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Brothers build fuel company with $250,000
With a start up investment of $250,000 of their own money, brothers Andrew and John Collier now successfully own and operate an environmentally-friendly energy management company known as Trinidad Tank Fuel.
Trinidad Tank Fuel initially provided services to clean tanks and fuel filtration to special craft marine, namely small yachts and cruisers.
John, 35, managing director, said within three years the company has experienced significant growth.
Instead of using figures or percentages to explain the growth spurt, he resorted to share the company’s experience in terms of expansion of services, products and its growing markets.
The three-year-old company not only expanded its services to include complete fuel management, diesel fuel polishing, oil and hydraulic fluid filtration, oil filed and industrial chemical and tank cleaning, but increased its market to also include larger projects for the marine, construction and oilfield industries.
They include onshore and offshore organisations: Peake Yacht Services, T&T Fire Service, Bunkers and Lubricants Trader, T&T Coast Guard, T&T Pilots Association, Southwest Regional Health Authority, Offshore Technology Solutions, United Independent Marketing Company Ltd (Unipet) and Inland and Offshore Contractors Ltd.
The Collier brothers, both in their 30s, said their products are green technology and environmentally friendly, are tested, proven and have received the required approvals.
John, who was previously an airline transport pilot, said the company started with just two employees in two windowless 20-foot containers, but has increased to ten qualified professionals.
He said they initially made presentations on mornings to companies and cleaned tanks on evenings. The structure has changed to a 24-hour service as business is growing.
Trinidad Tank Fuel was one of the companies that exhibited at last month’s three-day Energy Conference, which took place at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad hotel, Port-of-Spain.
The energy management company showcased its products and gave demonstrations to visitors and participants.
The green degreaser
John said Andrew discovered one of its green products, De-Oil-It, because they were looking for a product that would address all areas of concern: conducive to the environment, safe for workers and address the main problem: removal of fuel.
“De-Oil-It is an effective de-greaser used in oil spills. We have already attended to oil spills in T&T and Dominica. For example, there was a well head that became exposed and heavy crude was coming out on a land rig, which spilled over into a mangrove environment where there was contamination of those wildlife and vegetation. De-Oil-It was used in ratio of five to one, where it solved the problem in just a matter of a few hours.”
John said this product could also be used in a service station.
He explained that De-Oil-It is a United States-made product from Green World that has been approved by US Environment Protection Agency and the US Coast Guard.
Trinidad Tank Fuel is the only local company in the region authorised to distribute and sell the product.
Asked how big an oil spill this product could be effectively used, Andrew said, “It’s limitless.”
“This product is diluted 30 to one, it comes in drums and shipping capabilities of 6,000 gallons a shipment, so it can address any spill, especially in the sea, unlike some other products.”
Andrew, 30, with a degree in marketing, explained that when other similar products are used in the sea, it usually sinks the hydrocarbons, but sinking the hydrocarbons does not solve the problem.
“De-Oil-It actually uses the environment to detoxify the hydrocarbons. It uses the oxygen and water to break down the hydrocarbons, so wildlife is unaffected.”
John said the product is water-based and has attributes that are cost effective because the product must be hydrated to work. He said water must be added to the product to a dilution ration of 30 to one.
He said it could be used as a de-greaser for oil spills, a fire depressant and has an indefinite shelf life.
“It’s a great investment. It is cheaper than the other similar products and could last as long as 30 years. It has no flash points, so storage, shipping and insurance are a dream and, most importantly, it does not penetrate your skin.”
Blending plant to increase markets
John said they are now in discussions with the manufacturer to establish a potential blending plant in T&T to target markets, such as the Southern Caribbean and Central America.
He said the company uses about ten barrels a month, and since the company is growing, they are looking to have the plant up in a year’s time.
The dream product has been in the US market for 13 years, but only two years locally.
He said the establishment of the plant would be a joint investment by Tank Fuel and Green World Products.
“This would allow the products to enter into markets such as Suriname, which really relies on the Caricom arrangements. So once it is manufactured in the region, things like duties and taxes become obsolete. We would be able to create a savings in the average of about 50 to 60 per cent of VAT locally and open up some other markets while creating jobs.”
John said their markets are T&T, Barbados, Dominica, British Virgin Islands and St Maarten.
In T&T, they service Bayfield, Optimal, Least Operators Ltd, National Petroleum, Airports Authority of T&T and Trinity Aspirations.
The green fuel medic
Shameed Juman-Ali, Trinidad Tank Fuel’s petroleum engineer and operations manager, said the fuel medic is a fuel treatment used mainly to remove water from fuel.
Juman-Ali said customers may often find water in their gas or diesel.
He said one of the contributing factors may stem from how often gas stations do maintenance work on their storage tanks.
“Once you find water in the fuel and in the tanks, this water would condensate on top of the tank, resulting in the build-up algae and bacteria.”
He said no matter where customers buy gas, water finds its way into the fuel.
Juman-Ali said the fuel medic would eliminate water from the fuel.
Having water present in fuel negatively impacts on the performance of any vehicle: avoid frequent shutting down, poor performance, frequent change of fuel injectors to black smoke.
He said fuel medic could also be used in the maintenance of diesel generators.
“It can stabilise the generator for as long as two and half years and gives you a cleaner emission into the environment.”
Explaining the application process, Andrew said fuel medic is best put in before the customer fills up their tank with either gas or diesel.
“The reason is that you would not want to agitate the material inside the tank, so in that way, you speed up the process of filtration and elimination of water in your tank.”
“Fuel medic when used would separate the hydrogen from the oxygen and the hydrogen would bond to the hydrocarbon chain whether it is diesel or gas. The oxygen would stay on its own, so the more oxygen in your tank or engine, it would create better performance and more combustibility.”
John advised that the customer should not over-treat, but use when necessary, meaning when the vehicle is not performing. He said the product is so effective, very little repetition is required.
“The fuel medic does everything the rest of the products say, but this truthfully does it because it addresses water on the molecular level.
So instead of dumping ten thousand gallons of fuel, this product would take out the water and save fuel and it can be used in any engine and for any type of fuel and filters.
AlgaeX: Increases oil production
AlgaeX is another major product the energy management company provides.
John said with this product, the company is successful in bringing oil out of the ground and engaging in a 100 per cent increase in production.
“Our product effectively dissolves any paraffin from the oil well during production.
So Algae is a wax paraffin prohibitor, a chemical out of Houston, which is applied by a batch or a chemical injection equipment.
Paraffin wax in crude oil might cause technical problems in the oil production. The wax is blocking the tubing and pipelines, which has to be removed a regular basis, according to Merus Oil and Gas processing Web site.
John said they also provide the service.
He said once the product is injected into the well, it breaks down all the paraffin or wax compound and increases oil production.
“Our product stands apart from the others because it is refinery safe while others are highly toxic.”
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