What Are Your Oil Tank Storage Options?

Want to gain a competitive advantage? Take a look at your storage options. Bolted steel tanks can reduce construction time, increase site safety and improve your bottom line.
What Are Your Oil Tank Storage Options?
Recently, new coating and gasket technology has allowed modern bolted steel tanks to provide the same durability as a welded tank but with some distinct advantages.

With the highly competitive nature of today’s oil industry, companies are searching for every possible advantage. One way to gain a considerable lead is by using a proven storage solution with tremendous flexibility.

Traditionally, companies have used welded tanks for oil storage in the field. Smaller welded tanks can be prefabricated at the factory — including final coating — and then installed on site. These tanks are limited to 14 feet in diameter and 40 feet in height as they are shipped as single pieces via truck. These dimensions are acceptable for some applications but not all. When larger capacities are required, field-welded tanks have been used. With a field-welded tank, very large sections of steel are transported to the job site, and all seams are welded together by certified welders. The steel is then sandblasted and immediately sprayed with a liquid coating to prevent flash oxidation. Unfortunately, constructing a very large tank in the field can be slow, and the construction process is vulnerable to weather delays and local labor shortages. Such field-welded tanks, which can hold up to 470,000 barrels of crude oil, are well suited for larger capacities.

Bolted steel tanks
Recently, new coating and gasket technology has allowed modern bolted steel tanks to provide the same durability as a welded tank but with some distinct advantages. Bolted steel tanks for the oil field provide customers with significant time and cost savings, and they can accommodate various fluids including crude oil and process water. New bolted steel tanks incorporate heavy-duty Buna N or Viton gaskets, which are designed for use with oil and hydrocarbon fluids. In addition, the same advanced powder coating used on oil pipelines is now being used on steel tanks, providing significant increases in tank lifespan. The same durable powder coating also works very well for the storage of corrosive process water.

In addition, bolted steel tanks provide a significant time advantage because they can be erected in one-third the time of welded storage tanks. The tanks are comprised of smaller 5-by-8-foot prefabricated steel panels that simply bolt together in the field. Tank kits complete with gaskets and special hardware designed for the oil industry are shipped directly to the jobsite for fast and efficient assembly. Even though bolted steel tanks are shipped via standard semi truck or ocean container, the tanks are available in a wide range of capacities from 475 barrels to 47,500 barrels.

Companies using bolted steel tanks in the field will also gain an advantage regarding safety. Bolted steels tanks do not require welding on site, therefore the risk of a fire or explosion is dramatically reduced. As assembly is dramatically faster, less time is spent on scaffolding to reach upper levels, thereby reducing fall potential. All bolted steel tanks are factory prefinished, consequently on-site painting and the associated ventilation processes are eliminated.

When needed, bolted steel tanks also provide appreciable benefits for storage of frac sand.  Various loading and unloading configurations are also available, including rail thru and drive thru designs. Specialized powder coatings are employed to resist abrasion, corrosion and extreme weather resulting in a longer service life.

Many years of success in the oil field illustrates that modern bolted steel storage tanks work very well without leaks or failure. Lifecycle analysis has shown that bolted steel tanks meet or exceed the performance of welded steel tanks but at a much lower cost. As the oil industry continues to move forward, more companies are expected to gain a competitive advantage by using bolted steel storage tanks.

About the author
Brandon Alexander currently serves as marketing coordinator for Superior Tank Co., Inc. located in Southern California. He has worked in heavy manufacturing and construction since 2000 with projects ranging up to $20 million. Superior Tank Co., Inc. manufacturers and erects bolted steel tanks throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada. STCI tank kits have also been shipped to countries throughout the world.


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