Rugged instrumentation for reliable measurement and control

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Industry News Roundup: Oil Tanks Nearing Capacity

Oil Surplus Puts Squeeze on Tank Levels

BloombergBusiness reports that falling prices combined with steady production means that crude oil storage capacity is beginning to become squeezed across North America. Prices for crude oil have fallen from $100/barrel to $50/barrel in recent months and trading companies are buying large quantities and storing it with the hope of selling it at a later time after prices rise.

The problem is that domestic oil production has not slowed down despite the low crude oil prices, putting a strain on storage capabilities. BloombergBusiness says that storage tanks in the Midwest are at about 70 percent of capacity while tanks in the East Coast are around 85 percent full. This means that tanks could quickly reach the edge of their capacity or that crude oil could also be stored in lines as well as tanks.

This pressure on crude oil storage could potentially create dangerous tank overfill situations. In these instances, companies need to have effective Functional Safety measures in place in order to prevent potentially catastrophic accidents. You can read more about how a single-loop logic solver such as our STA Safety Trip Alarm can provide protection by downloading our Logic Solver for Tank Overfill Protection white paper.

Other recent industry-related news:

  • AutomationWorldExecutive Editor Aaron Hand wrote about the advantages of integrating control and safety functions. The article quotes ARC Advisory Group as pointing out advantages of integrated control and safety including “lower engineering and lifecycle costs, lower training and maintenance expenses, easier time synchronization and improved asset and event management.” However, challenges created by an integrated control and safety approach include “increased risk of common cause failures, the need for careful design to make sure that a BPCS failure does not affect the SIS and greater management challenges.”
  • Control Engineering presented highlights from a recent ISA panel on the benefits of High-Performance HMI (HP-HMI). Panelists agreed that an effective HMI makes operators more aware of the situation at the plant or control location and better equipped to make important decisions.
  • CONTROL ran a beginner’s guide to differential pressure level transmitters. The article showed how these transmitters work and why they are so important in eliminating overflow issues caused by high levels or pump damage caused by low levels.


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