Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Business

Port of Tampa will fuel region with new $56 million petroleum terminal

TAMPA — The Port of Tampa is the region's gas station.

It is the primary supplier of the gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel and oil that keeps 9 million people from Tampa Bay to Orlando to Naples on the move. The region is dependent on that gas station — but the infrastructure is 45 years old.

It needs to be replaced, and on Wednesday the Tampa Port Authority unveiled its successor: a new $56 million petroleum terminal complex that will keep the region's cars and planes fueled for decades to come.

"It is a one-of-a-kind facility," said Port of Tampa chief executive officer Paul Anderson. "It will bring sustainability to our state and our region for generations."

The project is the largest capital investment in port history, and the first phase is already done. The port split the cost with the state of Florida, which contributed $28 million. Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad said West and Central Florida would grind to a halt without it.

"This project is kind of unique in the sense that this is our livelihood," he said. "This project basically supplies gasoline fuel and passenger (plane) fuel for state of Florida residents.

"You would not be able to use our beautiful infrastructure if this pipeline were shut."

The ribbon-cutting was held on a catamaran floating in the channel alongside the new complex. Anderson and Prasad were joined by state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg; Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa; Rep. Mark Danish, D-Tampa; and Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman.

"It's state of the art," Young said of the new terminal, "and it's going to put us on the map as we start expanding these markets."

The new petroleum terminal is being built on top of the old one at the Richard E. Knight Pier, or REK Pier. The thin concrete pier was built in 1968.

It took two years to finish the first phase, which ended this week with the completion of two new berths: Berth 222 and Berth 223. Both are now operational. The first fuel-bearing ship to unload at Berth 223 is scheduled for Nov. 11. Berth 222 is set to get its first ship on Nov. 18.

The next phases of the project will see a third berth — Berth 227 — completed sometime in June 2014. That's when the old REK Pier is also set to be torn down.

The Port of Tampa receives about 500 petroleum ships a year and unloads 2.4 billion gallons annually. But now it will be able to handle bigger ships and even more capacity.

Most of the fuel is sent out on tanker trucks. But the terminal also pumps product to the Central Florida region — including Orlando International Airport — through two pipelines.

The most innovative aspect of the facility is the special partnership arrangement the port hammered out with the companies using the old REK Pier.

Each company has its own infrastructure for unloading ships. One ship could carry liquid cargo for three different companies, but could only unload that specific product at each company's berth.

"Which means that sometimes a ship comes in and it has to move three times to unload," said port engineer Roy Wilber.

That inefficiency is gone. The new berths were designed to unload any product for any of the companies. That's why there's 38,000 feet, or seven miles, of pipes connecting the berths to a central station, from which the liquid products will be sent to the appropriate company.

The companies — Kinder Morgan Liquid Terminals LLC; TPSI Terminals LLC; Murphy Oil USA Inc.; and Buckeye Terminals LLC — all signed a 25-year agreement with the port to jointly operate, govern and maintain the facility. Company representatives, who attended Wednesday's ceremony, declined to comment.

"With the help of just about everyone here, we found a way to do this," Anderson said. "Believe me, this was not easy. If it was easy, another port would have done this, other companies would have done this."

Jamal Thalji can be reached at (813) 226-3404, [email protected] or @jthalji on Twitter.

Comments
Dr. BBQ opens to the public today. Hereís a look.

Dr. BBQ opens to the public today. Hereís a look.

ST. PETERSBURGDr. BBQ needed a beer. Mission accomplished: A sip of Green Benchís Dr. BBQ Pale Lager dispatched, he was ready to start the tour. See that teal tufted couch against that wall? Itís like something from Girl & the Goat in Chicago. The wo...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Report: Tampa drivers pay different insurance rates based on ZIP code

Report: Tampa drivers pay different insurance rates based on ZIP code

It can be tough to figure out why insurance companies charge some more than others for auto coverage. But a recent analysis by the Consumer Federation of America suggests that a driverís neighborhood could be a factor. The analysis, released Monday, ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Mumís the word but Murmanís a player in departure of Glazer Childrenís Museum leader

Mumís the word but Murmanís a player in departure of Glazer Childrenís Museum leader

TAMPA ó Jennifer Stancil was looking forward to Halloween and the role she would play in a new downtown event celebrating the spooky holiday."WE ARE SO EXCITED to be a partner with the Riverwalk for Halloween," Stancil, president and chief executive ...
Published: 10/17/18
Five Tampa Bay area men charged in billion-dollar health care scheme

Five Tampa Bay area men charged in billion-dollar health care scheme

Five Tampa Bay area residents are wrapped up in what federal prosecutors are calling a billion-dollar telemedicine rip off.Starting in 2015, the defendants and their pharmacy companies set up an elaborate scheme that fraudulently solicited insurance ...
Published: 10/16/18
Cross-Bay Ferry returns Nov. 1 with lower prices and later voyages

Cross-Bay Ferry returns Nov. 1 with lower prices and later voyages

The Cross-Bay Ferry returns Nov. 1 with lower ticket prices and voyages that sail later for dinner-time and evening-out trips to Tampa and St. Petersburg.One-way fares will be $8 for adults ó $2 less than during the ferryís first season two years ago...
Published: 10/16/18
Rising mortgage rates push monthly house payments higher

Rising mortgage rates push monthly house payments higher

Buying a house? Rising mortgage rates are pushing monthly payments for the typical U.S. home 15.4 percent higher than they would have been if you had purchased a year ago, Zillow says. Since January, the average mortgage rate has climbed from about ...
Published: 10/16/18
Plant City Career Academy works to bridge the gap between high school seniors, companies

Plant City Career Academy works to bridge the gap between high school seniors, companies

The program, which raises awareness of post-graduate jobs for students, may expand across the Bay area.
Published: 10/16/18
Southern Airways launching Tampa-to-West Palm Beach flights

Southern Airways launching Tampa-to-West Palm Beach flights

TAMPA ó Southern Airways Express said Tuesday it will launch air service between Tampa and West Palm Beach on Nov. 8, just three days after another carrier discontinues the route.Southern Airways, the third largest commuter carrier in the nation, is ...
Published: 10/16/18
Study: Without Medicaid expansion, poor forgo medical care

Study: Without Medicaid expansion, poor forgo medical care

WASHINGTON ó Low-income people in states that havenít expanded Medicaid are much more likely to forgo needed medical care than the poor in other states, according to a government report released Monday amid election debates from Georgia to Utah over ...
Published: 10/16/18
Report: Uber IPO could put company value at $120 billion

Report: Uber IPO could put company value at $120 billion

NEW YORK ó Uber may put forth an initial public offering early next year that values the ride-hailing business at as much as $120 billion, according to a media report. The Wall Street Journal said Tuesday that Uber Technologies Inc. received valuatio...
Published: 10/16/18