ST. CROIX — With Limetree Bay Terminals ready to expand its marine terminal to accommodate Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs), the firm’s executives met with local lawmakers on Wednesday during a Committee of the Whole hearing, held at the Cardiac Center here, to discuss the details of the project, as the expansion will require a coastal zone permit that must be ratified by the Senate.
The Consortium in November of last year reported on the expansion following ArcLight Partners, LLC’s, the parent company of Limetree Bay Terminals, application to the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for the ability to receive shipments from VLCCs at its marine terminal without having to transfer fuel to smaller vessels, according to the application, which was filed with USACE’s Jacksonville arm.
Senators heard from several Limetree Bay Terminals L.L.C. management executives regarding major CZM permit CZX-29-17 for a single point mooring (SPM) to be constructed on the south shore of St. Croix. The project’s activities will be specifically located seaward of Limetree Bay Terminals, terminal plot No. 9 reclaimed land, Christiansted.
In his testimony, Jason Gleason, main terminal pilot and captain for Limetree Bay Terminals, said that as lead superintendent in the marine department and project lead on the SPM Project, VLCCs are some of the largest vessels in the world often over 1100ft long and 200ft, wide and may have a draft of over 700ft.
He added that historically to call on St. Croix, a VLCC would need to be roughly half loaded, therefore the new project, once all permits are secured, would enable Limetree Bay customers to transport crude to and from the facility in full loaded VLCC, offering a much more efficient operation.
According to Mr. Gleason, the Limetree Bay SPM will transfer crude oil to and from the facility and with the upgraded crude pumps completed last year, they can load out at approximately 45,000 barrels per hour. He pointed out that the SPM project has been designed to Oil Companies International Marine Forum; United States Coast Guard; and American Bureau of Shipping standards. Furthermore, the entire system is designed to withstand the extreme conditions often found in in the Caribbean region, he said.
Senators who expressed their concerns as they relate to the project’s impact on the ecosystem, was given assurance by Mr. Gleason that after an extensive environmental assessment and re-routing of the project to minimize environmental impact, it was determined that a few corals were still in the pathway of the project.
He said these corals will be transplanted clear of the project by their environmental contractor, Bio Impact. The company will also be constructing a man-made reef to provide additional habitat where some of the coral will be transplanted on both the south and north shores of St. Croix in areas already approved by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (D.P.N.R.).
Mr. Gleason added that during construction Bio Impact will be monitoring for turbidity, the effect on wildlife, and any other issues. Moreover, Bioimpact will stop the work immediately if any issues arise, and that they will work with D.P.N.R. and the federal government to remedy prior to resumption of construction, he said.
Relative to local employment, Mr. Gleason told senators that many of the materials to construct have been procured and delivered to St. Croix, and once ratified by the legislature, work will commence as soon as possible.
The construction phase, he added, will result in employment for laborers, concrete workers, welders, inspectors and painters on St. Croix.
Other testifiers for Limetree Bay Terminals were: Joyce Wakefield, environmental specialist; Amy Dempsey, president of Bio Impact; and Jeff Gorman, engineer at Lloyds Engineers.
Senators at Wednesday’s Committee of Whole hearing were: Senate President, Myron D. Jackson, Vice-President, Rivera-O’Reilly, Jean A. Forde, Neville A. James, Marvin A. Blyden, Dwayne DeGraff, Novelle E. Francis, Jr., Alicia “Chucky” Hansen, Positive T.A. Nelson, Tregenza A. Roach, Sammuel Sanes, Janelle K. Sarauw, Brian A. Smith, and Kurt A. Vialet.