Latest storage news
Tropical Storm Harvey continues to wreak havoc along the Gulf Coast.
At least 33 people have been killed in eastern Texas in the aftermath of the storm as the region continues to experience catastrophic flooding.
Heavy rainfall is expected from Louisiana to Kentucky over the next three days and many oil majors, pipeline and storage operators have shut down or halted operations as a result.
On Tuesday, August 29, rising water levels within the Guadalupe river system washed out four storage tanks at one of ConocoPhillips' well sites in DeWitt County, Texas.
The tanks are used to temporarily store produced oil and produced water from the well. The tanks held approximately 385 barrels of oil and 76 barrels of produced water but the actual spill volume has not been determined. At the time, the well remained shut-in, so no oil and water were flowing to the tanks.
The company says that all applicable federal and state regulatory agencies were notified immediately.
As of Wednesday, August 30, Colonial Pipeline's facilities west of Lake Charles, Louisiana are temporarily out of service due to the storm. Due to supply constraints and the suspension of its facilities, Colonial's line 2, which transports diesel and aviation fuels, was suspended Wednesday night. Line 1, which transports petrol, was suspended on Thursday, August 31.
The company says once it is able to ensure that its facilities are safe to operate and refiners in Lake Charles and points east have the ability to move product to Colonial, its system will resume operations.
Alan Gelder, Wood Mackenzie vice president research, says that the closure is a major disruption of the US East Coast and that US East Coast buyers are 'scrambling for supplies'.
'Typical Colonial Pipeline volumes are equivalent to Europe's petrol exports, so these volumes will be difficult to replace and will require supplies from distant regions if the outage is prolonged.
'At the peak of the disruption, 4.5 million bpd of refining capacity was shutdown. We estimate that 2 million bpd of petrol and 1.4 million bpd of distillates have been lost in the US Gulf Coast.'
Explosions at Arkema
In the early hours of Thursday morning, Arkema was notified of two explosions and black smoke coming from its plant in Crosby, Texas. An evacuation zone of 1.5 miles from the plant had been previously established. It shut down operations on the Friday before the storm made landfall.
The company says: 'Our site followed its hurricane preparation plan in advance of the recent hurricane and we had redundant contingency plans in place. However, unprecedented flooding overwhelmed our primary power and two sources of emergency backup power. As a result, we lost critical refrigeration of the products on site. Some of our organic peroxides products burn if not stored at low temperatures.
'Organic peroxides are extremely flammable and, as agreed with public officials, the best course of action is to let the fire burn itself out.'
Organic peroxides are used in applications such as making pharmaceuticals and construction materials.
According to S&P Global Platts, Motiva, Total and Valero have closed their Port Arthur plants, however Valero is in the process of restarting its Corpus Christi and Three Rivers refineries and Marathon is restarting its Texas City plant.
The Houston Ship Channel was closed Wednesday to incoming and outgoing traffic and port condition Zulu remains for Louisiana port Lake Charles and Texas ports Beaumont, Nederland, Orange, Port Arthur, Port Neches, Sabine and Sabine Bar.
Corpus Christi port plans to return to normal operations on September 4.
Emerson has launched the DeltaV Mobile, a new platform that provides access to real-time data, trends and insights to facilitate better-informed, critical operations decisions.
The mobile platform leverages Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and is part of the company's Plantweb digital ecosystem. It fuses smartphone technology with process control data to make operational intelligence available 24/7 for industries including oil and gas operations, refineries, chemical plants, and life sciences facilities.
DeltaV Mobile removes the confines of the control room and enables the digital worker to monitor operations and see critical operational data when, how and where they want, without waiting for regular business hours, manual reports, or being tied to a computer.
By integrating seamlessly and securely with the DeltaV distributed control system, DeltaV Mobile delivers critical contextual data. With added context, DeltaV Mobile users can make better decisions around operational events that could affect bottom-line business results. Incorporating Emerson's Plantweb Secure First Mile technology, DeltaV Mobile provides safe, remote access to important plant data without impacting critical production systems.
'DeltaV Mobile is an important Industrial IoT tool to help companies make decisions faster and smarter,' says Jamie Froedge, president, process systems and solutions, Emerson Automation Solutions. 'Mobile intelligence will transform operational workflows and practices and drive collaboration across the enterprise, which helps customers reach top quartile performance.'
JA Envirotanks secured a £250,000 deal with IMAL to design and supply six vertical, cylindrical tanks.
The tanks will be used to store isocyanates as part of an MDF manufacturing facility being built in Scotland.
JA Envirotanks used advanced 3D simulation and design analysis to assess the mechanical stresses on the tanks.
These tests reveals the need to deploy higher grades of steel in the construction of the tanks than initially specified. The company was able to incorporate these design changes with minimal impact on the production timeframe and the tanks were delivered throughout June.
Neil Ferguson, director, JA Envirotanks, says: 'By combining new tools such as simulation with a history of craftsmanship and expertise, these projects are turned around quickly and cost-effectively, ensuring this part of the supply chain functions exactly as it should.'
Fujairah's commercial stocks of refined oil products fell 8.1% to 20.685 million barrels in the week to Monday (August 21), sinking to a nine-week low.
The decline in total stock levels was on the back of large draws in inventories of middle and heavy distillates, which both fell to their lowest level in more than two months, data released on August 23 by the Fujairah Energy Data Committee (FEDCom) showed.
However, stocks of light distillates, predominantly petrol and naphtha, rose by 371,000 barrels, or 5.8%, to 6.787 million barrels, remaining close to the average for the past six weeks of 6.64 million barrels. While the Asian petrol market remained steady, the Middle East petrol market continued to find near-term support from tighter supply both east and west of Suez due to a spate of fires at key refineries.
In particular, the PetroChina refinery at Dalian, China, and the GS Caltex refinery at Yeosu, South Korea, were expected to reduce reduce petrol output for a period following recent incidents, mainly affecting supply in the Asian market.
The fire last Thursday at the Dalian refinery in northeastern China, one of the country's largest, broke out in the plant's 1.4 million mt/year residue fluid catalytic cracker, which produces mainly petrol. The Caltex refinery, South Korea's second largest, shut a heavy oil upgrading unit after a fire broke out in the 66,000 b/d vacuum residue hydrocracker at its complex in Yeosu, resulting in a loss of light and middle distillate production capacity.
That confluence of events could potentially draw more petrol barrels eastwards from the Middle East and India, reversing the previous stock build in light distillates seen at Fujairah over the previous three weeks.
First month/second month time spreads for Arab Gulf petrol 95 swaps were at a firmer backwardation, up to $1.77/b this week -- the strongest seen so far this year.
PERNIS ARBITRAGE PULL PETERS OUT
Stocks of middle distillates at Fujairah totaled 3.187 million barrels on Monday, August 21, a 10-week low, following a sharp 21.1% drop week on week. Local sources cited strong demand from the Persian Gulf region as the main driver for the 852,000 barrels draw. That was most likely to have been related to continued high temperatures throughout the region extending the summer peak demand period for electricity to run air conditioning. That may have caused some Arab states with insufficient gas supplies to turn to diesel and gasoil as short-term fuels for power generation.
Interest to move arbitrage volumes of gasoil and jet fuel to Europe has cooled. The temporary pull created by the recent outage at the Pernis refinery in the Netherlands has now ended. The East-West Gasoil exchange of futures for swaps was pegged Tuesday, August 22 at the lowest level seen so far this month, indicating no arbitrage opportunity to move gasoil west. At the same time, the Asian gasoil market was seen as oversupplied due to weaker seasonal diesel demand in a number of countries.
The first month/second month time spread for Arab Gulf gasoil swaps was pegged at 3 cents/b Tuesday, and could flip into contango if the current oversupply in Asia persists.
Fujairah's stocks of heavy distillates and residues, which make up more than half the oil product volumes stored at the UAE Arabian Sea port, fell 1.348 million barrels, or 11.2%, week on week to a 12-week low at 10.711 million barrels. Stock levels remained close to totals seen in recent weeks.
The week's substantial draw was attributed mainly to a number of fuel oil shipments to Pakistan. Local sources said such shipments accounted for up to half the recent volume departing from Fujairah.
Demand for bunker fuel in Fujairah was reported as improving in recent days, after weeks of being seen as lackluster. Fujairah 380 CST delivered bunkers were assessed at a premium of $2.50-$3.00/mt over Singapore this past week, having been at a discount for most of the previous month. The first month/second month time spread for Arab Gulf 180 CST HSFO swaps was pegged at a backwardation of 35 cents/mt.
Sentiment in the Singapore fuel-oil market was tentative amid uncertainty over September arbitrage supply. Supply from the Middle East was seen rising in September as power generation demand eases from its summer peak. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, in particular, was expected to offer additional straight run fuel oil via tender. ADNOC should be well positioned to make such offers as a January fire at its 800,000 b/d Ruwais refinery, the Middle East's largest, severely damaged a residue fluid catalytic cracking unit, with the result that refinery yields have shifted toward the heavier end until repairs are completed in 2019.
S&P Global Platts estimated about 230,000 mt/month of petrol production capacity was lost at Ruwais due to the fire, which would mean a substantially increased yield of fuel oil if crude processing remained constant. The full effect of the lengthy repairs at Ruwais may be about to become apparent in the region as Middle East fuel oil demand was expected to begin its seasonal downturn in September. That could lead to increased fuel oil stock levels later in the year.
Odfjell's performance in its terminals portfolio has helped to soften to impact of challenging energy markets.
Odfjell Terminals reported an EBITDA of $10.4 million in the second quarter of 2017 compared to $9.4 million in the previous quarter. This result saw some negative effects from the end of the contango for middle distillates, mostly affecting its Rotterdam terminal.
The company expects this to continue, however, the long-term contracts for most of its distillation services capacity at the terminal will provide a stable source of income.
Odfjell Terminals has finalised the basic engineering and have all the required permits in place for its first independent ethylene export terminal in Houston, US. It is ready to start construction as soon as it has the appropriate commitments from customers, with whom it is in continuous dialogue to finalise agreements.
Additionally, the company initiated the process to potentially sell its shares in the Singapore terminal. It has received high interest from numerous potential buyers.
Odfjell has also completed the sale of its 35% indirect ownership share in the Exir Tank Terminal in Iran.
Kirstian Mørch, CEO of Odfjell, says: 'We are not satisfied reporting a net loss for the quarter, but our operational performance remains strong. The CTG transaction completed our current growth ambitions and ensures that Odfjell can continue to offer competitive and efficient service to our customers.'
Zenith Energy has announced plans to acquire Arc Logistics Partners to create a terminaling business with more than 22 million barrels of storage.
Zenith and Warburg Pincus have formed Zenith Energy US, which will acquire Arc. The company will acquire all of Arc's outstanding public common units, all of the common units owned by Lightfoot Capital Partners and certain private interests owned by the sponsors of Arc Logistics.
The merger agreement and the transactions have been approved by the boards of directors of both Zenith US and Arc Logistics.
Once complete Zenith will have a terminaling business with more than 22 million barrels of crude oil, petroleum products and other liquids storage.
Jeff Armstrong, president and CEO of the Zenith businesses, says: 'We are very excited to build a platform enabling us to enter the US terminaling market, and very pleased to combine with Arc Logistics in this transformative transaction that will significantly increase the Zenith group of companies' footprint, expanding our scope of services to our combined customers worldwide.
'Arc Logistics' diversified portfolio of logistics assets serves critical links between supply and demand locations in the US, and we intend to further develop their existing terminals as well as pursue new developments throughout North America.'
Financial results for Vopak's operations in the Netherlands were below expectations, however its operations in the Americas are above expectations.
In its first half 2017 report, the company says that its EBITDA of €394 million, a reduction of 6%, reflects a positive market sentiment in the Americas and a stable business environment for its terminals in Asia and Europe, Middle East and Africa. However, the market environment in the Netherlands has weakened compared to 2016.
As such, it has announced new growth projects totalling 387,000 m3, with an expansion at its Pengerang oil terminal in Malaysia of 430,000 m3 as well as its Alemoa terminal in Brazil with an additional 44,900 m3.
It says it is on track with the completion of the current slate of projects under construction, amounting to 3.2 million m3 of capacity, of which most are backed by commercial storage contracts.
Additionally, the company's efficiency programme to reduce its future cost base with at least €25 million by 2019 is well underway.
Looking ahead, Vopak expects that its 2017 EBITDA will be around 5% to 10% lower than the 2016 EBITDA due to lower occupancy rates, additional costs related to investments, missing contributions from its divested terminals in early 2016 and the foreign currency exchange developments in 2017.
Eelco Hoekstra, CEO, says: 'Although our EBITDA is lower compared to last year, I am encouraged with the ongoing transition of our global portfolio. While focusing our business development efforts more on projects related to chemical and industrial terminals, and terminals facilitating the global gas markets, [...] we are still pursuing oil related opportunities in emerging countries.
'Although we cannot influence the supply and demand of commodities in a business environment characterised by increasing competition, geopolitical developments and volatility in the energy and financial markets, we can influence the quality of our capital investments, lowering operating costs and improving our service.
'In order to support the successful realisation of our 2019 ambitions, we have defined several actions throughout the various levels of the organisation, from further streamlining the divisional structure of the company to simplifying processes.'
Burgan Cape Terminals, an independent fuel storage, distribution and loading terminal, has opened in the Port of Cape Town.
The new facility is now fully operational after receiving its pilot consignment of diesel in the first week of July. It was also tested before it became fully operational.
The facility, located at the port's eastern mole, is the new facility for cleaner fuels and will help with security of fuel supply in the region.
It has a total capacity of 122,000 m3 across 12 tanks and it can store diesel, petrol, FAME and ethanol for blending and jet fuel. It will also offer the option to blend bioethanol and biofame.
The facility is designed to recieve fuel product by sea, store it, and distribute it by truck. It will provide an essential alternative for local fuel supply, and will significantly reduce the chances of fuel shortages previously experienced in the region.
Construction work started in 2015 after the Transnet National Ports Authority awarded Burgan a 24-year lease to develop the facility.
Rob Nijst, CEO of major shareholder VTTI, says: 'The black-empowered, independent storage facility will play a critical role in strengthening the country's security of fuel supply, energy flexibility and will enable South Africa to benefit from the latest and cleanest fuels.'
The terminal's jetty can accommodate vessels of up to 50,000 DWT, and product will be loaded into trucks for onward distribution by a fully automated loading rack. The facility expected to load more than 36,000 trucks in its first year. Burgan Cape Terminal has accelerated transportation of the sector with its inclusion of emerging black-owned, independent fuel suppliers and contributes to energy as one of the key commodities in driving economic growth.
Tropical Storm Harvey continues to batter the Texas Gulf Coast as major oil and gas players, as well as terminal operators, implement emergency plans to mitigate its affects.
The former hurricane – downgraded to a tropical storm – has devastated homes and communities as it slowly makes its way up the coast towards Louisiana. At least nine people are reported to have been killed and thousands have been rescued from the flooding. So far, nine trillion gallons of water has fallen in the Texas region – with the Houston area being the worst hit area. Areas southeast of downtown Houston reported more than 48 inches of rain, the most every recorded from a tropical storm in the contiguous US.
The storm made landfall on Friday night (August 25) as a category 4 hurricane near Corpus Christi. A further 20 inches of rain is expected to fall by the end of the week.
The storm has had a significant impact on the country's oil and gas industry and analysts have said it could be one of the 10 costliest storms in US history as insurers try to assess the damage.
According to S&P Global Platts, refinery outages and port closures continue to spread as the storm continued to flood the area, lifting petrol prices.
2.33 million b/d of refining capacity is shut, but with refiners also cutting rates that figures is expected to be much higher.
The stream of distillate cargoes from the US Gulf Coast to Northwest Europe and the Mediterranean basin has halted in the last eight days as the storm forced the closure of terminals, ports and refineries.
According to the US Department of Energy, 19% of oil production and 18% of natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico was shut-in. Six refineries in the Corpus Christi area and five refineries in the Houston/Galveston area are shut in. Four refineries in the Houston/Galveston area, one in the Beaumont/Port Arthur and two in the Lake Charles area are operating at reduced rates.
Houston-area refiners, including ExxonMobil, Valero, Magellan, Buckeye, Shell and Phillips 66 have shut some of their operations due to flooding.
The US Coast Guard set port condition Zulu, where the port is closed and all port operations are suspended, for Louisiana port Lake Charles and Texas ports Beaumont, Nederland, Orange, Port Arthur, Port Neches, Sabine and Sabine Bar.
Corpus Christi area ports and Houston/Galveston area ports remain closed.
The Galveston ship channel will remain closed to all inbound and outbound traffic for the next two days.
Magellan has suspended operations on two long-haul pipelines – BridgeTex and Longhorn, and Kinder Morgan has shut down select systems of its 3000,000 barrels per day crude and condensate pipeline in Texas.
Colonial Pipeline is running at reduced capacity due to limited supply from Houston refiners and the Explorer Pipeline closed midnight Tuesday to allow product to back up at the start of the line and enable faster deliveries at the northern end.
- Magellan has suspended operations at its crude terminal and condensate splitter in Corpus Christi;
- Buckeye Texas Partners has suspended all marine terminal operations in Corpus Christ, Texas and has shut down its crude, condensate, fuel oil and naphtha storage facilities in the area – totalling 2.3 million barrels of storage;
- Phillips 66 has suspended operations at its Freeport, Texas terminal after Port Freeport was closed;
- Phillips 66 has also shut its crude and products storage terminal at Nederland, Texas;
- NuStar Energy has shut down its crude and refined products terminal in Corpus Christi.
Check www.tankstoragemag.com for the latest news and developments on Tropical Storm Harvey.
Picture credit: NASA
Vopak has announced plans to add an additional 430,000 m3 of storage capacity at Pengerang Independent Terminals.
The expansion at the deep water independent liquid storage terminal, announced by the company and its joint venture partners, relates to clean petroleum products and will be commissioned progressively from the first quarter of 2019.
The expansion, comprising 24 new tanks ranging between 10,000 m3 and 25,000 m3, will bring overall capacity at the facility to 1.7 million m3. Additionally, one extra berth will be taken into operation, bringing the total number of operating berths to six.
The facility provides storage, blending and distribution services for crude oil and clean petroleum products.
It is connected with pipelines to the industrial terminal Pengerang Terminals (Two), which will be serving the new world-scale refinery and petrochemical complex currently under construction – known as the RAPID project.
In a statement, Vopak says the expansion is aligned with its strategy to invest in strategic hub locations.
It adds: 'The growing need for new storage capacity for clean petroleum products is amongst others based on Asia's growing structural need for petrol and jet fuel as well as the growing need for low sulphur diesel/gasoil as a result of the global low sulphur requirement for shipping as set by the International Maritime Organisation.'
Operations have started at Pin Oak Terminals' new multi-product liquid marine terminal in Louisiana.
The $600 million investment comprises storage terminals, docks and related infrastructure on a 431 acre parcel of land along the east bank of the Mississippi River at Mount Airy.
The facility is initially beginning operations with one dock, a two-bay truck rack and four tanks, with a capacity of 424,000 barrels of refined products and biofuels.
Pin Oak's services include offloading, storage, heating, blending and transfer of petroleum liquids. The company's permits allow construction of up to 10 million barrels of storage and unit-train loops at the site, which is positioned for shipping products by rail, pipeline, barge, ship and truck.
Michael Reed, Pin Oak's CEO, says: 'Pin Oak Terminals is a 15-year-old dream come true which is now being fully supported by the market. Customers have signed agreements for up to almost 4 million barrels for this new grass-roots terminal.'
Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards, says: 'Today's official opening of the Pin Oak Terminals is a testament to the continued strength of our energy and chemical corridor.'
Regulatory changes, the growth of technology and tighter restrictions on emissions are some of the key impacts affecting the tank storage sector.
A survey of the 2018 Tank Storage Awards judging panel reveals that currently, the biggest challenge facing operators is keeping track of changes to regulations as well as ensuring staff are on top of safety requirements and that they are compliant.
The panel of ten judges from across the storage sector, including representations from BP, Shell, Vopak, Oiltanking, Inter Terminals, LBC and VTTI highlights that human error is one of the biggest threats to storage terminals, followed by equipment failure and fire.
Looking to future developments, the judges feels that robots will be one of the next big developments in the sector. 'They can significantly bring down costs for maintenance and inspection activities and shorten out of service times,' they comment.
Additionally, the internet of things is another area where the judges see significant potential in the future as well as further automation of processes and an increasing importance in the role of technology.
Interestingly, the judges strongly agree that storage terminals do not rely too much on technology in their current operating models.
Comments from the judges say: 'These technologies need to be appropriate to the environment and a thorough understanding of the consequences of failure and any need of redundancy and protection from failure or interference, either malicious or unintentional is key to their success.'
The second Global Tank Storage Awards will be held after the first day of StocExpo Europe on March 20, 2018, at the Cruise Terminal in Rotterdam.
For more information, and to read the judges' survey in full, visit www.tankstoragemag.com/awards.
A new oil and chemical bulk liquid storage terminal has been opened in China.
The Weifang Sime Darby liquid terminal expands Weifang Sime Darby Port's range of services offered for storage and other terminal facilities.
The first phase of the facility was opened earlier this month, with a storage capacity of 406,000 m3. The second phase, which involves the construction of 91,000 m3 of capacity is expected to become operational in October. Building work on the final phase, with a capacity of 164,000 m3 is expected to be complete by the first half of 2019.
The terminal will be build, managed and operated by Weifang Sime Darby Liquid Terminals, a JV company owned equally by Sime Darby Overseas and Dragon Crown Group Holdings.
The port sits within the network of Longkou Port, Yantai Port, Weihai Port, Qingdao Port and Rizhao Port and it receives cargos from central, northern and western Shandong and Weifang city.
Timothy Lee Chi Tim, vice chairman of Weifang Sime Darby Liquid Terminal, says: 'The terminal is part of our RMB 2.8 billion master expansion plan, which will put Weifang Sime Darby Port on the roadmap to achieving our aim of becoming a significant multi-purpose port in the northeast Asian region.
'The launch of our liquid terminals is timely to capture the growing market for crude and refined oil, as well as chemicals in China. These commodities have benefitted from the gradual liberalisation of import and export policies in China.'
Funds from Inter Pipeline's bulk liquid storage segment declined in the second quarter of 2017 as a result of lower throughput and unfavourable foreign exchange rates.
The segment generated funds from operations of $25.3 million in the second quarter of 2017, a decrease from $29.6 million in the same period in 2016.
The company says that while utilisation rates were at 98%, compared to 97% in the same period last year, a decrease in throughput activity and the unfavourable foreign exchange rates contributed to lower funds from operations.
In June, the company commissioned 175,000 barrels of new chemical storage capacity at the Seal Sands terminal in the UK, comprising of five tanks. These tanks are supported by long-term contracts.
Overall, the company's funds from operations increased by 5% over the second quarter of 2016 to $207 million.
Ursa Space Systems has announced plans to provide the world's first global oil inventory reports.
The company says that the reports will build an 'accurate balance sheet for better insight on oil supply and demand'.
Currently, it provides an inventory report for China, but is looking to deliver global oil storage reports on a region-by-region basis, starting with the Caribbean, Middle East/North Africa and Europe. These reports are due to come online in the coming months.
Matt Wood, Ursa's VP of sales and marketing, says: 'Developed in close collaboration with our customers, the global product builds upon our success with Ursa's China oil storage report released in May.
Colin Fenton, of Blacklight Research, says: 'Energy trading is continually revolutionised by the emergence of technologies that bring new sources of knowledge and efficiency.
'As the promise of space-based remote sensing marched toward reality, we knew we had to find and partner with the best operation. Our access to Ursa's data has been a key edge for Blacklight in anticipating shifts in oil market fundamentals and prices so accurately in 2017.'
The reports provide weekly time series of oil stocks down to the tank level for a majority of the inventories on a regional basis. The measurements can then be used as an anchor in calculating an oil balance sheet, or as an input to models that predict prices of a wide range of commodities and other financial instruments.
Additionally, Ursa provides contextual information such as tank owner and storage type.