Dec 3, 2012

How's the gas get to the terminals these days?

Andrew of Grand Haven asked, "Please tell us how the gas for cars gets to the terminals. Years ago, it came by whaleback ship. Now we see the trucks (semis) going out of both the Ferrysburg terminals."

ANSWER:

The last tanker ship that brought product to the Citgo terminal in Ferrysburg was in the 1970s, terminal manager Bill Stein said. Jeff Erickson of Tri-City Oil Co. said he's seen product delivered by ship as late as the early 1980s.

Probably the last one to get oil product shipped to this area was the Buckeye Terminal in Ferrysburg.

But Stein said the tanker ships still ply the Great Lakes, and it depends on where the terminal is located on whether product is transported by water or pipeline.

But now, the Wolverine Pipe Line Co. transports liquid petroleum products like gasoline, diesel fuel and liquid natural gasolines from refineries and terminals in the Chicago area to terminals and other pipelines in Northwest Indiana and Michigan. The Wolverine pipeline splits at Niles, and the West Michigan line goes as far north as Ferrysburg where it feeds the Citgo and Buckeye terminals.

Erickson said the west line runs along the railroad right of way. Ethanol, however, is trucked in because of its corrosive nature.

It's interesting to note that Wolverine doesn't own the products they transport. The products are moved through the pipeline in large batches (5,000 to 200,000 barrels) via pump stations along the line. The products are measured when they enter the system and when they leave the system, providing a ticket for each customer of how much product was moved from point to point.

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Do you have a question for the Tribune? E-mail it to news@grandhaventribune.com, and type MAILBAG in the subject line. Or mail it the old-fashioned way to: Grand Haven Tribune, MAILBAG, 101 N. Third St., Grand Haven, MI 49417. We'll do our best to get you an answer! A new Mailbag appears on grandhaventribune.com at 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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