See the necessary care in the transport and storage of derivatives

  • 25/07/2023
  • 11 minutes

The transport and storage of Oil and Gas (O&G) is one of the areas of maritime and road logistics that most require care from all parties involved. In addition to valuable and important products for the economy, such resources can cause accidents and serious environmental consequences if they are not handled properly.

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What are the main points of attention in this process? What precautions are essential? With the aid of Juliano Antunes, superintendent at Odfjell Terminals BV, we will try to answer these questions. Keep reading.

Why be cautious when transporting and storing Oil and Gas?

Even if a person is not part of the sector’s routine, it is easy to be aware of the importance of transporting oil and gas in the most efficient and safe way possible.

From savings generated by streamlining procedures to the disastrous environmental consequences of accidents, it is common sense that this type of cargo needs special preparation and attention when it comes to being transported.

For those in the area, this is even more important. Adapting steps, tools and vehicles (road and maritime) to the freight optimised in O&G impacts the development of the sector, the productive capacity and the adaptation to rules and laws in force in the country.

With all these precautions, the transport of derivatives works as intended: the distribution of energy and the promotion of international trade distributed in a safe way by land and sea routes.

How is oil or derivatives transported (Oil and Gas)?

To talk about maritime chartering in the O&G sector, we need to unite its two main pillars: storage and transport. As it is a high-risk product, all steps must take into account strict government determinations and constant inspection by responsible bodies.

According to Juliano, “everything that is done in relation to the storage of O&G must follow the rules of ABNT NBR 17505, of the regulatory agency, the ANP (National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels), and bodies such as the Fire Department and the Environmental Agency”.

The normative text details all the elements to be taken into account when safeguarding and protecting flammable liquids and fuels, from the most suitable containers to the installation of electrical components, piping, proper transfer between tanks in preparation for transport, among others.

Complementary obligations are also imposed by the ANP to ensure standardisation in logistical processes that facilitate the control and protection of cargo, from offshore platforms to refineries and maritime terminals. Then, through specialised piping, the cargo goes to storage locations and tank trucks — responsible for taking the raw product to the refineries.

What are the main precautions in this process?

Being committed to safety in maritime transport and storage in O&G cargo ports is essential for companies in the sector. Investment and preparation ensure a profitable trade, the development of the entire region and the sustainability of the energy matrix exploration.

Check what oil and gas companies take into account for this level of reliability.

Compliance with laws and regulations

As we already pointed out in the previous topic, there are several regulations in force that serve as a guide to ensure safe transport procedures, with productive optimization in its fundamental stages — mainly when loading and unloading such products.

Therefore, the first step must be knowledge of the regulations and investment in equipment, materials and personnel training to ensure a smooth transportation.

Correct choice of materials and vessels for transport

Speaking of these investments, choosing the right means of transport in O&G not only protects people and the environment, but also increases the ability to trade resources with maximum use of holds, platforms and ships.

“Most of them use carbon steel tanks, because there is a very controlled and minimal corrosion rate”, explains Juliano. There are also other materials that he points out, such as stainless steel and high-resistance resin, capable of reducing the incidence of corrosion responsible for leaks.

It is also interesting to note that these containers need not only to have the right components but also the ideal storage conditions. This is especially important in O&G. The best example of this is temperature control for storing and transporting heavy oils, where it is necessary to insulate tanks and pipes and, in some cases, keep the tank warm”, details Juliano.

As for natural gas, it is necessary to cool it instead of heating it. It can be transported at room temperature, in “fully pressurised” vessels of up to 4,000 m3 capacity. Another alternative is transportation in liquefied form using ships “fully refrigerated for natural gas”, with temperatures of up to minus 48 degrees centigrade. In this case, the size of the vessels can vary from 10,000 m3 to 100,000 m3.

Assuring safe loading and unloading

We can say that the transfer of cargo between containers is even more critical than its transportation. After all, the second case only requires the good conditions of the vessel and a prepared crew, while loading and unloading deals with connections, piping and more complex manoeuvres, which can be responsible for accidents.

“All assets such as ships, tank pipelines, hoses and other facilities and accessories used in the transport and transfer of products must undergo routine inspections, as provided for in the regulations, in order to prevent accidents and maintain the integrity of the cargo”. In this case, in addition to regulations, it is important to follow the determinations and capabilities of the port terminal where the operation will be carried out.

“You have to consider that the ship sometimes spends 40 or 50 hours pumping the product to the terminal. And, with the variation of the tide, the hose that connects the ship to the transfer pipelines can suffer deformations, restricting its geometry and increasing internal pressure, causing it to break. Therefore, continuous monitoring is extremely important, from the beginning to end of the operation”, warns Juliano.

That is, the greatest care at this time of transport is not only in respecting the rules, but also in real-time control of the O&G operation — from inspections before the start of loading/unloading to monitoring the transfer.

Operation of a shipping agency

This care guarantees development for companies, safety for workers, efficiency for ports and development for society. That is why there is no room for unpreparedness in the oil and gas sector.

And, in this scenario, shipping agency plays a very important role. The service is responsible for bridging the gap between all parties involved and for carrying out the process in the most objective and efficient way for everyone.

In fact, one of the big bets for the future is that technology becomes the greatest tool for developing techniques and equipment that boost the Oil and Gas market.

Those who invest in port intelligence, for transport and storage of O&G, obtain the most benefits from the combination of safety and productivity. The role of a specialised company is to enable this new era.

How about getting to know a solution capable of bringing innovation and optimization to the sector? Visit Wilson Sons website and contact us!