Aug 1, 2006 12:00 PM, By Mary Davis
MANAGERS at Cummins Terminals, based in Knoxville, Tennessee, are like others across the nation. They are adjusting to new demands for the storage and terminaling industry prompted by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules for ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD).
“We're used to handling jet fuel, which requires special procedures, so adding ULSD to our facilities wasn't so much a new operation as it was an effort to prepare the storage tanks and equipment,” says Rick Davis, vice-president. “The answer is to dedicate storage tanks for ULSD. However, the challenge doesn't stop there. We have to continuously flush all the piping, loading lines, and pumps that have received products preceding ULSD.”
The terminal also will be injecting a lubricity and an anti-static chemical.
The EPA regulation requires ULSD to contain less than 15 parts per million (ppm) sulfur. Storage terminals and retail outlets are required to comply with the rule by October 15, 2006, but some terminals and carriers began handling the fuel in trials earlier this year.
Refiners are expected to ship ULSD at about 8-10 parts per million (ppm), but by the time the product makes its way through the pipelines, storage tanks, and loading racks, no one will be surprised if the product going from the terminal to the tank trailer tops off at 15 ppm.
“That means that we can't make a mistake at the terminal or carrier level,” Davis says. “We have to be on top of everything to be sure that we maintain product purity. There is no room for compromise.”
The company has two locations near each other in Knoxville — one terminal provides diesel and jet fuel while the other is dedicated to gasoline and ethanol. The terminals, in about a 50/50 split, shipped approximately about 514 million gallons of product in 2005 and loaded about 200-250 trucks per day.
“Having separate terminals has proven to be very efficient for us,” Davis says.
Four storage tanks at the gasoline terminal currently contain unleaded gasoline: one 20,000-barrel tank, one 30,000-barrel tank, and two 35,000-barrel tanks. Two 20,000-barrel tanks contain premium gasoline and a 10,000-barrel tank is dedicated to ethanol.
At the other terminal, storage capacity includes 125,000-barrel-tankage for low sulfur diesel; a 30,000-barrel tank and 35,000-barrel tank for ULSD; another 42,000-barrel storage tank and a 35,000-barrel tank are available for high sulfur diesel (>500 ppm sulfur), which will be phased out by mid-2007. There also are two 20,000-barrel storage tanks reserved for unleaded gasoline. Another 20,000-barrel and a 10,000-barrel tank are used for jet fuel. A 12,000-barrel tank contains K-1 kerosene. A 1,500-gallon tank holds dye used to color diesel and K-1 kerosene and a 1,000-gallon tank holds Prist icing inhibitor for aviation fuel.
The ULSD procedures used in Knoxville will be carried over to three other storage and terminaling facilities the company will be operating by the third quarter 2006. These terminals will operate under the name ReFuel Terminal Operations Inc, a subsidiary of Refuel America, a subsidiary NewGen Technologies Inc. The terminals are located in Charlotte, North Carolina; Spartanburg, South Carolina; and Columbus, Georgia. They will supply gasoline and premium diesel fuels, as well as alternative fuels, such as ethanol-based E10 and E85 gasoline, and B2, B5, B10 and B20.
The Knoxville terminal supplying gasoline was built in 1972, and Cummins purchased the facility in 1994 from Chevron. After acquiring the 10-acre terminal, Cummins constructed two storage tanks and a two-bay truck loading rack.
Time for loading, from terminal entry to exit, is 8-10 minutes. Goulds and Gorman-Rupp pumps move product at about 600 gallons per minute, filling four compartments simultaneously.
“We try to get the trucks back on the road as soon as possible,” says Davis. “If the drivers aren't happy, carriers aren't happy. With the new hours-of-service regulations in effect, we want to be sure that our operation isn't causing any unwarranted delays.”
The same attitude applies at the 20-acre terminal handling diesel and jet fuel where three loading lanes will soon give way to the five that are on the drawing board. The new lanes are expected to be in operation in the first quarter of 2007.
“Our business is increasing, and building the new loading racks in a different location in the terminal will improve our efficiency,” Davis says.
With the current three-lane system, carriers are in and out of the gate in 15-25 minutes. At this location, pumps transfer the product at about 1,000 gallons per minute, per meter.
Several years ago, Cummins experienced a leak in the underground piping at this terminal. When it proved difficult to locate the problem, and after excavating a majority of the pipe, managers decided to reinstall the piping system above ground. Today, all piping is above ground at both terminals.
“That decision really paid off for us,” says Davis. “We inspect the lines and storage tanks daily, which gives us the ability to detect leaks and other problems before they escalate.”
Among equipment used at the terminals are Emco Wheaton loading arms, Scully Signal Co overfill protection systems, Enraf Fluid Technology additive injections systems, and Brooks Instrument (Emerson Process Management) and Smith Meter (FMC Technologies) meters. Enraf also supplies storage tank level gauges.
To reduce emissions, the terminals have John Zink Co combustion equipment that captures vapor from the loading racks and storage tank vents. Scott and Health Safety Sentinel II gas monitoring systems are used in conjunction with the Zink system.
“The system is about 98.9% efficient,” says Davis.
In other environmental efforts, all wastewater from loading racks is captured and hauled away by a contractor to be recycled.
Employees receive training in hazardous materials handling and other safety and security procedures. Hazmat training requires 40 hours annually and covers regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation.
Cummins uses instructors from the University of Tennessee for training sessions and participates with local emergency response units in drills.
Tank truck drivers also are trained in loading procedures at both terminals. Cummins requires all drivers to undergo training in the procedures with the supervision of a carrier's driver trainer for two weeks. At the end of that period, terminal managers observe the driver to complete the final training stage. Only then is the driver issued a key card for terminal access.
The card is used to enter the terminal areas and engage loading equipment. General Atomics Engineering Systems Inc provides a TMS3000 computer system that manages loading and additive equipment as well as driver and carrier identification.
“The system is linked into our central data base and contains driver information that includes CDL (commercial driver license) status,” says Davis. “It also contains carrier information such as DOT inspections for individual tank trailers and the company's insurance status.”
All of the Cummins Terminals operation is part of the parent company owned by Jim MacLean, president of the terminals company and chief executive officer of Appalachian Oil (APPCO) in Blountville, Tennessee, a bulk trucking company with 14 trucks. MacLean started the terminal business in the late 1960s. APPCO was the outgrowth of a small petroleum distributor begun in 1923 by Jack W Cummins Sr, MacLean's father-in-law. At that time, kerosene was sold to customers in milk cans and delivered by horse and wagon.
The trucking company continued to grow through acquisitions and market demand so that by the mid-1980s it was operating as APPCO.
The Knoxville terminals were built in conjunction with Philips Petroleum Co, by Jack W Cummins Sr, for the product distribution of Phillips Petroleum Co and was originally served by Plantation Pipe Line Company. Today, Cummins Terminals serves a variety of customers, and now also receives product from Colonial Pipeline Company.
With the new loading racks going into service at the diesel terminal in Knoxville and the additional service at the ReFuel Terminal Operations Inc terminals in the Southeast, Cummins Terminals is well placed to handle not only the approaching shift to ULSD, but growing demand for all its products.
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