Caljet terminal grows with Arizona petroleum demand
Aug 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Mary Davis
As One of the nation's fastest growing states, it's no surprise that Arizona's petroleum market has been as hot as a summer day in the desert.
David Alexander, president of Caljet of America LLC in Phoenix, has had his eye on that thermometer for several years — and as a result recognized the need for storage and terminaling facilities. In 1982 he purchased a four-acre storage terminal.
“It was a small terminal with two petroleum toploading racks, 135,000-barrel storage capacity, and a lot of dirt,” he recalls.
Since then, Caljet purchased more land, bringing the total to 15 acres. Initial improvements led to a main terminal consisting of three loading racks for diesel, biodiesel, and regular and premium gasoline. In the early 1980s, Alexander added ethanol to the product lineup. Caljet also provides storage, blending, and laboratory services for the products it handles.
In the beginning, Alexander was a petroleum products wholesale marketer, trader, and retailer. “Over the last several years, we've changed our focus completely toward the terminaling business,” Alexander says. “We've grown very aggressively since that time. Storage is always a good business.”
In addition, Alexander constructed a rail transloading site with 14 railcar spots served by Union Pacific Railroad. Caljet's aviation gasoline terminal receives 100LL aviation fuel via rail car, which is off-loaded directly in dedicated storage tanks. Tank trucks load aviation fuel at a dedicated two-lane rack. Kinder Morgan Inc supplies the terminals with other refined fuels via pipeline.
While infrastructure is a major part of the company's planning, Alexander emphasizes the importance he places on serving drivers who load at his facility. “With the demand so great, it's not unusual that they have a significant wait, so we try to make it as pleasant for them as possible,” Alexander says. Like many petroleum terminals, the lines leading to the Caljet entrance often stretch down the street. Terminal employees frequently make rounds, visiting with the drivers to see if they need anything — and often provide food, soft drinks, and water during unusual wait times.
Truck driver training requirements are overseen by John Millican, terminal manager. Drivers also are required to undergo training with the supervision of the carrier driver trainer. Millican observes drivers to determine that requirements have been met before granting routine access to the loading racks.
At the loading rack, the DTN system with Guardian 3 software tracks driver information, carrier insurance, and cargo tank vapor tests. It also provides reports for consignees, shippers, and carriers.
With terminal services well in place — and his fingers firmly on the pulse of the Arizona market — Alexander made the decision to expand the company. Additional expansion phases are well underway today at a cost of $50 million. When all is complete, the facility will contain a total of 12 truck lanes that together will be able to handle 750 trucks per day at a loading rate of 1,250 gallons per minute. A sidestream blending method is available where one or more products are metered into a line containing the primary product. DTN Refined Fuels supplied the terminal automation system, Emco Wheaton the loading arms and couplings, and Scully the overfill protection. Blackmer pumps are installed adjacent to the racks.
“We can load a tank trailer two minutes faster with the new side stream blending than we do now,” notes Alexander.
Part of the terminal was shut down for the renovation and expanded to 278,000-barrel storage capacity. Two of the eventual five 117,000-barrel tanks are on site. Total storage capacity is projected at 1.05 million barrels by 2010.
The other part of the terminal continues operating with one loading rack dedicated to ultra low sulfur diesel. When all the new construction is completed, the second sector will be shutdown and renovated to a capacity of 422,000 barrels.
“The area needed so much more storage to meet the demand,” says Alexander. “With our new expansion, Caljet is positioned to supply sufficient terminal storage for petroleum products for a growing market. If no other company builds any additional storage, we will have approximately one-third of the motor fuel tankage in Phoenix.”
Caljet also is on board for storing and shipping biofuels. The company has a BQ-9000 certification from the National Biodiesel Board. According to board information, the accreditation program is a cooperative and voluntary program for the accreditation of producers and marketers of biodiesel fuel. The program is a combination of the ASTM standard (ASTM D 6751) for biodiesel and a quality systems program that covers storage, sampling, testing, blending, shipping, distribution, and fuel management practices. Caljet's new construction includes laboratories for product testing to further ensure biofuel quality control.
The Caljet terminal expansion includes the addition of 25,000 barrels of biodiesel storage capacity. Caljet also is heavily involved in the development of biodiesel as a lubricity additive at low levels in ultra low sulfur diesel.
“We are extremely proud of our BQ-9000 certification,” says Mark Ellery, Caljet business development and quality control manager. “We take ensuring the quality of our fuels very seriously, and we wouldn't have it any other way.”
The company also takes its environmental responsibilities seriously, building eight-foot and 10-foot concrete retaining walls as part of its spill prevention planning. Large steel gates seal entry to the storage tank areas.
“We set the tanks on concrete pads and installed all piping that we could above grade,” Alexander says. “The internal walls can retain not only product if it were released, but any foam or other product that might be used in an emergency.”
To handle wastes from the facility, an oil/water separator was installed to collect residual product from the loading racks. The waste is then hauled away to disposal facilities.
Security is a high priority at the terminal with an area well-lighted and equipped with an Intellex camera surveillance system that monitors the site 24/7. The system senses movement and can be programmed to detect certain patterns and configurations.
“By streamlining our operations, making things faster, easier, and more accurate, I believe our vision for the future is driving our progress and also gives us an edge with the competition,” says Alexander. “The lean structure of Caljet allows us to react fast and find flexible solutions for each of our customers.”
With that philosophy in hand, as well as a continued eye on the Arizona market thermometer, Alexander is ready to meet the petroleum product demand expected to continue for some time to come.
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