Latest storage news
Sinopec is considering two US projects to expand storage facilities in the Caribbean and boost Gulf Coast crude oil exports.
According to sources quoted by Reuters, one of the projects could involve the company partnering with Freepoint Commodities and ArcLight Capital Partners.
This comes ahead of a business delegation visit by President Donald Trump next week.
The sources have said that the three companies are considering building a pipeline to move shale oil from the Permian basin to the Gulf Coas t. They also said this project also includes the construction of a two million barrel crude oil terminal on a VLCC.
Additionally, Reuters reports that the firms have been exploring an expansion of oil storage at Limetree Bay Terminal in the US Virgin Islands.
A new liquid bulk storage terminal is being built in the Port of Caldera, Costa Rica.
Caldera Liquid Terminal will be the first terminal to store solvents, alcohol and oils from March 2018 in the port.
In its first phase, the $4.6 million terminal will comprise six tanks with 800 m3 of capacity. This is due to be operational next February.
Work on its second phase will start in April 2018, and is due to be complete by August 2018. This will comprise four additional tanks, each 800 m3. The terminal will offer facilities for the storage and manipulation of bulk liquids.
Fernando Odio, president of the terminal, is reported as saying: 'Costa Rica does not have this kind of infrastructure in the Pacific, although it already does in the Atlantic Coast.
'The main goal is for national and international companies to import liquid bulk products, store them near the port, and distribute them by means of tankers to their respective factories.'
Valero Energy Partners (VLP) has acquired a Port Arthur storage terminal from Valero Energy Corporation.
The Port Arthur terminal, which VLP has purchased for $508 million, comprises 47 tanks with 8.5 million barrels of storage capacity for crude oil, intermediates and refined petroleum products, which support Valero's Port Arthur refinery.
The acquisition also include the Parkway Pipeline – a refined products pipeline – which links Valero's St. Charles refinery with the Plantation and Colonia pipeline system in Collins, Mississippi. It has 110,000 barrels per day of capacity, with the ability to expand to more than 200,000 barrels per day.
The transaction is expected to close on November 1.
Joe Gorder, CEO OF VLP's general partners, says: 'We are pleased to continue growing VLP's footprint in the Gulf Coast region.
'This transaction, combined with our organic growth projects, and strong distribution coverage, positions the partnership well to deliver its targeted distribution growth without the need for additional acquisitions.'
Total refined product stocks in Fujairah stood at 16.08 million barrels in the week to Monday, October 23, down 6.9% from the previous week led by a large draw in light distillate stocks, according to data from the Fujairah Energy Data Committee (FEDCom).
Stocks of light distillates at the UAE hub fell by 23.5% week on week to 4.376 million barrels - their lowest total since January 16, driven by continued demand for petrol from Iran as well as for naphtha from Asia, S&P Global Platts Analytics said in a report.
Demand for petrol is currently strong in the Middle East, while supply has been tight due to partial maintenance closures this month at a number of refineries including Petro Rabigh (Saudi Arabia), ORPIC (Oman) and Qatar Petroleum.
Meanwhile, Iran is seeing reduced domestic petrol output due to lower condensate supply as a result of maintenance at the South Pars fields. Stocks of middle distillates fell by 14% to 2.481 million barrels and stock levels remained below 3 million barrels for a sixth week in a row, as regional supply has been impacted by both refinery maintenance and a pull on gasoil from the West, Platts Analytics said.
Stocks of heavy distillates and residues rose by 6.3% to 9.221 million barrels, but remained below 10 million barrels for a fourth week in a row. Stock levels have been drawn down this month partly due to heavy flows of fuel oil to Pakistan. Pakistan State Oil has tendered for a lower total of 195,000 mt of fuel oil loading from Fujairah in November compared to October (520,000 mt), which could see stock levels rise from recent lows.
Gunvor is selling its stake in the Maasvlakte Olie Terminal in Rotterdam to a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco.
Gunvor, one of the largest international trading houses, acquired its stake in the terminal through its acquisition of Gunvor Petroleum Rotterdam in 2016. The sale to Aramco Overseas Company (AOC) is part of Gunvor's strategy to further develop its Rotterdam refining operations.
The sale is due to be completed by the end of October.
AOC's investment in the terminal, which is one of the largest oil facilities in the world, will add to its current participation in other facilities in the same area, allowing for expanded offerings in the North West Europe refining hub.
It will complement Saudi Aramco's export activities in Europe, strengthen the company's supply chain and enhance its customer services in the region.
The facility is a joint venture between a consortium including ExxonMobil, BP, Shell and Vopak.
Unplanned global supply disruptions fell to the lowest level since January 2012 in September.
According to the EIA, over the past six months, unplanned oil supply disruptions have fallen by more than 1.0 million barrels per day, as outages in Libya, Nigeria and Iraq decline.
Additionally, Canada's disrupted supplies, which reached their peak in April 2017 at 425,000 barrels per day, returned to production in August 2017.
In Libya, rival armed factions have blockaded pipelines and export terminals intermittently since the fall of Gadhafi and his regime in 2011. In fact, the country has had some success in reducing unplanned outages. Crude oil production has restarted at a number of oil fields in the country since the beginning of the year.
However, despite this success, Libya's outages have fluctuated since the summer as a result of repeated flare-ups of disputes between rival groups, pipeline blockades, power failure and other technical issues.
In Nigeria, disruptions fell from an average of 370,000 barrels per day in April to 200,000 barrels per day in September, in part as a result of the Trans Forcados crude oil export pipeline resuming production.
In Iraq, despite disruptions falling to 50,000 barrels per day in September, the outlook for its oil supply from the Kirkuk oil fields remains uncertain due to an offensive by Iraqi security forces in response to the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government's independent referendum in September.
Outages in non-OPEC member countries have mainly been linked to weather events. A fire at Syncrude's Mildred Lake facility in Canada forced a complete shut down in production, along with outages elsewhere.
Us production also experienced shut-ins as a result of Hurricane Harvey in August.
Vopak has launched bunkering services at its Seabarok terminal in Singapore, allowing tankers to refuel at the same time as loading or discharging cargoes.
The terminal is located close to Singapore's eastern anchorage, where a significant majority of bunkering activity takes place.
The service will eliminate the time needed to move tankers calling at the facility to designated anchorage elsewhere in Singapore for bunkering.
Prior to this new service, tanker vessels needed to sail to the anchorage to receive their bunkers.
Tan Soo Koong, Vopak Terminals Singapore managing director, says: 'This concurrent bunkering makes the scheduling of bunker supply more predictable, and is in line with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore's directive to improve port efficiency.'
This service is the result of a collaboration with BW Pacific, Singanju Marine Services, and Unicore Fuel. Vopak says it will be progressively expanded to its other terminals in Singapore.
CLH Aviación will supply fuel to five Panama airports and manage their storage facilities after being awarded the tender, organised by the Panama Government.
Among other airports, the company will manage the International Airport of Tocumen, which services the Panamanian capital and is considered one of the most important in the continent.
The fuel supply contract will also cover the future Terminal 2 at Tocumen, which is estimated to start operations in 2018, and to four airports located inland: Scarlett Martínez, Enrique Jiménez de Colón, Panamá Pacífico and Enrique Malek.
It will also manage the storage facilities at the five airports under a concession scheme for a period of ten years and will also build a new service station in the terminal at Tocumen airport.
This marks the start of the CLH Group's fourth international operation.
José Luis López de Silanes, chairman of the CLH Group, says: 'This transaction represents a boost for the company's internationalisation process and it enables us to be present in the American continent and, from there, to explore new business opportunities in that market, after the projects we are undertaking in Europe and Asia.'
Bettina Enderle, partner at Enderle Environmental Law, outlines the practical consequences of the new EU Seveso rules for operators in Germany
Operators of so-called ‘Seveso establishments’ are flabbergasted with new duties under the German implementation of the EU Seveso III rules on the control and prevention of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances.
These obligations do not only apply in case of changes to existing installations, but also to their continued and unmodified operation. As the German authorities have started to enforce Seveso compliance, operators should check their obligations and be prepared.
WHAT ARE THE SEVESO RULES?
The EU Seveso legislation addresses major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances, following the disastrous chemical accident in a factory in the Italian town of Seveso in 1976, where a densely populated area of 6 square kilometres was contaminated with dioxine. Also, natural sources of hazards like earthquakes or floods can trigger dangerous environmental impacts in industrial plants. Since the use of large amounts of dangerous chemicals is unavoidable in some industry sectors, the acceptance of such operations requires effective protection of humans and
the environment against potential hazards.
The Seveso rules, therefore, apply to installations in which certain dangerous substances exceeding set thresholds are used or stored. They require that the risks associated with such hazardous substances are minimised, preventive measures are taken and appropriate preparedness and response are in place should major accidents nevertheless happen. The EU Seveso-Directive I* was later amended in light of the lessons learned from later accidents such as Bhopal, Toulouse and Enschede.
WHY ARE THE SEVESO RULES IMPORTANT FOR OPERATORS IN THE EU OR GERMANY?
The EU counts more than 12,000 industrial establishments where dangerous substances are used or stored in large quantities, mainly in the chemical and petrochemical industry, as well as in fuel wholesale and storage (including LPG and LNG) sectors. Germany being very densely populated has, at the same time, the highest number of Seveso establishments in the EU (3,264 in 2015) followed by France, Italy and the UK.
WHY WAS THE SEVESO III DIRECTIVE** ADOPTED?
The EU Seveso I and II Directives marked a quantum leap in increasing the level of protection against hazardous accidents and their consequences throughout Europe. Yet, a review of the effects of the legislation revealed that the overall rate of major accidents had remained stable.
In response to this the EU legislator introduced further obligations for operators of Seveso establishments in order to strengthen the level of protection and prevention of major accidents. Among the most important provisions are notification, information and permit requirements and, as in all current EU environmental regulations, comprehensive provisions on public consultation and participation in decision-making.
WHAT IS IMPORTANT ABOUT THE GERMAN IMPLEMENTATION?
The German implementation happened late, almost two years after the implementation deadline set by the EU Seveso III Directive and under the EU Commission’s threat to initiate infringement procedures against Germany. It introduced – quite unnoticed by the operators – new permit, notification and information requirements spread in the German Emissions Control Act (Bundesimmissionsschutzgesetz, BImSchG) and the Seveso Ordinance (Störfallverordnung, 12. BImSchV).
First of all, the categories and list of named dangerous substances in the annex were reclassified according to the new EU nomenclature for chemical substances and mixtures (CLP-Regulation***). Further, new definitions were introduced such as the appropriate safety distance or the neighbouring establishments as well as new procedures for notification or permitting of relevant changes. Also, provisions on information of the public and authority supervision of Seveso establishments were included.
WHERE DO THE NOTIFICATION AND PERMIT REQUIREMENTS APPLY?
Most importantly, for new Seveso establishments, which may not even need a permit under the German emissions control regulations, a specific Seveso-permit or -notification may now be required. They apply in case of the erection and operation of a new establishment or in case of modifications to an existing establishment which could have significant consequences for major-accident hazards. Also, new developments around establishments, where the siting may increase the risk or consequences of a major accident, can trigger such duty. In all cases the authority must verify whether the changes lead to a first undercut of the appropriate safety distance. If this is the case, a permit procedure with public consultation and participation is required.
COULD YOU EXPLAIN THE CONCEPTS OF APPROPRIATE SAFETY DISTANCE AND NEIGHBOURING ESTABLISHMENTS?
The safety distance is determined in view of the following parameters: Substances involved, accident-scenarios, typical spread or diffusion of the substances in an accident and potentially affected neighbouring establishments.
Relevant neighbouring establishments are on one hand sensitive uses such as residential areas, schools, hospitals or refugee homes and on the other hand prone to increase the risk or the consequences of a major accident. By now only some administrative guidelines on the determination of safety distances exist, but still no binding regulation.
Operators will, in their own interest to save time and expenditure, commission an expert to determine the safety distance which is then submitted to the authority. Obviously, the appropriate safety distance is a flexible concept that has to be adjusted to every individual case. By taking additional preventive measures the operator may shorten the spread and, thus, the required safety distance to sensitive neighbouring uses.
WHAT APPLIES TO EXISTING ESTABLISHMENTS?
Operators of establishments generally covered by the Seveso rules, but not affected by the legal changes had to submit a notification with detailed information by 14 July 2017 to the authority. The new Seveso regulations pose a substantial additional burden on the affected industry, new permit and notification procedures require diligent preparation and involve costs and time. At least the authorities appear to be conscious of the interests involved on both side when applying the new requirements.
*Directive 82/501/EEC of 24 June 1982 on the major-accident hazards of certain industrial activities, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:31982L0501&from=EN.
**Directive 2012/18/EU of 4 July 2012 on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32012L0018&from=EN.
***Regulation 1272/2008/EU of 16 December 2008 on the Classification, Labelling and Packaging of substances and mixtures, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32008R1272&from=EN.
Enderle will be talking more about the consequences of the Seveso III Directive on German operators in the afternoon of the first day of the Tank Storage Germany conference on November 29. For more information visit www.tankstoragegermany.com.
Phillips 66 is jointly developing an autonomous robot that can inspect storage tank floors while product remains in the tank.
Jointly working with Square Robot, the companies are developing the untethered robot, which is currently being designed and is expected to be certified for use in a wide range of petroleum products.
The robot is expected to enter service in mid-2018.
In order to examine tank bottoms, the structures are taken out of service to be drained, opened and cleaned. This robot will be able to automatically survey and map obstacles within a tank while it remains in service. This will create a specific route map allowing maximum coverage of the tank floor.
Using non-destructive testing data gathered, a certified inspector will produce a floor thickness map allowing for a more accurate prediction of a tank floor's remaining life.
Todd Denton, general manager, midstream operations, Phillips 66, says: 'Ensuring the integrity of our equipment is one of our top priorities and we are always looking for innovative new technologies to help us achieve this.
'Our collaboration with Square Robot presents a unique opportunity to develop technology that will enable us to maintain our equipment and minimise disruption to our customers.'
Fujairah's commercial stocks of refined oil products rose 7.9% to 17.278 million barrels in the week to Monday, October 16, having sunk to a near nine-month low the previous week, as a number of petrol cargoes arrived at the port, according to data from the Fujairah Energy Data Committee (FEDCom).
The overall rise was largely due to an increase in light distillates, which rose by 25.6% week on week to 5.72 million barrels.
The petrol market is bullish East of Suez, while a closed arbitrage to the US is likely to make more European petrol available to the Middle East, according to Platts Analytics.
While light distillate stocks jumped, stocks of middle distillates fell back 2.5% to 2.884 million barrels, and staying below 3 million barrels for a fifth week in a row. This is after rising nearly 20% last week.
The latest drop comes as Europe continued to draw in gasoil volumes from India and the Middle East on an open arbitrage. The east-west gasoil exchange of futures for swaps fell to a two-week low of minus $27.34/mt on Wednesday, mainly on a renewed tightening in the European market.
Stocks of heavy distillates and residues in Fujairah edged up 2% to 8.674 million barrels, but this is still well below the average of 10.49 million barrels since the start of the year after large draws in recent weeks.
Bunker demand has been reported as healthy, and this is expected to be supported by a seasonal rise in global refining this quarter, prompting a rise in regional crude and product tanker traffic.
Jacobs Engineering Group has been awarded a greenfield fuel storage and distribution terminal contract in Mexico by Invex Infraestructura.
Jacobs is expected to perform engineering services and support Invex with regulation compliance and safe and efficient execution. The engineering phase will provide the basis for construction and operations of the strategic terminal.
Jacobs Petroleum and Chemicals senior vice president and general manager global operations Mark Bello, says: 'This project, which is expected to help boost confidence in fuel supply throughout the country, is fully in line with Jacobs' strategy and continued focus on developing storage terminal opportunities in Mexico and Latin America.
Jacobs provides technical, profession and construction services for industrial, commercial and government organisations globally.
Enbridge Energy has had a Presidential permit issued for its Line 67 pipeline following a five-year review process.
The permit authorises the company to increase transport up to a full design capacity of 890,000 barrels per day of crude oil and other hydrocarbons across a three-mile segment at the US – Canada border near Neche, North Dakota though Enbridge's terminal in Wisconsin.
Line 67 currently operates under an existing Presidential permit that was issued by the State Department in 2009. The 2017 permit authorises Enbridge to fully utilise its capacity across the border.
Line 67 is a key component of Enbridge's mainline system, which US refineries rely on to supply crude oil.
The company says in a statement: 'The renewed focus of the State Department and this permit reaffirms Line 67 continues to serve the national interest by delivering secure and reliable supplies of crude oil to US refineries, including those in Minnesota and neighbouring states.'
ExxonMobil has bought a crude oil storage terminal in Wink, Texas from Genesis Energy.
The Delaware Basin terminal is strategically positioned to handle Permian Basin crude oil and condensate for transport to Gulf Coast refineries and marine export terminals. It is interconnected to the Plains Alpha Crude Connector pipeline system, and is permitted for 100,000 barrels per day of throughput with the ability to expand.
Gerald Frey, president of ExxonMobil Pipeline Company, says: 'The terminal provides crude producers with a full range of logistical options including truck, rail and inbound and outbound pipeline access, not only for ExxonMobil's production, but for all Permian Basin producers.
'It also provides shippers with efficient and cost-effective access to market destinations in the Gulf region.'
Once complete, this terminal will be ExxonMobil's first in the Permian Basin to be anchored by the company's newly acquired Delaware Basin acreage.
Odfjell Terminals is set to sell its 50% ownership in Oiltanking Odfjell Terminal Singapore to a fund managed by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets for $300 million.
The transaction will result in a net gain for Odfjell of approximately $135 million. The closing of the transaction is expected during the fourth quarter of 2017.
Kristian Mørch, CEO of Odfjell and chairman of Odfjell Terminals, says: 'We are pleased to have concluded on the sale of our Singapore terminal at what we believe is a very attractive valuation and a testimony to the strength and quality of the investments made in Singapore since 2001.'
Frank Erkelens, CEO of Odfjell Terminals, adds: 'This divestment is in line with our strategy to focus on the terminal where we have managerial control of the assets and to further invest in growth opportunities in our core markets, such as Houston and Rotterdam.'