Additional options for propane retailers and midstream suppliers to meet peak demand.
Terminal bobtail filling for retailers
Every year the summer months bring anticipation of winter supply needs for propane retailers across the country. As you assess your plan, one avenue of filling your bobtails that you may not have considered is direct terminal filling. Many midstream entities have ramped up their current rail and pipeline terminals or constructed new terminals to meet the supply needs of retailers. Although the common route is to acquire transport loads from terminal to retailer, most terminals offer an additional option to fill bobtails on site, eliminating the need for some transport loads and saving the retailer time and money.
Tri Gas & Oil Company, which operates as affiliate Mid-Atlantic Rail Services (MARS), is one such terminal. Primely located just north of the Baltimore Harbor, off Highway 95, the terminal allows trucks access to bulk propane product without crossing the Francis Scott Key or Chesapeake Bay Bridges, eliminating additional fees and transport time. The terminal provides 120,000 gallons of propane storage, along with a four-position rail rack and two truck loading racks, including a bobtail loading rack. With loading rates of 200 gallons per minute and the capability to load a bobtail in 18 minutes, the terminal offers an efficient and affordable option for local retailers who wish to bypass a transport load. “MARS* offers energy solutions to both residential and commercial customers in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania,” said Nash McMahan, President of Tri Gas & Oil. “Although our new terminal in Baltimore focuses on destination delivered gallons, we are happy to offer onsite bobtail filling for all local propane retailers as an additional option for supply.”
Winter months often mean increased waiting time and costs for transport loads to be delivered to bulk plant locations and many retailers have not considered the benefit of allowing their drivers to instead fill at terminal locations. If you are a retailer, check with your local terminal for bobtail refilling options and if you are a midstream terminal operator, consider adding a bobtail refueling rack to your existing system.
Railcar transloading for suppliers
If you are looking for a cost-efficient way to test the fuel storage market or need to move propane or other NGLs quickly and efficiently, transloading could be an effective solution for your business.
Transloaders, or portable rail towers as they are sometimes called, are custom manufactured for specific applications and can be installed quickly on site, serving as a short- or long-term solution. At a fuel transfer rate of up to 10,000 gallons in 45 minutes or less, they offer dependable transfer of product from railcar to transport truck.
They are constructed for maximized safety and efficiency and are built to U.S. Department of Transportation requirements. Each transloader is chassis or trailer-mounted and configured for single or multiple rail cars, compliant with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 58 and NFPA 70 codes. Each includes both remote pneumatic and electronic shutdown; low-entry and high-exit pressure shutdown; pull-away protection for both the railcar and truck; and quick evacuation connections. Safety is further maximized using NFPA 70-complaint electrical components.
Many midstream suppliers utilize transloaders to determine if local demand is adequate to justify a propane terminal build. The temporary solution gives suppliers the ability to test a certain market without spending millions in upfront infrastructure costs. In addition, the transloaders can be moved from market to market and state to state, without the hassle of building and construction permits. This makes for an effective long-term investment in an asset that can be reused in new markets, for years to come.
Colder months are upon us and now is the time to learn more about midstream propane storage solutions that will work for your business.
* For additional information on the MARS terminal, contact Randy Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org