Further evidence of the growing storage boom in Africa this week with the announcement in Zambia that construction work on a 15 million litre bulk fuel storage depot in the city of Solwezi will be completed in 2014. This is the latest development in a government led drive to construct oil storage facilities in all provincial centres including Lusaka and Mongu with a reported K200 million (€21.79 million) given for this development. Once these sites are completed further oil storage at Kasama and Chipata will be constructed. The construction of these facilities is being carried out by East African firm Dalbit International Limited. With these developments, Zambia’s bulk petroleum storage capacity has increased to 100 million litres.
The expansion of the giant Petro Rabigh petrochemicals complex in Saudi Arabia owned by Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical is now expected to cost SAR32 billion ($8.5 billion), higher than the previous estimates of around $7 billion the joint-venture said on Wednesday and reported by Reuters following a stock exchange filling this week.
The 3,000-acre oil refinery, located in Rabigh, 165 kilometers north of Jeddah on the Red Sea coast utilizes 400,000 barrels per day of crude oil and 1.2 million tons per year of ethane as primary feedstock to produce a variety of refined petroleum products and petrochemical products.
As further sanctions against Russia are debated, Gazprom (the country’s giant gas export monopoly) has announced that it’s prepared to cut off all supplies to Ukrainian pipelines as early as June 3rd. Whilst Gazprom nor its senior management have been sanctioned by the United States or Europe Union over Russia’s involvement in the ongoing Ukraine/Crimea crisis, they claim they are ready to act because Ukraine owes it more than $3.5 billion for past shipments.
Whilst some are still to be convinced of the business model of biofuel storage, interesting news from France where the Dépôt pétrolier de Port-La-Nouvelle (DPPLN) storage terminal is converting from oil to biodiesel and in the process becoming the country’s first dedicated biodiesel hub on the Mediterranean coast. The news comes just days after an announcement that European countries will increase solid biofuels imports to 50-80 million tonnes by 2020.
The Port of Rotterdam Authority and TPK (Terminal Presidente Kennedy) Logistica signed a joint venture agreement in Vitória, Brazil for the development of Porto Central, a new port in Brazil. TPK Logistica is owned by a group of Brazilian companies with a great deal of experience in the mining, construction and offshore sectors.
The ‘greenfield’ port will be built in the southernmost part of the state of Espirito Santo in the industrial heart of Brazil. It will be an industrial deep sea port for the handling of oil, gas, dry bulk, containers and general cargo. The port will also serve as a support centre for the strongly growing offshore sector. In the coming time, the already existing market interest will be specified and the required permits will be obtained. The Port Authority’s main role will be providing its extensive expertise and knowledge in the field of port development. An investment decision will not be made until a later stage.
A new robot, developed by Russian company, Mirrico, could revolutionise the way that storage tanks are cleaned. The first prototype, ROTC-TD (Robotic Oil Tank Cleaner – Truck Drive) affectionately known as “Wall-E” by the developers after the 2008 Disney Cartoon is equipped with CCTV, lighting, drainage and detergent supply systems and is controlled remotely by an operator. The robot can also be equipped with a range of optional equipment (modular scavenge pump, circumrotatory cleaning heads, blade, etc.) and models are planned that can will be able to safely and effectively clean underground as well as land based tanks, vessels and pipelines. This robot is the latest in a series developed by a number of companies around the world including for more examples click here.
Mirrico has been deploying this technology in a pilot project cleaning storage tanks at Gazpromneft-NNG and Samotlorneftegaz facilities in Russia. With the advantages of round the clock cleaning, even in freezing conditions and vastly diminished risk to humans as being highlighted as its positive outcomes.