Tank Storage Magazine v13 i01


Volume: 13
Issue: 1
Date Published: February 28, 2017



Niche growth in a competitive market

Despite static demand for refined products, demand for biofuels has increased and is driving business forward for InterTank InterTank continues to flourish within the competitive Scandinavian market and remains a central hub for oil traders as well as transhipment business.Despite the large amount of independent storage capacity in Sweden with a population of only 10 million – Scandinavia itself is not a growth market, with consumption of refined oil products and chemicals at static levels.However, due to InterTank’s strategic location and proximity to the main export outlets in the Baltic Sea, the trading and transhipment business is a significant growth driver and is directly linked to prevailing market and trading conditions. The recent contango market has therefore resulted in greater demand for tankage – particularly for distillate products and HVO (hydrogenated vegetable oil).But, in an interview with Tank Storage Magazine, MD Fredrik Lilja believes that demand for biofuels and certain specialty products will grow considerably in the future due to a greater focus on reducing fuel emissions.

Storage momentum in Africa

Puma Energy Africa – one of the largest independent storage companies in Africa – explains how the continent’s growing need for imported products is driving its impressive growth strategy Despite lacking the necessary logistical infrastructure to meet the continents’ growing fuel demand, Africa holds great potential for high growth.With economies flourishing in several African countries and demand for diesel and petrol growing as transport infrastructure develops, the continent is increasingly relying on imports of fuel products.Puma Energy Africa is tapping into this significant potential, and, thanks to a series of large-scale terminal developments, is one of the largest independent storage and downstream companies operating in Africa with 42terminals spread across 19 countries.Since entering Africa in 2002 Puma Energy has invested more than $2 billion in the continent and in 2015 added 350 million litres of capacity. It currently has 1.1 million m3 of installed storage capacity and with its growing presence in West Africa and the Southern Africa sub-region it is able to provide a critical part of the continent’s supply chain.

The dynamic storage sector

Global oil markets are changing rapidly. Markets are specifically dynamic for European players where competitive pressures are highest. In what way will tank storage markets in the ARA region be influenced? How will profitability be impacted for tank terminals operating in the petrol, middle distillates and fuel oil segments?TRADING MARKETSARA oil tank storage markets can be divided into three segments: low-flashpoint products, middle distillates and fuel oil.Low-flashpoint products consist of naphtha and petrol. Naphtha is an intermediate and is used as a feedstock for petrochemical crackers and as a petrol blend component. The Port of Amsterdam plays a central role in the petrolsegment. As Europe has a structural surplus of petrol, there is a continuous flow being exported out of Europe to petrol outlets.

Mediterreanean downstream dreams

The Port of Tarragona and petrochemical cluster ChemMed explain more about their new strategy to support Mediterranean businesses and promote the region as a trading hub Despite being one of the key fundamentals underpinning global trade, the art of logistics can be a complex matter and needs to be handled with care.The forms of transportation, routes and entities involved also vary depending on the type of cargo, whether it is solid, liquid, bulk or perishable. This is further compounded by the client’s high expectations of shorter and cheaper routes as well as the need for storage and time frames involved.And sometimes trade flows do not always follow economic logic. For example, you would not be blamed for thinking that a shorter would be more cost-efficient, however there are diesel tankers from the Mideast Gulf and India opting to sail to northwest Europe via the Cape of Good Hope, rather than through the shorter Suez Canal route. Why? Because of globalisation, speculation and traders that want to cover an arbitrage.

Europe: a steady storage market

The state of European oil storage last year could be summarised relatively simply: contango. But the storage market may be a little less predictable over the next 12 months. What will 2017 bring for tank storage in Europe? Vaughan O’Grady reports One year ago oversupply and the low oil price were driving healthy storage demand in Europe. During 2016 there was a modest price recovery, notably in the last quarter of the year, not least thanks to OPEC agreeing to cut production at the end of November by more than a million barrels a day. That announcement helped to trigger a $10 price rise in the days after the agreement.The most recent International Energy Agency (IEA) oil market report puts 2016 growth at 1.5 mb/d (million barrels per day) higher than previously estimated; most of this revision is due to stronger European demand, mainly in LPG and diesel, it says. It adds: ‘Europe has seen two years of year-on-year growth following nine straight years of flat ordeclining demand. In 2017, however, we still expect the rate of growth for global demand to fall back to 1.3 mb/d.’

European tank storage - uncertain times ahead

While tank storage will always remain an integral part of the supply chain, the long-term growth of the industry in Europe remains uncertain, writes Ellen Ruhotas Where oil producers have been sweating on oil price fluctuations, storage terminal operators have been rubbing their hands. The market contango and the record oil surpluses has resulted in strong demand for storage tanks in the European region. Like all good things though, they don’t last forever. Changes in market demand for refined products, pressures from environmental mandates and fundamental changes in global production centres all cast a shadow on the future of growth in European bulk liquid storage.

The storage evolution

Five storage operators from Europe, the US and the Middle East examine how events from 2016 affected global markets and share their thoughts about what 2017 has in store...

Frangibility of tank terminals

Crucial safety aspect during design, build and maintenance Lots of terminal operators think their tank terminals are frangible but often they are not. There are more aspects involved in frangibility than companies are often aware of.

Smokecatcher software alleviates false alarms at production facilities

There are few industries where the impact of a fire can have such serious consequences as in the chemical industry. When choosing a reliable smoke detection product for its chemical industry customers, SAMCON, a German supplier of camera equipment for hazardous areas, opt for Araani's SmokeCatcher software.SAMCON Prozessleittechnik produces camera systems for explosive and hazardous environments. SAMCON's CCTV applications range from simple monitoring to fully controllable digital video monitoring systems with voice transmission.'We are a true company of engineers and always look for the best solution for our customers,' says Steffen Seibert, CEO at SAMCON. 'That's why Araani is such a good fit for us. We also have a strong foothold in the chemical industry and Araani's SmokeCatcher solution is a great match.'

Activated carbon in vapour recovery units

Recovery of hydrocarbon vapours has been an integral part of fuel loading operations for decades. Since installationof vapour recovery units (VRU) began on a large scale in the 90s, the principle of adsorption on activated carbon followed by regeneration under vacuum has become the best available technology for the vast majority of applications. It is estimated that more than 95% of all new VRUs worldwide are based on this process. When designed properly, the vacuum-regenerated activated carbon systems are very efficient, economical, safe and extremely reliable – even with a low maintenance effort.

Testing and applying flame arresters to prevent large terminal fires

Storage tanks in terminals often contain flammable and hazardous chemicals. Accidents resulting from explosion can cause millions of dollars in property loss and production interruption. Buncefield is just one of too many examples. To prevent such catastrophic events flame arresters are just one of many measures that help to mitigate the explosion.In many cases lack of knowledge on testing and applying this technology is quite common and incorrect assumptions are drawn from outdated standards. This resulted in many field installations with conservation vents and it is assumed that these can prevent explosions from ambient vapour clouds to enter tanks.Using conservation vents to protect tanks from atmospheric explosion is not a reliable protection method. By using flame arresters a protection of tanks is possible provided that the right flame arrester is installed.

Stay afloat using radar technology

The use of tank gauging technology to remotely monitor floating roofs increases safety at terminals More than half of the world’s larger tanks used for storing common petroleum products have floating roofs, andthis proportion is likely to rise due to tightening demands for reduced vapour emissions. Floating roofs offer environmental and economic benefits over fixed roofs without the need for vapour balancing and recovery.However, issues such as sinking, tilting, leaking and sticking decks can affect the performance of floating roofs - potentially leading to costly structural damage and major environmental and safety risks. Therefore, it is vitally important that any problems can be detected as soon as possible, so that action can be taken to correct issues at an early stage before they can lead to a serious incident.

Static electricity - a dangerous ignition source

Static electricity can be regarded as a difficult subject to grasp, however these case studies give an insight into the reasons why static electricity provides an ignition source for serious fires and explosions that occur during everyday operations involving the handling and processing of flammable products.The factors resulting in an electrostatic ignition incident involving toluene, a prolific charge generator filling a metal bucket via gravity fed 0.75” metal pipping are examined here in greater detail.An operator opened a valve to draw toluene into a metal bucket with toluene from an overhead tank by gravity flow at approximately five gallons per minute. The operator hung a metal bucket with a wire bail and plastic handle over a globe valve. The plastic handle on the bail isolated the metal bucket from ground.On opening the valve, the operator backed away from the bucket allowing the toluene to flow as he had previously done several times. Within a few moments the toluene had ignited causing the operator to immediately leave the scene returning with a small fire extinguisher, which proved inadequate to put the fire out. The operator then left the scene returning with a larger fire extinguisher, however by the time he had returned the fire was out of control and he was unable to close the valve to prevent the flow of toluene to the bucket which was already over flowing.

Firefighting foams - a changing world

This year marks the 12 year anniversary of the Buncefield emergency, seven years since Jaipur, and three years since the Banksmeadow incident in Sydney. All these fires had major impacts on the lives of the people affected by these events, both locally and globally, and each of them required a very specific type of emergency response.Crude oil contains every oil derived product, from bitumen to butane and as a result, any fire involving crude oil is a very complex scenario.Careful planning, a well maintained fixed system and the most applicable foam choice is paramount. Open top floating roof tanks can reach diameters in excess of 110m and require significant fixed protection foam systems.

Harnessing the latest technology for the highest safety standards

High level real-time communication is one of the key success factors for future fail-safe operations on tank farms. This requires interlinkage between individual electronical devices as well as quick data transfer with the host control system of the tank farm. The newest generation overfill prevention controller puts future technology into practice with bus system interconnectivity specifically for use in hazardous areas.

Enhancing terminal business performance

Today’s terminal operator is faced with a variety of challenges to remain profitable in an increasingly complex market environment.For operators, efficiently maximising the throughput of the terminal is critical in order to remain as key suppliers to their customers and to be financially successful.Surprisingly, many terminals are still operating without an integrated terminal management system to plan and manage loading and unloading operations and – more importantly – to provide visibility and management of the terminal’s inventory and commercial activity. Terminal management software is not new, but many terminal operators do not realise the value implementing modern terminal management software can provide for their operation and overall business.Terminal management software has historically been targeted at managing the loading operations and efficiently moving trucks through the facility in an automated way. In addition to managing truck loading, modern terminal management software systems provide a single integrated platform to manage the entire terminal business process: bringing in customer orders, executing the loading operation, charging for services, managing inventory, and billing activity back to the customer.

The loading arm: an evolution in safety

The oil and gas industry is sometimes seen as something from the Jurassic age, much like the products it dealswith, an industry where innovation and development lags behind the superfast digital age.Is this perception true? Alec Keeler, managing director of Loadtec Engineered Systems, begs to differ.INNOVATION AND SAFETY IS ITS ROOTSThe modern loading arm was invented in 1938 when Bob Wheaton and John Savage built an articulated pipe system to replace a canvas hose and swivel joint arrangement for loading 1,000-gallon horse-drawn tanker barrels carryinghops in New Jersey, US. Until this point, rubber hoses were the main method used for fluid loading and unloading onroad tankers, rail tank cars and ships (marine loading arms were first made commercially available in the 1950s).

On a roll: how Concrete Canvas is making its mark on the storage sector

Originally developed for deployable emergency shelters – a ‘building in a bag’ – Concrete Canvas’ concrete impregnated cloth has had a significant impact on the tank storage sector for its easy application as well as its level of protection.Present in more than 80 countries, including one of Australia’s largest resource projects the Wheatstone liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility, it is taking the industry by storm. In an interview with Tank Storage Magazine, director Will Crawford explains more about the current market climate and some of the projects it has been involved in.

Continuous improvement in tank maintenance

Ongoing and continuous improvement with regards to tank maintenance is key to ensuring that tanks remain asefficient as possible. By employing efficient processes in the field of tank maintenance Verwater makes optimal use of its in-house knowledge and experience in the sector to deploy labour and resources efficiently.These principle are currently being implemented in a current maintenance project on a tank.This project involves a client that Verwater has an established relationship with and has been formalised with a tank maintenance contract. This contract strengthens the ties between the two parties and enables Verwater to further optimise its operations and services.

Payback from preventitive maintenance services of vapour recovery units

Vapour recovery units (VRU) are process plants containing mechanical rotating equipment and instrumentation. Experience has taught process plants owners the necessity to service and maintain their process equipment ensuring its flawless operation. Oil terminal operators have realised that VRUs require a minimum of attention, and most operators plan preventive maintenance of these into the terminal operation.VOCZero, a global supplier of VRUs, has a highly-qualified, full professional organisation handling life cycle services (LCS) of VRUs. The organisation is built around a core of own employees, located in the respective geographical bases of VOCZero. As an extension to this, VOCZero has developed and trained partners in numerous locations around the world under the embedded slogan ‘be global, act local’, in the art of being best in class for service and maintenance of VRUs.

A revolution in vocational training

Acquiring and maintaining relevant skills is a crucial issue for tank storage companies. The Dutch Association of Tank Storage Companies (VOTOB) developed dedicated training material to upgrade the skills of all employees in the industry, which spurred the creation of the VOTOB Academy The skilled workforce problem is not a new one. During a brainstorm session two years ago, Dutch tank storage companies emphasised the need for upgrading skillsets against an increasingly dynamic and globalised world.‘The issue is twofold’, says Sandra de Bont, executive director at VOTOB. ‘We want to target both the skills level of students and we want to upgrade the training for workers so that they can adjust to new technologies and safety requirements.’ Currently, VOTOB focuses on operators, but in the future VOTOB Academy also aims to train management level employees.

A modular system for twin screw pumps

The first screw pump developed by Leistritz was in 1924 by founder Paul Leistritz as a main lube oil pump for bearings of steam turbine generator sets.Since then the company, headquartered in Nuremberg, Germany, has expanded its range of products to include twin, triple and five screw pumps.The company has noted that during recent years, more twin screw rotary positive displacement pumps have been installed in production and processing plants, as well as in the upstream oil and gas industry. Depending on the particular duty, low, medium and high pressure pumps have also been installed.