St. Thomas Propane Project Gets Army Corps Permit

The V.I. Water and Power Authority now has a long-awaited permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for work on the marine side of its low-pressure gas project at St. Thomas’s Randolph Harley Power Plant and an offshore vessel mooring, according to WAPA. The permit allows WAPA to improve, enhance and convert the existing fuel pier at the Harley plant and offshore vessel mooring to use LPG as the primary source of fuel for power generation.

In a statement, WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. said that with the permit in hand, WAPA immediately met with its marine contractor Orion and began discussing scheduling.

“All components of the marine work that had been dependent on the permit approval will now move forward. Some of the work to be done includes the development of a permanent mooring for the very large gas carrier,” Hodge said.

He said WAPA initially applied for the permit in 2013. The draft was received back in December of 2015, WAPA executed and returned a copy to the Army Corps of Engineers less than a week later, on Dec. 30, 2015, and the final executed permit was received on Tuesday, according to Hodge. The conditions placed on the marine work by the Army Corps were consistent with what WAPA envisioned, with no surprises.

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According to WAPA Chief Operating Officer Gregory Rhymer, over the next three months WAPA’s marine contractor Orion will work to complete the pile driving, fendering and permanent repairs to the face of the dock at the Harley Plant to accommodate the supply vessels.

The permanent mooring site for the very large gas carrier, the source of LPG for the authority, was tied to this permit for St. Thomas. Before getting the permit, to avoid delay, WAPA found a temporary anchoring site for both the feeder fuel vessels and the VLGC offshore Aruba.

Hodge said based on the permit and schedule of work, he anticipates finishing in April and being ready to fully operate near the end of the second quarter of 2016. If so, WAPA would start using LPG as a primary fuel in April.

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