David Doane ILTA president presented the large terminal 2013 Platinum Safety Award to Angela Brown and Tim Aydt Marathon Petroleum Co LLC

Business optimism

Aug. 2, 2013
International Operating Conference attendees hear about opportunities, challenges for storage terminal sector

SHALE OIL and natural gas held center stage during this year’s Annual International Operating Conference and Trade Show. The program also included a review of the damage suffered by the storage terminal sector during what has been labeled Super Storm Sandy.

Hosted by the International Liquid Terminals Association, the event is the largest and longest conference and trade show dedicated exclusively to the storage terminal sector. More than 730 people attended this year’s conference, a 10% increase over 2012. The event was held June 3-5 in Houston, Texas.

A panel discussion opened the conference with a review of the lessons learned from Super Storm Sandy. The storm battered 24 states in late October 2012 and caused significant damage to the fuel terminaling and distribution infrastructure.

Natural gas and refined fuel operations were severely impacted, especially on the New Jersey and New York area. “We counted 57 petroleum terminals shut down,” said Alice Lippert, US Department of Energy. That’s a big part of the infrastructure in the New York Harbor area. There were about half as many shut down during Hurricane Irene.”

Refineries didn’t begin to recover until about a month after Sandy. Petroleum imports fell by 62%. Major shortages of gasoline plagued the area.

Jack McCrossin, Citgo Petroleum Corp, described the damage to the company’s Linden (New Jersey) Terminal. All three office building were lost. Every product pump and motor at the terminal was soaked. The roadway to the terminal was blocked by a flotilla of trailers and storage units that were carried by the storm surge.

The focus turned to “The Global Impact of US Shale Oil Development” during the Featured Speaker Luncheon on Monday, June 3. Jeffrey Currie, Goldman Sachs & Co, said that the oil and natural gas shale plays are fueling economic optimism in the United States.

“We’re developing a new commodity phase with this abundant source of energy,” he said. “I like to think of it as a manufacturing renaissance.”

Currie said international competitiveness based on plentiful US shale gas is just beginning. The comparative advantage of US petrochemical manufacturers over their European competitors is starting to accelerate, and the gap in industrial power prices has been closing. The United States and Mexico are gaining on China in manufacturing.

Building on the shale oil and gas theme was Anne Keller, Wood McKenzie. She focused on natural gas liquids and crude oil storage strategies.

Continued growth in natural gas liquids supply—driven by the shale plays and tight oil production—should provide more opportunities for storage and logistics build outs, she said.

“We have the great advantage of light, sweet crude, which is giving refiners a new lease on life,” Keller said. “There is the challenge of having to expand your swing storage capabilities to handle products and move this stuff around to different markets. We’re seeing some congestion, even in Houston.”

Participation in the safety award program remains strong, and 15 companies were recognized for their achievements during the Safety award Breakfast on Tuesday, June 4. Two companies demonstrating the very best in safety cultures were awarded the 2013 Platinum Safety Award—Marathon Petroleum Co LLC for the large terminal category and US Venture for the small terminal.

The Platinum Safety award is a solid crystal storage tank depicted with a floating roof. The tank is seven and one-half inches high and slightly more than five inches in diameter. It has three-dimensional detailing of the roof, a manway, and a water supply line for the foam chambers. Stairs and panel seams also are part of the etched detailing.

Safety excellence awards went to 12 terminal companies that achieved a safety record of less than one injury per 100 workers during 2012. The companies are: Asphalt Operating Services, Sunoco Logistics Partners LP, Philips 66 Pipeline LLC, Hess Corporation, Enterprise Products Company, Demaco Corporation, CITGO Petroleum Corporation, Houston Fuel Oil Terminal Company, NuStar Energy LP, Petro-Diamond Terminal Company, Motiva Enterprises-New Jersey Complex, and Buckeye Terminals LLC.

Three terminal companies earned the 5-Year Safety Milestone Award: Hess Corporation, NuStar Energy, and Petro-Diamond Terminal Company. LBC Houston LP was honored with Safety Improvement Award.

The 34th Annual ILTA international Operating Conference and Trade show is planned for June 2-4, 2014 at the Hilton Americas-Houston and the George R Brown Convention Center in Houston. With demand growing for more space, the trade show is being expanded to 165,000 square feet.     ♦