The Prax Group’s ability to deliver innovative customer solutions across the world has secured our reputation as a leading presence in the global oil market. Despite our globally connected infrastructure and worldwide operations, the Group remains resolutely committed to home-grown UK ventures, as demonstrated by the successful acquisition of Lindsey Oil Refinery in March this year.
As part of an ongoing strategy, the Prax Group has pledged significant investment into Jarrow Terminal, located in the north east of the UK, with funds spread across several projects on the site; some of which are upgrade works, and some of which are to support new business.
The announcement is a timely one, as the team recently celebrated five years of Prax operations at the facility. Having first acquired Jarrow Terminal on 29th February 2016, the site operations team received their first rail import on 8th May of that same year, an astounding accomplishment at the time. We are now in the process of acquiring the freehold for the whole site, giving us full ownership of the terminal. Put simply, the Group recognises the value of the Terminal in terms of its importance to the UK’s national infrastructure, and its key role in securing and supplying energy for customers, both locally and nationally.
The long-term plan is to make Jarrow a strategic hub, to increase throughputs – which is great news for the terminal’s many customers, as this will ensure security of supply going forwards. The plan is for the terminal to be able to throughput five products: super unleaded gasoline, premium unleaded gasoline, gasoil, diesel and kerosene.
The Prax Terminals team is managing Jarrow’s investment projects in-house. The entire team has been involved in the project consultation and background decision-making process. This not only gives them full control of all projects, but also ensures that improvements are being made directly as a result of on-the-ground feedback. More importantly, however, it ensures that the team can continue to run operations at the terminal without any service disruption.
The terminals team is working against three key objectives, to ensure that each project is completed firstly on time, secondly on budget, and thirdly without any safety-related incidents. Safety is of paramount importance to all the staff based at Jarrow, and they are justly proud of their 100% incident-free record at the terminal. Testament to such commitment to excellence is the Lost Injury Time (LTI) rate for Prax Terminals, which remains at zero and has resulted in over 2,500 LTI-free working days.
The team itself has grown significantly over the course of the last five years, but commitment to excellence – one of the Prax Group’s five core values – is firmly embedded into the very fabric of site operations. The sheer scale of the investment into Jarrow is a huge testament to the team members themselves, as it reflects the dedication and pride that they demonstrate on a daily basis, with an unwavering commitment to ensuring that the needs of the customer come first.
As part of the investment programme, the focus is firstly on refurbishing and re-instating the largest tank on-site, called Tank 28, with a capacity of almost 9.3 million litres. As well as giving greater storage capacity, this will also ensure increased flexibility to take tanks offline for necessary maintenance and routine inspections, without affecting supply to customers. This will run concurrently alongside other tank refurbishment projects that are being additionally undertaken to future-proof the site.
A further project being carried out as part of the investment is to fully automate the terminal’s loading system, in order to improve gate-to-gate times, with the installation of two new staging posts for drivers. By removing the human interface and digitising the whole experience, drivers will be able to go straight to the loading gantries, and the team in turn will be able to access up-to-the-minute data to give them a more complete picture of on-site activity. The gantry flame detection system is also set to be updated, in order to improve the safety of both drivers and staff – safety being the cornerstone of operational excellence at the terminal.
Jarrow Terminal will also be getting an avgas drumming facility, allowing the team to batch avgas into drums for resale. Working in partnership with Harvest Energy Aviation, the investment will allow customers – including airports, private airfields, private flying clubs, and private and corporate jet owners – access to a new means of sourcing supply.
The team is also looking at setting up a gasoil marking facility, meaning that diesel can be brought to the site and marked on site at the loading racks, thereby increasing the number of gasoil loading points available, and giving great operational resilience by repurposing existing assets for increased reliability of operations.
There are more upgrades planned for the site itself, which will further improve the health and safety across the entire location, as well as necessary repair works, such as to the site drainage system and pipeline repairs. This includes the reinstatement of one of the site’s smaller tanks, the installation of a new additive injection system, and installing a tertiary containment as part of the drainage repairs. Ever mindful of the Group’s environmental responsibilities, interceptor hydrocarbon detector probes will be installed to ensure that no hydrocarbons are pushed out into the local waterways. Colloquially referred to at a local level as “Project Jewel In The Crown,” Jarrow Terminal will also benefit from cosmetic investment works including modernisation of the office building, new signage, new office furnishings, and enhancement of the Terminal Operations Room.
Projects as part of the investment that have already been completed include a recent bund repair, which not only improved containment, but also satisfied a legal requirement set by the Environment Agency. We are also satisfying a directive from the HSE by replacing aging plant equipment, and to ensure that the terminal remains in good working order going forwards. This is all to the benefit of the terminal’s wide customer base, by ensuring continuity and security of supply, whilst enabling Jarrow Terminal to meet the demands of the market, both now and in the future. We are championing investment in the downstream oil and gas sector, and are committed to improving facilities throughout the energy transition, to ensure that the Prax Group is prepared for the everchanging future of the industry.