Content of PetroWiki is intended for personal use only and to supplement, not replace, engineering judgment. SPE disclaims any and all liability for your use of such content. More information
Petroleum Engineering Handbook
Larry W. Lake, Editor-in-Chief
Volume III – Facilities and Construction Engineering
Kenneth E. Arnold, Editor
Copyright 2006, Society of Petroleum Engineers
Chapter 13 – Oil Storage
Production, refining, and distribution of petroleum products require many different types and sizes of storage tanks. Small bolted or welded tanks might be ideal for production fields while larger, welded storage tanks are used in distribution terminals and refineries throughout the world.
Product operating conditions, storage capacities, and specific design issues can affect the tank selection process. This chapter discusses the types of storage tanks most commonly used with emphasis on welded construction. General guidelines are provided that aid in the selection of the correct tank.
References to various codes, standards, and recommended practices supplement the material provided in this chapter. Owners and operators should contact manufacturers directly for questions on specific design or operating issues for a particular type of storage tank.
Types of Storage Tanks
Storage tanks come in all sizes and shapes. Special applications might require tanks to be rectangular, in the form of horizontal cylinders, or even spherical in shape. Horizontal cylinders and spheres are generally used for full pressure storage of hydrocarbon or chemical products. For the purpose of this chapter, we focus on the atmospheric or low-pressure storage tank widely used from the production fields to the refinery.
The most common shape used is the vertical, cylindrical storage tank. Gross capacities can range from 100 bbl to over 1.5 MMbbl in a single storage tank. Corresponding tank sizes range from approximately 10 ft in diameter to over 412 ft in diameter for some of the largest floating-roof tanks ever constructed.
Fig. 13.1 shows a 312-ft diameter floating-roof storage tank for crude oil storage at a large refinery. The photograph was taken during construction and shows the single deck, pontoon-style external floating roof.