Growing in all the right places
Increased demand, improved utilisation and higher storage rates are all helping to boost profits at Magellan Midstream. In the last 10 years Magellan Midstream Partners has plough $3.8 billion into growth projects and acquisitions for refined products and crude oil storage, pipeline and distribution assets in the US.In the energy industry, crude oil and refined products continue to be big business and Magellan intends to continue tapping into this significant sector with even more investment in the year ahead.Bruce Heine, director government and media affairs at Magellan says the company expects to spend $1.4 billion in 2014/15 to finish construction projects currently underway.
Keeping up with demand
Following the recent acquisition of a multi-modal crude oil terminal to strengthen its impressive storage asset inventory, Arc Logistics Partners is continuing to experience significant growth
Optimising the downstream revolution
Westway Terminals is positioning itself to take full advantage of another market shift instigated by the shale revolution
Capitalising on liquid gold storage opportunities
Completely altering a well-established business and operations model is an exciting prospect for Millard Maritime as they look to satisfy the growing need for storage space in the central gulf of the US.The port facility near Mobile in Theodore, Alabama currently offers comprehensive bulk and break-bulk loading and unloading services relating to fertiliser and miscellaneous products, but is seeking to capitalise on the crude oil glut gripping the US and satisfy the continuing and growing demand for capacity.The current business offering covers five of the 300 acres available for development, offering ample opportunities for further expansion, which is at the forefront of the port’s future business operations.In addition to developing a bulk liquid tank farm, which will offer storage capacities for oil, gas and chemicals other expansion projects include a unit train switchyard as well as indoor and outdoor dry bulk storage.
Crude connections in Houston
When crude oil production shifted up a gear and started to grow quite dramatically, Fairway Energy Partners saw an opportunity to optimise the demand for storage that would inevitably follow.The company recently secured funding from a private equity offering to convert three existing underground storage caverns previously used to store natural gas liquids to satisfy the demand for storage in a region that is pipeline rich.Chris Hilgert, CEO of Fairway says that Houston is a strategically influential market and has played a significant role in the energy business.‘We saw production of crude begin to grow dramatically and various pipelines have been and continue to be built as a result. All of this production will move to the Gulf Coast.
Outlook for crude and petrol prices
Massive oil oversupply is pushing prices down as commercial inventories rise – one expert analyst makes his predictions for what may come next in such a volatile market. Trading in the crude and oil products futures markets in late August registered the largest one-day and two-day gains and losses in years. The market whipsawed in extreme volatility as concern over a slowing economy in China met with a realisation that bloated global inventories would take more than a year to be cut down to a closer balance with demand requirements.It is no secret that the global market is oversupplied, with the most recent data from the IEA indicating commercial inventory of oil held by the 34-country members of the OECD reached an all-time high in June at 2.916 billion barrels and widening a year over year surplus to a record 210 million barrels. IEA also noted OPEC production at a three-year high in July, as OPEC members continue their new policy of pumping all out to maintain or increase market share, jettisoning their policy of defending a higher price with a cut in output.
The implications of removing US crude export restrictions
The EIA provides an insight into the possible implications of relaxing or removing current crude oil export restrictions. The recent surge in domestic crude oil production coupled with the prospect of continued supply growth have sparked a debate over current crude export policies.Domestic crude production has risen from 5.4 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2009 to 8.7 million b/d in 2014 has been a key discussion point in whether the current policy, which restricts but does not ban exports of crude produced in the US, should be relaxed or completely removed.Current regulations allow for unlimited exports of petroleum products but require licensing of crude oil exports. Exports of crude oil to Canada are presumptively granted licences, as are exports of crude from Alaska’s North Slope, re-exports of foreign-sourced crude and certain exports from California.A recent study by the EIA finds that the potential implications of allowing more crude exports is contingent on several factors but that principally the effects on domestic crude oil production are key to determining the other effects of such a policy change.
The new normal for the US oil industry
Frost & Sullivan’s Carl Larry examines the impact the shale oil revolution is having on storage in the us and how it is only good news for operators
Flexibility of North America's key storage hubs
Investments in storage capacity and transportation means that the industry has more flexibility than ever despite crude inventories continuing to rise.The North American petroleum industry has seen fundamental changes to its storage and transportation infrastructureover the past three years that have affected the crude oil market, both locally and abroad.With the development of tight oil plays in several North American basins and the growing production of crude in western Canada, the midstream sector found themselves unprepared to efficiently store and move new crude being produced from well head to refining centers.The mechanics of storage and transportation cannot be separated.It was the lack of transportation options that initially caused the storage terminals in the NYMEX light crude oil contract delivery point in Cushing, Oklahoma, to reach near 80% capacity in 2011, and initiated the massive tank storage capacity projects we have witnessed since that time.
Saving time and money through advanced planning
US-based engineering and contracting company Landmark specialises in custom forming and fitting components before they are shipped to a storage facility.When the order arrives in the field for installation it will have already been burned and beveled, formed with customised dies, checked with fixtures and sweeps, fitted up, match marked and knocked down for field assembly. The extra time in the shop ensures a smooth field assembly and seamless erection schedule, saving the end customer both time and money.
Ever had a tank bottom leak?
Were you able to determine if the leak was a result of bottom or top side corrosion? Virtually all aboveground storage tank (AST) owners have had a release through the floor plates of a tank at one time or another. Despite best practices outlined in API-650, 651 or 653, bottom-side corrosion still happens. There are many factors that affect corrosion rates, including:• Foundation design• Fill material• Is cathodic protection (CP) present?• Geographic location of the tank• Environmental conditions.
A new technology for online or offline tank cleaning
By using an online tank cleaning approach a terminal operator can keep the tank in service, prevent the accumulation of tank bottoms and therefore remove the costs associated with tank downtime, loss of hydrocarbons and wastedisposal.The Twister from Waterline Tank Technologies is a type of submerged jet mixer. It works by taking suction from thetank with a properly-sized recirculation pump and pumping the product back into the tank through the manually adjustable Twister nozzle. The Twister’s nozzle creates a powerful jet of the tank contents that is directed across the bottom of the tank, which dissolves and resuspends accumulated sludge. The 120° sweep of the Twister allows the tank to be thoroughly mixed.
Guaranteed lightning protection
US-based EMP Solutions has entered into an agreement with US-based Vanguard Fire & Security Systems Oil & Gas Division, to sell, install, inspect and maintain the Halo PDCE lightning suppressor.The Halo PDCE lightning suppressor, new to the US market, provides 100% effective lightning protection within a 100 metre radius and comes with a $500,000 (€444,000) no-strike guarantee as well as a 20 year warranty. Weighing in at 15lbs, the Halo is a compact capacitor that requires no power, has no polarity, is comprised of an upper and lower electrode separated by a thermoplastic dielectric, and connects to the ground using a large diameter copper wire attached to a small array of daisy-chained grounding rods.
Progress in lightning and static protection
What have the latest revisions to NFPA 780 and API RP 545 achieved and how much work still needs to be done? Whereas lightning protection for external floating roof tanks formerly centered around shunts, recent scientific research has shown that another type of contact, the bypass conductor, is equally or more important than the shunt. Actu-ally, it has been a pretty bad time for shunts, as primary metallic shoe seals may be substituted for shunts under certain conditions.TROUBLE SPOTSOne of the more surprising things that has emerged is that openings, such as thief hatches, are much more likely sources of ignition than originally imagined. Field testing has revealed that the resistance between the hatch and collar is much higher than predicted. That resistance can be the source of ignition producing arcs when poten-tial must equalise across them. This caution does not apply to the dogged-down hatches normally found on storage tanks.
Maximising crude oil storage capacity
As the supply of oil continues to outpace global demand, crude oil storage has become more important than ever. US stockpiles, which currently sit at 80-year highs, are testing the limits of the nation’s storage capacity. Estimates suggest the US has passed its 95% storage capacity, and experts are forecasting that in order to store additional stockpiles, new tank farms are required.THE NEED TO MANAGE BS&WBasic sediment and water (BS&W) is the specification describing the impurities that accompany crude oil between the well and the refinery. When crude comes out of the ground, it’s accompanied by water, sand, salt and other unwanted debris. These impurities are removed in the refining process - but until the crude is delivered to the refinery, BS&W poses a challenge for storage tank operators.