Cianbro ships heaviest module load yet

Posted Aug. 14, 2009, at 9:04 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — The modules local laborers are creating at the Eastern Manufacturing Facility for a massive refinery expansion in Texas are getting more detailed, and heavier, Joe Cote, Cianbro’s general manager, said Wednesday.

Five modules, which are heavy-duty industrial steel frames filled with pipes, pumps and electronics, left on their trip to the Texas Gulf Coast on Wednesday.

“This is actually our heaviest load going out,” Cote said. “This entire load weighs 3,330,000 pounds, which is approximately 1,665 tons.”

Two are process modules and three are rack modules, Cote said. The racks are 120 feet long, 40 feet wide and 65 feet tall. The process modules are smaller, at 60 feet in length, 40 feet wide and 60 feet tall, but are filled with pressure vessels and heat exchangers, which add to the weight. The heavier modules weigh approximately 440 tons each, he said.

“They are pretty massive-looking,” Cote said.

In fact, water had to be pumped into the bow of the seagoing barge, the Columbia Boston, to ballast out the vessel while the huge module was loaded. While this was happening, the 100-foot tugboat the Emma Foss pushed the barge against the bulkhead for stability.

Pittsfield-based Cianbro Corp. has been hired to build and deliver 53 modules by Motiva Enterprises LLC, which produces Shell Oil brand products, for its $7 billion refinery expansion in Port Arthur, Texas. Eight of the locally built modules have been shipped.

“Right now, we’re on schedule,” Cote said. “We’re planning to ship our last ones in May 2010.”

Motiva officials recently visited Brewer to inspect Cianbro’s Eastern Manufacturing Facility, and “they’re pleased with the performance and the quality of work we’re doing,” Cote said.

Recent wet weather delayed the third shipment by a few days to allow the proper curing times for the specialized coatings, Cote said.

The third shipment of modules is expected to arrive in Texas in about two weeks, and the fourth shipment is expected to leave Brewer in October, he said.

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