Sea-3 Inc. received approval to move forward with plans to upgrade its Newington, N.H., terminal in an effort to increase propane deliveries by railcar to the local market.
The New Hampshire site evaluation committee approved an exemption that allows the company to skip a yearlong review process for the terminal project. Sea-3 also reached a settlement with New Hampshire’s Attorney General’s Office, the cities of Dover and Portsmouth, N.H., the Great Bay Stewards and Newington.
“This is an important project for Newington, for the port, for the region and for the tens of thousands of people who use propane all across the state,” says Denis Hebert, chair of the Town of Newington’s Planning Board, in a press release.
According to the Union Leader, the Sea-3 terminal project has experienced opposition from some because of concerns over rail safety and potential accidents involving propane deliveries. However, opponents have agreed to drop their objections under the settlement deal.
In the settlement, Sea-3 agreed that no more than 16 railcars would arrive at the terminal per day. These shipments would add up to 500,000 gallons daily to a terminal that has about 23 million gallons of storage capacity. As part of the plans, Sea-3 will install three 90,000-gallon aboveground tanks.
Sea-3 also agreed to the following conditions in the settlement:
- Create a comprehensive fire safety analysis for the existing and upgraded facility
- Host a virtual tour of the Sea-3 facility to assist with training the Dover and Portsmouth firefighters every five years
- Train the Pan Am Railways rail line employees, Dover and Portsmouth fire departments on railcar and tanker trucks every five years
- Host an exercise for local first responders and additional inspections every five years
“We’re ready to get to work,” says Paul Bogan, Sea-3’s vice president of operations. “Winter after winter, propane customers in New Hampshire have had to pay too much for a fuel that was always at risk of running out. Once we get our project complete, they’ll save money and have a more stable supply of heating fuel.
“With that, we’re waiting for final paperwork to be prepared,” he adds. “Once that’s done, which will probably take a couple weeks, we will start looking at some engineering companies to work on the project.”
The Newington terminal project has been in the works for about two years. Bogan anticipates the Newington terminal project could be completed as early as spring or summer 2016.
Joe Rose, president of the Propane Gas Association of New England, says the company can export propane when storage is full in the summer. Rose estimates Sea-3 will be able to send one to two ships out per year for export.