New Giant Industries Inc Terminal Meets More Than Usual Considerations

Jan. 1, 2000
WHILE most transportation companies today contend with various regulations, not too many must meet night lighting restrictions related to outer space.

WHILE most transportation companies today contend with various regulations, not too many must meet night lighting restrictions related to outer space. One exception is the new Giant Industries Inc petroleum terminal near Flagstaff, Arizona, where industrial lighting can interfere with astronomers and their studies at the nearby historic Lowell Observatory.

The observatory's location was chosen in 1894 because of Flagstaff's dark skies and high elevation. It was there that the ninth planet, Pluto, was discovered. Today, Lowell scientists continue to explore the universe, but that effort requires a continuation of dark skies - and subsequent restrictions on lighting.

When Giant designed the Flagstaff terminal that opened in May 1999, it included specifications for special lamps that meet the scientific considerations, yet bathe the loading racks in light. Giant, headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, has 20 acres at the site on I-40 east of Flagstaff. Product storage capacity totals 65,000 barrels (2.73 million gallons) and the distribution rate averages about 10,000 barrels (420,000 gallons) per day.

The lighting specification was one of several that defines the facility as state-of-the-art. While the term may be somewhat overused, it certainly describes this newest terminal that was established to serve a growing number of customers in northern Arizona.

"Our market is expanding in the state," says Mike Mathers, senior distribution manager. "The population growth has produced a significant demand for petroleum fuel. As the demand has grown, Giant realized the need to locate a terminal here. Before we opened this facility, our nearest terminal was in Phoenix."

Driver Friendly In addition to reducing distribution mileage, the terminal offers a driver-friendly operation. With drivers able to enter the terminal by keying a code at the gate and at the loading rack, turnaround time is quick, efficient, and convenient. A Diamond Control System activates the cardless computerized system and is linked to computers in the 2,420-square-foot terminal office - and to the company's network. Drivers are assigned the code by Giant or the distributor.

Drivers are trained in loading and unloading procedures and have to be certified by Giant in order to use the terminal equipment unsupervised. They are briefed on loading safety and emergency procedures and a booklet containing the information is issued to them. A certified driver can oversee the training, but the final test and certification is administered by a designated terminal employee.

"We receive many compliments from drivers using this terminal," Mathers says. "And, because of its location, they now have shorter hauls."

Just as the terminal is driver friendly, it is also environmentally friendly. A John Zink Company vapor recovery system reduces volatile organic compound emissions from the loading rack. Financial advantages are evident because the captured product is returned to storage for reuse. These features satisfy clean air regulations and conform with Giant's philosophy of wise and productive use of resources.

All product arrives at the terminal via truck, but using a nearby rail spur and constructing a pipeline are future considerations. The terminal has loading capability of 600 gallons per minute through each loading arm in the three-bay facility. The rack includes Scully grounding and overfill systems and Smith Meter Inc AccuLoad II load rack controllers and Smith turbine meters. Giant specifies Emco Wheaton couplers for bottom loading equipment. Swivel loading arms are from FMC Corp.

Gate City Equipment Company Blend Pak injectors additize all of the regular unleaded, midgrade, and premium gasoline products available on the loading. Diesel fuel is also available.

Smith positive displacement meters and a Gorman Rupp pump are used in unloading. Three storage tanks, respectively, hold 30,000 barrels (1.26 million gallons) of regular unleaded gasoline, 15,000 barrels (630,000 gallons) of premium unleaded gasoline, and 20,000 barrels (840,000 gallons) of diesel. Midgrade gasoline is blended on the loading rack via the AccuLoad II load rack controllers. Another 30,000-gallon storage tank contains water for firefighting purposes.

Tracer Probes Product storage tanks are constructed with tracer probes underneath so samples can be taken and all piping is above ground for immediate detection of leaks. Volcanic cinders from a nearby mine provide the base, surround the steel tanks, and serve as the material for the spill retention berm. The berm meets regulations to contain 110% of the largest tank capacity on site. The tank foundation is layered with an earthen bottom, bentonite liner, and sand. Foundation walls are constructed of concrete.

Tim Kinney, Giant general manager for pipelines, was the project manager for the design and construction of the facility.

The terminal is supplied with product from two company-owned refineries. Ciniza refinery is located approximately 17 miles east of Gallup, New Mexico, and has a capacity to process 26,000 barrels per day crude oil and other feedstocks, and an output of 650,000 gallons per day of gasoline. It is the major supplier for the Flagstaff terminal. The Bloomfield refinery is located near Farmington, New Mexico, and has a capacity of 18,600 barrels per day of crude oil and can produce 500,000 gallons per day of gasoline. Both refineries are close to the oil fields in the northwest portion of the state, while Ciniza has easy access to West Texas and eastern New Mexico crude oil sources.

Another terminal is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Terminals in Albuquerque and Flagstaff allow Giant to expand its market share in the Four Corners area (Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah). Giant also is the parent company of Phoenix-based Phoenix Fuel Co Inc, Arizona's largest independent petroleum products distributor.

The Giant retail division includes a Travel Center on I-40 east of Gallup, New Mexico, and a chain of 166 service stations and convenience stores in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. There are 184 crude oil and finished product trucks in the combined Giant and Phoenix Fuel Co fleet. This fleet traveled more than 18,600,000 miles in 1998, hauling crude oil from domestic producers and delivering finished products to customers throughout New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah.

Three petroleum transports are assigned to the Flagstaff terminal. Giant specifies Cummins 460-horsepower engines for its Peterbilt tractors in response to drivers' preferences, says Mathers. The Beall DOT406 trailers have four compartments and total capacity of 9,500 gallons.

Shop Repairs While vehicles are maintained at shops in Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Ciniza in Phoenix, the Flagstaff facility has a shop used for terminal equipment repairs.

The John Zink equipment was purchased with a maintenance agreement. Firefighting equipment is housed in an adjacent section of the shop. The fire equipment includes a system that automatically mixes foam with water.

Terminal personnel inspect all of the facility equipment daily and record their findings. Some of the steps taken at the terminal are required by company policy, others by various regulatory bodies, but all comply with Giant's policy to provide customers with outstanding excellence in customer service. "Achievement of our mission results in superior customer, shareholder, and employee satisfaction," the company states.

With these policies in force, it seems likely that Giant will continue to grow.

However, even with the growth, the terminal in Flagstaff will continue doing its part in lighting so that nearby scientists can scan outer space - always on the outlook for more discoveries.

About the Author

Mary Davis