Tesoro working to clear asphalt storage tank to assess damage
Liquid asphalt is flowing again as delivery trucks returned to Tesoro Hawaii's Campbell Industrial Park facility yesterday.
But it could take a week to empty Tesoro's storage tank for company officials to examine the extent of the damage caused by a fire Tuesday. There were 18,000 barrels of asphalt in the 25,000-barrel tank when the roof of the tank separated from its base, releasing smoke into the air.
"Our customers said they can lift 7,000 barrels over the next three days," Tesoro Hawaii spokesman Nathan Hokama said yesterday.
To get the product into customers' hands more quickly, Tesoro will keep the pumps open 24 hours, Hokama said.
"We're doing everything we can to empty the tank," said Bob Wilkinson, president and chief executive officer of Grace Pacific Corp.
Grace Pacific is one of the state's major producers of road asphalt, a mixture of liquid asphalt and aggregate. It is also one of the state's major paving contractors.
Wilkinson said his company is filling all of its storage tanks but does not have enough storage capacity to speed up the drainage of Tesoro's tank. He said storage capacity was never a concern when both of the state's oil refiners were producing liquid asphalt. That changed when Chevron Hawaii stopped producing asphalt in February and Tesoro ran out of the liquid last month. The drought ended when Tesoro took delivery of a shipment of asphalt-producing crude oil last week and started pumping asphalt Sunday.
The liquid asphalt can be further refined to produce fuel oil, but Hokama said that is unlikely because of the high demand for asphalt.