Document Type: Original Article
Maritime studies faculty, King Abdul-Aziz University, Saudi Arabia-Jeddah
The Oil Price Information Service reports that there are 1,296 terminals storing transportation
fuel nationwide. These terminals are constantly receiving, storing, and dispensing fuels. Over
1,200 of these terminals are either storing ethanol or are capable of storing it. Terminal
equipment includes piping, valves, meters, pumps, truck and rail unloading skids, and tanks.
Finished transportation fuels are dispensed to trucks for delivery to retail stations and other end
use customers. This is achieved by complex control systems that pull fuels from various tanks
gasoline blend stock, ethanol, and additives into a loading arm that delivers fuel into the truck.
Interviews with companies indicate that there are minimal technical issues with storing and
distributing more ethanol. However, there are several significant factors that could limit
increased deployment of ethanol at terminals.
• The availability of land to add tanks and unloading equipment as well as land to
accommodate increased truck traffic for ethanol deliveries.
• Permitting and regulatory processes to add tanks have become more time consuming and
challenging in recent years.
• There are few existing tanks that are not already in use.
• It will be necessary to re-configure the existing loading racks and bay to accommodate
additional equipment to fill trucks.
• A significant amount of capacity at terminals is leased to customers under long-term contracts
to store specific fuels and volumes.
Terminals are capable of handling more ethanol if the market conditions indicate long-term
demand sufficient to warrant building additional infrastructure. Terminal companies indicate
that most of their tanks are in use; therefore, accommodating ethanol at a volume of 25% to
40% will likely require installation of new tanks and other equipment. Some terminal locations
may experience land constraints to accommodate additional infrastructure and increased truck
traffic for fuel deliveries. There are potential hurdles upstream to deliver more ethanol by rail.
Further analysis is needed to determine the availability of rail cars and ability of trans modal
facilities to handle more ethanol.