MEC’s ailing tanks get help

MEC’s eight large fuel storage tanks will be the focus on an ADB-funded renovation program.
MEC’s eight large fuel storage tanks will be the focus on an ADB-funded renovation program.v

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is funding an Energy Security Project which will boost energy security and clean energy in the Marshall Islands, mainly focused on the Marshalls Energy Company.

ADB Executive Director Shahid Mahmoud, on behalf of the Marshall Islands government, and ADB Director General for the Pacific Carmela Locsin signed the agreements at ADB headquarters last month.

ADB is providing a $12.7 million grant from its Special Funds resources. The RMI government is contributing $3.1 million, and the Marshall Islands Energy Company will provide $1 million to the project.

MEC General Manager Jack Chong Gum told the Journal this week the ADB funding will support renovation of the entire tank farm. All eight of the 750,000 gallon tanks are seriously deteriorated, with only three being used for fuel by MEC. Four tanks have been out of regular use for years — two of which contain over one million gallons of stored waste oil.

Chong Gum said an assessment of the tank farm last year concluded that at least seven of the eight tanks could be repaired. “One may need to be replaced,” he said.

ADB officials touted the improvements that will result from this grant.

“The Energy Security Project will help the Marshall Islands improve energy security and transform their diesel-based power systems to sustainable renewable energy generation sources,” said ADB Energy Specialist for the Pacific Michael Trainor.

The project will also reduce the safety and environmental risks associated with the handling and storage of refined petroleum products and ensure the safe and reliable operation of the existing fuel tank farm is sustained and supply of fuel to power generation facilities throughout the country is continued.

Read more about this in the January 18, 2019 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.