Storage tank shell capacity are reaching maximum capacity as the demand for energy products has dramatically dropped during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. A recent World Oil article, “Capacity almost completely sold out,” says world’s largest oil storage firm, highlights this big challenge.
In a 15-minute YouTube video, Increase Tank Capacity and Reduce Costs with Rosemount Tank Gauging Systems, Emerson’s Mikael Helmer and Lance Berry describe how this technology help tank farms increase capacity and throughput while reducing operating & capital expenses. These tank gauging systems helps drive safer operations by reducing the risk of tank overfills.
Mikael opens noting that the time and cost to build new storage tank capacity does help with the immediate need for additional storage. What can be done is to maximize the tank shell capacity (gross storage capacity) in each existing tank while maintaining high levels of safety.
Lance highlights common challenges in efficient storage and transfer capacity. At many terminals these activities are performed manually. The existing tank gauging and inventory system may not provide the accuracy necessary to safely maximize capacity. Existing instrumentation may not be enough in reducing the risk of tank overfills. Installation costs have also been a barrier in upgrading tank gauging and overfill prevention systems.
Because of these challenges, terminals provide larger safety margins in the liquid levels, which sacrifice both capacity and utilization. These larger safety margins also affect the transfer rates into the tanks to minimize the risks of overfilling. Manual gauging also increases labor hours to obtain accurate physical gauge for inventory reconciliation. Proof testing the overfill prevention instrumentation is also more time-consuming in a manual mode of operations.
With an automatic tank gauging system and overfill prevention system, the capacity in the tank can be increased as well as the flow rate into the tanks. And the operational expenses to perform manual readings and proof testing can be significantly reduced. Lance shares an example at the 5:18 mark in the video where labor costs alone can be reduced nearly $100,000 USD for a 100-tank terminal performing monthly readings and proof tests.
Watch the video for more ways to avoid costly consequences and how automated overfill prevention systems and automated tank gauging help reduce risks and increase operational efficiency & reliability.