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Sunday, April 21, 2024

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Can Do! Broco Energy Is Ready to Fuel New England


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For Bobby Brown and Broco Energy, there are no limits

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It started with a vision. In 2007, Bobby Brown bought a used oil truck for about $7,000. Today, Brown is the president of Broco Energy, a multi-faceted rail transport operation with a CSX Class 1 rail service terminal that boasts a three-bay loading rack, storage for 60,000 gallons propane, 150,000 gallons biofuel, 300,000 gallons heating fuel, 40,000 gallons diesel, and rail storage for an additional million gallons.

Strategically located in Haverhill, Massachusetts, just 30 miles north of Boston and 25 miles west of Portsmouth, the Broco Energy terminal processes most of the biodiesel and Bioheat® fuel for New England as well as propane and renewable diesel. As Brown says, they can store and ship just about anything.


A Timeline of Success

To understand the Broco Energy story is to understand Brown’s “Can Do” motto from his days as a Navy Seabee. The Seabees are deployed around the world to build anything and everything the armed forces need. Brown puts that same attitude into every aspect of his business. “We’ll try anything,” he says.

Just take a look at the Broco Energy timeline. In 2007 Bobby and Angela Brown bought that first used truck and formed Broco Oil. About five years later (2013) they had 3,000 customers and six fuel trucks. In 2017 they bought an old oil terminal with only eight 10,000-gallon tanks and an overgrown set of railroad tracks. In 2018 Broco Energy took on its first emergency response call, providing fuel to the response teams for the Columbia, Massachusetts, gas explosion. In 2019 they earned HBIIP federal grants to put in four 50,000-gallon vertical tanks and became Chevron Renewable Energy Group’s distributor for New England. In the summer of 2023, they set up a throughput deal with NGL Canada that Brown expects will move more than 10 million gallons of propane through his terminal; they have already begun to expand operations to include renewable diesel, DEF and scrap metal; and have been getting inquiries about ethane, butane and even CO2 transport.

“We offer transport to deliver to other bulk tanks and end users. We provide rail-to-truck and last-mile solutions for clean energy like biodiesel and propane throughout New England,” Brown says.


Storage for a Cleaner Future

As the sole terminal for Chevron Renewable Energy Group in New England, a large majority of the biodiesel for the region goes through Broco’s Haverhill terminal. With the new NGL Canada arrangement, they are looking to grow into a similar position with propane. Brown sees this as a necessity for fuel dealers.

“We’re helping retailers meet their clean heat goals, with all the states’ initiatives. The Clean Heat Standards in Massachusetts and Vermont, those bills are going to penalize retailers. Anyone selling straight heating oil is going to be charged a large tax, so the bills will force all oil dealers to offer blends of Bioheat® fuel to reduce those taxes.” he adds. “They want to be carbon neutral with electricity, but in the Northeast, in winter, that’s always going to cause an emergency. I see heat pumps supplementing heating oil. To have a plan to phase out heating oil is not smart. In order to curtail the industry dying from the Clean Heat bills, the answer is to increase the blend of biofuels. The homeowner doesn’t have to pay anything out of pocket, and we’re providing an option to get the carbon to net-zero through Bioheat® fuel.”

In order to make sure the biofuels that reach the end user are as high quality as those that leave his terminal, Brown offers custom blending. “Our terminal has a blending facility that ensures the dealer consistently delivers the right blend. When we see people coming in and picking up trailers of B100 to transport to their terminals or bump tanks, we’ll find out what they’re using it for. If they’re splash blending, we’ll try to talk to them about getting it blended here. We can match the price difference. We’re competitive at B100 or B40 blends.”

One of the biggest differentiators for Broco Energy is that its rail siding can handle up to 50 rail cars. That provides up to one million gallons of extra storage on standby during peak season. During cold snaps, the terminal can go through volume quickly. “Now that I am selling propane, retail and wholesale, I see the difference in the supply chain (from heating oil) and understand how propane supply crunches can happen. The supply chain infrastructure that I have, that ability to store extra cars with up to one million gallons of fuel, means our terminal is always wet,” he adds.

With Brown’s “can do” attitude, it’s easy to see how his growth in propane and renewable diesel will soon equal or surpass his capabilities in heating oil and biofuel transport and storage.

To find out more about Broco Energy’s fuel distribution capabilities for propane, heating oil, biofuels and renewable diesel, visit brocoenergy.com or contact Broco Energy at 781-246-1130.


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