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Czech Republic building huge fuel reserves

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Loukov – The biggest diesel oil reservoirs in the Czech Republic are being built at the foot of Hostýnské hory mountains. Once completed, the four reservoirs will have a capacity of 140,000 cubic meters of fuel.

The project is part of a plan to raise the 90-day strategic fuel reserves in the Czech Republic by a quarter. The reservoirs are being built by the company Čepro in a fifty-year-old premises of its fuel storage area next to Loukov near Bystřice pod Hostýnem.

The reservoirs will cost CZK 1.4 billion and can contain diesel oil worth roughly CZK 40 billion. The capacity of local storage area will therefore double.

The construction that started on 2 September of last year is scheduled to finish in the summer of 2011. The nearby Loukov, via which leads virtually the only access road to the storage premises, has got used to the presence of the strategic giant over the half a century. But the village is not happy about it.

120 tank cars a day
“The area consists of four reservoirs, an underground corridor connecting the reservoirs and a filling station, a stable fire extinguisher, fuel pipes connected to other distribution pipes in the area and a complex control system,” Čepro says in a press release on its website.

“Every day, some 120 tank cars drive through our village, destroying the road and the houses along it,” Loukov mayor Antonín Zlámal said some time ago. But now the reservoirs construction has doubled the heavy traffic in the area. “The traffic burden was huge during those six months,” Zlámal added.

Despite that, the municipality gets along the oil firm because, as Zlámal said, the company “is trying hard”. Čepro has successfully organised two open days at the construction site and promised to repair the damaged road. The company also helps the village finance its warning system and voluntary fire fighters and is planning to introduce a system preventing emission leaks in its premises.

Moreover, a planned fuel pipe to the Sedlnice fuel storage area will reduce heavy traffic via the village. “In three years, the transport of fuel tanks via the municipality should decrease by roughly 50%,” said Zlámal.

If it exploded…
But Loukov is not completely calm. “We are not too excited about it. People regard it as a sort of a threat. If there was an accident, all that would remain is a hole in the ground,” Zlámal said.

Two years ago, security risks at the premises were suggested during the country’s largest rescue system training of its kind, Benzen 2007. The event simulated an accident of a tank containing benzene for Čepro.

Involved in the training near Loukov were 320 professional rescue workers, 109 pieces of equipment including two helicopters, an engine, a lorry and a military humanitarian tent centre for 450 people.

The state-run company Čepro stores nearly a half of Czech fuel reserves. It also operates a network of 200 filling stations EuroOil. And it also guards and treasures hundreds of thousands of tonnes of fuel reserves for the state.

Other well-known storage areas include Třemošná, Střelice u Brna, Plešovec in the Kroměříž district, Klobouky and Velká Bíteš in south Moravia.

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