Tank Storage Magazine v09 i02


Volume: 9
Issue: 2
Date Published: March 4, 2013



New NACE standard introduces DNA-based corrosion detection

Tank farm and storage terminal infrastructures are susceptible to a number of internal corrosion threat mechanisms. Innovative molecular microbiological methods (MMM) are now being employed by the industry to diagnose and reduce the threat of microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC). Although forensic and medical sciences have used genetic methods for decades to provide valuable diagnostic clues, the application of MMM for solving MIC problems has only recently begun to see broader practical use in the oil, gas and petroleum industry. Over the past several years, an increasing number of technical papers have reported using MMM to investigate corrosion issues in the field. Likewise, the number of service providers and consultants providing these services to the oil and gas industry has also increased.

Transport LNG, turnaround times and Thames Oilport

Frits Eulderink, COO of Vopak, tells Tank Storage magazine what it is focusing on in 2013   The general financial climate has been anything but stable over the past few years, impacting everyone from car manufacturers to furniture retailers. Terminal operators, although more resilient than some, have not been immune to the affects. This year there are signs of economic recovery, but not everywhere, and as Frits Eulderink, COO of Vopak, explains, the uncertainty is not over yet. ‘People are more upbeat than they were a few years ago but the crisis is still apparent, especially in Europe,’ he explains.

A lot can happen in a year

Tank Storage Magazine looks at the key acquisitions that have taken place across Europe over the past 12 months   At the beginning of last year Canada’s Inter Pipeline Fund, which already owns Simon Storage, completed the acquisition of four oil storage terminals in Denmark from a subsidiary of Dong Energy for C$459 million (€342 million). With a combined capacity of close to 3.1 million m3 of European storage capacity now within its portfolio, Inter Pipeline Fund now has become one of the top bulk liquid storage providers in Europe. The company’s Danish subsidiary, Inter Terminals, operates four oil terminals at deepwater ports in the Danish Straits, a strategic position on the main trade route in and out of the Baltic and for much of northern Europe. The four terminals – Ensted, Stigsnaes, Asnaes and Gulfhavn – have a combined capacity of 1.8 million m3. Inter Terminals handles two categories of products. One category is heated oils in the form of fuel oil and vacuum gasoil. These are stored at the Ensted, Asnaes and Stigsnaes terminals, which have an aggregate capacity of close to 1.2 million m3. The other category is middle distillates, which in the company’s case currently means diesel, gasoil and jet fuel. The middle distillates are stored at the Gulfhavn facility where there is a little over 600,000m3 capacity. The company does not store crude oil or petrol at this point in time but is working on it, according to Inter Terminals’ CEO Aage Faurholt

Iraq's only privately owned storage site

Iraq-based SKA International Group was the first private company to be awarded a contract by the Iraqi Ministry of Oil (MoO) to supply commercial aviation fuel to airports throughout Iraq. The company is now involved in managing and constructing several major fuel storage facilities and has the capability to provide turnkey fuel supply and distribution solutions in some of the toughest locations in the world. SKA Energy is building a new storage facility strategically located at Khor Al Zubair Port in southern Iraq.

European storage: Geared up for growing trade

In the context of a recession where most European industries struggle with declining demand, the oil storage sector appears to benefit from growing trade volumes and has seen continued investment over the past few years   Preliminary data for OECD Europe suggests that oil products trade continued growing in 2012, although this was largely driven by a dramatic rise in petrol exports – underpinned by strong petrol margins – which offset the decrease in trade in most other product groups. While demand for oil products in Europe continues to decline, the prospects for trade are of further growth, with greater demand for storage capacity. However, with recently completed projects and those currently underway, it now appears that the storage market has enough capacity – perhaps even more than needed – to accommodate future trade flows. In 2011 the region’s petrol surplus was around 19 million tonnes (Mt), but the overall amount of finished petrol and components transiting through the region’s ports was close to 55 Mt. Around 18 Mt of this is traded within the region, either to supply local deficit markets (such as southeast England and western Sweden), or sent to Amsterdam- Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA for blending and re-export. Overall, ARA terminals capture a third of the intraregional petrol trade and this is set to increase as north west Europe’s petrol surplus will grow further to reach an estimated 28.6 Mt in 2025,the bulk of which will transit through ARA for long haul exports. Throughput at local supply terminals on the other hand are likely to decrease as demand continues to decline. Therefore long haul exports are the main driver of future petrolrelated businesses and Class I storage in the region, and ARA terminals will likely benefit from this volume growth, underpinned by blending capabilities and the scale of its operations. However, the main challenge going forward is to remain competitive in the export markets where it is becoming increasingly difficult to compete with US domestic supplies.

Facing cyber crime head on

Cyber security failures can impact a terminal, personnel, the environment and the corporate image just as much as any other major incident   Tank farms and storage are a key part of the bigger energy picture and nowhere is that more evident than in a discussion of security. Safety and physical security are combined in most discussions of this vital part of the energy equation, with continuous improvements in these areas and extending into environmental integrity. The unexpected risks associated with natural disasters and terrorism are also included in discussions of safety and physical security. However, when it comes to cyber security little, if any, discussion is included. Cyber security experts have their own colourful language to describe the various types of vulnerabilities and threats. No doubt you’ve read about worms, Trojan horses, rootkits, spyware, viruses (with names like Melissa, Anna Kournikova, Love Letter and Sweetheart – which, believe me, they’re not!). The script kiddies, virus writers and cybercriminals who develop this irritating to malicious software seem to have unlimited imagination, time and resources to devote to their dubious talent. It might be interesting to note that the first computer virus, named Creeper, was detected in the early 70s on ARPANET, the forerunner to today’s Internet. The good news is that great strides have been made in the area of cyber/network security. While a refinery, petrochemical or nuclear facility might be considered a bigger risk/target; all aspects of a refinery, chemical or infrastructure company are in scope for this team effort. And that is what security is – a team effort, since the weakest link (or network access point) is the most dangerous in our modern world.

What links Desert Storm, the Clinton-era federal budget deficit, Hurricane Katrina and the toppling of the Gaddafi regime in Libya?

What links Desert Storm, the Clinton-era federal budget deficit, Hurricane Katrina and the toppling of the Gaddafi regime in Libya?   They all triggered a release from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), the world’s largest government-owned crude oil programme with capacity of 727 million barrels. This vast lake of black gold is actually stored in 62 deep underground salt caverns along the Texas and Louisiana coastline, which offers a costeffective, secure storage for this multi-billion dollar national asset (the salt caverns, which typically hold 10 million barrels each, are reckoned to be 10 times cheaper than aboveground tanks). There are 5.5 billion barrels of oil stocks in the world, of which 1.5 billion are strategic reserves. Of these, the SPR is the most famous and by far the largest of the world’s strategic oil stocks, acting as a buffer against natural disaster, war and instability in key producing regions or the political machinations and ideological intransigence that, as President Bill Clinton discovered with his 1996 budget, can gridlock the world’s most famous democracy.

Poland: compulsory storage changes to reduce tankage demand

Since 1996 all liquid fuel producers and importers in Poland have been obligated to hold minimum compulsory stocks. In 2007 a new Act came in, changing the requirements so that the country meets its obligations by holding 14 days of government stocks and obligating the industry to hold 76 days. However this has had a negative impact on the fuel producers as well as pushing up the retail price for fuel. As a result the Ministry of Economy is working on a new Act which will change the compulsory stock obligation. From 2013-2017 the obligation on producers will be lowered to 69 days and from 2018 onwards it will be decreased further to 53 days.

Africa: the land of opportunity?

Kenya’s third party petroleum terminal industry has just received an important boost with the opening of VTTI Kenya’s new 111,000m3 Mombasa storage terminal on 23 January which will also help improve petroleum supplies elsewhere in east Africa. Planned to serve the whole of Kenya’s domestic market, plus neighbouring land-locked countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Southern Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the terminal has been constructed in two phases and will increase the total petroleum storage capacity in the Port of Mombasa to over 450,000m3. VTTI Kenya commissioned its new terminal with the discharge of 9,600m3 of automotive gas oil from MT Uzava for its customer, Vivo Energy Kenya.

Automatic tank cleaning: cut costs, reduce risks and save time

In the petrochemical industry it is paramount to sufficiently maintain tanks to maximise their lifespan. Cleaning plays a critical part in the necessary maintenance of tanks and helps to prevent tank deterioration that often leads to expensive repairs. Traditional tank cleaning can be labourious, time consuming and presents many health and safety issues. Automatic tank cleaning has many benefits over traditional methods including reducing downtime, increasing hydrocarbon recovery, accident prevention and improved environmental performance. UK-based sludge quantification, removal and processing company Tradebe Refinery Services, formerly known as Willacy Oil Services, has developed a range of automatic tank cleaning equipment.

Reducing bottlenecks, waiting time and improving customer service

Increasing the overall efficiency of any facility is a major undertaking. In areas where time processing loads needs to be reduced, terminal automation systems have been capable of reducing times by 75%. This could be the difference of a 20 minute interaction being reduced to six minutes. Idle time is costly, so the ability to have a quick solution to any downtime and reduce waiting is a must. US-based Cryotech Deicing Technology has just removed its rudimentary system and installed a new terminal automation system from General Atomics Electronic Systems (GA-ESI). The TMS3000 software interfaces to Cryotech’s scales and rapidly accounts for incoming and outgoing weights on all of the trucks entering the facility. The information supplied to the software can then be communicated to Cryotech’s accounting system, managing orders, invoicing, and master data. This allowed Cryotech to have real time distribution data and automated invoicing.

Insulation coatings: when you should use them

With the multitude of products requiring bulk storage, there are a percentage of tanks that require thermal insulation. Though thermal insulation is a necessity for these specific products, the expense of installing and maintaining it can outweigh any costs saved by decreasing energy usage or vapour loss. Due to its ability to absorb moisture, an aged insulation system will not only promote corrosion under insulation (CUI), but also have drastically reduced insulating properties. CUI will then significantly increase maintenance costs and may lead to the need for an entirely new tank. Occasionally, these issues have led to the decision not to insulate in order to prevent future maintenance or structural concerns. Fortunately, there is a technology that has industry acceptance and can solve these issues while providing thermal insulation as an easily applied coating. Thermal insulating (or insulation) coatings came onto the market in the mid- 1990s and were mainly used in commercial and industrial applications. These were not reflective rooftop coatings or radiant barriers, which solely reflect UV rays due to their bright white colour. Thermal insulating coatings are usually acrylic resins filled with ceramics and silica among other things, creating a true thermal barrier between two environments. The market was slow to accept them as it was hard to believe that a coating thickness 1-5mm could effectively insulate and replace inches of conventional insulation, but today there are countless applications in a wide spectrum of industries, in all corners of the globe.

Can emissions be controlled by just tank roofs?

Theoretically a tank containing petrol and air would not produce any emissions, if it was hermetically sealed and the tank walls were about to withstand the pressure. The petrol and the air in such tank would stay in equilibrium. At constant temperature the petrol vapour pressure and the concentration of vapours above the liquid stay unchanged. Within a certain time the same amount of hydrocarbon molecules will evaporate into the vapour phase and condense from the vapour phase into the liquid phase.

If we fail to plan, we plan to fail...

The Major Incident Investigation Board into the Buncefield incident highlighted the need for a coordinated approach or mutual aid arrangement to handle a similar event. The HSE has a particular interest in ensuring compliance with pre-plans that identify multi-tank/ bund scenarios and associated equipment, manpower and the resources necessary to help mitigate the incident so far as reasonably practicable. With local authority fire cover under constant review against a background of cost cutting, it is clear that resources will be more likely to come from the industry itself. Key headings for consideration are: • Manpower • Equipment and resources including monitors, other fire fighting equipment, fire pumps, water supplies and foam • Fire water run-off • External impact.

Compressing the project schedule

How Oranje-Nassau Energie is building tanks in record time   In less than six months time, two storage tanks with a cone roof and aluminium internal floating roof need to be constructed and erected for a new build gas production facility at the largest tank terminal and refining area of the Netherlands, ‘the Maasvlakte’ at the Rotterdam harbour area. The tanks will be used for natural gas condensate storage, one of the products from the Q16-Maas development of Oranje-Nassau Energie (ONE), a Dutch E&P operator company involved in the upstream E&P industry. ‘It is a special project – one of a kind,’ states Peter Nieuwenhuijze, construction and engineering manager at ONE. In Q3 2011, ONE drilled a well to reach a gas reservoir in block Q16 of the Southern North Sea. The field contains natural high caloric gas with a relatively high gas condensate content. To achieve natural gas export specification for consumers, the propane and butane fractions in the gas have to be separated. This will result in four main export products; natural gas, gas condensate, propane and butane in a mixture named LPG. LPG production directly from the natural gas source makes the project special and process relatively complex.

Hot topic: minimising steam loss

Thermal imaging inspections are helping Vopak know when to renew its pipeline insulation and avoid unnecessary risks, as well as financial losses   When transporting high volumes of hot gaseous or liquid chemicals through a network of pipes the quality of the pipework insulation is of vital importance for the system to work optimally. Both for financial and environmental reasons heat leakage needs to be avoided at all costs. Inspections with thermal imaging cameras can help detect heat leakage so imperfect insulation can be repaired and the process can be optimised. One of the companies that realised the importance of pipework inspections with thermal imaging cameras is Vopak. At the terminal’s storage facility in Vlaardingen, the Netherlands, steam is transported at 170° C through a network of pipes with a total length of over 1km. To determine the exact amount of energy loss during that transportation process Vopak hired Dutch thermographic consultancy agency Thermografisch Adviesbureau Uden to do a thorough survey of the pipework insulation.

Comparing oil and grease in water testing methods

Whether trying to meet effluent limits for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit or comply with oil and grease limits for the Clean Water Act (CWA), it is important to understand what could make oil in water readings vary. The following factors need to be considered when comparing oil in water analysis methods: 1. Different methods measure different properties of oil Oil comes in many forms and the measurement is defined by the regulatory method. If EPA 1664 is the regulatory method, the ‘oil’ is anything extracted from the water into hexane and left after the hexane has been evaporated to show up as weight. In regions where infrared analysis is the defining method, the ‘oil’ is whatever is extracted into the solvent and has carbon-hydrogen bonds that absorb infrared light at a specific frequency. Each method is looking at different physical properties of oil and can potentially give different results. 2. Precision and bias statement for each oil in water method There are acceptable errors for each method typically expressed in the precision and bias statement for the method. For example, EPA Method 1664 states in the ‘Ongoing precision and recovery’ (section 17.0) that for a 100 ppm sample the acceptable range is 78-114 ppm. If the test includes the silica gel treatment (SGT) to remove the polar organics, the acceptable range is 64- 132 ppm. Therefore, if the result from a laboratory for a silica gel treated sample is 65 ppm and the alternate method result is 130 ppm, they are both within the acceptable range.