Vopak's smart Singapore tank terminals
Inspection robots, like drones and ROVs, have been implemented at Vopak’s Singaporean tank terminals as part of a company-wide initiative to incorporate the latest digital innovations into key business areas Vopak’s four Singapore terminals are a testbed for the deployment of products and solutions as part of the company’s digital transformation journey.The four terminals – Banyan, Penjuru, Sakra and Sebarok – commenced on a three year roadmap last year to become the beacons of technology leadership within the company’s global network. These new innovationstested include drones used for tank shell and roof inspections, jetty inspections using an underwater remote operated vehicle, digital vessel clearance tools and robots for in-service tank floor inspection.In an interview with Tank Storage Magazine Edwin Ebrahimi, innovation engagement leader, says that the ‘Lighthouse Programme’ was developed following the creation of a digital innovation team at Vopak’s headquarters in Rotterdam in 2015.
What keeps Singaporean storage operators awake?
While tank terminals perform several important functions, the most important is the role they play in physically balancing supply and demand along the supply chain as well as facilitating trade.Demand for tank terminal capacity has seen huge growth over recent years to facilitate interregional and regional trade flows caused by the unbalanced oil product and petrochemical markets. In addition, the various periods of contango term structure on oil futures markets made access to oil product storage capacity a profitable position. Consequently, profits surged and investments in tank storage assets grew substantially with a lot of new capacity hitting the market in recent years.These developments have contributed to major growth in regional tank terminal hubs. Globally, the most important hub locations are the US Gulf with Houston, the ARA (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp) zone in Europe, Fujairah in the Middle East, and Singapore and Ulsan in the Asia Pacific.
Australia's LNG imports lead to storage questions
As Australia contends with a growing mismatch between demand and supply of LNG, despite being the world’s largest LNG exporter, ION Commodities’ Mark Davis examines the opportunities and issues this brings for storage operators To aid its gas shortage, Australia will soon import its own liquefied natural gas (LNG). Australia is a country rich innatural gas, so to many, this may seem like a paradox. The truth of the matter is Australia’s export boom came with a cost.In November 2018, Australia celebrated when it claimed the title of ‘the world’s largest exporter of LNG’ with some 6.5 million tonnes (about 312 Bcf) of LNG delivered to the fastgrowing Asian markets – surpassing perennial export leader Qatar, which shipped 6.2 million tonnes (or 298 Bcf) to its global customers during November. By March 2019, the Department of Industry reported that Australia’s biggest customer is Japan, which accounts for 45% of Australia’s LNG export earnings. China follows at 33%, then South Korea at 13%, and the rest of the world at 9%.However, the tables turned when the rapid growth of its LNG export market mismatched with domestic supply and demand. As the country works to reverse the damage and starts to import to counterbalance its exports, it’ll face key issues like storage optimisation.
Developing a sustainable terminal for the future
Stolthaven Singapore is implementing several sustainability initiatives as part of its core company philosophy to reduce its impact on the environment Several sustainability initiatives to generate more renewable forms of energy to power Stolthaven Singapore are being developed to reduce the terminal’s carbon footprint.A project to harness the potential of renewable energy has involved solar panels being installed to the administration and substation buildings at the terminal located in the Tembusu Cluster on Jurong Island. The company entered into a power purchase agreement with the Renewables Energy Corporation (now known as Sembcorp Solar) in April 2015, where 501 TwinPeak series panels were installed, making it one of the first bulk storage terminals in the world touse solar energy. These panels have the capability of generating 138-kilowatt peak (kWp), and the energy generated is used to provide electricity for general appliances in the administrative building.This initiative is one of several being implemented at the terminal as part of the company’s ambition to improve sustainability across its global network of 16 tank terminals.In an interview with Tank Storage Magazine Guy Bessant, president of Stolthaven Terminals, says that the company iscontinuously exploring how new technologies can mitigate its impact on the environment.
Renewed EU strategy for the tank storage sector
Almost every industry has a professional representative office in Brussels, to represent sectoral interests with the European Commission, European Parliament, national delegations based in Brussels and other European bodies.The purpose is similar to an embassy. It is the contact point for Brussels based officials and politicians to learn about a sector; it provides lobbying and advocacy services to the members by engaging with EU and international institutions and bodies; it provides a forum for exchanging good practices and sharing information on latest trends with peers from other countries; and it has a think tank capability, developing research and best practices. FETSA, the Federation of European Tank Storage Associations fulfils these roles and even more for the tank storage (bulk liquid storage) sector.FETSA represents European national tank storage associations and independent private storage companies operating bulk liquid storage terminals. In total, FETSA represent more than 140 companies operating 781 terminals across Europe.
IMO 2020: it may be too late to invest
Channoil Consulting’s Mark Waddington explains why it may already be too late for refiners and shippers to invest to meet the January 1 deadline for the IMO 2020 regulation With the IMO 2020 regulation within touching distance, this is a good time to take a look at what various sectors – shipping, refining and logistics – have done so far and to consider what might be happening in the coming months as the industry prepares to meet the deadline.Currently, the only significant outlet for high sulphur fuel oil is the ships’ bunker market. However, the bunker fuel market is changing and will, in the near future, no longer provide a guaranteed outlet for high sulphur fuel oil.Solving the problem is a matter of fundamental constraints on the global supply and demand balance and feedstock availability. Production and demand are dislocated from one another. There is not enough low sulphur crude oil available to allow refiners simply to switch to a new feedstock. Substitution is not straightforward; investment in equipment to remove sulphur from crude oil residues is very expensive. Refiners are not convinced that it will be worth the investment in the long run.Prices have a habit of shifting to take away the benefits. We are already seeing that occur.
Impact and opportunities of a decarbonised energy system
As governments commit to reducing emissions towards a more decarbonised society, Tank Storage Association executive director Peter Davidson explains how the tank terminal industry & government need to work closely together to ensure a successful energy future The UK became the first country in the EU to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 after committing to reduce emissions by 80% under the 2008 climate change act.Whether the European Union and other nation states adopt a similar position is yet to be seen, but nonetheless, this is a very ambitions target.In 2017 each household in the UK emitted 8,798 kilogrammes of CO2 from sources including heating, transport, electricity generation, aviation, waste and agriculture. To achieve net zero by 2050, these emissions would need to be reduced to less than 1,160 kilograms of CO2 per household. With heating, transport and aviation fuels contributing more than 60% of these emissions, a significant change is required in the next 30 years.UK tank terminals handle a variety of substances, of which fuels and hydrocarbon derivatives account for approximately 65% of tonnage throughput. The variety of other essential liquids sharing common terminal infrastructure is multiple and complex, and equally important to the country’s needs. These liquids include chemicals, gases, animal feeds, fertiliser and foodstuffs. Any energy transition will have a dramatic impact on the role of terminals in the future.
A chemical gateway for Spain
Port of Tarragona executives explain how they are continually developing port infrastructure to consolidate its position as a Mediterranean storage & chemical production hub The Port of Tarragona is in constant evolution as it continues its business strategy to strengthen its position as a keyMediterranean hub for the production, storage and distribution of chemical and petrochemical products.As the main hub for the chemical industry in Catalonia, it is the gateway for freight to be processed and distributed to the hinterland and surrounding region. Both chemical and petrochemical products represent more than 60% of total traffic at the port, demonstrating the importance of this industry for the port. In fact, liquid bulk cargo traffic surged by 14% in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.As part of its corporate strategy, the port authority has expanded the chemical quay from 800,000 m3 to 1.5 million m3 to facilitate the storage of a wider range of products. The development of the quay was completed in 2010 but work on installing tanks and tank pits is being carried out in a phased approach, with a new berth being opened earlier this year. Currently, only 1.2 hectares of the quay is available, and the development boasts five berths, with three being public and two private.
Capitalising on a niche storage opportunity
As Europe becomes a net importer of chemical products, Standic is positioning itself to meet these growing supply chain needs with a new €200 million storage terminal in the Port of Antwerp A global production shift is increasing specialty chemical flows into Europe’s ARA cluster, highlighting its importance as a regional hub for downstream chemical products.As chemical production surges in the Middle East, with various projects announced for new production facilities in the region, as well as the game changing shale gas revolution in the US, Europe is shifting from exporting to importing specialty chemical products.With demand for supply chain logistics expected to increase as a result of these flourishing market conditions, Dutch tank storage company Standic has announced plans to build a new €200 million chemical storage terminal in the 5th Haven dock in the Port of Antwerp.With an initial capacity of 95,000 m3, the terminal, which will have a total capacity of 230,000 m3 will focus on niche chemical markets and the distribution of chemical products.
The 12-year evolution of REACH
The European Union (EU) Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation is a key consideration for many businesses operating in or looking to enter the European Economic Area (EEA). As theregulation continues to evolve, companies must adapt their management of supply chain data or face operational, financial and reputational risks.Since coming into effect in 2007, the REACH Regulation has undergone two major revisions, including a recent adjustment to the authorisation process. However, before examining how this complex regulation has changed, it is important to understand its main functions.WHAT IS REACH?The REACH Regulation promotes public health and environmental stewardship by monitoring and controlling the use of certain substances in products entering or being manufactured in the EEA. As its name suggests, the REACHRegulation has four main phases: registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction.
A full tank storage solutions provider
The latest modern technological advances and safety standards are being incorporated into APMS Storage TankServices’ end to end services for industrial and commercial storage tanks.The Western Australia-based company, which specialises in inspections, maintenance, repairs and major and minor alterations of industry storage tanks and associated piping spooling, constantly reviews the latest technological innovations in the market to ensure it complies with the latest industry safety requirements.The company operates in the oil and gas, petrochemical, tank terminal, ports and maritime and energy industries.David Osman, general manager, says: ‘APMS is constantly reviewing the advances of modern technology, sourcing the most efficient machinery and equipment ensuring the safety of our staff, clients and subcontractors.‘Safety is our priority and as part of our commitment to upholding excellent safety standards we ensure all necessary steps are taken to complete a project with no incidents or accidents.’
Digitally transforming terminal operations for top quartile performance
Emerson’s Joseph Nassif discusses how a strategic approach to digitalisation can help terminals more effectively meet their business objectives Due to the significant amount of capital invested in infrastructure, terminal operators need to ensure every bit of it is being used effectively to ensure competitive return on investment. But in this age of digitalising oil and gas storage equipment, processes and facilities, many of these operators still struggle to meet performance goals because they lack the strategic roadmap to turn these new investments into business success. This points to an industry-wide desire to understand what defines a top-performing terminal and how to reach that status. Fortunately, there is an answer to this demand.According to a recent study1 of bulk liquid storage terminals across the world, certain performance standards are identifiable with the highest performing terminals. These ‘top quartile’ performance metrics – benchmarks associated with the top 25% of surveyed companies – can help provide operators a roadmap to improving performance in benchmark areas of reliability, capacity, safety and energy efficiency (see figure 1).
Inventory optimisation software improves decision-making process
The latest version of Endress+Hauser’s SupplyCare plots the exact position of a storage tank and visualises all tank inventory on a map to increase productivity and ensure accurate information for decision-making The storage of bulk liquids requires tanks of all shapes and sizes depending on whether the product is hydrocarbon, chemicals or edible oils.However other factors determine the types of tanks required. The closer the product comes to the end user means that smaller tanks are required. In many cases customers tend to move tanks or silos to be close to the point of usage.To ensure that a tank or silo can be quickly and easily detected, Endress+Hauser has developed SuppyCare – an inventory management software that automatically detects the location of an asset via GPS and is visualised on a map.Many tanks at end user’s location are stationary and cannot be moved. However, there are a wide range of applications where tanks and silos are frequently displaced to other locations over their lifetime.
Ensuring cyber safety in an evolving threat landscape
Cyber security is a topic that receives increased attention among tank terminal professionals because of the real risksthat security incidents pose to them. Frequent news articles regarding security incidents are making headlines around the world. The threat landscape changes, more cyber-attacks focus on specific people, systems and organisations; CEO fraud is much more common than before and storage spoofing is something that most tank terminals have experienced. Threat actors increasingly focus on industrial automation and control systems, especially safety systems. The threat landscape changes and therefore tank terminals need to ensure that their organisationand their infrastructure is resilient to cyber security incidents.
A new era of tank cleaning safety
The introduction of state-of-the-art, explosion proof, ex-zone 0 rated, no man entry tank cleaning robots has signalled a much-anticipated safety revolution in the UK tank terminal sector.Tank entry is widely recognised as being one of the most hazardous operations in the entire tank cleaning business. Every year as many as 25 people across the British Isles lose their lives working in confined spaces.Exposure to hazardous petrochemicals, heat stress, slips and falls are the main risks faced by personnel who manually clean oil tanks. Traditionally personnel have had to enter the hazardous environment of oil tanks to implement inspections, desludge and clean for product change.There are inherent risks to entering a confined space of this nature and although safety regulations and industry standards are stringent, accidents do occur due to human error and failure of safety devices.
A cost-effective solution to emission compliance
High capital costs are a significant challenge for storage operators in ensuring their older vapour recovery units are emission compliant. A vapour recovery unit revamp is a cost-effective solution in ensuring the unit is complaint with the latest regulations Throughout the world, vapour recovery systems are a common sight at refineries, distribution terminals, andtank storage facilities, handling the transfer of products ranging from gasoline to aromatics such as benzene and xylenes, and increasingly, crude oil.When hydrocarbons are transferred between ships, rail, road tankers, and storage tanks, a fraction of the product is typically released as a vapour. While the fraction may be small, the cumulative release can be substantial becauseof the large quantities of product – typically 10,000 m3/hr to 1000 m3/hr – and higher vapour flows typical in marine loading applications.Unless vapour control technology is used, vapour is released to the atmosphere having a detrimental effect on the environment, health, and neighbouring infrastructure.Activated carbon vapour recovery (Figure 1) remains the preferred technology in most applications, often referred to as the best available technology (BAT). These systems provide operators with maximum flexibility, handling an extensive range of products and featuring a wide turn down ratio from 0% to 100% of the design flow and inlet concentrations.
The 30-year fuel tank liner is back
Single-coat epoxy liner gets certified for three decades of storing corrosive contents In the oil and gas industry, the preservation of assets is paramount. What is the expected service that you can safely derive from an aboveground storage tank? How frequently do you need to rehabilitate or recoat the interior of the tank? These questions are fundamental to cost-of-ownership calculations, as well as bottom lines. Historically, tank owners had been expecting interior linings to last 10 years, 20 years – even 30 years – but in the journey to 30 years, there were some setbacks along the way.By the 1980s, the industry had reached the new 30-year milestone in liner cycle life. Properly installed, vinyl ester laminate coating systems were lasting three decades. However, they encountered obstacles related to healthand safety. Their application process was time-intensive and burdensome. In addition, the systems were prone to commodities seeping under the laminate film and increasing corrosion potential. At the time, the alternative to vinylester laminates were epoxy linings that only offered 10-12 years of service, a drop from the recent promise of 30 years.
Asset amangement: more than just a buzz word
A revolutionary cloud-based software promises to transform how storage terminals manage their valuable assets, ensuring more time-efficient and effective operations A revolutionary cloud-based software promises to transform how storage terminals manage their valuable assets, ensuring more time-efficient and effective operationsWith significant experience in process industries, Advanced 3D Laser Solutions (A3D) has been automating continuous and batch processes as part of overall project implementation for more than 40 years.The end user experience gained has been invaluable in understanding the engineering needs of the industry, something that has not always been considered when companies implement their management systems. The company’s partnership with Lizard Designs has resulted in the development of 4D Lizard, a revolutionary cloud-basedsoftware product designed to facilitate the linking of A3D’s 3D technologies to its clients’ management systems.
Safeguarding LPG storage tanks
In the harsh environments associated with liquid gas storage, endurance, reliability, and accuracy are essential, and Wärtsilä’s range of instrumentation, control platforms, and safety shut-off valve systems reflect the need to protect personnel, the environment, the equipment, and the product itself.Since the earliest days of liquid gas storage, Wärtsilä Tank Control Systems (formerly known as Whessoe SA) has been developing cutting-edge technologies that increase safety, and which meet the requirements demanded by industry professionals.
Applying containment 'carpet' to achieve compliant bunding
Secondary containment is an issue that storage terminals and refineries across the globe have been facing up to over the last few years, all following the catastrophic events at Buncefield in 2005. There have been numerous lessons learnt in the aftermath of this incident, and the need for a reliable containment solution is of vital importance in the construction and maintenance of the tank terminals within these sites. The volatile nature of petrochemicals makes them a demanding long-term challenge for the protection systems chosen.Traditionally, the risk of spillage from storage tanks has been mitigated by the incorporation of an environmental protection barrier. Bunding is used to prevent the liquid contained within the tanks from causing damage (either by force or its chemistry) to the surrounding environment. If a large tank has a catastrophic failure, the liquid alonecan cause extensive damage simply by the force it exerts on the floor and walls of the bund, and therefore the integrity and strength of the bund at maximum capacity is vital. The environmental protection barrier can be applied across the entire bund area, or it can be more targeted depending on individual site conditions (e.g. beneath the bunds or not). To comply with the designs set out in CIRIA C736 BS EN1992-3:2006 and specifically tightness class 1, BS EN 1992-3:2006 – water retaining, BS EN 1992-1-1:2004 – durability, bund floors in the UK are required to meet a maximum permeability of 1x10-9 m/s.
Are you ready for IMO 2020?
With less than five months until IMO 2020 regulations are implemented, Daan Merkestein examines the options and opportunities available for terminal operators and ship owners Starting from January 1, 2020, the limit for sulphur content in fuel oil for ships will be reduced from 3.50% to 0.50%. For ships within the Emission Control Areas (ECAs), which include the Baltic Sea area, the North Sea area, the North American area and the United States Caribbean Sea area, there is already a limit set to 0.10% since 2015.Currently, most of the oil that is used for bunkering ships is high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO), containing on average 2.7% sulphur. The HSFO is derived as a residue from the crude oil distillation. Therefore, it is cheaper than other marine fuels, but it contains a high percentage of sulphur (oxides), which is harmful to human health and can lead to acid rain. The IMO 2020 regulation will reduce the amount of exhausted sulphur oxides by ships, leading to major healthand environment benefits.The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is expecting a 77% drop in overall sulphur oxide emissions from ships in the first five years. This new regulation will have a big impact on refineries, ship owners, ports and liquid storage terminals and is expected to be a game changer in the maritime business.
Statistical analysis applied to LNG tank design
LNG as a clean source of energy has become a safe, economical and sustainable solution to meet ever increasing demands from the energy market, which has doubled in the last decade. It is anticipated that LNG as a fuel will see further growth, particularly in the US, Canada and East Africa in the coming years. A number of factors will drive demand side expansion, including conversion to cleaner and cheaper fuels for power generation, to reduce pollution from coal fired power stations and to convert from fuel oil.The bulk storage of LNG is usually achieved via the use of refrigerated storage tanks at each end of the supply chain. These are designed to contain products, with the LNG having an atmospheric boiling point below ambient temperature, in a dual phase, i.e. liquid and vapour. The equilibrium between the liquid and vapour phase is maintained by cooling down the product to a temperature equal to, or just below, its atmospheric boiling point (-165 °C) in combination with a slight overpressure leading to a reduction in volume in order of 1/600. Thereby, transportation with ships and storage in refrigerated tanks becomes economically and technically feasible.Containment concepts have been developed and evolved with time and four types of tanks are recognised and used. These are single, double, full and membrane containments. The type of tank is selected is based on risk assessment, environment of the tank, associated hazards and safety considerations. Nowadays, due to location and safety issues of import and export terminals, full containment storage tanks have become the industry standard for the storage of LNG.
Eliminating the valve seat leakage problem
Valve seat leakage is almost a universal problem in all parts of society because it is highly probable everyone has experienced a dripping water tap in a bathroom or kitchen. Whilst not a critical problem, it soon gets annoying and eventually it will be fixed.In the tank storage industry, the situation is quite different. Valve seat leakage is not only annoying but can be extremely dangerous and even a small leakage may have a huge impact on the performance of an installation.This becomes immediately evident when considering toxic or otherwise aggressive fluids that may harm the environment or even human life. There are also many other applications which at first sight may not seem that criticalbut where having drop-tight sealing is essential.In a multi-product system, it may lead to product contamination, in a metering station, to a wrong calibration and a deviation in the measuring but the environmental consequences of a leaking valve seat also need to be taken into consideration. Therefore, the elimination of seat leakage is important – especially in tank terminals and custody transfer units.
Achieving control and operational excellence in tank terminals
Arend van Campen examines the concept of control and explains how systems theory and cybernetics can ensure quality performance in HSEQ control and operational excellence I have trained people in many marine tank storage facilities worldwide and have observed that they were underperforming in HSEQ control and operational excellence. Why is this?Many students seem reluctant to answer affirmatively, usually because they realise they are not in full control. So I ask, ‘if you think you are not yet in control, what do you think is needed to achieve it?’ or ‘if you are not in control, could your organisation be underperforming and exposed to risk?’Mumbling is the usual answer. These people are aware because full control of operations is almost impossible due to its complexity. Then I ask; ‘have you heard of complexity theory?’ Usually, they have not. Complexity theory is the science of understanding the difference between linearity (cause and effect) causality and non-linearity, which means that due to the enormous variety of interdependent relationships a marine storage terminal has, no direct causality can be detected.
Six concerns that can affect loading-rack efficiency
Next-generation bottom-loading API coupler can overcome the challenges terminal operators face Without doubt, the piece of equipment that is the true workhorse in any type of liquid-storage terminal is the botto mloading API couplers that serve as the conduit between the loading arms and the tank truck. In high-volume terminals, it is not unusual for these couplers to be connected and disconnected more than 50 times a day. That is 50-plus head-on collisions between the coupler and adaptor, which translate into a huge amount of use and abuse.Over the years, the design and operation of API couplers (also known as load heads) has evolved to the point that they can reliably withstand the constant use that they are subjected to on a daily basis. However, the most dependable terminal liquid-transfer operations are the ones in which the terminal makes every effort to ensure that the couplers and their components are cared for to the extent that the operation will consistently run smoothly. Terminals that experience excessive interruptions in their liquid-transfer service are ones that cannot meet the demanding delivery schedules of their customers, with the result being lost revenue for both and – maybe even more damaging – a loss of reputation.
Wireless technology makes gas leak detection affordable for tank terminals
Liquefied petroleum products (LNG, crude oil, gasoline) and petrochemical/chemical feedstock are stored in tanks that are susceptible to leakages of toxic or combustible gases.This can present significant problems for tank terminals if the fugitive emissions are not detected early enough, driving an urgent need to optimise leak monitoring and detection systems. But doing so cost-effectively has been an ongoing challenge for owners and operators of tank storage facilities. However, the latest advancements in wireless and battery technology are helping to meet the various gas monitoring and detection problems that tank terminals face.
Reducing devastating fires from hours to minutes
The Pi Foam system can extinguish potentially devastating blazes – such as the Jurong Island and Pulau Busing terminal fires – in a matter of minutes The Pi Foam system, a novel fire extinguishing system from Switzerlandbased Swiss Fire Protection Researchand Development AG, could very well be the best solution to protect storage terminals against devastating fires.Tank terminals are, by their very nature, high-hazard environments. No matter how stringent and encompassing a facility’s fire-safety protocols are, lightning may strike, and equipment may malfunction at any time. In an ever-changing geopolitical climate, there is the present and increasing threat that militants or others may target oil refineries or chemical plants.Any of these unforeseeable events may ignite an incident that can easily spin out of control, given the huge quantities of flammable materials on site. This risk is far from hypothetical. Since 2000, the international media has reported on more than 70 major fires at storage tank facilities that have killed 243 people, injured 1,669 and inflicted monetary losses in excess of $10 billion. This figure only presents a fraction of the total number of incidents as some do not reach the pages of the international media but have still caused damage.
Automatic conductivity meter doesn't give sparks a chance
Light mineral oils such as kerosene, petroleum or rolling and hydraulic oils are refined, cleaned and transshipped during transportation as well as at their destination.These products all have a low conductivity and as a result, there is a very high risk of electrostatic charges during these different processes. Regular checks and documentation are required to safely manage and control these work steps and thus avoid charging.To make the process of preventing electrostatic charges easier, MBA Instruments, a specialist company for conductivity measurement, has developed the MLA1000 meter, which quickly and continuously delivers exact measurement results to help prevent electrostatic charges. Strictly designed in accordance with the German TRGS 727Technical Rule, the meter ensures the safe transport of light mineral oils to their destination.