By Vernon Robison
Moapa Valley Progress
Construction crews working on building a major petroleum pipeline brought the project through the town of Moapa last week bringing heavy equipment and over 100 workers through the community. The pipeline is following the large utility corridor that roughly parallels the west side of interstate 15.
The project, called the UNEV pipeline is planned to bring gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from oil refineries located just north of Salt Lake City to distribution terminals in southern Utah and southern Nevada. The common carrier pipeline is being built in a cooperative effort between Holly Corporation (75% ownership) and Sinclair Oil (25%), according to UNEV spokesperson Cindy Gubler.
Gubler explained that the 400 mile long pipeline runs west from Salt Lake City and then drops south through Tooele Valley continuing south through southern Utah, then into Nevada north of Mesquite, across the Mormon Mesa and following I-15 to end at Apex near State Highway 93.
Two distribution terminals are being constructed along the pipeline. The first will be just west of Cedar City, Utah and is expected to supply petroleum products to consumers in southern Utah and aircraft at the St. George airport. The other terminal is being constructed at Apex in order to service the needs of the greater Las Vegas market.
The pipeline project was begun in 2006. At that time a special Blue Ribbon Commission had determined that growth trends for Southern Utah and Las Vegas would merit the construction of an additional petroleum pipeline to supply needs of a booming population. In 2006, the Commission found that there were 1.2 million vehicles operating in Clark County using 3 million gallons of fuel per day. Aircraft at McCarran were using 1.27 million gallons of jet fuel per day.
The region is currently supplied by two parallel pipelines running from Colton, California to North Las Vegas. These pipelines are running at or near capacity. The Blue Ribbon Commission determined that an additional pipeline would be needed to supply product from a different source to ensure reliability of supply in the region. So the UNEV project was begun.
The pipeline being constructed is a 12-inch diameter welded steel buried pipeline. It will have an initial capacity to carry 62,000 barrels of product per day. But the total maximum capacity will be 118,000 barrels per day.