Tank Storage Magazine v08 i01


Volume: 8
Issue: 1
Date Published: January 19, 2012



Tank storage in the Middle East

Tank terminal capacity is being expanded at a number of sites in the Arabian Gulf region in response to growing demand for liquid fuel storage, an important share of which is being built by third party tank terminal operators. Some chemical storage capacity is also being built, a new development as until now most chemical production has been exported direct to end users or to chemical terminal distribution hubs outside the Gulf region in Asia and Europe. The expansion in storage capacity is largest in the UAE, where major industrial sectors reliant on tank storage continue to grow, including petrochemicals, refining and marine fuel bunkering.

SOCAR AURORA Fujairah Terminal commissions first tanks

SOCAR AURORA Fujairah Terminal has completed phase one of its 641,000m3 terminal and the first cargo from SOCAR Trading, Geneva is expected shortly. Commercial operation of three tanks, consisting of 115,000m3 capacity, will begin on 30 January. The partnership between SOCAR (the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic) and Aurora Progress, the Swiss based commodity trading house, was established in May 2010. All the infrastructure for the facility has been built and the company will now start on phase two of the project.


PetroChina Pipeline R&D Centre has developed a GIS-based oil-flow model for rapid predictions of the movement of spilled oil and environmental sensitivity analysis. This simulation model has been used to analyse the environmental impact of a tank farm in Qinhuangdao Wharf in 2D and 3D. The results show the potential oil leak areas for each tank, taking into account factors such as oil density and viscosity, and allow operators to adjust response times accordingly in their contingency plans. The target of the study isto calculate spill areas in simulation scenarios, identify the rivers or ponds influenced by oil leaks, and suggest reasonable response times.

Selling strategy for smaller independents

Ownership of storage and terminalling assets by independent third party operators continues to rise. This select group now controls approximately 15-17% of total global capacity. This trend, which began around 2005, is expected to increase notably over the next 10 years. This shift in asset ownership is overwhelmingly driven by major oil and gas producers divesting their storage and terminalling assets, particularly in more mature markets such as the US and Europe. While a significant number of these independent owners are large commercial operators, there is an important and growing number of smaller scale, family-owned players, ranging from the banks of the Mississippi River in the US to the rapidly growing markets in Vietnam and India.

Standardisation in vapour recovery

Vapour recovery units used in truck distribution depots tend to be highly standardised, related directly to the size of the depot. The number of loading bays and the daily throughput are key design parameters in determining an appropriately sized system. There are a number of key parameters and factors necessary to correctly size a vapour recovery unit. Should these be not readily available, it is often possible with experience and the knowledge of some basic data about the depot, to develop an acceptable loading profile for the depot. The basic information required would include the following points: • Number of loading bays that can be used simultaneously • Number of loading arms that can simultaneously be used per loading bay • Maximum filling rate per loading arm • Maximum size of the trucks/railcars loaded at the depot • The depot’s daily throughput.

Fall prevention, not just protection

Working at a height has become increasingly safer over the past few years. One example is the increased use of safety cages. Unlike safety belts, which protect just one individual against falling, safety cages aim to protect everyone accessing the working area. The primary goal of safety cages is to prevent someone from falling. Experience shows that in most cases it is sufficient for someone to have a support when losing their balance to prevent a fall. This has resulted in the latest European guideline ‘Working at height’, which has the following guidelines: • Reducing the risk as much as possible (risk analysis, education, working instructions) • Install collective protection (safety cages, folding stairs) • Install individual protection (safety harness, personal protection).

Integrating loading solutions

When considering which loading arm to choose, many factors must be considered, such as the technology behind a particular manufacturer’s swivel joints, correct seal material selection, vapour recovery, dry break coupler systems, break away devices and overfill prevention. But one question is often overlooked – will the loading arm work with the company’s new or existing truck, or railcar loading racks? In other words, can the loading arm be integrated into the loading rack and work with other dynamic equipment such as safe access and fall prevention cages, overhead obstructions such as canopies and roofs, piping, valves and other associated equipment typically found at loading rack sites?

Covering up

In the petroleum industry,chemicals are blanketedto reduce the release ofvolatile organic components(VOCs), which pose risks topeople and the environment. In blanketing applications self-acting safety valves are used for security, while pressure regulators control blanket gas pressure. A pressure regulator is used instead of a control valve because regulators respond to pressure changes more quickly and accurately. Blanketing requirements are calculated either by the direct method, or according to API, ISO or EN standards.The direct method considers only flow pumping in, while API, ISO or EN take into account the vapourisation of fluid and thermal effect. For low volatility products kept at constant temperature or in small containers, the direct method is used. API, ISO or EN is used for flammable fluids, large tanks and outdoor tanks. The most commonly applied standard is API 2000 6th edition.

A new way to dissipate electrical charge

On a fairly regular basis, certain types of tanks explode or catch fire, sometimes, but not always, during electrical storms. This is a recurring industry problem without areliably effective solution. There are two possible causes of this type of incident: a direct or proximate lightning strike, or static discharge. Direct attachment may be the cause of some incidents, but it is not the likely culprit in most cases. There have been many incidents that occurred when lightning was not present in the area. Additionally, there have been many incidents involving steel tanks. It is unlikely lightning attachment caused burn throughor heating ignition of vapour in these tanks. Therefore, the most likelyc ause is static discharge.

Settling disputes in the UK

In any business, particularly ones which involves cross dealingswith third parties, disputes invariably arise and businessmen get involvedin legal suits. There is an apprehension that once a case has begun it will continue for a long time, and that the litigant will have to bear the costs of the litigation and the legal costs of their adversary, should the claim be decided against them. Therefore, it is advisable parties aim to settle the dispute. Provisions have been made in legal procedures which allow parties the scope to make a legal settlement. Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules provides a statutory procedure for settlement which is complete in its ownright. A Part 36 Offer, as it is popularly called, is a self contained code and provides guidelines for parties on how to make or accept an offer to settle. Interestingly, a Part 36 offer must be in writing and state whether it relates to the full claim or a part there of andit also allows an opportunity for the person receiving the offer (the offeree) to seek clarifications of the offer made by the offeror. Parties should exerciseabundant caution in makingan offer of settlement andconducting settlementdialogue, as it needs to beabsolutely sure they concludea settlement only of thatdispute which they intendand no more.

Reducing environmental risks exposure

Over the last 50 years incidents inthe tank storage industry have included: • 23 boilovers • 138 fatalities • 547 injuries • 101 million barrels of product lost – burnt • 56 tanks destroyed • Eight industrial plants damaged. Taken in the context of increasing global environmental regulation, where operators are now more frequently being targeted for enforcement actions, these statistics demonstrate a real and significant risk to operators of exposure to legal liability under national, provincial/state and local environmental laws. The storage, transport and distribution of dangerous and hazardous materials, is an inherently risk driven business, although new environmental regulations are rapidly changing the nature and extent of exposure to costs for loss and damage, should they occur.