By N. Dweh Nimely
Engineers from China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC), on Wednesday turned over to the Government of Liberia new facilities for Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) handling and storage for Liberia Electricity Corporation power plants on Bushrod Island, near Monrovia.
With the construction of the new storage tanks, LEC will have the capability of transporting HFO directly from a vessel dock at the China Union Pier to the storage tanks.
The new facility will provide storage of approximately 5,280,000 gallons of HFO which will support the continuous operation of 38MW of thermal generation of existing thermal power plants for a period of 90 days.
It can be recalled that the Government of Liberia entered into contractual agreement with CHEC for the demolition of the old storage tanks and pipelines, for the construction of new facilities.
The construction project which was funded by the World Bank at a cost of US$11 million is part of Liberia's accelerated electricity expansion project that geared towards increasing access to electricity and strengthening institutional capacity of the energy sector.
Speaking at the turning over ceremony, LEC Project Manager Abu Dekontee Sanso the construction of the storage tanks was done in phases which commenced from May 2015 and October 2015 respectively.
According to Sanso, phase one witnessed the demolition of damaged pre-war storage tanks and pipelines, site cleaning and preparation of waste disposal, while phase two brought about the construction of two new 10,000 cubic meter (2,640,000 gallons each) storage tanks capacity for HFO.
Mr. Sanso stated that one HFO storage tank base for future expansion including one 1000 cubic meter (264,000gal) capacity diesel storage tank, as well as, 1.8 kilometer pipeline for HFO transport from the China Union Pier to the tank farm at the LEC Bushrod Island Compound were constructed.
He explained that the facilities have several install auxiliary but critical system including fire protection and environmental oil and water separator system, including one new 2,500 cubic meter capacity water storage tank for the fire protection system.
Deputy Minister of Lands Mines & Energy Sam Ross expressed delight with the turning over of the facility.
He said the objective of the storage tanks will ensure affordable, accessible and sustainable electricity for Liberians.
World Bank Liberia Country Economist Daniel Boakye, said the Bank was pleased to be part of Liberia's development.
He pointed out that the project is an important component of the Bank effort to support development through the country transformation agenda.
The World Bank economist added that electricity is a key component and reaffirmed the Bank commitment to do more for the country.
He expressed optimism that electricity challenges will be something of the past.
For his part, LEC Managing Director Ernest R. Huge lauded the Chinese engineers and Liberians working with the company for the construction of the facility.
The storage tanks, he indicated will help the country a lot, because previous fee was huge due to the LEC lack of storage tanks.
CHEC Country Manager David Chen said the company entered the Liberian market in 2011 and has since participated in local infrastructure construction, including airports, seaports, power plants, oil tanks, among others.