Tank Storage Magazine v09 i01


Volume: 9
Issue: 1
Date Published: January 18, 2013



Germany: new changes explained

Updated requirements for preventing explosions at tank storage facilities and filling plants for flammable liquids came in on 31 December 2012   Up until 2003 the requirements for the explosion prevention of tank storage facilities and filling plants for flammable liquids in Germany were legally based on the ‘Verordnung über brennbare Flüssigkeiten (VbF). The technical rules for this (TRbF) were prepared by the German Committee on Flammable Liquids (DAbF). In 2003 the VbF was replaced by a new regulation without including the DAbF, which meant that the TRbF was not updated because there was no legal requirement to do so. In 2008 a date was set to remove the TRbF from this new regulation – 31 December 2012. However as part of the TRbF20 storage facilities for packagings (drums and IBCs etc) were ‘saved’ in a technical rule falling into the scope of a regulation dealing with hazardous substances. In the TRGS 510 the requirements for storage facilities for transportable containments for hazardous substances are also summarised, but in very general terms.

A Prime location

With so much happening in Fujairah, Tank Storage magazine talks to IL&FS Prime Terminal, one of the latest companies to break ground in the rapidly developing region   The Port of Fujairah in the UAE is one region where storage overcapacity, in the long term, is definitely not a problem. Despite being the second largest oil bunkering port in the world, it has storage capacity of only 3 million m3 – insufficient for its growing daily volume of oil cargo handled. Although the storage capacity at Fujairah is envisaged to increase to 7 million m3, significant additional capacities will still be required to meet the increasing cargo volumes anticipated. The port is increasingly becoming a trading hub for petro products due to its proximity to shipping routes and high demand of oil products from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen, India and northeast African nations.

Double capacity = double trouble?

Operators in Fujairah are feeling pleased with themselves: refinery capacity is growing, the new ADCOP pipeline has just opened and the location is attracting traders from all across Asia. We speak to the main players to find out whether they are now in danger of overcapacity   Oil terminal storage capacity in the Middle East is forecasted to grow by about 5 million m3 over the next four years mainly due to the huge planned increase in storage capacity in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The region’s construction boom comes at a time of rising oil production in the Middle East to meet growing international demand, especially from India, China and expanding energy markets in southeast Asia. Demand is also growing in the Middle East itself, where several new refineries are planned to open over the next few years in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Fujairah, while a number of countries are planning to expand existing refineries.

In the storm's wake

Hurricane Sandy shut oil distribution infrastructure in the Northeast down cold at the end of last year, putting terminals, tanks and the supply chain to the ultimate test   The Arthur Kill Waterway, between New Jersey and Staten Island, New York, serves one of the busiest fuel and petrochemical distribution centres in the US. BP, Kinder Morgan, Phillips 66, Gulf Oil, NuStar and Motiva all have terminals on Arthur Kill, which was right in the main path of Hurricane Sandy’s record surge. There were several ‘minor’ spills along the waterway – two were equivalent to about one tanker truck each – but at the Sewaren, New Jersey terminal of Motiva Enterprises, (Shell), a tidal surge dislodged and ruptured a major fuel tank to discharge approximately 378,000 gallons of low-sulphur diesel into the water, officials said. Nearly three quarters of that amount escaped the containment area, rushing into the Arthur Kill and its tributaries. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Affairs says it is the state’s worst spill in over a decade. Kayla Macke, spokesman for Motiva, told Tank Storage magazine: ‘We continuously monitor inclement weather developments such as hurricanes, and initiate preparation and response plans to minimise any potential impacts accordingly. The safety of our employees and assets, the community, and the environment remains our top priority.’

Training: just like a fine wine...

In the world of health and safety, good workplace competency takes centre stage. In the early days, competency was a mere ideal thrashed out by safety experts over bad coffee. Now, competency has become the standard high hazard sites are compelled to achieve   Like a fine wine, competence matures over time. Bubbles of personal improvement float to the surface through a mix of training, on-thejob learning, instruction, assessment and qualification. Now, the Process Safety Leadership Group (PSLG) report into Safety and Environmental Standards for Fuel Storage Sites describes competency as: ‘A combination of practical and thinking skills, experience and knowledge. It means the ability to undertake responsibilities and to perform activities to a recognised standard on a regular basis.’ To clarify, competency simply means keeping the workplace safe today, tomorrow and happily thereafter.

Sometimes it takes a partnership

Terminal automation supplier Toptech Systems has partnered with Rotterdambased Argos Group and others in Europe to pilot a platform that is able to deliver terminal lifting data to partners that do business at these terminals. For the last few years Toptech has been working to address the various ‘right-tolift’ controls suppliers want to leverage to appropriately allocate to their customers. These controls include credit and allocation management as well as order-based loading. The Toptech Data Services (TDS) platform has been used in the US for the past 15 years. It is a hosted data exchange service between terminal operators and fuel suppliers. TDS services include Bill-of-Lading (BOL) data delivery as well as lifting control toolsets designed to give customers better visibility and management over their business.

Renovated tank foundations - design and safety considerations

The foundation is one of the most important parts of a storage tank. However most codes do not provide detailed requirements and guidance on foundation design. Furthermore, codes such as EEMUA and API do not provide recommendations on renovated tank foundations, only for newly built tanks. Certain types of foundation such as concrete ringwalls might be too expensive and time consuming for renovated tanks. Although the subsoil underneath a renovated tank has experienced greater load in the past, a systematic design methodology still has to be considered, especially when the subsoil conditions exhibit large settlement and are sensitive to variable loading. This is often neglected due to insufficient knowledge on foundation and subsoil conditions. Codes and standards also provide little guidance on this issue, raising difficulties to practitioners who then have to resort to engineering judgment for repaired tank foundations. In this case, expertise in local subsoil conditions and knowledge in foundation engineering design are of paramount importance.

Is a floating roof enough for shale oil tanks?

True vapour pressure (TVP) is a physical property pertaining to the potential of a liquid to evaporate. TVP is a critical parameter in the estimation of storage tank emissions, and it is also used to determine the applicability of air regulations to a given storage tank. When a regulated storage tank contains a volatile organic liquid which has a TVP greater than 11.1 pounds per square inch absolute (psia), regulations typically do not allow a floating roof as a control option but rather require the emissions to be routed to a vapour control device. Accurate determination of the TVP, then, is critical for determining whether a floating roof is an acceptable control option for a given storage tank. This issue has become particularly sensitive for the light crude oils that are produced from shale oil plays, in that traditional determination methods may predict the TVP of these light crude oils to occasionally exceed the 11.1 psia limit.

Making the commitment

Since degassing is one of the most dangerous and regulated procedures in a refinery, it’s important for all vendors to remain 100% dedicated to compliance and safety   The three biggest issues concerning tank degassing are: safety, regulatory compliance and price. Safety clearly leads that list, since refineries and petrochemical plants are some of the most technically sophisticated places on the planet. There is a zero-tolerance policy for mistakes and that is the way it should be. Price is always part of the equation since no one has money to burn; companies that cannot offer degassing services at a competitive price simply will not get the job.

Vapour recovery: a glossary of terms

The growth in environmental legislation throughout the world has garnered increasing interest, or indeed in many cases a legal requirement, in the recovery of hydrocarbon vapours (VOCs) from storage or the transfer of products from storage to carrier and vice versa. With the growth in the use of vapour recovery systems for an ever widening range of VOC products and applications, in ever growing areas of the world, this article provides an introduction to some of the key facts and terms commonly used; covering typical applications, the selection of equipment and vapour recovery technologies, the need for accuracy when preparing the design, achievable emission rates, practical recovery efficiencies and recovered product issues, such as absorbents to use and the risks of product cross contamination. Vapour recovery systems are used in a number of applications related with either the storage of VOC products or the transfer of the product from storage to the carrier or vice-versa, whether a truck, rail wagon, ship or barge. Typical products for which vapour recovery would be used include the following (and combinations of): petrol, diesel, intermediate products such as naphtha and condensates, finished chemicals such as benzene, toluene and xylenes, and there has also been increasingly significant growth in crude oil applications.

Logistics solution for marine loading arms holds key to refinery expansion

Shipping components 4,000km is an everyday occurrence, but when it comes to 39 highly advanced engineered marine loading arms – each one as big as three articulated lorries end to end and weighing almost 1,500 tonnes in total – there is a logistics challenge. The arms will form an integral part of the $10 billion (€7.5 billion) expansion plan to the refinery that is being created by Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (TAKREER). With vast gas and oil reserves, Abu Dhabi has a distinct advantage in the petrochemical sector and as such, the expansion of TAKREER’s Ruwais Refinery in Abu Dhabi forms an integral part of the oil refining industry in the UAE. Located 240km from Abu Dhabi along the Persian Gulf Coast, the new refinery will see an increase in production of 400,000 bpd when it becomes fully operational this year.

Searching for a liner resistant to benzene

When Flint Hills Resources set out to refurbish a tank that would hold benzene/ reformate, the company quickly realised it needed a secondary containment liner that was resistant to the chemical   Flint Hill Resources’ (FHR) petrochemicals are used to manufacture goods from plastics to building products to packaging materials; and it produces about 9 billion pounds of buildingblock chemicals annually. These chemicals, usually highly abrasive, are regularly stored in tanks and must use appropriate lining to prevent leakage. Tank owners typically defer to using HDPE liners despite understanding its limitations (i.e. cannot handle high temperatures, does not have high chemical resistance and does not provide dimensional stability). Their preference is due to a combination of the product’s cost, a certain level of chemical resistance and its fairly competent constructability. Historically, it has been known as one of the only options available.

How to avoid breaking the supply chain

Though it would be virtually impossible to determine the exact number of aboveground storage tanks that are located at the bulk storage facilities that dot the US landscape – the API puts the number somewhere in the range of 700,000 – it is safe to say that they play a critical role in the storage and transfer of any number of commodities. Hand in hand with this legion of vertical ASTs, which generally range in storage capacity from 500 to 300,000 barrels, or 21,000 to 12.6 million gallons, are the vessels – be they ocean-going ship, barge, railcar or truck – that are used to deliver these commodities to, or take them away from, the liquid-storage facility. From the most basic building-block chemical to the highest refined motor fuel, all would have spent some time being transferred into or out of a storage tank at a bulk storage facility. That is millions and millions of gallons of liquids, many of which can be hazardous, that are constantly on the move, and all of this transfer activity creates myriad opportunities for unwanted spills, leaks or loss of product containment.

High risk upgrades

The Port of Los Angeles is a flurry of activity as pressure intensifies to upgrade and repair oil terminals, some of which have been labelled ‘high risk’ by California state officials   A recent report from the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) to the city’s Board of Harbour Commissioners says work is set to start on over $100 million (€77 million) in construction, repair and upgrades to marine oil terminals in order to comply with California’s Marine Oil Terminal Engineering and Maintenance Standards (MOTEMS) programme. In fact projects accounting for more than $1 billion in construction are slated to continue at POLA into 2013, as the port strives to keep pace with its rapidly expanding international business. Many of the oil terminals, however, remain dated and ‘high risk’. Statewide, more than half of the marine oil terminals are 70-plus years old, and POLA has some of California’s oldest facilities. In fact, six of the seven at POLA were built between 1919 and 1923. The port’s ‘newest’ terminal dates back to 1938. POLA serves the densest population centre in North America. With the neighbouring Port of Long Beach it handles 60% of all waterborne imports from Asia, a trade corridor that continues to grow.

Covering all angles

How one terminal combined GPS and laser scanning for a comprehensive insight into the facility’s containment capacity   Secondary containment at a storage terminal is one thing, proving that it is adequate enough to comply with the relevant API standard is another. A terminal operator based in Texas, US was faced with this challenge with an upcoming audit. The problem was that site plans did not exist for most of the tanks and containments, and what plans did exist were unreliable, outdated, or simply did not contain any relevant information. The owner wanted to get as accurate a map as possible without blowing the budget. The volumetric calculations would be used in conjunction with other variables, such as above-average rainfall and tank areas and volumes, to determine the actual containment capacity of each individual area.

Tank Storage Asia 2012: Good news all round

The important take home from last year’s Tank Storage Asia Conference in Singapore is that demand for capacity in the region is very much on the up. One reason for this is that there is planned refining capacity of 6.5 million barrels a day. On top of this Asia is a net importer of naphtha and fuel oil and a net exporter of petrol, diesel and kerosene, which leads to product imbalances that require storage. Asia is at the forefront of global oil demand growth, with China a clear leader with strong growth in diesel and petrol. Onur Capan, manager of downstream oil service at Wood Mackenzie, added to the positivity by saying that there have been increasingly attractive rental rates in Singapore over the past few years and these are likely to remain robust in the long-term.