Monday, July 26, 2010

Oil Spills Highlighted

China Oil Spill

  The drowning of a worker this week, his body coated in crude was a sad site but the cleanup continued over a 165 square mile (430 square kilometer) stretch of the Yellow Sea off the northeastern city of Dalian, one of China's major ports and strategic oil reserve sites.

Dai Yulin, vice mayor of Dalian City, Liaoning Province, where oil pipelines exploded on July 16, said workers have contained the oil slick, stopping it from reaching the open sea.

The cause of the explosion is believed to have been improper injections of strongly oxidizing desulphurizer into the oil pipeline after a 300,00 tonne tanker had finished unloading its oil.

  The clean-up has involved 266 oil-skimming vessels and 8,150 fishing boats. Maritime agencies and oil companies have laid down more than 40,000 meters of oil barriers and 65 tonnes of oil absorbent mats, he said.

How the oil is loaded onto the tankers
  As the oil enters these tanks, it emits vapors that are either released into the atmosphere or captured and discharged back into the pump via vapor recovery lines.

The loading of oil onto an oil tanker usually begins at low pressure to ensure there are no leaks or other equipment problems. Once the tanks are almost full, the pressure is increased until loading and "topping off" occurs. During the topping off phase, crew members monitor how much space is left in the tanks and begin to close all valves and complete the flow of oil onto the tanker.


Oil Tanker History

  The first modern oil tanker was the Zoroaster, designed and built in 1878 by Ludvig Nobel of Sweden. Ludvig and his brother Robert served as the principals of a large oil company called Branobel. (Ludvig and Robert were also brothers to Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite and the man for whom the Nobel Prizes are named).

   In 1883, Colonel Henry F. Swan designed an oil tanker with several holds for oil. The holds were also subdivided to prevent oil from sloshing around and causing the ship to capsize while moving at sea. Today's oil tankers feature similar holds for their oil.
  Today, oil tankers fall into two basic categories, crude tankers and product tankers. Crude tankers are the larger of the two. They move raw, unrefined oil from the places where it's pumped out of the earth, to the refineries where it's processed into fuel and other products. Product tankers, on the other hand, are smaller than crude tankers and move already-processed petroleum products to markets where those products can be sold and used.

  Corporations are always seeking the most efficient way to accomplish a task in order to maximize profits. Due to their immense size, oil tankers provide an easy and inexpensive way to transport oil over long distances. In fact, it only costs around two to four cents per gallon to transport oil using a typical tanker.

    Interesting links on Transportation and Oil Pipelines