JIS News

Work has commenced on the assembly and installation of the first shipment of flexible pipelines, which the state refinery, Petrojam, has procured to facilitate the off-loading and on-loading of petroleum products between their plant and the docking facility in Kingston.
Petrojam moved to procure the pipes after the refinery’s loading dock sustained damage during an accident involving the oil tanker, M/T Great News, which collided into the facility, while it was being berthed by a pilot boat. The accident resulted in significant damage to the facility, including the loss of several pipelines used to load petroleum products, and at least one crane.
Petrojam’s General Manager, Winston Watson, told JIS News on June 8, that the first shipment of 1,000 feet of pipelines, arrived in Jamaica on a chartered flight from Houston, Texas, in the United States, where they were acquired, on Sunday night. He further informed that an additional 3,000 feet are due in the island on either June 10 or June 11, adding that the total shipment cost some US$150,000.
“These will allow us to, more than likely, supply gasolene, from ship to shore and to supply the marketplace. In addition to that, we are putting in some permanent piping for fuel oil, LPG, and for diesel. The flexible pipes are going to be temporary to get us out of this emergency situation. But we’re going to keep them assembled, so that if and when we do have such type of emergencies again, we will be able to rapidly deploy that,” he explained.
While not being able to give a definitive timeline for the completion of the installation, due to “several other activities going on,” Mr. Watson assured that “we are going to try and get them in as quickly as possible.”
Mr. Watson said the flexible pipes are being augmented by the installation of some four to five hundred feet of permanent pipes, which he said “should give us full flexibility in terms of how we can get products in and out of the refinery to supply the marketplace.”
“Last night we loaded a diesel ship, and sent that to Montego Bay. We have an LPG ship coming in on Wednesday; we are going to be able to load that,” the General Manager informed.
He further advised that, currently, efforts are being made to salvage the crude oil pipeline, which was among those that got damaged during the accident. This exercise, he informed, is being greatly assisted by the input of several local and foreign contractors with salvaging expertise.
“By Friday, we should be able to complete salvaging the crude line that got damaged, and so we will be able to off load the crude ship between Friday and, maybe Saturday. Once we complete that exercise, we should pretty much be about 70 per cent back to our Petrojam normal capacity,” Mr. Watson said. The vessel contains the equivalent of over 350,000 barrels of crude oil.
Regarding repairs to the dock, Mr. Watson informed that work has not yet commenced. Focus, he said, is currently being placed on the salvaging exercise, in order to assess and determine which pipes and manifolds can be repaired and restored to the system.
“Once that is done, and we have full capability, in terms of receiving and discharging products, then we will look at the engineering assessment to either rebuild or refurbish the dock. That has not yet been determined,” he explained.
Mr. Watson also said that Petrojam’s Montego Bay Terminal facility in St. James, will also be utilised in the distribution of products, until the Kingston plant returns to optimum operation. “What we are going to do, is send more ships there, rather than bringing them into Kingston,” he informed.
Regarding the supply of products to the utility companies, in particular, Mr. Watson said that Petrojam has been successful in negotiating the usage of West Indies Alumina Company’s (WINDALCO) storage and docking facilities at Port Esquivel in St. Catherine, for this purpose. He also gave the reassurance that the country will not suffer a shortage of petroleum products.
“There is no chance of a run out. We actually have enough inventories in storage. What we didn’t have was the ability to move the products in and out of the refinery. There is no need to panic, we have everything under control,” Mr. Watson said.

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