Expanding Oiltanking's footprint in North America
Following the sale of its two biggest US assets in 2014, Oiltanking is on the expansion track again with a newly acquired terminal and ambitious plans for a new deepwater facility in Texas Oiltanking North America’s decision to re-enter the crude storage sector was a pragmatic one supported by favourable global market conditions and better shale economics.The company’s North American division has hit the headlines recently following the acquisition of Oiltanking Galveston Country terminal and a 220 acre parcel of industrial land in Texas City for the development of the Texas Independent Deepwater Expansion terminal (TIDE).Two years prior to this, the company sold its Oiltanking Partners entity, comprising storage assets on the Houston Ship Channel and in Beaumont, Texas following a period of rapid growth as a result of the shale boom. The proceeds from the sale were invested back into the company’s growth plans both in the US and internationally.
The Trump effect
The Dakota Access Pipeline, which received Presidential approval earlier this year, will provide new means of connectivity at key hubs across the US. Genscape’s Hillary Stevenson reports Presidential Executive Orders touting the construction of Energy Transfer Partner’s Dakota Access Pipeline rapidly advanced the controversial project that was previously delayed by the Obama administration. The pipeline system will move up to 470,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude to Midwest and Gulf storage terminals in the US. The new flow routes should strengthen North Dakota Bakken crude differentials due to added takeaway capacity, which will also shift transportation patterns across the US.
Who's steering the ship?
John Mayes and John Auers at Turner, Mason & Company examine what is next for the industry following the 2020 deadline set by the IMO for low sulfur bunker fuel In October 2016, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) definitively set the transition date for the introduction of low sulfur bunker fuel to January 1, 2020. This action ended years of debate as to when the new regulations would take effect and has helped to galvanise attention on how the lower sulfur bunker fuel will be produced and the likely market effects which will result. BACKGROUNDThe IMO is an agency of the United Nations and has been given jurisdiction by the UN over environmental and safety issues in international waters. It is currently comprised of 172 member states. In 2005, the IMO developed its Annex VI requirements, which set a maximum sulfur limit for bunker fuel at 4.5%. This limit was reduced to 3.5% in January of 2012.The Annex VI regulations also required a further reduction to 0.5% in January of 2020, but included an option to delay implementation until January of 2025. The maritime industry was concerned that the availability of compliant fuel in 2020 would be insufficient to meet global requirements. The Annex VI regulations mandated the IMO to conduct a study before the end of 2018 to evaluate the likely supply of low sulfur bunker fuel. If the study concluded there would be insufficient bunker supplies, the IMO was given the authority to defer the implementation until 2025.
Expanding into new storage opportunities
Arc Logistics Partners explain how they are organically growing their existing portfolio of storage assets as well as exploring growth opportunities into new markets The liberalisation of Mexico’s energy market has opened up new opportunities for the market and is a potentialfor companies like Arc Logistics Partners to enhance and expand its business.This market opening has generated extensive interest with a number of Arc’s customers and has provided a potential additional platform for new customer generation and growth.In line with the company’s strategy to explore strategic acquisitions that will expand its terminal portfolio into new markets and opportunities, Arc’s team is evaluating how to enter this market and take advantage of thispotential new market opportunity.
Unleashing America's energy
While the industry waits with baited breath for more of President Trump’s ‘ unleashed energy policy’, growth is back on the agenda in the Americas and regions are undergoing a tank storage construction boom. Amy McLellan reports February 2017, and there’s a new president in town. For the oil patch, it was a moment of anticipation and uncertainty: now that he was president, would Donald Trump make good on his bombastic campaign promise to‘unleash energy’? Fast forward to May 2017, and it would seem so. Within the first 100 days of his tenure, President Trump greenlit the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines and increased access to federal areas for energy development.Industry lobbyists are keen to make the most of this pro-energy, anti-regulation administration, with a recent report from the American Petroleum Institute (API) pointing out that the ‘right regulatory policies’ could see privateinvestment in oil and gas infrastructure top $1.3 trillion by 2035, creating more than one million jobs and further bolstering the country’s domestic manufacturing base. It’s too early to say how much impact a pro-energy White House will have on an industry that is stuck in a low-price commodity cycle. This early in the administration and Erik Broekhuizen of Poten & Partners says the big difference is ‘a changed emphasis and mindset’ rather than any concrete policy change. Corporate tax cuts would make investment more profitable while a relaxation of regulation and more access to Federal land and water resources could act as a stimulus, lowering production costs and accelerating the build out of infrastructure. While the industry waits for further signals of an ‘unleashed’ energy policy under President Trump, it is business as usual – and that means a whole lot of oil.
Resurgent petroleum industry driving storage requirements
The US petroleum industry is experiencing a resurgence. Demand for road fuels has surpassed pre-recessionlevels, while exports have soared. Record throughput at refineries has been matched by the growth of US crude oil production. The effects of the lifting of the crude oil export ban, a long anticipated policy change, are nowbeing felt.Not only is the US petroleum industry experiencing strong growth, the economies of other western hemisphere neighbours are also contributing to rising petroleum demand. The World Bank notes that after six years of slowdown, Argentina and Brazil are coming out of recession, Mexico will keep growing, and Central America and the Caribbean will grow faster than in recent years.
Finite element analysis in cryogenic and refrigerated tank storage design
LNG as a sustainable source of energy has become a safe and economical solution for countries not connected toa gas supply pipeline network. Bulk storage of LNG is usually achieved via the use of low pressure refrigerated storage tanks operating at cryogenic temperatures at each end of the supply chain. These cryogenic storage tanks are also needed for energy suppliers using peak shaving tanks to cover peak demands and bunker stations located at harbours to supply vessels.In the early years, LNG was stored in single walled steel tanks, subsequently double containment steel walled tanks were introduced to contain LNG in the event of spill from the primary or inner container. Today, due to location and safety considerations, full containment (FC) storage tanks have become the industry standard for the storage of LNG.The design of a LNG storage tank is a challenging task as international codes for design (e.g. EN14620 and API620) often lack sufficient precise descriptions for the analytical procedures which need to be applied in the design.
Optimising tank terminal operations: from insight to digitalisation
These days, it is hard to find an article about industry and technology which doesn’t mention Industry 4.0, big data or the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). If you believe the hype, everything will be connected, everything will be automated and all operations will run super efficiently. Cars will drive themselves and drones, not field operators, will carry out hazardous inspections.The purpose of automation has always been to optimise efficiency, quality and safety. The promise of Industry 4.0, big data and IIot seems to be that even automation itself will be automated through artificial intelligence, machine learning, smart devices and self healing mesh networks.In reality however, there has been much less implementation than the hype would have you believe. The problem is that most people feel overwhelmed by the barrage of new technologies coming at them. They are bombarded with technical and functional specs of an ever-increasing set of options and solutions for every possible challenge imaginable.
How to avoid building a new 10-year-old terminal
Five experts from Emerson share their thoughts on technologies available that could significantly improve terminal operations As an industry, it’s common to see new terminals and expansion projects that by some measure are 10 years oldthe day that they are commissioned. One root cause is a hands-off approach to new technologies. Add to that the aging workforce set to retire and the new technologies are being left to their millennial successors to implement.There are many reasons for a hands-off approach from 1) ‘we have always done it that way’ 2) ‘new technologies are too expensive’ 3) ‘resources can’t maintain what we have, let alone new technology’ or 4) ‘just get it builtand we’ll optimise it afterwards’. Recently, Emerson received a request from a customer who wanted to buck the trend and understand what technologies are out there that they should consider. Their request was driven by market conditions, which are favourable today but they expected to see tightened – in other words ‘can we invest now to gain a competitive edge in the future?’ A cross section of experts from Emerson share their thoughts on technologies that couldsignificantly improve terminal operations.
Plastic tanks: Farewell to 'fit and forget'
Stefan Kukula, chief executive of EEMUA, explains how new, expert guidance on plastic tanks fills a much needed gap for users – improving safety and cutting costs PLASTIC TANKS: A POOR RELATION WITH A RICH FUTURE While steel tanks used in heavy industrial engineering applications sustain consistently high levels of interest, their non-metallic cousins – plastic tanks – have consistently remained the poor relation. The industry’s approach to plastic tanks has often been less than enthusiastic, and is summed up in the phrase, ‘fit and forget’. Yet plastic tanks are not simply vessels to be consigned to tank farms and left alone. With a vibrant manufacturing sector, which has a strong emphasis on technology transfer and innovation, the technology used in their manufacture has moved forward considerably in the last few decades. Nowadays, plastic tanks can be designed to handle a wide range of chemicals from clean water to highly oxidising chemicals. Despite this, tank lifetimes are often still based only on manufacturers’ nominal recommendations. This risks failing to consider the specific usage conditions, leading both to in-service failure and the unnecessary scrapping of serviceable tanks.
The internet of tanks
When talking about the latest technologies, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a buzzword. You hear it on the news, read about it in magazines or it is already in use. In a nutshell, the industry talks about making things smarter and making them communicate with each other in order to realise intelligent organisation and automation.Take the car industry as an example. Navigation tools are informed by sensors or even by other cars about traffic jams. Hence, the car automatically proposes an alternative route if traffic jams are ahead. Another IoTapplication are smart thermostats which can regulate the temperature by looking at electronic agendas concerning holidays, work or business trips and at the external temperature or the weather forecasts. Even cities are starting to rely on IoT by setting up smart grids or by installing street lights which can be turned on or off depending on traffic or people passing by.
The four P's to successful coating projects
Often, the mindset of clients and engineers is one of ‘it’s just paint, how hard can it be?’ Everyone thinks it is a slam dunk afterthought, until the system fails pre-maturely. Many engineers and architects are put in charge of managing, specifying and ensuring the quality assurance of coatings on their projects because they are in charge of the project. That is, if the engineer is responsible for designing the tank, that individual is often also specifying the coatings that protect it.However, coating materials are NOT part of the curriculum of many engineering and architecture programmes, yet these same degreed professionals are asked to perform these tasks as consultants. The only way to obtain this specialised knowledge is through coatings industry organisations such as NACE or SSPC, or through on the job training, typically under a mentor.The number one way atmospheric structures are maintained from erection to retirement is protective coatings. Given the typical service life to first maintenance of a coatings system is 10-20 years, (depending on several factors), coatings maintenance may happen many multiples of times during the lifecycle of the structure. When looking at bridge structures that might have 100-year service lives, there may be 5-10 times that the coatings will be repaired or replaced.
The planner's dilemma
Every operator faces the ‘planner’s dilemma’ with regards to vessel turnaround times as they work to ensure their customers are satisfied. The dilemma – to give an estimation that seems desirable for the customer or an under-promise estimation that allows for over-delivery. However, there are ways to mitigate the effects of such a dilemma by avoiding unnecessary waiting times, inefficient use of assets and to improve customer satisfaction. UNDERSTANDING TURNAROUND TIMEThe turnaround time is determined by many factors including; the surveyor, pump capacity, tolerance levels, product temperature, the amount of product (or ullage) in the tank, are parallel operations possible or not and gooseneck capacity.However, the main process determining turnaround time is the pump time. Because of this, turnaround times are often estimated using a basic equation: divide the cargo size by the average flow rate and add a couple of hours for pre and post pumping operations. Experienced planners are able to adjust the results of this equation based on earlier arrivals. In an increasingly complex and competitive world, a basic equation is not sufficient anymore. In order to reduce waiting times advanced technology is required. Because there are so many factors influencing the turnaround time of a ship, there is a lot of uncertainty on the actual time the ship is going to be at berth, see Figure 1. The uncertainty therefore defines the next arrival window ‘arrival 2’, which will be scheduled some time after theexpected departure of ‘arrival 1’.
The FARe approach in rim seal fires
The most common threats that terminal operators wish to avoid are storage tank fires, which have the potential to becatastrophic. As a result, it is natural to have an interest in the causes of such fires and how to mitigate against their escalation to minimise the chances of full surface fires. HSE professionals and terminal managers alike need to be aware of the different methods for tackling such challenges. One such approach for effective rim seal fire protection uses the FARe design method.In a similar way to how the Buncefield explosion made headlines across major hazard industries, rim seal fires can also lead to notable disasters as they are often categorised as one of the more significant risks terminal operatorshave to face. Over the last 20 years there have been numerous examples where a rim seal fire has been insufficiently contained leading to large-scale disasters. The least common causes of fire outbreaks on floating roof tanks include sparks developing from electrostatic charge as well as uncontrolled exothermic chemical reactions whenstoring crude oil with a high concentration of hydrogen sulphide.
Lightning protection for fiberglass reinforced plastic storage
There has been a rapidly growing trend for petroleum, water/wastewater and chemical industries to utilise fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) storage tanks. FRP storage tanks are common for these industries due to their non-corrosive properties compared to standard metal storage tanks.However, these FRP storage tanks are still exposed to lightning and are a potential fire hazard. The non-conductive property of FRP materials creates additional resistance to the fast lightning current impulses, creating intense heat at the point of impact. Fires starting at a single FRP tank can engulf an entire facility. Even in the case of an indirect lightning strike, it may also be considered that an unequal ion discharge rate between an insulated FRP tank and a nearby grounded/bonded metallic structure can cause the development of a difference of electrical potential, creating a spark which could lead to a tank explosion and fire.Downtime and recovery costs from lightning strikes can be very expensive and have safety consequences for personnel, strategic infrastructure and critical storage tanks. Tank replacement costs, losses due to operational shutdowns, and safety liability issues can be minimised with the appropriate use of modern lightning protection methods.
Technical innovations in emission control
The growing importance of environmental protection and the control of vapour emissions from tanks has resulted in the need for more innovative technologies Stricter environmental regulations are spurring better methods of emission control and as a result the popularity of full contact internal floating roofs is growing as operators adhere to stricter regulations.When it comes to oil storage tanks, the control of emissions is crucial as operators become even more responsible over safety aspects of tank storage. Additionally, VOC reduction also equates to greater financial savings due to differing evaporation rates between some stored products.Therefore, a full contact internal floating roof (IFR) system is becoming a more popular system of choice compared to non-full contact IFR as they ensure a greater percentage of emissions reduction.Full Most, a Taiwan-based company, offers an innovative brick style honeycomb IFR with full contact liquid surface which utilises the honeycomb structure to provide more robust coverage across the entire tank surface.In an interview with Tank Storage Magazine, Ciprian Aionesei, business development manager, explains that the company has seen a growing demand for their full contact IFR design as operators seek better technologies to mitigate vapour emissions.
The fluid-handling advantages of screw pumps
While centrifugal pumps have a sizeable installed base in the liquid terminal industry, many benefits can also be realised if operators consider alternative technologies The universe of liquid storage terminals continues to expand and the proof lies in the exponential growth of global storge capacity over the last eight years.On tankterminals.com database, as of early March 2017, total terminal storage capacity stood at 953,258,444 m3 with 4,604 tankstorage facilities covering a network that includes 2,276 ports or cities and 161 countries.For comparison, those figures more than double the total storage capacity (423,575,602 m3) and terminal facilities (2,150) that existed in 2009 and represent significant increases in the number of ports/cities (1,249) and countries(132) that contained tank storage facilities eight years ago.Growing long-term demand worldwide has driven this rapid and consistent expansion. As a result, pumping technologies that have been proven to help maximise safety, production efficiency, uptime performance, delivery system accuracy and environmental compliance are increasingly important to operators for both new and existing facilities.
Changing the future of tank cleaning
A safe tank cleaning solution that removes the need for man entry during cleaning operations has been brought to the market.DERC Salotech has launched the Gerotto Tank Cleaner System Lombrico ATEX Zone 0, a mini robot that removes sludge and cleans storage tanks. Arco den Hollander, sales manager, explains: ‘From a safe distance outside the tank the mini robot is controlled.‘The Gerotto Tank Cleaner System is especially designed for sludge removal and cleaning of storage tanks and removes the need for man entry.‘Safety is the main issue when it comes to tank cleaning and we are very pleased to be able to offer such an innovative solution. The robot is certified for ATEX Zone 0 areas, so it can be applied in every cleaning situation.’
Protecting a storage terminal's most valuable assets
Protecting the safety of workers as they carry out vital tank cleaning for inspection, maintenance and repair projects isof paramount importance for storage facilities, refineries and operators. Previously, when conducting aboveground storage tank cleaning, inspection and repairs, workers could only rely on antiquated wooden cribbing stacks, which could significantly compromise their safety.David Bush, the sole inventor and patent holder of the Delta P Technology was called upon to lead and perform IDLH confined space rescue missions in aboveground storage tanks for the past 15 years.In an interview with Tank Storage Magazine, he says: ‘The rescue missions that involved collapsed floating roofs were all recoveries. There were too many bodies and when one man was cut in half by a collapsing roof, I decided that enough was enough.’‘In this safety first driven industry why do we continue to use such a cave man style approach, which has killed hundreds of workers? No-one in the world has spent as much time under collapsed roofs and raising them as I have.’However, a revolution in tank cribbing technology is set to reinvent the industry standard for worker safety by giving workers and operators a greater peace of mind.
The powe of pumps to bring energy wells back to production
The implementation of a multiphase pumping project at an established energy well in the US has allowed low energy wells to be brought back into production.Crosbys Creek Oil & Gas is an independent American producer in Choctow County in Northern Alabama. These fields are older and have produced oil and gas for many years. Over time the natural reservoir pressure dropped off to a point where some wells were not able to overcome back pressure generated by the surface flow lines and the first stage separator of the process facility.The conventional alternatives considered by the operator involved increasing the flow line size and installing a low pressure first stage separator, which would be significantly larger. However after careful review of these alternatives,it turned out that the costs and necessary permissions by the appropriate authorities would have been significant and not economical.
A stress-free approach to lifting
The art of tank lifting is a complex and hazardous specialty and requires reliable and precise tools to ensure neither the tank nor the foundation are damaged.Several options are available for tank lifting operations however Mix Bros. Tank Services’ (MTS) approach, which involves using long single stroke jacks coupled with unified oil delivery provides a guarantee that the tank will be placed back in the same place that they were lifted from. The unified oil system means that if one jack is lifting a 100lb weight and another is lifting 30,000lbs, both jacks go up the same distance at the same time. The use of this oil delivery approach means that the tank is not placed under any stress.In an interview with Tank Storage Magazine Dave Morrison, vice president, explains that the method offers a range of benefits that systems such as shorter stroke jacks and airbags cannot provide. ‘The two other competing systems, short stroking hydraulic jacks and airbags, neither of them can easily ensure that the tanks go back in the same position that they were lifted from. In fact, it is nearly impossible for airbags to achieve this.