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New building at Tank Farm in the works

fili@samoanews.com

Construction work will soon get underway for a new building inside the government owned Tank Farm in Utulei to house the Office of Petroleum Management (OPM), American Samoa Petroleum Cooperative (ASPC) and tank farm operator Pacific Energy.

Petroleum Officer, Sione Kava with OPM confirmed that the contract for this project, estimated to cost just over $1 million, was awarded recently to Paramount Builders.

The construction crew is already on site to carry out demolition work, which includes taking down the very old one-story building that housed OPM, ASPC and Pacific Energy. To replace it, a brand new two-story structure will be built that is to be safe and secure in the event of a disaster, said Kava.

Demolition is the first phase of the project that is expected to be fully completed within a year. This new building has been on the drawing board for a couple of years but cannot be carried out until there is sufficient funds, from revenue collected in tax farm fees through ASPC, he said.

“The way our system works is that if we need capital improvement done, we have to work that into a budget. From there we work on collecting funds and work on the procurement process — the bidding process,” said Kava yesterday.

“However, awarding of the contract and notice to proceed cannot be done unless the money is actually in the bank,” said Kava, who added that this is the same process for any other project for the tank farm operations.

For the current project, he said, all required government permits are in place, prior to the start of the demolition work and “we are very pleased that this work is finally underway and we’ll have a new building soon.”

Meanwhile, the proposed fiscal year 2013 budget for OPM, ASPC and the Territorial Office of Fiscal Reform stands at $104.72 million and the largest funding source is $102 million in federal money for specific programs overseen by TOFR.

According to the budget book, $102 million is for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) projects for flooding, Cyclone Heta (in 2004), Cyclone Olaf (in 2005) and the 2009 earthquake/tsunami in 2009.



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