Seward may again be home to bulk fuel tank farm

Posted: Monday, June 04, 2001

SEWARD (AP) -- The Yukon Fuel Co. wants to make Seward home to a bulk fuel tank farm again.

Seward's waterfront tank farms were destroyed in the 1964 Good Friday earthquake. The Anchorage-based fuel distributor is negotiating a long-term lease with the Alaska Railroad Corp. for 10 acres of industrial-zoned land on which to construct six fuel storage tanks, according to Yukon Fuel President Larry Shelver.

The project depends on obtaining a conditional use permit from the Seward Planning Commission.

The $30 million, 28-million-gallon facility would be located between Port Avenue and the south end of the airport runway. Fuel from the farm would be shipped by barge to the company's markets in western Alaska, Shelver told the Seward Phoenix Log.

Established in Fairbanks in 1916, the company obtains fuel by rail from a refinery in North Pole, by barge from Valdez and via highway from Nikiski and distributes it to more than 160 villages throughout Alaska, Shelver said.

Yukon Fuel's acquisition of a 10-million-gallon petroleum distribution facility in Bethel last year prompted the company's need for an ice-free port from which to ship its product. Seward fit the bill.

''Our big concern is we want to make sure the project is environmentally sound, and we think this is the safest port to operate from,'' Shelver said.

Shelver said stored fuel would be pumped into 350-foot, 3-million-gallon barges and shipped to the Bethel facility as well as other coastal communities.

Shelver said he would like to see the tank farm operational by next spring.

The company also has bulk petroleum facilities in Galena, St. Mary's, St. Michael, Hooper Bay, Iliamna and Kenai.

Yukon Fuel is one of three companies owned by Northland Holdings Inc., along with Service Oil and Gas in Glennallen and Northland Services of Seattle.

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