Storage Tanks: Understanding the Regulations of API Designs

Storage tanks with the men talkingThe American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) have set down standards for designing, fabricating, welding, and setting up storage tanks for many kinds of materials. Storage tanks are required by the oil and gas industry to contain material required through multiple stages of the refining and shipping process.

API’s 650 tank design standards set out the minimum requirements for designing, fabricating, setting up and even the inspection of large, welded storage tanks. Storage tanks are application specific and choosing the right one will depend on what is needed for the job.

What is covered by API 650 Regulations?

API designed storage tanks include slightly conical or flat roofs. The design facilitates the storage of liquids at lower pressures, which put a limit on roof weight. This is because the tanks are usually fragile and the chance of failure due to a vacuum or over-pressurization is pretty high. Tanks not designed according to API regulations can be prone to failure due to the following reasons:

  • Overfilling – There have been many instances when overfilling has caused explosions and serious fires. Regular inspection is important to prevent problems. Attaching alarms and using interlocks can prevent this issue, as well.
  • Too much pressure – Tanks that contain materials, which can cause over-pressurizing, lead to venting issues. Excessive pressure causes property destruction and injuries to employees.
  • Under pressure – This causes structural damage beginning in the tank’s walls and the eventual scrapping.

These are among the important reasons to follow design specifications closely. Tank designer and fabrication companies have to be sure that they have clearly marked piping with color codes. They have to ensure that the layout and control scheme is defined clearly and easy to understand, as well.

Posted on by Tsfp6 in Digi-market

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