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Combatting corrosion at a major South African refinery

Published by , Senior Editor
Tanks and Terminals,

Omniflex has announced that it is supplying next-generation cathodic protection (CP) technology to Engen, a major South African energy company, as it goes through a period of restructuring to shape the future of it’s Southern African fuel supply operations.

Omniflex is providing impressed current cathodic protection (ICCP) technology with remote monitoring and control for Engen’s CP requirements. This ensures ongoing asset protection and tank integrity across its bulk storage facilities as it makes the switch from a refinery to a terminal function.

Engen, a major Southern African energy company with bulk storage based in Durban, announced last year that it is proceeding with its Refinery-to-Terminal (RTT) conversion initiative as part of its wider business sustainability strategy. Essentially, this means the refinery will be repurposed for tank terminal storage instead of refining crude. The initiative will also deliver significant reductions in electricity and water consumption across the site, as well as lowering emissions and the overall carbon footprint.

A key part of the initiative is the tank refurbishment programme, which will see old tank equipment replaced with new equipment that meets the latest standards. Omniflex will provide remote monitoring and control systems in the shape of three PowerView CP control system panels, each one able to individually manage 12 bulk storage tanks, 24/7. These enable better management and surveillance of the tank protection system and increased site-wide monitoring and control.

“Traditionally, CP engineers relied on physical site inspections to monitor corrosion levels and system performance,” explained Ian Loudon, International Sales and Marketing Manager at Omniflex. “However, as regulations and standards continue to evolve, there is a growing need for data accessibility and transparency to meet reporting targets. This means engineers face the prospect of visiting sites to inspect difficult-to-access systems more often, something with is costly and disruptive.

“Engen has 36 oil tanks spread across a large geographical location, so it is time consuming for engineers to physically inspect and tabulate CP system parameters. In situations like these, taking advantage of remote monitoring for CP systems is a no brainer, since it saves the customer time and money in the long run and provides ongoing data integrity that guarantees corrosion is controlled.

“The new ICCP systems have been fitted to the existing refurbished tanks, minimising disruption caused by the system installation,” continued Loudon. “The solution offers several key advantages over the old system, such as alarm condition alerts via SMS and email in the event of a problem, and access to a repository of real-time and historical data for improved management of tank assets.”

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