The UK’s Tank Storage Association (TSA) has published its 2020 Annual Review, looking at the country’s bulk liquid storage sector.
The review includes information on terminals, process safety, occupational health and safety, and the sector’s contribution to the UK economy, as well as a look at the future of the industry.
The UK bulk liquid storage industry generated £3 billion (€3.3 billion) in revenue in 2019. In the UK and Ireland, the sector employs 3,790 people across 291 terminals, with 10,248,395 m3 of storage capacity. Most of the storage capacity (9.3 million m3) is for oil and its derivatives, with chemicals having the second largest storage capacity with 668,000m3. In 2019 the sector had an aggregated throughput of 69.9 million tonnes. Planned investment in the next five years amounts of £607 million.
Earlier in 2020, the TSA published a report entitled Enabling the energy transition – The role of the bulk liquid storage sector, which showed how important the sector will be as the UK seeks to move towards decarbonisation. The new annual report reinforces the message that the bulk liquid storage sector is well-positioned to aid the transition, able to accommodate a wide range of alternative energy sources, employs highly trained personnel and meets key ongoing safety and environmental standards. TSA calls on the government to capitalise on the advantages of the sector. The annual report draws out several key recommendations, including that the sector must ensure that the energy transition advances in parallel with required changes in bulk liquid infrastructure, setting out clearly defined transition paths and realistic timelines to enable a stable landscape for long-term investment, and facilitation dialogue with industry to ensure cooperation and knowledge transfer in safety for alternative energy solutions.
Process safety standards continue to be very high in the sector, with just one tier 1 (significant loss of containment) event reported in 2019, and two tier 2 events (smaller losses of containment). TSA says that even with these very small incident numbers, the industry will not get complacent. The organisation is contributing to a number of safety working groups and producing its own guidance on the design, management and maintenance of process facilities, as well as a suite of terminal specific safety indicators, in order to maintain these high standards.
The sector remains one of the safest to work in for employees, with proportionally fewer workplace injuries than almost all other sectors.
‘Now in its fifth year of publication, the review provides a comprehensive insight into the bulk liquid storage sector in the UK and the context in which it operates. In addition to valuable statistical information, this year’s report presents an overview of how the sector and associated logistics will have a key role to play in the energy transition and in supporting the achievement of the UK’s decarbonisation targets. We all know what an incredible tank storage sector we have in the UK. Looking ahead, we are determined to up the ante and continue leading from the front,’ says Peter Davidson, Executive Director of the Tank Storage Association.