A new rail loading terminal near Guernsey could ship 80,000 barrels of crude oil per day by the end of the year.

Casper-based Eighty-Eight Oil LLC announced plans Monday to construct and begin operation of a crude loading terminal southeast of town. Company officials said the facility could mean 25 or 30 new jobs to the area. The population of Guernsey is just less than 1,200.

“Twenty-five jobs would be a significant boost to our economy,” Bruce Heimbuck, Guernsey community development director, said Monday. “Whether people in town would see the jobs or it would be people [the company] brings in, it would be significant.”

Jerry Herz, superintendent of Eighty-Eight, said Monday that the terminal will also be an opportunity for his company to diversify. Eighty-Eight already owns a Guernsey-area terminal which doesn’t have the capability to load trains.

“It creates a lot of flexibility for us out of Guernsey to reach out to other markets, especially for Powder River Basin crude oil,” he said.

The facility will be connected to the existing Guernsey terminal, which has the capability to store up to 2 million barrels of crude. In order to get the new terminal operational, three rail loops connected to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe main line and associated tanks will need to be constructed.

Herz said his company hopes to load one train — capable of holding about 80,000 barrels of oil equivalent — each day after operations begin. The facility will give his company the opportunity to market crude oil from Canada, North Dakota’s Bakken shale play and locally produced Wyoming crude, something which Herz said will set the terminal apart from other loading facilities.

“That will make [the terminal] more flexible,” he said. “The long-term plan is to make sure this facility operates for years to come because of that flexibility.”

BNSF also indicated support for the project.

“We look forward to working with [Eighty-Eight] to build and serve this unique unit train facility,” Dave Garin, company vice president of industrial products, said in a release. “As demand continues to rise, rail has stepped up to provide a more flexible, long-term and economical option to ship crude oil to destination markets throughout the East, West and Gulf coasts and along the Mississippi River.”

The company has begun to permit the facility and hopes to complete construction before the end of the year.

Herz said he expects to ship product to the East Coast, West Coast and Gulf of Mexico area. As the market changes, he said, rail allows him to adapt in ways other means of transport won’t.

“That’s the neat thing about the unit train business,” he said. “Once you build a pipeline to the East Coast, you have to send oil to the East Coast.”

Reach energy reporter Adam Voge at 307-266-0561, or at adam.voge@trib.com. Read his blog at http://trib.com/news/opinion/blogs/boom or follow him on Twitter @vogeCST.

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