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WAPA and Vitol Announce Critical Project Milestone: Propane Tanks Arrive in USVI

(Wednesday, July 23, 2014)

WAPA and Vitol Announce Critical Project Milestone: Propane Tanks Arrive in USVI

Today the U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority and Vitol Virgin Islands Corporation announced the arrival of the first shipment of eight empty LPG storage tanks. Ten more tanks will follow the first shipment in the coming weeks for a total of eighteen tanks.

The arrival of the tanks on Wednesday, July 23 marked a significant milestone for the project. The tanks arrived, and will be temporarily staged, at the V.I. Port Authority’s south shore container port on St. Croix. The tanks will be barged to their final locations at the project sites at the St. Croix and St. Thomas generation stations once civil engineering is complete. Ten tanks will be installed on St. Thomas and eight on St. Croix.

Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr., WAPA Executive Director Hugo V. Hodge, Jr., WAPA board members, the project management team, Vitol executives, government officials and media witnessed the unloading of the tanks at the container port.

Commenting on the arrival of the tanks, Executive Director Hodge said: “The arrival of the first shipment of empty tanks marks a significant milestone in the progress of the propane conversion project. Now people can see what we have known at WAPA for months: that this project is moving forward, the fuel switch is real and we are steadfast in our mission of lowering electricity rates for the people of the Virgin Islands. I personally visited the tanks while they were in the fabrication yard to ensure that the contractor was adhering to the highest technical standards. I can say without a doubt that these LPG storage tanks are the product of world class fabrication technology. They are the best built, strongest and safest of their kind. They will serve the people of the Virgin Islands for a long time to come.”

All of the tanks will be installed with 100-percent redundant safety mechanisms and will be encased in earthen and concrete “mounds,” storing propane on-site at the power plants on St. Thomas and St. Croix. No power disruptions are planned due to ongoing construction.

The largest tank weighs 315 tons, with a length of 165 feet, a diameter of 18 feet and a height of 30 feet. All of the tanks were fabricated by Belgium-based Geldof Integrated Steel Solutions, a leading European supplier for the storage, handling and processing of bulk solids, liquids and gasses.

The arrival of the tanks was an important step in the Authority’s project to utilize the more affordable, cleaner-burning propane in power generation. The project, which entails building the infrastructure, converting seven (7) of WAPA’s GE turbines to burn propane, as well as supplying propane, is expected to reduce WAPA’s fuel cost by approximately 30%, or $90 million annually, which will be realized by ratepayers. The project will also reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by approximately 20%. Savings to WAPA’s customers is expected to stimulate the territory’s economy by giving consumers more money in their pockets and by releasing capital to create jobs.

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