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Optimizing Vapor Recovery from Storage Tanks

By Yik Fu Lim, Dominic C. Y. Foo and Mike Boon Lee Ooi |

Light hydrocarbons in storage tanks can vaporize and vent to the atmosphere, creating harmful emissions. An optimized vapor-recovery unit can effectively and economically reduce such emissions In the chemicals, petroleum refining and natural gas industries, storage vessels are used to contain various liquids, such as condensates, crude oil and produced water. Condensate and crude oil are usually kept in fixed-roof, atmospheric-pressure tanks between production wells and pipelines or truck transportation. In offshore fields, the storage vessels usually contain crude oil and condensate produced from connected wells, or from nearby platforms [1]. In most cases, light hydrocarbons, such as methane, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), natural gas liquids (NGLs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), in the crude oil tend to vaporize and collect within the space between the fixed roof and liquid level of the tank [2]. Ambient temperature changes cause the fluctuation of liquid level in the tank, leading to the escape of vapors into the atmosphere. These escaped vapors cause income losses due to reduction in hydrocarbon volume and changes in the American Petroleum Institute (API) gravity measure of the oil. Apart from potential fire hazards,…
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