Tank Storage Magazine v09 i03


Volume: 9
Issue: 3
Date Published: May 13, 2013



A perfect storm?

UK refining industry association UKPIA believes the country is losing ground on others and talks are needed to redress the balance   The UK’s downstream oil industry is at a crucial crossroad against a backdrop of tough market conditions, cost pressures, supply against demand challenges, a burdensome legislative background and growing competition from the US, the Middle East and Asia. Two UK refineries have closed over the past four years, the most recent being Coryton last June, so the loss of further UK refining capability poses a serious risk to future energy security of supply and resilience. It could also jeopardise other industrial sectors dependent on feedstocks from refineries to make the UK highly reliant on imported middle distillate fuels, such as diesel and aviation kerosene. The loss of further refining capability could potentially give rise to a substantial loss of things generated by refineries like income to both national and regional economies, jobs and trade skills.

Time to Reach out is ticking

The countdown to the next Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals (Reach) deadline of 31 May is underway, a time for pre-registered companies that manufacture or import EU phase-in substances in quantities above 100 tonnes a year to register their chemicals with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). At this time many smallto- medium businesses (SMEs) will come under Reach and they will no doubt be finding the process of compliance complex, time consuming or challenging. But the aim of Reach is to improve and ensure the safe use of chemicals by allowing all parties in the supply chain, from manufacturers and distributors through to downstream users, directly responsible for the safety of the chemical substances they handle. One area where this has caused changes is the shipping of chemicals and, in particular, the requirements for documentation in the supply chain. Under Reach, the responsibility is on suppliers to ensure that their customers are supplied with Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), exposure scenarios and other critical safety information, often with the requirement to actually deliver and update at regular intervals, rather than simply sending these documents.

ITC grows in Houston

The economic recovery has enabled ITC to add a greenfield terminal to its operations   ‘There is a lot of excitement in store for Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC)’, says the company’s CEO Bernt Netland. ITC has just embarked on a new greenfield development project close to its current 12.8 million barrel (2 million m3) Deer Park terminal. ‘After 41 years of operation, growth is catching up to us as we see our terminal in Deer Park, Texas almost fully built out. We will continue to expand, based on customer needs, but we need more space. That is why we bought 180 acres of waterfront land in Pasadena, Texas.’ The new property is strategically located on the south side of the Houston Ship Channel, one mile west of the Beltway 8 Bridge and a short distance from Deer Park. This is a greenfield site with deep water access, rail connections and convenient truck access. Multiple product pipelines are located near or adjacent to the site, providing access to the all important pipeline networks for North America.

US storage boom reflects the continued shale revolution

Increasing crude volumes, low feedstock prices and end product specification changes are all fuelling new opportunities for storage and terminals across the US   US crude oil production in 2012 grew more than in any year since the first commercial well was drilled in 1859, and it is set to surge even more over the next few years. Daily crude output averaged 6.4 million barrels per day (b/d) last year, a 15-year high and an increase of 13.8% from 2011 levels, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API). The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects the strong growth to continue in 2013 and 2014, projecting output to climb to 7.3 million bbl/d this year and 7.9 million bbl/d in 2014. The rapid increase in crude production underscores how improvements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technology – commonly referred to as fracking – have transformed the US energy market in the last five years by allowing producers to tap shale oil from tight rock formations. Drilling in tight oil plays in the Williston (North Dakota and Montana), Western Gulf and Permian (Texas) basins is expected to account for the bulk of forecast US production growth over the next two years. Amid rising domestic crude production – coupled with lower demand – US crude oil imports fell last year to their lowest level, 8.6 million b/d, in 15 years. This was 375,000 b/d, or 4.2% lower, than in 2011.

Billions on rails

Out of the many components in the fuel storage supply chain, the tank car has become a hot commodity as rail is the only option for those refiners who want in on the low cost bonanza of Bakken and Athabasca crude. These oilfields in remote areas of North Dakota and Canada have not resolved the pipeline problems now keeping millions of barrels of crude from the market. There is no Keystone Pipeline and reports are that there probably won’t be until sometime in 2015. The situation has changed the nature of bulk fuel storage and supply chains, creating opportunities for companies positioned for the boom. Pipeline companies’ inability to push through regulations has allowed railway companies, tank-car makers, barge operators and other transportation sectors to build nice revenues. This was demonstrated by the fact that numerous $500 million (€380 million) deals for rail terminals, rail assets and equipment were status quo in the first quarter of this year. Terminals are looking for tactical and logistical edges, spending billions on equipment and new construction.

Do you have to take the hydrotest?

Hydrotesting can be expensive and extremely challenging if the terminal is far from a water source, so a well executed hydro exemption plan may be a popular alternative to prove the integrity of the tank   Every year tank owners spend millions repairing aboveground storage tanks. API 653 is one of the most recognisable codes in the world to use for tank repairs. API 653 includes stringent requirements on repair details and nondestructive examination (NDE) to be performed on a repaired tank. Tanks are more susceptible to brittle fracture after repairs. Tank repairs that meet requirements of API 653 are less susceptible to brittle fracture than repairs that do not meet API 653 requirements. For tanks that have been reconstructed, had a change of service (increase operating pressure or lower operating temperature) or had a major repair, API 653 requires a full hydrotest to reduce the potential for brittle fracture. API 653, section 3 defines a major repair as any of the following: a. Installing a shell penetration larger than NPS 12 beneath the design liquid level b. Installing a bottom penetration within 12 “ of the shell c. Removing and replacing or adding a shell plate beneath the design liquid level where the longest dimension of the replacement plate exceeds 12”. d. Removing or replacing annular plate ring material where the longest dimension of the replacement plate exceeds 12”. e. Complete or partial (more than one-half of the weld thickness) removal and replacement of more than 12”. of vertical weld joining shell plates or radial weld joining the annular plate ring f. Installing a new bottom g. Removing and replacing part of the weld attaching the shell to the bottom, or to the annular plate ring, in excess of the amounts listed in a) h. Jacking a tank shell.

Keeping it in the family

In today’s corporate environment it is getting harder and harder to find true 100% family run companies. Thankfully they still exist and Tank Storage magazine met with one such company shortly after this year’s StocExpo. Ivens Constructiebedrijf is situated in the heart of the Port of Antwerp, in close proximity to its array of customers – refineries and tank terminal owners. Having started in 1930 the company has many years of experience in tank building and the founder’s son, Eduard Ivens, is still active in the company today at the sprightly age of 83. As he puts it, ‘It’s my hobby’. Although day-to-day operations are now in the hands of his daughter, Greet, such knowledge and experience is invaluable in servicing and responding to the exacting needs of its clients. Ivens has expanded its business over the years and the group now has divisions covering logistics and transportation and, more recently, launched Ivens Civil Contracting.

SIOT introduces wireless radar for custody transfer of crude for the heart of Europe

By converting to a wireless measurement system, SIOT improved custody transfer efficiency for its oil movement business, realised cost savings in its communication infrastructure and increased flexibility for future modifications   In 2012, Società Italiana per l’Oleodotto Transalpino S.p.A. (SIOT) faced a problem with its aging tank gauging system. SIOT is part of the TAL Group which operates the Transalpine Pipeline, connecting the Port of Trieste with several central European countries to help meet their energy needs. The TAL pipeline system plays a strategic economic role, covering 100% of Bavaria’s oil supply needs, more than 50% for Baden-Württemberg, 90% for Austria and more than 30% for Germany and the Czech Republic. Located close to the Adriatic harbour of Trieste and several mid-European countries, SIOT handles custody transfer of crude oil through the pipeline, using level and temperature measurements for volume calculations. These readings are used to calculate official values for fiscal transfers. Online blending operations are facilitated via level rate measurements from the same system.

Steel experts join forces

NLMK Clabecq (Belgium), NLMK Verona (Italy) and NLMK DanSteel (Denmark) have come together to form NLMK Europe, a special division designed to produce quenched and tempered steel for use in the storage sector. Since the end of last year this division can produce both wider and thicker plates as well as thin rolled plates. From its side, the Italian plant in Verona completes the triangle by producing plates and blocks up to 1,000mm. The group can offer plates from 1,500 to 4,000mm in width and from 3mm up to 150mm thickness.

How to survive the storm

New recommendations require the use of by-pass conductors, so what are they and why are they needed?   In 2009, API 545, ‘Recommended Practice for Lightning Protection of Aboveground Storage Tanks for Flammable or Combustible Liquids’, First Edition, replaced the lightning protection portion of API 2003, ‘Protection Against Ignitions Arising Out of Static, Lightning, and Stray Currents’. With the new recommended practice (RP) came the requirement for bypass conductors between a tank floating roof and tank shell. This is in addition to, and supplements the, historical requirement for shunts. API 2003 has historically recommended the use of shunts (section, which are simply metallic straps, usually stainless steel, installed at intervals not to exceed 10” around the perimeter of the roof. These shunts are mechanically attached and electrically bonded to the perimeter of the roof, and are spring-loaded to press up against the inside of the tank shell. As the roof rides up and down on the stored product, the shunts ride up and down against the tank shell providing an electrical bond between the two. Shunts should be installed above the secondary seal. API 2003 discouraged placing the shunts below the liquid because of inspection considerations, but that is grist for another discussion. Shunts were envisioned to permit any lightning-related current to propagate from the floating roof to the tank shell to ground without generating a spark in an area likely to contain flammable vapours. How they perform in actual service is somewhat different. By-pass conductors are simply conductors run between the perimeter of the floating roof and the tank shell at intervals not to exceed 100”. These provide the low-resistance path between the floating roof and the tank shell.

Fire safety: make the right choice

Fire in a storage tank, or in the surrounding bund, is a challenge to both fire fighters and tank operators. The value of the contents makes the provision of fire protection commercially viable, while the risk to life makes it essential   The fire protection options available to tank operators and designers are wider than ever before and the selection of the right combination can mean the difference between safe operation and disaster. Both BS 5306 Section 6.1 and in the US, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) publish guidelines for tank fire protection. These classify the product stored by fire hazard and specify the foam delivery rates, layout and spacing of foam delivery systems. Foam flow rates depend on the tank contents and start at 4 litres/m2/ min typically rising to 6.5l/m2/min for foam destructive products such as polar solvents, where fixed foam systems are installed Fire fighting foam is an essential component of all tank protection systems. Most reputable fire equipment manufacturers offer a range of foam concentrates to suit differing application systems and tank content. These range from general purpose foams for hydrocarbonbased risks to specialised foams for polar solvents or other water miscible risks.

ADNOC's Takreer takes low-impedance path to complete tank safety

For tank storage firms, the risk of a lightning-induced fire event is too potentially damaging to bear. Floating tank storage facilities that have millions of dollars worth of product can be destroyed with a single spark. Even worse is the downtime such an event will cause, like a possibly lengthy period of investigation and reconstruction that impacts a storage facility’s ability to deliver product to market and generate revenue. Last year Takreer, a storage and refinery subsidiary of Abu Dhabi National Oil (ADNOC), completed a thorough lightning protection analysis and began transforming its protection profile for floating roof tank storage. Dozens of tanks, while operating efficiently, had potentially faulty lightning protection systems in place; metal shunt and wire systems that are meant to direct charge in the case of a lightning event but are prone to fall into disrepair over time. To protect these tanks Consilium Middle East, which sells and installs fire protection solutions to many of the major oil and natural gas companies throughout the region, supplied LEC’s Retractable Grounding Assembly (RGA) lightning protection solution.

Next communication step

Wireless communication around tank farms and refineries is becoming more apparent – but why?   Storage tanks and tank farms in process industries like oil, gas and petrochemicals, and also in distribution depots, require a wide range of field measurements. Among the most important are tank gauging systems (TGS) and overfill prevention systems (OPS). Both solutions can be found installed in almost every tank as TGS will assist terminal managers to improve facility efficiency through better inventory management, while OPS will make sure that storage tanks operate safely. Wireless solutions are becoming more popular in the process industry for monitoring applications where the field measurement is not part of a control or safety loop. In storage tanks, particularly existing ones, where cables are not available or too difficult to install, then wireless solutions are the ideal alternative.

Major shift approaching for tank coatings

Not much has changed over the past few decades in basic corrosion prevention techniques for bulk storage tanks until the advent of fieldproven vegetable oil-based coatings. Conventional epoxies, polyurethane and polyurea products offer cold weather application performance, chemical resistance, overall durability and many are solvent free. But they all have one thing in common - they are petroleum based. Polyurea is created by the chemical reaction between a di-isocyanate and a polyamine without the aid of a catalyst. It is usually applied using a spray coating system in a 1:1 mix ratio.

How to ensure incident-free pipeline maintenance

Proper planning for pipeline maintenance projects is the key to ensuring that safety, environmental compliance and scheduling do not become costly problems   In the US alone, there are more than 2.5 million miles of petroleum and chemical pipelines. Of these, the largest segment consists of natural gas pipelines that account for more than 2 million miles. The next largest segment, estimated at about 95,000 miles, are the refined product pipelines, such as petrol, diesel and jet fuel, ranging in size from 8-42” in diameter. Thirdly, there are a combination of small crude oil gathering lines estimated at about 40,000 miles, ranging from 2-8” in diameter, and crude oil trunk lines estimated at over 55,000 miles. The majority of these pipelines were installed during the 1950s and 1960s. It is therefore of no coincidence that, at present, blow outs, releases and spills do occur. These occurrences are expected as wear and tear and the mere passage of time takes its toll on the infrastructure. Remember, these systems are under pressure and contain hazardous materials. As a result, regulators including local, state and federal have focused their microscope on proper pipeline maintenance and, as a consequence, on the environmental impact of conducting this newly required maintenance. How safe are all these pipelines? It is an undisputed fact that transporting by way of pipelines is the safest and most economical method of transporting vast quantities of oil, refined products and chemicals from production fields to refiners, or processing plants, and finally to consumers. Unfortunately, accidents do happen from time to time, despite all the precautions and preventions. When accidents occur, it can result in unwanted media attention.

Getting the full picture

Steel is inherently unstable over time; the challenge to any tank terminal operator is catching structural and corrosive failure before it occurs   Tank inspection techniques for determining integrity, remaining life and fitness for service are evolving every day. New technologies and workflows allow for safer, more complete inspections to help operators be proactive in mitigating risk and avoiding corrosive failures. A benzene tank terminal operator in Texas was concerned about structural integrity, so he contacted US-based Meridian Associates to look into their 3D laser scanning and survey techniques, which are capable of providing complete surface documentation of aging tanks. This information can then be used to produce a Bulge Severity Map and a Surface Quality Map for deformation analysis and corrosion inspection. These maps are developed in conjunction with Meridian’s partner, US-based Stress Engineering Services.

Tank floor monitoring using ultrasonic guided waves

Leaking fluids from aboveground atmospheric storage tanks is a major issue. Most countries have stringent regulatory requirements for the avoidance of potential pollutant leaks from tanks, so that there is considerable pressure on tank and terminal operators to ensure that leaks do not occur. A new type of monitoring technology involves the use of low frequency ultrasound to examine a whole tank floor from permanently attached sensors around the perimeter on the outside of the tank. The long distance propagation characteristics of the ultrasonic guided waves used allow signals from one side of the tank to be received by a sensor on the other side (up to 30m diameter). By using combinations of transmit and receive among the set of sensors, it is possible to cover the whole floor area. By taking readings from the sensors regularly, long-term trends in the condition of the floor can be determined. The circular geometry of these tanks allows a tomographic method to be used to reconstruct an image of the tank floor from the transmitted ultrasonic signals. The image is formed by collecting information at many angular positions around the tank circumference. A number of sensors are placed around the edge of the tank floor. The transmitted signal from a single transducer is captured by a number of similar sensors on the opposite side of the tank. This process is repeated for each sensor transmitting.

Matching the pump to its purpose

Over the last few years the Port of Fujairah in the UAE has been establishing itself as a major storage hub. Germany-based screw pump manufacturer Leistritz has been involved with supplying equipment to several of the new installations. The company has provided single and double volute twin screw pumps and triple screw pumps. Pressure ranges up to almost 20bar and capacities from 50m³/h up to 2,500m³/h are usual operating conditions for its twin screw pumps within such terminal operations.

Making smart energy choices

As utility costs rise, sliding vane pump technology may become the choice for energy efficient operations in all types of liquid storage terminal applications   A liquid storage terminal, as recently as 10 years ago, was considered to be operating at maximum efficiency and profitability if it could turn its tanks once a month. Faced, however, with increasingly razor-thin operating margins, terminal operators began to realise that the more they turn their tanks, the higher rate of return on their investment. Today’s liquid storage terminals are now aiming for a minimum tank turn rate of three to four times per month, with some successful operations able to achieve a rate of 20 turns per tank a month. These eye-opening turn rates must be combined with operating the terminal at peak energy efficiency and one way of achieving that is to look at the design and operation of sliding vane pump technology, which can not only optimise terminal throughput and turn rates, but trim the energy- and profitwasting fat from bottom lines.