CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (NNS) -- U.S. service members and contractors attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the new fuel depot onboard Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti Oct. 9.
"The groundbreaking signifies that we are ready to begin construction of the fuels facility," said Lt. Thomas A. Gavin, construction manager with the Public Works Department. "This project will take about two years to complete and cost a little over $20 million."
While Camp Lemonnier already has fuel capabilities, having the fuel depot will modernize the fuel operations on base and allow for an increased capacity of fuel to be stored for contingency operations.
"We needed to increase the size of the fuel tanks here so we can maintain the flight status for the airplanes," said Ronald V. Smiley, contracting specialist with the Public Works Department. "Right now, there are more planes than what was originally planned for. Because of this, we are at capacity and fuel is leaving faster than it is coming in. Once the fuel depot is completed, more airplanes will be able to operate at this location."
While providing additional fuel for the base is the main objective, there are other benefits as well.
"The fuel depot allows this installation to become a more logistical forward operating base that can push fuel down range," said Gavin. "This then allows the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Energy to purchase and provide bulk storage on the continent too."
DLA Energy aviation fuel supports U.S. military aviation missions in both the Africa Command and Central Command areas of responsibility around the region.
In addition, the base will receive two 15,000 barrel tanks, an associated pump house, fuel truck parking, and will also allow the fuels department to move out of shipping containers and into a permanent building.
According to Gavin, the contract for the fuel farm was awarded to the Greek company Ergotem. This contract is their first project in Djibouti.
"It's been good working with them," said Gavin. "This is an eager group and definitely the right company for this work. They are a fuels and industrial contractor back in Greece, so they know how to do this."
Camp Lemonnier is one of Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia, installations that conducts eight lines of operation to support air operations, port operations, safety, security, housing, MWR, Fleet and Family Support and what is called the core: the fuels, water and power that keep the bases operating.
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