SafeRack was selected by Kinder Morgan & Watco to modify the railcar loading system at their Houston, Texas terminal. SafeRack has a rich legacy of providing Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) Services to the oil and gas industry, in addition to its reputation for quality SafeRack brand gangways and crossover systems.
High Capacity Loading Terminal
Today this has been a good experience to see how the rack works. It’s more than I expected.
So our complete team has been involved with the Kinder Morgan team, the white coat team as well as the engineering team to make sure that all the components will come together, make sure they’re going to work efficiently for the operators in railcar loading.
This crew by rail movement is something that’s really new, that’s been only around for about three years. Typically crude oil was transported by either a pipeline or a barge. And the Bakken oilfield North Dakota is really where the crude oil by rail started, so SafeRack was fortunate enough to be building the first system up there as we continue to build systems up in North Dakota, now we need to build unload systems all across the U.S.
When we go in, it’s not just about providing the rack and the gangways, we try to work with the client to do as much or as little as they want us to do. We actually try to exceed the customer’s expectations. We’ve used our proprietary technology to model this in the design, make sure everything is going to work before we actually start installing the first piece of steel.
The engineering is really the hardest part; trying to make sure everything is going to work up front, understand the client’s needs, understand the restrictions, the guidelines we get from the railroad, from their downstream customer.
This particular project was all outsourced, so we had engineers that are strategically placed all over the United States. SafeRack worked with these guys.
Once we get all these parameters established, then we can go out start designing our system and also procuring the materials were going to need.
There was constant communication between SafeRack and these folks to make sure that what you’re designing for the remainder of the project matched up with the SafeRack and that’s why we had the product we have out here.
The rack itself, we got the continuous walkway where we have on the face of our platform, we used track mounted gangways. This gives the gangways horizontal movement, there’s no railcar really the same so we have to be able to move our gangways horizontally so that the operator can safely access the top.
That way they bring the rail and you don’t have to have the car in one certain spot, you can move it to try and make sure that it comes down where it needs to come down at.
We just completed phase 1a as we call it out here. We’re starting on phase 2 as you can see in the background the continuous line that will run. When we’re all finished there’s going to be about 2700 foot of platform on this job. When we get this finished they’ll be able to unload 70 rail cars at a time for the crude oil.
To successfully put together a crude by rail terminal of course, it’s not just speed mark with the new terminal but it’s also making sure that your terminal has the ability to quickly turn cars because railcar utilization, the cost of rail cars and how quickly you can turn them through a rack is a critical economic component of these deals.
One of the things that have really impressed us about SafeRack is their alignment with the project. We’ve been impressed with SafeRack’s attendance, weekly production calls to understand the complexities of the project that aren’t necessarily related to their deliverable but in some regard, it impacts the overall project.
After we are done and we start walking the project with operations, we said oops, by the way, we need a walkway right here to access this vial or we need this right here to go over this berm and the good thing about safe rack system is they’re able to go out on site, physically look on the stuff in the field, they can measure it right here put it on paper or iPad, give me a bill of material, give me a price on the spot, take out the middleman and we can have this stuff turn around quickly.
The number one concern we have is safety. In addition to that, we really wanted to consider the idea of speed. This facility will be unique in its ability to handle more barrels than any other facility in the Gulf region. So the SafeRack design really allows us to assure safety, the speed that we promise to our customer.
We strive for perfection. We like to know that when we commit to a customer that it will be on time, they can make their start date. So we can actually do that. Design a system that’s going to be safe to their operators really like running. We want to make sure that when they see it, they say yeah this is the SafeRack.