Massive Cianbro modules to leave Brewer on Saturday

Posted Oct. 01, 2009, at 8:57 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — With eight modules loaded onto the ocean-going barge the Columbia Boston, Cianbro workers have finished building about 40 percent of the parts ordered by Motiva Enterprises LLC for its $7 billion refinery expansion in Texas.

The latest load of refinery modules — heavy-duty industrial steel frames filled with pipes, pumps and wiring — were loaded this week by Cianbro crews at the Eastern Manufacturing Facility and will leave for Texas at 8 a.m. Saturday, company spokesman Alan Grover said Thursday.

“The voyage to Motiva’s refinery expansion project in Port Arthur, Texas, will take approximately 12 to 15 days,” he said.

One of the massive modules in this fourth shipment is extremely heavy and required a number of reinforcements for the 2,300-mile trip, Grover said.

“That one module is reinforced with 42 supports for the voyage, due to the weight of the pressure vessels within the steel frame,” he said. “It went on board like any other module. But once aboard, the team added the additional supports.”

Crews of the Emma Foss, a 100-foot seafaring tugboat, will again guide the 94-by-354-foot barge on its voyage down the Eastern Seaboard and through the Gulf of Mexico to Texas.

When the fourth load arrives in port in Texas, Pittsfield-based Cianbro Corp. will have delivered 21 of the 53 refinery modules ordered by Motiva, which produces Shell Oil brand products. The refinery expansion, when complete, will double the site’s capacity.

With each shipment, the job of loading the massive modules, which can be up to six stories high and weigh 700 tons, gets easier, said Scott Clements, Cianbro’s project manager.

“We started out good, and we get better every trip,” he said.

The fifth shipment of modules is scheduled to depart Brewer around Dec. 18, Grover said.

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