Vanderhoof Co-op is in the process of installing a new bulk petroleum plant to keep up with an increasing fuel demand.
Last week, 20 new petroleum storage tanks were put into place at the Co-op bulk plant site on Highway 16, to the west of town.
The new tanks, which hold 148,000 litres of petroleum, will replace the 12 93,000 litre tanks already at the site.
The larger tanks will create a 165 per cent increase in storage capacity at the plant.
The next few weeks will see the installation of piping, monitoring systems and other requirements for the use of the new tanks. Painting and decaling of the tanks with then occur with the Co-op identification. The tanks are planned to be in use by July this year.
“The new tanks will provide just short of three million litres of storage,” said Allan Bieganski, Operations Manager at Vanderhoof Co-op.
“It’s a result of our demand growth in the petroleum department that we’re going through,” he said.
Last year total litres from the bulk plant location in Vanderhoof grew by 15 per cent. Bieganski says he is projecting similar increases for the upcoming years.
“The 2011 increased growth is due to strong winter cut and increased mining activity in the area – trends that should continue into the coming years,” he said.
The increased storage will also ensure there is enough petroleum at the plant to buffer potential delays in fuel being transported in.
“We cannot risk having ‘just in time’ inventory,” said Bieganski.
He added that potential delays to incoming fuel, could be caused by bad winter road conditions, and other logistical problems that can occur from time to time with the trucking in of the fuel. He added that another potential delay could be caused if refineries have production problems due to breakdowns or temporary shutdown. In order to reduce the effects of these potential problems, the larger tanks will be kept full during peak selling periods of the year.
“This new tank set-up will give us 14 days of storage during these peak selling seasons,” said Bieganski.
The new tank system will also provide increased safety for the fuel truckers, as it will allow the drivers to bottom load the tanks, as opposed to the current system, where they are filled from an above platform.
The current 12-tank bulk plant won’t be removed until the spring of 2012, when the cardlock at the site will also be expanded, with more lanes and more dispensers.
An overhead canopy will also be installed.
The two-stage bulk plant expansion is estimated to be costing over $5.2 million.