Crude Oil Tanks: Structural Considerations


The petroleum sector is a big industry; crude oil and other oil-based products are essential inputs to consumer products and transportation. If you want to store crude oil, there are many rules to follow. Crude oil tanks are large structures that hold necessary but also potentially toxic material. To know more about such containers, read on.


There are two critical types of storage tanks: pressurized storage tanks and atmospheric storage tanks. The former is used for storing liquid material that evaporates, while the latter is mainly used for keeping crude oil. Using pressure levels like that of the atmosphere, atmospheric tanks come in three types: top storage tank, fixed roof tank, and floating roof storage tank. While open-top containers are best for water, the fixed and floating types are best for crude oil and other oil products.

Fixed roof storage tanks can only hold a considerable amount of crude oil. Floating roof oil tanks are the largest storage tanks. It is made of a cylindrical steel shell and a floating roof. The floating roof follows with the level of oil stored. The purpose of this setup is to keep extremely volatile natural gas from escaping. The gas is trapped in the space between the roof and the oil. The roof’s rim seal prevents the gas from being released.


Building storage tanks follow strict regulations. There should be no leaks. Preliminary tests are made during the construction process. Specifications also differ among clients. Mostly, carbon steel is used in construction. Stainless steel is also prominently used as it is rust resistant. However, carbon steel is cheaper.

The dimensions and capacity of crude oil tanks depend on client needs. Smaller companies often have smaller containers with, say, a diameter of 30 meters and a height of 10 meters. Oil companies typically use containers that are 90 meters in diameter and 20 meters in height.

API 650 Tanks

Fuel storage tanks against blue sky

Safety and security are vital to storing crude oil. Handling crude oil is covered by standards like API 650. This measure is from by the American Petroleum Institute.  It provides for the minimum requirements for designing, fabricating, erecting, and inspecting welded storage tanks. The standard is only applied to containers that have uniformly supported bottoms as well as to tanks used in non-refrigerated services with at most a design temperature of 93 degrees Celsius (200 degrees Fahrenheit). The benefits of adhering to the API 650 include the storage of the most common liquid material in the oil industry, the storage of equipment at lower pressures but at higher temperatures, as compared to API 620, and application to any tank size.

In the end, crude oil storage tanks are essential to many industries, not just the company operating them or to the petrol industry. They are manufactured to the highest standards to keep the environmental and industrial safety of its surroundings. From those people that manage them to the outside environment, such tanks follow regulatory limits and specifications. If you need more information, you can look for other online sources.

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