The World’s Most Remote Tank Farm: McMurdo Station, Ross Island, Antarctica

McMurdo Tank Farm

McMurdo Tank Farm (Courtesy of WikiCommons)

We are pretty confident here at Tank World that the tank farm at McMurdo Station on Ross Island in Antarctica is the world’s most remote, with the nearest city being Christchurch in New Zealand 2,500 miles to the north. McMurdo acts as the hub for the US Antarctic Program and opened in 1958. The station supports research at Ross Island and in the Ross Sea region, but it is equally significant as the staging point for personnel, equipment and the all important AN8 aviation fuel, JP5 diesel and mogas  to be ferried to other places in the South Pole by plane or overland.

The main fuels used at McMurdo Station are AN8 aviation fuel, JP5 diesel for the generators and vehicles, and mogas (unleaded petrol) for light vehicles and equipment. Around 13 million litres of AN8 are consumed annually (this includes flights throughout Antarctica), about 7.5 million litres of JP5, and about 500,000 litres of mogas. Between 1962 and 1972, the station ran on nuclear power but safety and operational issues forced its closure and conventional diesel generators were used.

Fuel Tank J-9

Fuel Tank J-9 McMurdo Station (courtesy of WikiCommons)

Bulk AN8 and JP5 are stored in four single-walled tanks standing within earth-bermed bunding. Mogas is currently stored in single-walled steel tanks without containment. In the unlikely event of catastrophic failure of one of the main AN8 storage tanks and containment, there is a fifth tank that remains empty at all times so that fuel can be transferred in emergency situations. If more than one tank experienced a catastrophic failure at the same time, escaping fuel would be absorbed within the volcanic gravel around the fuel farm or flow through the main McMurdo station area and discharge to the sea. The decommissioned mogas tanks are being converted for use as warehouses.

Fuel is pumped ashore from tankers arriving in the harbour in a flexible hose which connects to the rigid fuel pipe system above the ice wharf. Spill containment materials are stored in a container on the ice wharf. The pipes distribute the fuel to the main diesel fuel farm and the mogas storage tanks.

If anyone knows a more remote or unusual tank farm, please let us know – editor@tankstorageforum.com

Technical source: http://www.ats.aq/documents/ATCM28/att/ATCM28_att067_e.pdf

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5 thoughts on “The World’s Most Remote Tank Farm: McMurdo Station, Ross Island, Antarctica

  1. For sure until a Tankfarm is built in Moon or Mars!!!. 30 years back when we were building Tanks in Ruwais, UAE as a young engineer I was wondering how remote the site was.

  2. Curious, what brand of tank gauges/instrument do you have out there? Some of these remote sites have very old equipment. One of our service guys was in Afghanistan last week and he came across some 1950s Varec Tank Gauges. They had bullet holes in them but they still worked?

    • Hi Mich,

      How can I send you a drawing about my solution for the Barrick Gold Mine?
      There is a window of 3 months open for the transport in of food, fuel, and transport out of gold. The mine is 200 km from the last harbor, which is also frozen thru 9 months. The mine city requires enormous amount of diesel oil for the electric aggregators. They intented to implement 16 pcs of 30m diameter diesel storage tanks.
      I wish to send you the Arrangement of the Fire Protection.
      May I send it to your private E-mail?
      Istvan

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