The Propane in Maine: By Sea, Truck, and Train?

The propane distributor DCP Midstream wants to open a terminal in Searsport, Maine. (image: onebigmaine.com)

A major natural gas distributor is putting the soft sell on the townspeople of Searsport, Maine, in the hopes of opening a propane terminal at the local port, writes the nearby Republican Journal.

This week, DCP Midstream met with the citizenry to pitch an intermodal pit stop at the town’s Mack Point. Propane would arrive by sea, then be loaded onto trucks and railcars.

The proposal is aimed at boosting the regional propane supply during the winter heating season. Company reps said most of the tanker traffic would come between November and April. And after the supply disruptions in the Northeast this fall, DCP may have an easier time making its case.

Town Manager James Gillway urged DCP to hold the information session for the citizenry. “We don’t like secrets in Searsport,” he advised the company.

And like a nervous suitor calling on his prize gal, DCP brought some sweets. There were cookies at the meeting, along with DCP-branded keychains, pencils, and first aid kits. One attendee told the Republican Journal it felt like a trade show event.

The project would involve installing a 137-foot tall storage tank, loading pumps, and an office. Company reps said between four and seven tankers would dock there in a year. In turn, truck traffic would increase, with 40 or 50 trucks passing in and out of the transfer station a day during peak season.

DCP Midstream, which is a joint venture of ConocoPhillips and Spectra Energy, currently operates two other marine propane terminals on the east coast. One is in Virginia and the other is in Providence, RI — though the latter terminal has not been a moneymaker because of capacity problems at the port, the company said.

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