephone and videoconference, the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority Governing Board approved the payment of $374,535 to ABC Concepts, Inc., for the engineering design and installation of two new line bollards at the Randolph Harley Power Plant. The line bollards, vertical posts used to secure the safe docking of large vessels, will facilitate deliveries by the Authority’s new fuel supplier Trafigura AG. The bollards are also necessary to comply with the requirements of the U.S. Coast Guard, V.I. Port Authority and Trafigura.

Trafigura AG will be delivering approximately 110,000 barrels per month to the Harley Power Plant in two shipments --- 30,000 barrels will be delivered by barge and 80,000 will be delivered by tanker vessel. Because of the urgency of completing the preparations for the larger deliveries, the Board authorized the contract with ABC Concepts, Inc. through an emergency waiver of the competitive bidding process to allow the Authority to meet its critical deadline for its new fuel supply. “To ensure the Authority is able to receive an uninterrupted supply of fuel oil from Trafigura AG for the St. Thomas/St. John district, we need to make these changes to ensure the dock is structurally worthy,” said Executive Director Hugo V. Hodge Jr. In referring to the larger tanker vessel, Hodge said, “We expect the first delivery, of this vessel size, to be somewhere in the middle of the month, so we’re trying to complete the process to warrant a safe berthing of the vessel.”

The Harley Plant has already received two shipments at 30,000 barrels each, but according to contract terms and for the best pricing per barrel delivered, the St. Thomas/St. John district will receive one 30,000 barrel and one 80,000 barrel shipment per month, while St. Croix will receive approximately three 30,000 barrel shipments per month by barge, a ship size which is easily accommodated by the dock in the Richmond Power Plant. The Harley Plant will also serve as the Authority’s fuel storage facility eliminating the need to store inventory at HOVENSA, which converted to a storage facility after ceasing refinery operations earlier this year.

In further addressing management’s request for an emergency waiver of competitive bidding, Hodge explained that ABC Concepts, Inc., which already has a supplemental maintenance contract with the Authority, executed through a competitive bidding process, can complete the work quickly as it is on standby to assist the Authority in maintaining its facilities when a skill set is needed that is not financially feasible to maintain as part of the Authority’s permanent maintenance crew. ABC Concepts can mobilize immediately in order to meet the mid-December deadline, Hodge said.

During the last six weeks since the Authority entered into an agreement with the new fuel supplier, the utility has been working with the U.S. Coast Guard, the V.I. Port Authority’s marine division and pilot, Trafigura and its local agent C&C Port Services, and the local regulatory agencies to make certain that the dock would be properly prepared to accept any one of the fuel supplier’s four large tanker vessels. The environmental permits necessary for the construction were secured last Friday, December 7, which allowed Hodge and his team to immediately take the next step and seek the Board’s authorization for the necessary funding to complete the engineering design and the installation of the bollards. Two buoys will also be constructed as part of this project. There will be no navigational hazards or obstructions resulting in the ocean channel as a result of this construction project.

Attending the meeting were Board Chair Atty. Gerald Groner, Board Vice-Chair Juanita Young, Secretary Noel Loftus, Licensing and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Wayne Biggs, Energy Office Director Karl Knight Planning and Natural Resources Commissioner Alicia Barnes, Donald Francois, Cheryl Boynes Jackson and Brenda Benjamin.