January 12, 2010

Efficiency of Reduction of Oil Tank Corrosion: A Case Study on Saudi ARAMCO


            Oil plays a very significant role in the economy of Saudi Arabia. Saudi ARAMCO (Arabian Oil Company) is one of the largest companies of its type in the world and it takes over operations of research, excavations, extractions, refining and marketing of oil (Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia). As part of the objectives of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in protecting the environment, Saudi ARAMCO showed its commitment by ensuring the highest standards maintenance in their environmental performance (Oil and Gas News Worldwide 2006). In oil companies such as Saudi ARAMCO, there is a need to assess the approaches of the company in reducing oil tank corrosion as to ensure that no harm will be caused to the environment and its immediate surroundings. Wallace comments that corrosion can become costly as it generally affects the environment and further brings harm and damage to it. OCIMF (Oil companies International Marine Forum) (1997) says that there are three associated risks in oil tank corrosion. First is oil leakage. As the corrosion process continues without initial sufficient remedial action, a pit could develop into a hole and result to leakage of oil to the environment. The second risk the steel renewal, meaning, as the corrosion process progresses, severely corroded areas may seriously affect the strength of the tank structure and may ultimately necessitate extensive and costly renewals. Finally, corrosion may cause structural failure. As the pitting corrosion is allowed to progress without active measure taken, each pit could join up with another pit and could form a fault line in its structure which will cause the material to be extremely vulnerable to fatigue failure with attendant consequences (OCIMF 1997).

            Thus, it is considerably important that one must study the efficiency of Saudi ARAMCO's reduction of oil tank corrosions. This study can be advantageous for the public, oil corporations and the academe as it will: First, extend coating and structure life which will yield cost savings (Wallace n.d.). Corporate cost of corrosion includes two areas: cost for new construction and cost or repairs and maintenance (Johnson 2002). This study can help corporations and the public be aware of the consequences of oil tank corrosions and be able to take active initiatives towards it. Second, this research can facilitate in protecting the environment as it will provide recommendations for effective reduction of oil tank corrosion. Third, the study may also assist on an improved public and employee safety (Black 2006). Fourth, corporations can avoid the costly litigation resulting from non-adherence to laws and regulations (Wallace n.d.). Finally, the researcher hopes that the research may be made future references for further studies on the same field or other related topics.

Background of the Study

            Saudi ARAMCO: A Company Profile. Saudi ARAMCO is a state-owned oil company is Saudi Arabia. Saudi ARAMCO dates back more than sixty-six years and owns a total of five refineries and two joint venture refineries (MOPM 2006). The company produces five grades of crude oil, from heavy to super light. It operates some of the largest crude storage tank farms and shipping terminals of the world (Saudi ARAMCO Official Website 2006, Pharmaceutical Business Review Online 2006).

            Oil Tank Corrosion. Corrosion is the deterioration of a material, frequently a metal, because of its reaction with the environment (Wallace, n.d). Baldwin adds that oil tank corrosion is a result of many years of sludge and condensation buildup at the bottom of an oil tank. There are four classifications of oil tank corrosions. They are as follows. The first type is the general corrosion which appears in tanks that are uncoated as a brittle scale that is apparent in large areas, a non-protective rust which have uniformly occur on uncoated, internal surfaces of the tank and which exposes fresh steel to the corrosion cycle when is removed (OCIMF 1997). The rust generally has a constant thickness over the surface (Titcomb 1982). The second type of corrosion is the localized corrosion which occurs at structural intersections where water flows; it can also occur on the vertical structural members at the path of the water flow or on the flush sides of bulkheads in a way of flexing of plating (OCIMF 1997). According to OCIMF (1997), the third classification of oil tank corrosion is the weld metal corrosion which is an electrolyte action between the weld material and the base metal that may result in pitting or grooving corrosion. Finally, the fourth type of corrosion is the pitting corrosion which is a type of localized corrosion usually found at the bottom plating of tanks and the horizontal surfaces or structural details where water has a tendency to accumulate (OCIMF 1997).  Titcomb (1982) adds that pitting corrosion is a very serious type of corrosion damage because of its fast growth or development following an initial delay time.

Statement of the Problem and its Objectives

            To be specific, this study aims to investigate the efficiency of reduction of oil tank corrosion in Saudi ARAMCO. The study aims to achieve the following:

  1. Identify the approaches or the initiatives taken by the Saudi ARAMCO in reducing oil tank corrosion.
  2. Determine other oil companies' strategies in reducing oil tank corrosion.
  3. Analyze and evaluate the efficiency of Saudi ARAMCO's methods in oil tank corrosion reduction.
  4. Recommend ways on how oil companies can reduce oil tank corrosion.

Overview of Methodology

            To achieve the aims of the study, the researcher intends to investigate the methods used by Saudi ARAMCO in their reduction of oil tank corrosion. This thorough investigation can be done by means of interviewing the company itself (i.e. top operations managers), sending appropriate questionnaires that will enable the researcher to assess the efficiency of Saudi ARAMCO's reduction of oil tank corrosions. Further support for the data gathered will be represented in tables and graphs using relevant developments in the area of oil tank corrosion reduction. Extensive research on the topic of reducing oil tank corrosions will also be done. The researcher intends to examine other companies' methods of oil tank corrosion reduction as to have references of comparisons, as well as laws and regulations regarding corporate environmental performance of the Saudi Arabian government. These interviews and extensive research will hopefully be sufficient in analyzing and evaluating the efficiency of reduction of oil tank corrosion by the Saudi ARAMCO.














Balwin, J, Electronically retrieved 6 March 2006 from <http://www.pilatusp-3.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=11&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0>.

Black, J (2006, February), Proper Tank Management: Inspection, Testing, Maintenance, Repair and Replacement are the Ways to Reduce Liability, Fuel Oil News.

Johnson JT (2002), CC Technologies Laboratories, Inc., Dublin, Ohio.

MOPM (2006), Saudi Companies, Electronically retrieved 6 March 2006 from <http://www.mopm.gov.sa/html/en/saudico_e.html >.

Oil and Gas News Worldwide (2006), Electronically retrieved 6 March 2006 from <http://oilandgasnewsworldwide.com/bkArticlesF.asp?Article=14625&Section=1907&IssueID=332>.

Oil Companies International Marine Forum (1997, September), Factors Influencing Accelerated Corrosion of Cargo Oil Tanks, Electronically retrieved 6 March 2006 from <http://www.ocimf.com/view_document.cfm?id=332>.

Pharmaceutical Business Review Online (2006), Electronically retrieved 6 March 2006 from <http://www.pharmaceutical-business-review.com/companyprofile.asp?guid=F86F7CE4-178E-49E1-9D51-DEE746935095&CType=Background>.

Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Electronically retrieved from <http://saudiembassy.or.jp/En/SA/Facts.htm>.

Saudi ARAMCO Official Website (2006), Electronically retrieved 6 March 2006 from <http://www.saudiaramco.com>.

Titcomb AN (1982), Evaluation of Internal Tank Corrosion and Corrosion Control Alternatives, 14th Annual OTC, Houston, Texas, May 3-6, 1982.

Wallace, M, Cathodic Protection Requirements, Electronically retrieved 6 March 2006 from <http://www.sam.usace.army.mil/en/cp/CP-Military.ppt#256.>.

1 comment:

Philip said...

Nicely explained. It's indeed an art to stop new visitors with your attractive writing style. Truly impressive and nice information. Thanks for sharing.
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