A new player in the European market
With 10 terminals in several strategic locations in western Europe, Alkion Terminals has ambitions to establish itselfas a significant pan European tank storage provider Alkion Terminals emerged onto the European market one year ago focused on acquiring and owning assets in key logistics gateway locations.The product of a joint venture between energy expert business Coloured Finches and infrastructure investment managing company InfraVia Capital Partners, Alkion focuses on downstream assets in western Europe thatplay a crucial role in the supply chain.It first emerged onto the storage scene with a tank terminal in Amsterdam. It quickly built its asset portfolio with the acquisition of eight former LBC Tank Terminals in France, Spain and Portugal in 2017.These acquisitions represented a milestone for the founders of the company, and significantly accelerated Alkion’s business strategy of becoming a European-wide independent tank storage provider.Currently, the company owns and operates 10 terminals in five countries after it bought a bulk liquid tank terminal in Italy from ENI last year.In an interview with Tank Storage Magazine, Rutger van Thiel, CEO and member of the board at Alkion says that the company is focused on growing further into existing markets, but is also looking at assets in northern Europe.
Investing in signficant potential on the Thames
Asignificant enhancement programme is taking place at NuStar’s Grays terminal, in the UK.The £25 million (€28.4 million) investment in the facility on the River Thames comprises upgrades to its two jetties, making them capable of receiving larger vessels. The company is also in the process of installing additional shipping lines and new marine loading arms.Work on jetty 1 at the facility, which increased its draft from 10.6 meters to 12.8 meters making it capable of receiving vessels of up to 125,000 gross displacement tonnage, was completed at the beginning of January, with the first vessel being recieved on January 4.Work on jetty 2 will be completed by the end of the first quarter.Additionally, four new road loading gantries have been commissioned, with another one to be added by the end of the first quarter. This will result in the terminal having seven retail bays available, plus five separate commercialloading bays. An additional vapour recovery unit has also been installed.
M&A activity surges on new found confidence
As the merger & acquisitions market in the storage sector experiences a resurgence thanks to several favourable market drivers, Nnamdi Anyadike takes a closer look at some of the key transactions taking place The mergers and acquisitions (M&A) market for the bulk and liquids tank storage sector is showing signs of reinvigoration, helped partly by the steady rise in the crude oil price that is providing much needed buoyancy to the energy industry.By the end of January – and for the first time since December 2014 – the price of crude oil nudged $70 a barrel. The 2014 oil price slump has acted as a spur to some buyers to acquire new storage capacity in the hope of a reasonablyswift upturn in the market. Inevitably though, there were disappointments in the first couple of years. But the price strengthening that began to take hold in 2017 has provided a boost to other players looking to acquire more strategic storage capacity.Examples include Saudi Aramco’s recent purchase of a stake in a Rotterdam storage terminal to expand its foothold in the European market. Across the industry spectrum, company executives say that they are now better motivated to undertake strategic collaborations. These include joint ventures, acquisitions, mergers and partnerships in order to establish a stronger market position.
Storage terminal investors: a decade of change
Energy expert Frank Schreurs, founder of In-Energy, examines how storage investor behaviours have changed since purchasing his first terminal 10 years ago Having worked in the energy sector for the last 20 years, I bought the first two terminals in 2007 in the ARA region.There was no competition from financial buyers and we were competing with a trading company. It was around the time that the first oil trading companies started to show interest in storage assets.In 2006, Vitol started to acquire the first terminals. As an example, they acquired the Europoint Terminal in Amsterdam for around €106/per m3 – a very low number by today’s standards. It was one of the first acquisitions ofthe company that is now known as VTTI.Back then, there were only limited financial buyers for terminals. Macquarie, 3i and Inter Pipeline were among the first. 3i Infrastructure acquired a 45% stake in three Oiltanking terminals in Amsterdam, Malta and Singaporein 2007, and Inter Pipeline acquired of Simon Storage in 2005.We directly acquired terminals from owners via proprietary relationships and without the involvement of M&A advisors. As a buyer, we received an excel spreadsheet with financial information as well as key technical information.The excel sheet provided sufficient information but you needed to build up your own business case. We only took into account the existing contract portfolio – growth projects were not included, at least not in the transactions that Iwas involved in.
Oil breakout in 2017 to gain momentum in 2018
Early in 2018, the US and international crude price benchmarks – West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent – spiked to price levels last seen in December 2014. This was a result of upside momentum from the fourth quarter 2017 accelerating in January on a plethora of factors, including strong economic growth expectations across the world that would yield sharply higher energy consumption.In late January, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) boosted its outlook for world output by 0.2% to 3.9% for this year and 2019, citing tax reform in the US that took effect January 1 as one of the key components in revising higher its forecast. Also, early in the year, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecast global oil demand would increase well above trend, up 1.72 million bpd or 1.8% this year to 100.11 million bpd, with year-on-year growth for 2019 at 1.65 million bpd or 1.7%.Greater-than-expected demand for oil emerged in 2017 to drive up prices in the second half of the year after tumbling to annual lows in June as the market focused on supply, fearing any meaningful price gain in crude would prompt an increase in tight oil production in the US. The success of production cuts by OPEC and 10 non-OPEC oil producing countries led by Russia was very much in doubt, with inventory still building.
IPTF terminal: defying the odds in the Middle East
IL&FS Prime Terminals’ strategic vision to become a key storage player in Fujairah is supporting its growth developments as work starts on its Phase II expansion In 2015 IL&FS Maritime embarked on its maiden venture into the tank storage sector with its 333,484 m3 facility in the flourishing Fujairah market.The oil storage facility, located in the Port of Fujairah, started with 17 storage tanks for various grades of refined petroleum products, including fuel oil, gas oil, diesel, petrol, jet fuel and naphtha. The facility provides value addedservices including blending, heating, additive/dozing of products and road tanker loading and unloading.The terminal is also one of the few terminals in the region to be accredited to Integrated Management System (IMS) 2015 standards.Since becoming operational in March 2015, it has maintained healthy occupancy levels of around 90% and has handled aggregate volumes of more than 12 million m3.In an interview with Tank Storage Magazine, Saibal De, group CEO and director of IL&FS’s parent company IL&FS Maritime (IMICL), explains that the facility was the company’s maiden venture into the tank terminal sector.‘As a natural extension of the maritime and logistics infrastructure platform, IMICL ventured into the liquid storage terminalling business and IPTF was conceived and incorporated in June 2011.
Alternative gateway to Europe
Collaborative efforts between key stakeholders are gaining momentum to promote the Mediterranean as an alternative gateway to the ARA International energy trading hubs have grown exponentially in recent years thanks to favourable market dynamics as well as advancements in supply chain logistics.These hubs provide a focus for trading, storage and distribution activity to both hinterland markets as well as international markets and can be greatly beneficial to the region’s economy.Currently, flows from the Middle East enter Europe through the ports in the Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp region (ARA).However, executives at the Port of Tarragona have observed that the Mediterranean region is blessed with several strategic advantages to act as an alternative gateway to the ARA.Its ambition to improve and promote the Mediterranean as a logistics platform in southern Europe was the key focus of its first Hub Day Workshop.The event brought together professionals from across Spain, Portugal, France, the Netherlands and the UK to improve the positioning, infrastructure and services the Port of Tarragona offers in a bid to bolster its competitiveness compared to ports in northern Europe.In the last three years, surface area for bulk liquid storage terminals at the port and the Moll de la Química has doubled from 18 hectares to 36 and this extension is now almost fully occupied. At the event, chairman of the port Josep Andreu, said that the intention is to double its current storage capacity in the next few years.
Europe: a flexible storage market
As the great global energy market rebalance continues, talk turns to the looming IMO regulations and the opportunities it presents for operators. With demand for chemical storage high and an active investment market, Europe continues to adapt to shifting market patterns and regulations. Amy McLellan reports The great rebalancing is underway. More than 12 months after OPECplus- Russia agreed production cuts of 1.8 million barrels per day to rebalance the market, the unwinding of the contango is complete. The market has been in backwardation since November 2017, and shows no sign of retreating: at the time of writing Brent wasjust north of $70.The global oil glut has halved, floating storage has evaporated and storage rates are softening as excess barrels find their way to market. As oil stabilises at higher levels, oil companies are, finally, loosening the purse strings: rig counts are rising and last month [January] Shell greenlit its first investment in a new North Sea project for six years, with news of the redevelopment of its Penguins oilfield.But with production cuts set to last until the end of the year, Paul Hickin, EMEA oil analyst at S&P Global Platts, is bullish, noting that the ‘market is rebalancing faster than expected and helping to support prices thanks to the sustained OPEC and non-OPEC production cut deal, exacerbated by the collapse in Venezuela oil production.’
The storage outlook
Six international storage operators with facilities across the globe review events from 2017 and share with Tank StorageMagazine what they think will be the big trends emerging in 2018…
Overfill protection: A review of API 2350 4th & 5th edition
In a two-part article series, Philip Myers and Brock Trotter of PEMY Consulting examine the new 4th and 5th editions of API 230 and how it affects overfill standards The overfilling of a petroleum storage tank is potentially among the most devastating events that can occur at a terminal or refining facility.The loss of product is only a minor consequence of spilling petroleum liquids from a tank compared to potential outcomes such as lawsuits, fines, damage to reputation, fires, injury to personnel, a vapour cloud explosion (VCE) and possible facility closure. Figure 1 shows the destruction of the 2005 Buncefield terminal VCE caused by overfilling a petrol tank.Filling a storage tank seems uncomplicated but repeating the process thousands of time, flawlessly, for hundreds of tanks over decades requires robust procedures, training, equipment, a good management of change (MOC) process as well as the right corporate culture. API/ANSI 2350 4th and upcoming 5th edition guides users on these prerequisites for best practices that can ward off overfills. The new 4th and 5th editions of API 2350 radically change that way the tank receipts are supposed to be handled from a best practices point of view and from lessons of thepast.
An entrepreneurial spirit to innovation
In just three years, Advanced 3D Laser Solutions has quickly established itself with a strong client base in the UK and Europe.After establishing a strong client base in the UK, the team set its sights on Europe, particularly Rotterdam, as it offered new opportunities to expand the company’s offering.Since then, the company, based in Essex, UK, has secured significant contracts with high-profile storage operators globally and, following feedback from clients, is now investing more in researching new innovations as newchallenges emerge.For example, the company is currently researching how drones can be utilised alongside its field laser scanners.In an interview with Tank Storage Magazine, director Colin Pittman, explains that the addition of a drone along with its 3D laser scanning operation could prove to be invaluable.‘Although drones cannot achieve the degree of accuracy required for pipework modelling, we have been looking into their use with overall site scanning for information purposes.‘This has been particularly useful where Advanced 3D Laser Solutions consider client sites on the other side of the world. The up-todate data collected by a drone can be invaluable in assessing the overall number of field scans required to cover the site.’
Good leadership in process safety
Understanding and managing risk is critical to any business. Traditional business practices focus on the management of financial aspects, but there are other important risks that a company faces. Some of these not only have the potential to kill or injure people and damage the environment, but also to destroy facilities, company reputation and potentially the business itself.Many companies have mature safety management systems in place and are regulated to ensure that they have the appropriate measures in place to minimise the risks of a major accident. Good leadership is an essential component in managing these risks – without leadership an organisation will not devote the right amount of resource, effort, focus and priority to understanding and controlling hazards.Failures in good leadership have been evident in several painful learnings from major accidents in the oil and chemical sectors over many years, but what is good leadership, and what does it look like?
The second line of defence
When primary storage containment fails, secondary systems step up to the mark to help prevent environmental catastrophes. As more stringent regulations are developed globally, the range of containment innovations continues to evolve. Jasmin McDermott reports When it comes to the storage of hazardous and highly volatile products, the more protection thebetter. Not only does it add further safeguards to protecting the environment and people, but it also adds a further guarantee to clients using storage facilities.With a greater focus on environmental protection, and the impact that industrial assets, such as storage facilities, have on their surroundings, operators are now investing more in stronger layers of containment protection.Coupled with increasingly stringent regulations, the scope of secondary containment systems has evolved in the market to offer the highest degree of impermeability with flexible applications that require minimal downtime andmaintenance when they are installed. CONTAINMENT OPTIONSSecondary containment is the second line of defence for preventing or controlling major hazardous events. The most common forms are bunds, drip trays as well as double skinned tanks and sumps to name a few. Bunds are generally the most common form of containment around storage tanks. Sized to hold 110% of the maximum capacity of thelargest tanks, there are no fixed rules on the ratio between the wall height and floor area, and codes vary greatly with respect to recommendations of bund wall height, according to COMAH’s Technical Measures Document on secondary containment.
Reducing operational & financial risk
Valve management system eliminates the risk of an incorrect valve line-up for tank storage provider Everyone in the tank storage industry recognises the problem of product contamination. A common cause is the incorrect line-up of valves during loading and offloading operations.Between the loading arms and the storage tanks lies a vast network of pipelines and valves, many of which are manually operated and known as hand-operated valves (HOVs). Incorrect line-up may cause unwanted product mix, resulting in product contamination.One of the world’s leading independent tank storage providers decided to find a smarter solution than using a padlock and key to lock HOVs.Such an approach offered no valve status information and, due to human error, led to incorrect valve line-up once or twice a year during checklist operations.The direct labour, waste creation, waste disposal, cleaning and transport costs for each incident came to hundreds of thousands of euros. What’s more, the environmental impact, operational downtime and damage to the corporate reputation all had significant financial implications.A conservative estimate of the total direct and indirect costs for each incident is €160,000, bringing total expected annual line-up error costs to €160,000-€320,000.Having identified the potential risk and cost associated with incorrect valve line-ups, the customer was looking for a tailor-made solution. Unfamiliar with Sofis, the tank storage provider investigated every possible way of avoiding such an incident, including installing motor-operated valves (MOVs) for faster line-up.However, aside from proving prohibitively expensive, this method could also have led to unwanted manipulation of MOVs when in local mode. Each MOV could be operated in either remote mode – by the control room operator sending a signal to the MOV – or in local mode – by the operator turning a knob on the MOV fascia near the valve without proper monitoring or control of the valve’s status.Finally, when the customer learnt about Sofis’s key management systems from colleagues in Dubai, the company felt it had found the most reliable solution for guaranteeing valve position during loading and offloading operations.
Emulation: the cost-effective solution to tank gauging upgrades
Many terminal operators tend to make do with older tank gauging systems, as they believe upgrade projects would be too costly, complex and time-consuming. However, as Emerson’s Lena Hansson explains, tank gauging emulation provides a solution that enables them to easily, efficiently and incrementally replace outdated or unreliable field or control room equipment Ensuring the safety of personnel, assets and the surrounding environment while also maximising operational efficiency is a key challenge facing storage terminal operators.However, many of the world’s estimated one million bulk liquid storage tanks are still relying on ageing tank gauging systems – incorporating mechanical devices using float or servo technology – to support overfill prevention and inventory management. This technology is susceptible to failure, and can result in unreliable measurements and high maintenance costs.Other systems may use more modern radar technology, but could be hampered by radar level gauges which are not performing well. Measurement unreliability creates the potential for overfills, which can then result in safety incidents, fines, substantial clean-up costs, and significant damage to a company’s reputation.Measurement inaccuracy can also lead to underutilisation of tanks and transfer uncertainty, making tank operations less efficient and thus affecting profitability. REPLACING TANK GAUGING EQUIPMENTMany terminal operators recognise the widespread benefits that can be gained by either fully or partially upgrading their existing tank gauging system, replacing older mechanical equipment with modern radar level gauges and control room infrastructure.The latest radar technology provides measurements that are highly reliable and accurate, meets current safety standards and guidelines, offers advanced diagnostics to help pinpoint potential problems, and has very low maintenance requirements. The latest systems also adopt open fieldbus communications, enabling users to select best-in-class devices.
Heightened security risks require adaptable operations
The increasing pace of digitisation over the last few years has made cyber security a core topic for the storage industry.Not a single day passes without news about yet another cyber attack. New software to protect against current threats is being released continuously, but issues related to cyber security often come from internal ‘attacks’. Incorrect handling of IT-related issues often causes information asymmetries, for example regarding the current hardware or software status of individual plant sections, which increases the vulnerability of an entire industrial plant. Modern, smart maintenance solutions constitute a comprehensive approach for these issues.Industrial plants are not just becoming more complex, they are also becoming more digital – Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things (IoT) are some of the most prominent examples of this trend. However, in addition to having the capability to operate with increased efficiency, modern plants are also more likely to suffer from unplanned shutdowns due to cyber attacks. These ‘attacks’ can come from the inside as well as the outside.Critical infrastructures, which include the oil-processing industry, are one of the areas where potential damage can be especially severe.In its latest report ‘Status of IT Security in Germany 2017’ (Lage der IT-Sicherheit in Deutschland 2017) the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) pointed to the particularly high risk of unplanned shutdowns that critical infrastructures are exposed to.In some cases, the direct damage can be accompanied by even more severe indirect damage, for example due to power shortages, shutdowns of telecommunication networks or difficulties in ensuring the provision of medical care.
The safe approach to tank cleaning
Rapidly increasing storage capacity, increased HSE awareness & more stringent legislation has increased the need for safe, reliable, predictable and efficient approaches to tank cleaning practices Increasingly stringent and complex legislation and regulations have been introduced to the tank terminal sector to ensure a greater focus on operational safety, to preserve the surrounding environment and to reduce health and safety risks for staff.At the same time, there is an increasing demand from tank owners globally for no-man entry automatic tank cleaning systems performing thorough, efficient, reliable and predictable tank cleaning operations.State-of-the-art, fully integrated closed-loop systems, provided by Oreco, incorporate desludging, washing and cleaning of the tank interior with sludge separation into clean directly reusable oil, disposable water and solids.However even in 2018 – more than 100 years since the construction of the first crude oil tanks – hazardous manual cleaning methodology remains as a common practice on many sites. Cost is almost always the stated or implied justification by the tank owner’s representative for choosing to award tank cleaning contracts to methods based on outdated, primitive and hazardous manual cleaning.But such an argument does not stand up to scrutiny. In fact, automatic closed loop cleaning is almost always significantly cheaper for the individual sites, especially when factoring in waste disposal, value of recoveredproduct, tank out of service cost and so on.Unfortunately, more often than not, the cost-rewards from these are assigned to different operational budgets, than the budget assigned for tank cleaning, thus driving a culture for methodology decisions based on individualbudgets and not on a more site wide/company-wide holistic view.
A culture of care to avoid catastrophe
Piper Alpha was the event which lead to the oil and gas industry reassessing its approach to safety. Even with newstandards and an increased awareness of what causes large process safety events like these, almost 30 years on from one of the biggest disasters the industry has experienced, the industry continues to see large and fatal disasters occurring. Texas City, Buncefield and Richmond refinery just to name a few.However, it is not only the oil and gas industry that is at risk of high consequence, low probability events such as these. Any industry where quantities of dangerous substances meet the threshold outlined in the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations are also at risk, including chemical, storage, explosives and nuclear sites.Distilleries are another industry at risk of a process safety event and some are even classed as top tier sites. Large events at distilleries have occurred, some within the last few years, suggesting a focus on process safety is required within this industry as well.Although the number of large events like those mentioned above occur less frequently these days, they still happen. In 2016, the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OGP) published their annual Safety Performance Indicators report. This outlined the number and causes of process safety events in 2015 as reported by participating oil and gas organisations themselves. They reported 254 (rate 0.14) Tier 1 events (loss of primary containment (LOPC) with the greatest consequences) and 795 (rate 0.44) Tier 2 events (LOPC with lesser consequences). OGP also reported that the onshore Tier 1 process safety event rate (PSER) was around 2.5 times the offshore Tier 1 PSER, and onshore Tier 2 PSER to be 1.6 times the offshore Tier 2 PSER.High hazard industries, now more than ever, need to pay attention to not only their safety performance but also their process safety performance if they are to avoid experiencing the worst case scenario. It is important that high hazard industries such as COMAH sites operationalise their COMAH plan or process safety plan and ensure they are paying attention to even the weakest signals, which may indicate the potential for an accident to occur.
Designing an optimal fire protection ITM programme
A fire protection system is only as effective as the inspection, testing and maintenance programme that is used to keep it running The effectiveness and reliability of fire protection systems continues to improve due to new technologies and the vast amounts of available data.However, a system is only as effective as the ITM (Inspection, Testing and Maintenance) programme that is used to keep it running once it is put in service. NFPA 25 Standard for Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of water-based fire protection systems is considered best practice in the Netherlands, and also worldwide, for the inspection, testing and maintenance of fire protection installations.How do you design and build the optimum ITM programme? Antea Group has developed NFPA 25 ITM solutions for tank storage terminals and has optimised ITM programmes to provide complete insight into the state-of-the-fire protection systems and their components.
Making operator safety a top priority
When it comes to safety, terminals, refineries and chemical plants globally are always keen to highlight how much of a priority it is in their day-to-day operations.‘I cannot recall the amount of times I have seen ‘safety is our #1 priority’ as I walk into terminals, refineries and chemical plants,’ says Alec Keeler, managing director of UK-based Loadtec Engineered Systems.‘So I think, ok, let’s see that in action.’ Sadly, as Keeler recalls, it is a somewhat different story. In many cases in fact, there is a scattering of minimal equipment, designed and built to a specified budget to ‘appease authorities and doesn’t give a moment’s thought to actual operator safety and ergonomics’.
Automated process control delivers safety and economy
The design and installation of the latest process control systems can deliver safe, efficient, highly cost-effective operations at storage facilities With an almost static demand from refined oil products, it is chemicals, biofuels and new liquids, along withmodern distribution and advanced logistics that are driving the need for enhanced storage terminal development. To satisfy this demand, terminal operators are striving to offer more competitive packages and innovative serviceexcellence to their customers.A critical element at the heart of any modern, state-of-the-art tank storage terminal is a custom built, full process control system, capable of delivering the all-important benefits of safer working, greater efficiency and reducedoperating costs.It’s a tall order but eminently achievable, as has been proven in Monitor Systems’ previous work on tank storage terminals in the design and manufacture of monitoring and control instrumentation systems for hazardous environments, mainly in the oil and gas industry.
Deluge valves make their way to the Middle East
The SA Fire Protection deluge valve portfolio adapts to heightened demands in the Middle East Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) recently awarded a project to Petrofac as the main EPC company, as well as to Tyco Fire & Security UAE.Following this contract award, SA Fire Protection were subsequently commissioned by Tyco for the delivery of 32 electric pressure reducing ON/OFF deluge valves with EPDM membranes.PDO’s main ethos is focused on well-designed and well-maintained facilities to ensure that their assets, the environment and their employees are protected. This ethos was the driving force behind their contract awards. The scope of the project required deluge valves for the following three systems:- Water spray system- Fire monitor system- Foam system
The time of infrared inspections
Recently, an inspection of the insulation of an aboveground storage tanks (AST) with a drone and an infrared-camerawas completed by Foto Video König. The aim of the inspection was to establish the condition of the insulation to evaluate the state of the structure.The inspection was carried out to estimate the amount of maintenance required when replacing the insulation.During the course of the inspection, several ventilation-hoods were inspected in order to check their function and it was found that the ventilation hoods were working normal without any blockage.These examples show how easy it is to introduce innovative technologies in traditional working industries.
A novel method of monitoring internal corrosion
One of the challenging aspects of monitoring for internal corrosion is to place the monitoring equipment in a representative location.The ‘worst case scenario’ is often low flow or stagnant locations. A vessel designed to slow the product flow and drop out any contaminants such as water and solids has shown to be effective at predicting corrosion under these ‘worst case scenario’ conditions in pipelines and tank farms.This method allows the operator to obtain information by employing multiple corrosion monitoring methods in the same fluid, under actual pipeline pressures and temperatures.Multiple methods can be compared, as well as biological, water and solids chemistry results to give the operator a realistic view of the current corrosive conditions. The use of electronic monitoring devices also allows for real timedata collection and the ability to respond to potentially corrosive conditions appropriately.
The future of tank cleaning safety
The use of robots is revolutionising oil and gas tank inspection by offering a more long-term and sustainable option compared to traditional methods Entering a tank for inspection, survey or cleaning purposes, has always represented a high risk, even for the most skilled technicians and operators, due to the presence of hazardous or poisonous atmospheres.There are still recurrent cases of individuals getting hurt or, worse, being fatally injured during these operations. Gerotto Federico’s ‘no more risk’ slogan is not only a motto for the company but represents a way of thinking and behaving, with the goal of eliminating the human presence from the danger of hazardous areas and/or confined spaces.Gerotto is now widely recognised for its robotic solutions, which acts as the go-between between the operator and the risk.The first robots were designed and produced for Gerotto itself, based on needs they identified at their own job sites. In 2002, the first Lombrico (a tracked robot used as attachment for moving the hose of a vacuum excavator) was built using a commercial carbon steel tracked undercarriage as a base. Not as much focus was placed about the dimension of the equipment, as it was meant to be used in a very big underground sewer channel in Venice.
Three decades of cleaning innovation
Innovations in specialist non-man entry tank cleaning equipment have progressed significantly over the last 30 years.Established more than 20 years ago, Non Entry Systems (NESL), a leading manufacturer of specialist non-man entry tank cleaning equipment, sludge handling equipment and sludge treatment and oil recovery plants, has brought several successful innovations to the market.In 1985 Doug Shipton, NESL’s founder, designed and built the company’s first sit and ride dozer. The sit and ride dozer was a huge development in the world of tank cleaning.For the first time, tanks could be de-sludged without requiring a large number of men in the tank. Removing tank bottom sludge could now be done with one man in the tank, one dozer, and a pump. The design and simplicity of the sit and ride dozer has lasted throughout the decades and is still manufactured by NESL today under the name NESL Mover.In 1996, NESL built a specialist sludge treatment system for a UK based contractor. The STS was a heavily modified 40 foot shipping container that comprised three 13 tonne heating and processing tanks, a polymer dosing system and a three-phase centrifuge. The STS was used extensively in the UK, Middle East, and South America. At the time of construction, it was the only one of its kind in Europe.
A highly elastic surface sealing system
Repairing a contaminated leak-catchment area is always problematic. It mostly involves concrete areas which cannotbe coated without partial replacement. To compound matters, connections must also be established to geometrical details like pipeline penetrations which also require an elastic design.KTW Kunststoff-Technik Weimar has been active in sealing bunds and leak-catchment areas required under the German Water Resources Act in order to ensure soil and water conservation among other activities since 1990. This work started with sealing joints at petrol/gas stations and other filling locations. Since then, more than 1,000 projectshave been performed, also including leak-catchment areas covering up to 12,000 m².
Transforming data into value
Digitalisation is shaking up the tank terminal industry. Tank Storage Magazine’s editor Jasmin McDermott talks to Thomas Ernst, managing director at downstream process specialists Implico, to find out more about its take on this digital revolution and what the real-world opportunities are that are offered by it.
Success in the Middle East
Multiphase pumps have been successfully used for both onshore and offshore applications worldwide.The technology gained increasing acceptance amongst global oil and gas producers for keeping marginal and declining oil fields producing and to reduce flaring as a contribution to a cleaner environment.The majority of multiphase pumps operating are based on twin screw pump technology. These self-priming pumps are of double volute design and hence, hydraulically balanced. The possibility of speed variation by means ofvariable frequency drives offers a wide operating envelope. Twin screw multiphase pumps are available for flow rates up to 5,000 m³/h (755,300 bpd) and differential pressures up to 150 bar (2,175 psi). The pumps are designed to handle high gas volume fractions (GVF) and to tolerate gas slugs with 100 % GVF.
A storage innovation transition
Challenging cautious attitudes and stimulating a more innovative spirit is a core philosophy for iTanks. In an interview with Tank Storage Magazine ahead of its Innovations in Storage showcase day at StocExpo Europe on March 21, Cor van de Linde explains more about the importance of innovation ‘Innovation – whether it is innovation in port-related industries or elsewhere – is extremely important,’ says Cor van de Linde, managing director of Rotterdam innovation engine iTanks.‘Especially now that we are on the verge of a transition. Those who do not innovate stand still while their competitors catch up with them and this is the case for the oil & gas and tank storage industries. Not everyone in this sectoris fully aware of this yet and a cautious, conservative attitude is still very often adopted.’iTanks, as a knowledge and innovation platform, aims to challenge this attitude and stimulate innovations. It connects companies, knowledge institutes and industry experts, introduces them to new technologies and innovations and initiates various innovative processes.‘It is difficult to estimate when the transition will take place – in five or 20 years – and to what extent this will have an impact on our industry, but there will be a lot of changes in the foreseeable future,’ van de Linde says.‘You can already see that with emerging trends and technologies that are increasingly being used more and more in the industry.‘For example, there is a strong movement towards digitisation and robotics. With more computing power, speed and artificial intelligence, all sorts of algorithms are created, making it possible to deal with data much moreintelligently.