Realized potential

Aug. 1, 2005
NOT SO long ago, TEPPCO Partners LP realized the potential for a refined products truck loading terminal in Bossier City, Louisiana, and set to work constructing

NOT SO long ago, TEPPCO Partners LP realized the potential for a refined products truck loading terminal in Bossier City, Louisiana, and set to work constructing a new automated two-bay facility with 353,000-barrel (14.8 million-gallon) storage tank capacity.

In June the 18-acre storage and terminaling operation got underway. Tankwagons and tractor/tank trailer units move through the loading rack at a rate of 80 per day, taking with them refined petroleum products to areas in Northwest Louisiana and East Texas.

“We knew this part of the market wasn't being served efficiently with a modern terminal,” says Thomas R Harper, senior vice-president, commercial downstream segment.

“This project will provide these markets with access to Gulf Coast-sourced gasoline and diesel fuel and demonstrates our commitment to providing the logistics infrastructure to support projected demand for transportation services on the TEPPCO pipeline system,” he adds.

Pipeline system

TEPPCO, headquartered in Houston, Texas, owns and operates refines petroleum products, petrochemical and natural gas liquid pipelines and owns 50% interests in Seaway Crude Pipeline Co, Centennial Pipeline LLC, and Mont Belvieu Storage Partners LP, as well as an undivided ownership interest in the Basin Pipeline. Texas Eastern Products Pipeline Company LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of DFI GP Holdings LP, is the general partner of TEPPCO Partners LP.

In addition, the company is engaged in crude oil transportation, storage, gathering and marketing, and owns and operates natural gas gathering systems.

TEPPCO has pipelines from the Gulf Coast that move about 340,000 barrels per day, as well as a partnership line that handles 225,000 barrels per day. TEPPCO has had a presence in the Shreveport area through its pipeline division since the late 1950s.

The new terminal near Shreveport, Louisiana, provides branded and unbranded premium and regular gasoline, as well as low-sulfur diesel fuels that meet varying product specifications for both Louisiana and Texas market areas.

The terminal is capable of handling the soon-to-be-mandated ultra low sulfur diesel. TEPPCO already has begun to phase out high-sulfur diesel and after January 2006 won't handle high sulfur diesel as a fungible (mixed) product.

Drivers arrive at the terminal's fenced and gated facility, use a Toptech Systems Inc card for automatic entry, proceed to the loading rack, attach loading equipment, again use the card at a Toptech automatic controller to select type and amount of product, and wait for product to be loaded.

At a loading speed of 600 gallons per minute, they don't have to wait long. When loading is completed, drivers move on to a small office where they once again use the card at a Toptech controller that prints out a bill of lading.

“Drivers are in the loading rack and out again in 11 to 12 minutes,” says Rodney B Lummus, area manager who oversees terminal operations.

This kind of efficiency is one reason that prompted TEPPCO to conceive the modern terminal.

“With carriers having to contend with new hours-of-service regulations, we understand the importance of reducing the time drivers must wait to load,” says Harper.

TEPPCO requires all drivers who will be entering the terminal to complete three observed loading sessions directed by terminal personnel. Some drivers may require further instruction, depending on experience and skill level.

Training covers loading procedures and terminal regulations. Drivers are issued TEPPCO safety procedure manuals and expected to familiarize themselves with the contents.

To coordinate product pick-up, carriers communicate with TEPPCO's corporate headquarters in Houston, Texas, where information is entered into the company computer system for terminal employees to access.

Although today's drivers as a group are transporting about 15,000 barrels (630,000 gallons) per day, the terminal is projected to ship about 17,000 barrels (714,000 gallons) per day at peak operation. The company also has plans to expand the facility at a later date, Harper says.

Much of the product for the terminal is provided by a local refinery.

There are six product storage tanks: two for fuel oil, two for regular gasoline, and two for premium gasoline. There also is one transmix tank and three additive tanks for gasoline detergent, fuel oil lubricity, and red dye.

Once stored in the tanks at the facility, product is transferred by Goulds Pumps from the tanks to the loading rack.

At the loading bays, equipment includes OPW Engineered Systems loading arms with counterweight four-inch hose and pipe loaders and API dry disconnect couplers. The equipment is built for product multi-loading, which also expedites the procedure, says Bret Marquis, OPW Southwest regional manager.

ChemTec Energy Services provided the additive injection equipment and pump racks and fabricated the two skid-mounted loading units. The MiniBLOCK 7738 injector is utilized for all the additive injection requirements, says Jeb Williams, ChemTec project manger. It is designed to provide users with a complete, self-contained fluid metering and control device. Control is through Toptech's external controller that is capable of counting high speed meter pulses and solenoid control.

Scully Signal Co supplies the electronic terminal system for overfill prevention and liquid level control. Scully's Intellitrol, a microprocessor-based system, will not permit loading under any fault or wet sensor condition. An optical bypass feature eliminates unauthorized system bypass.

As another safety measure, the rack has a Dooley Tackaberry overhead fire suppression system that includes automatic release of firefighting foam in the event of an emergency.

A John Zink Co combustor system receives vapors captured at the loading rack. The anti-flashback burners are designed specifically for the safe combustion of explosive air and hydrocarbon mixtures that would otherwise be released into the air. The system provides air quality control that meets local, state, and federal regulations.

Security measures

In addition to meeting environmental concerns, TEPPCO managers are aware of security concerns that have been emphasized after the United States was attacked by terrorists in 2001. In addition to surveillance equipment, the terminal has personnel on duty around the clock, all truck drivers must have identification cards issued by their employers; and entrance is limited to drivers with Toptech Systems cards.

Having met environmental and security issues, as well as providing a modern and efficient terminal, TEPPCO planners have brought their concept to fruition and anticipate steady growth at the Bossier City facility.

Teppco expands Texas assets

TEPPCO Partners LP, Houston, Texas, is initiating an expansion of its refined products origin capabilities in the Houston and Texas City, Texas, areas.

“We are excited about the opportunity to acquire assets that support our downstream growth strategy by enhancing Teppco's existing origination and delivery infrastructure, which historically has been constrained,” said Barry R Pearl, president and chief executive officer of the general partner of TEPPCO. “The strategic location of these assets, with refined products interconnections to major exchange terminals in the Houston and Ship Channel areas and logistically advantaged storage, will provide significant long-term value to our customers.”

As part of the project, Teppco has acquired from Texas Genco LLC all of its interests in certain companies, which own a 90-mile pipeline system and 5.8-million barrels of storage capacity.

The transaction is valued at approximately $62 million.

The assets of the purchased companies will be integrated into Teppco's downstream segment origin infrastructure in Texas City and Baytown, Texas. The integration and other system enhancements should be completed by fourth quarter 2006, at a cost of $45 million.

Teppco's existing Texas City origin facility and a 10-inch diameter, 70,000-barrel-per-day pipeline system from Texas City to Baytown will be replaced by an 18-inch diameter, 180,000-barrel-per-day pipeline. The 18-inch diameter pipeline will provide additional receipt and delivery capabilities through the TEPPCO system at major exchange terminals in the Houston area.

Once the project is completed, the 10-inch diameter Texas City pipeline and an eight-inch diameter Houston Ship Channel pipeline will be available for alternative transportation service. The expanded system will also enable further development of Teppco's North Houston delivery system.

About the Author

Mary Davis