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New tankage targets Irish market

Atlantic Fuel Supply Company Limited (AFSC)is a newly established company formed to provide and operate a new oil storage and distribution facility network for the Republic of Ireland market, writes Adrian Watson, Director of Antrim-based Project Design Engineers Limited (PDE), who designed and managed the project from concept to commissioning.

The 79,800m3 capacity AFSC terminal located in Foynes, Limerick, Republic of Ireland is the one of the first post Buncefield oil terminals of this size to be constructed in the UK and Ireland. Originally a brownfield site, the facility took two and a half years to develop and opened on schedule for commercial business on the 4th October 2010. The terminals refined oil storage capacity is divided between five main products unleaded petrol, derv (diesel), gas oil, kerosene and heavy fuel oil and comprises 16 main storage tanks located within two impervious bund systems.

The terminal also has Biofuel blending facilities for FAME, Ethanol and Heavy Fuel oil blends. The terminal is ship fed from a Shannon Foynes Port Company owned jetty in the Shannon Estuary, which provides the facility for offloading tankers up to 35,000-tonnes capacity. The contents of the tanks are monitored by a state-of the- art radar gauging system supplied by Saab, which is claimed to offer an accuracy of +/0.5 mm and is Weights and Measures approved for inventory control. The gauging system has the facility to provide a large spectrum of alarms to ensure safe import and discharge of products. During the design process and construction phases the Buncefield reports were taken into consideration and the terminal is fully compliant with and in some cases exceeds the final recommendations. Typical examples are; the tanks are protected by independent SIL rated Hi-Hi level detection and inlet and outlet remotely operated shut-off valves (ROSOVs) on all tanks irrespective of product class. The tanks are located in two bunds which have been designed and constructed with full implementation of the Buncefield recommendations and this includes totally impervious containment structures to BS 8007, pipeline wall penetrations which allows post construction inspection, stainless steel water bars, fire resistant rope and Flamex sealant installed in the expansion joints. The site has both secondary and tertiary containment systems ensuring that no spilled product or fire water leaves site. The Class I products bund is equipped with open path vapour detection which will alert the operator of any vapours which may have accidentally escaped from primary containment. Products held on site are either loaded into bottom loading road tankers via four loading gantries or top loading via one top loading gantry, ship bunkering facilities are also available on site for all products. The bottom loading gantries are equipped with six loading arms, while the top loading gantry is equipped with four loading arms. Each arm is capable of loading product at 2,250 litres/minute and all blending is performed at the point of loading into the vehicle. The products are pumped to the gantries using a combination of 17 inverter-driven 90-kw, 4,500-litre/minute product pumps. Schneider variable speed drives were selected as part of the design to reduce the power consumption, as each of the pumps is capable of loading two arms simultaneously. Therefore, if only one arm is requesting product, the pump speed is reduced to match the demand. The pumping system is also designed to run at a reduced 45 Hertz at full demand, thereby further reducing power consumption. The sites electricity supply is installed with active filtration and power factor correction in order to minimise all possible losses and distortion of the supply. All other pumps, including dewatering pumps, use energy efficient soft starts as their method of starting. A CSI Fuel Facs terminal automation system is used to control the efficient transit of the road tanker from the entry gate to the exit gate. This includes the remote ordering of product, driver and vehicle access to the site, pre-authorised loading and designation of product to compartment on the vehicle, automatic selection of markers and additives for the product, and generation of all necessary Customs & Excise paperwork.

Product marking The conventional method of storing gas oil and kerosene is to mark the product with a Customs & Excise marker, either in the refinery or as the product is loaded into the storage tank. PDE has developed a point of discharge product marking system which is integrated into the AFSC terminal automation system, which marks the product as it enters the road tanker. Self correcting flowmeter injection technology is used to accurately inject and monitor the amount and type of marker injected into each batch as the vehicle is loading the base product at the gantry. A carbon bed vapour recovery unit has been installed to reduce VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions into the atmosphere and to recover product from the vapour. On site, the vapour is processed and returned to storage this vapour previously would have been dispersed into the atmosphere. To reduce emissions on-site, the petrol and ethanol tanks have been installed with floating decks which prevent the vapours venting to the atmosphere during normal tank operations. The AFSC oil terminal has been designated a top tier COMAH (Control of Major Accident Hazards) site. The COMAH regulations for such sites require bulk storage operators to identify potential major accident hazards and implement measures in order to prevent major accidents and to limit their consequences for people and the environment.