Understanding Corrosion in Water Pipelines: A Guide for Pipeline Designers


Oil Storage Tank

Last updated: December 31, 2018

What Does Oil Storage Tank Mean?

An oil storage tank is a container or reservoir that temporarily holds oil in the various stages of processing into other oil products, or before it is used or consumed.

Based on location, oil storage tanks may be classified as surface or above ground, semi subterranean and subterranean or underground tanks.

The structure and materials of oil storage tanks depend on their intended use and the environmental, safety and other legal requirements in the storage location.

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Corrosionpedia Explains Oil Storage Tank

Oil storage tanks of various types, materials, shapes and sizes are used from the initial production of crude oil, to the refining and distribution of various petroleum oil products. Wooden oil storage tanks were used in the United States in the 1860s, but were replaced by steel tanks from 1880 up to the end of the 1800s. Modern oil storage tanks are made of plastic, reinforced concrete, stainless steel, carbon steel, or even carved on mostly impermeable rock salt deposits for underground oil storage. Over the years, various types of oil storage tanks have been developed. These include:

  • Floating Roof Tank: As its name implies, this type of tank has a floating roof that rises or falls according to the oil level in the tank. The floating roof is actually a safety feature to prevent vapor build-up inside the tank.
  • Fixed Roof Tank: This type of tank does not expose the oil it stores and is used to hold lower volumes of oil products compared to those in tanks with floating roofs.
  • Open Top Tank: This was one of the early types of oil storage tanks. It has limited use now because of evaporation losses and the risk that oil will catch fire.
  • Single Skin and Double Skin Tanks: These are tanks with one layer or two layers of steel or plastic respectively. A double skin tank is also called a twin-walled tank.
  • Bunded Tank: A bunded tank is a tank enclosed by another tank or a tank with a containment dike around it. The outer tank or containment dike serves as the catch system to prevent oil spills, leakages or other oil contamination from spreading to the surroundings.

Other types of oil storage tanks may be developed to further reduce the risk of pollution and fire from improper or poor oil storage.


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