Working with recommendations from the Petroleum Inspectorate, Home Gas Ltd. has undertaken an upgrade of its Walker’s Road terminal facility.
Minister for District Administration, Planning, Agriculture and Housing Kurt Tibbetts joined Home Gas representatives recently for a tour of the operation.
Home Gas owner Atlee Bodden explained that his company needed to expand its storage capacity to effectively supply propane gas to business and home customers across Grand Cayman. The upgrade will provide the capacity to store 540,000 gallons in buried tanks and reduce the numbers of tankers needed and will provide adequate supplies for the Islands for future years. Safety is a priority for the company and all equipment and storage vessels are manufactured in the U.S. and follow current ASME and NFPA codes (e.g. NFPA 58), states a press release.
Since Home Gas is located in a busy, residential area near schools, the Petroleum Inspectorate worked with the company to ensure the upgrade would utilize the most up-to-date safety features to lessen potential hazards. Home Gas has answered this request by installing mounded (or bermed) pressurized storage tanks for propane with computerized safety shutdown controls. Also to be installed are new state of the art cylinder filling and truck loading stations.
Although Home Gas and the Petroleum Inspectorate agree that human error is a possibility in any environment, the use of improved equipment designed to the latest safety standards reduces the likelihood of accidents caused by mechanical failure.
While surveying the upgrade site, Mr. Tibbetts was shown how the new, 30,000 gallon pressurized tanks are mounded, or covered in sand, a system that practically eliminates the possibility of the impingement of fire on the tanks. This storage design is much safer than the above ground tanks currently used at the existing terminal. Once covered with sand the mounds will be topped with Astroturf to make them aesthetically appealing to passersby.
Home Gas is also installing a state of the art fire suppression system including heat and leak detectors. The 750 gallons per minute fire pump automatically disconnects the main electricity to the plant when it is put into service and excess flow valves are installed on the tanks to shutdown the flow of propane gas should there be an external loss of pressure from a line break or a leak.
Home Gas was given approval by the CPA to construct a new cylinder filling station situated near its present location which will be relocated to a site away from the more densely populated area on Walker’s Road when all approvals are in place. The delivery truck loading station proposed is relocated to the west/southwest side of the terminal near the fence line.
In the next few years the company plans to remove all of their regular distribution facilities to another site with the current location being used only to receive propane from tankers. The propane will then be transported to the new distribution site.
After the tour Chief Petroleum Inspector Mr. McTaggart said ‘the Cayman Islands Government would like to continue this working relationship with Home Gas to ensure that they provide an energy source that is proactively managed and provides the lowest level of risk to the people of our Islands.’