Port officials back tank farm expansion

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Editor and Publisher

LAPLACE – An existing tank farm on the Mississippi River in St. James Parish got approval from the Port of South Louisiana to seek bonds from the state commission, not exceeding $150 million, as part of a plan to expand their tank facility.

Plains All American Pipeline came before the Port of South Louisiana board at their recent meeting and got unanimous approval from the board to seek the bonds to finance a project that has already begun.

Plains has been located in St. James Parish since 2006 with seven tanks. Their new project will add “two to four tanks,” according to Jimmy Ferrell, director of Procurement for Plains.

The local company is part of a $22 billion company worldwide, and had already begun expanding their facilities by building a dock, adding pipeline and some storage facilities.

Now they will go to the state bond commission to seek additional backing to complete the project.

“We need to add capacity for about one million barrels,” Ferrell said. “The U.S. consumes about 15 to 16 million barrels of oil a day, but we only refine one third. If we add capacity to store the oil, hopefully it can increase the amount we can refine here.”

The news of the Plains tank farm expansion comes right on the heels of DEQ approval for a company in St. John Parish, which will begin building a large tank farm facility near Garyville. That facility, owned by Safeland Storage, is expected to build 27 tanks in Phase I.

Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Joel Chaisson said the bonds for Plains were to provide permanent financing for work they’ve already done.

In other business at the port meeting, unanimous approval was given for a $75,000 grant from the state for a workforce study and growth plan.

The Port is also still negotiating with Pepsi in St. John Parish to swap land so the port can get 10 acres, however a gas line has to be moved on that piece of property first. The board unanimously authorized an application to relocate the 8-inch gas line in the Globalplex Terminal.

Chaisson also gave a year-end report which showed the continued growth at the port. Vessel activity went from 3,472 in 2006 to 3,584, up 122 vessels. Barge activity grew by 410 from 2006 to 2007, having a total of 4,395 for ’06.

A new video the port is concluding this month will be done in several different languages, including Chinese and Mandarin, to help with worldwide marketing to increase the port business.