Following work to recommission an extensive amount of tank storage capacity, HES Wilhelmshaven has emerged as a key coastal terminal for Germany’s supply chain
A former refinery on the North Sea has been transformed with ambitions to become the gateway for oil and gas
imports and exports for Germany.
Nestled on the western side of Jade Bight, a bay on the North Sea, HES Wilhelmshaven boasts 1.29 million m3 of capacity for crude oil, diesel, jet fuel, fuel oil, petrol and LPG following an extensive recommissioning programme of idled storage.
When the former Wilhelmshaven refinery was acquired in 2011, executives started work to operate the site as a storage terminal and offer an alternative storage solution for the ARA region.
Sven Partzsch, MD for HES Wilhelmshaven, says that only half of the storage capacity was in use when the site
was acquired, despite the refinery being decommissioned in 2009.
Today the terminal is owned by Rotterdam-based storage company HES International, which owns 22 terminals in six European countries.
‘The rest of the capacity was idling without customers and the site was more like a refinery than a flexible tank storage terminal.
‘By 2014/15 these tanks were cleaned, which in itself was a major exercise, inspected and calibrated again and we were able to recommission more than 500,000 m3 of capacity. Given the scope of the project, it was completed in record time.’
Additionally, flexible pipeline systems and a modern firefighting system were installed, the LPG import and RTC export facilities were recommissioned and former crude oil tanks were upgraded into high-class jet fuel tanks.
Executives also embarked on building up a tank terminal organisation and associated processes.
‘When a company comes from a refining background the job profiles are completely different to what a tank terminal requires,’ explains Partzsch.
‘This is not a problem but it required a mind-set change to ensure that staff could work without the need for contractors, which are often used in refineries. We also needed to establish standard operating procedures and
build in flexibility with our pipeline and terminal systems.’
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