The V.I. Water and Power Authority received the first inventory of liquefied petroleum gas Wednesday at its Estate Richmond terminal Wednesday, the utility announced in a Thursday news release.
The feeder fuel ship, Epic Curacao, pulled up alongside WAPA’s fuel dock at about 8 a.m. Wednesday, carrying a load of LPG that will be used for commissioning and test of the storage and delivery systems of the propane conversion, WAPA CEO Hugo Hodge Jr. said.
Hodge said the day was historic as another significant milestone on the journey away from fuel oil and to the lower priced propane to power St. Croix.
“We have arrived at a most important point in this project’s timeline … introducing propane to the storage and delivery systems and eventually to the utility’s generators,” he said.
VITOL, the propane conversion contractor, will conduct a final test of the various components of the storage and propane delivery systems prior to introducing LPG to the generators for power production.
“The arrival of the first inventory of LPG to the Virgin Islands marks the beginning of a process that will see a continuous movement of LPG product from a very large gas carrier to St. Croix until all storage tanks are filled,” Hodge said.
He added that the move away from the dependency on fuel oil to propane in the generation of electricity will be transparent to WAPA’s customers.
WAPA also is working with the Office of the Governor and the office of the V.I. delegate to Congress to ensure that the pending permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is finalized so that the remaining marine work, including a permanent mooring for the very large gas carrier, can be completed and the St. Thomas terminal can be brought on line. According to WAPA’s news release, the permit might be issued within the next 30 days.
The arrival of the initial shipment of LPG to St. Croix follows an on-site inspection and demonstration of the fire protection system in and around the LPG terminal, WAPA said.
“We had the opportunity to bring in officials of the V.I. Fire Services on Tuesday to demonstrate the extensive and redundant firefighting systems that are in place on the site. Fire inspectors, firefighters and others were on hand to watch the simulated activation of the fire detection and firefighting systems,” Hodge said.