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5 terrible storage tank explosions that will make you review your safety procedures.

Here is a collection of bad storage tank explosions. Post your best storage tank safety tip in the forum or send us a note tatsuya.n at and we’ll post it at the bottom of this blog post!

1. Nasty Big Oil Tank Explosion

2. Incredible Tank Battery Explosion from 200 yards away! Lamesa, TX

3. Destroyed in Seconds- Chemical Plant Explosion

4. Massive oil tank explosion filmed from 2 km away

5. Dallas, Texas acetylene tanks explode

Here are some tips to avoid storage tank disasters

Joe Lanzoni, VP, Lightning Eliminators & Consultants, Inc.
An API technical committee spent 10 years and over $250,000 in directed research and testing to develop a set of recommendations for lightning protection for petroleum storage tanks. The most important recommendation produced by this effort is to install multiple, as-short-as-possible electrical bonding conductors between the roof and shell on external floating roof tanks.

Pierre Ten Holter, Independent Management Consulting Professional
“My tip is : Does the asset manager know WHAT the tank has been DESIGNED for and has he ensured that all required safety precautions and safety appurteances are in place. (including gas detection)????

It always starts with the proper INTEGRAL DESIGN of the storage facility”

Townsend Hilliard, PURGIT Vapor Control Systems
“This is pretty self serving, but storage tank degassing is an easy step to take to reduce the risk involved with flammable vapors during maintenance work or cleaning. And, of course, PURGIT’s refrigerated vapor recovery system is vastly safer and faster than combustion based degassing systems.”

Deepak Tirodker, Vice President Projects & Engineering, India Mumbai
“In a ” Secondary Vapor Seal ” A Rubber Wiper Tip is installed at top edge of GI/SS Weather shield. Rubber Wiper Tip is Riveted/Bolted @ 125 mm Pitch.Hence Top edge of ” Secondary Vapour Seal ” becomes Fix & rigid at a particular shell height at which it is installed.

In actual the Inside Circumference of Shell varies from theoretical Circumference during construction stage. Having Top end fixed due to Rubber Wiper Seal, how how Fan In / Fan Out will take place when F.R. is traveling up & Down to adjust variable Circumference.”

Rasidin Ginting, QA/QC Mgr at Gulf Triangle Industries & Services LLC
“1. All people must be obey for Safety Requirement

2. In the process design, procurement. fabrication, erection and testing must be follow standard and code and specification all activity must be traceable.

3. Operation of tank must be follow the procedure

4. If any some small leaking must be stop the operation and at quickly repair (no tolerance)

5. No smoking and no using phone in the tank area

6. Gas detection check must be done every day.

7. Area of tank must be cover with ban wall

8. etc

We hope no others accident in the next operation of Tank, please concern with motto is Safety first for every thing we do and doing right in the first time.”

Attila Domotor, Certified EEMUA 159 & EOQ quality auditor; mechanical & quality engineer
“My tips regarding the safety issues, are the following:

1, ensure a proper safety or any other policies, procedures, regulations, instructions depends the facility
2, well-educate, train the people whom working at the facility
3, always keep the rules, do not use non-Ex devices in hazardous environment
4, always wear the necessary PPE whilst carry out the job
5, check the safety issues twice, according the 1, point
6, use operation, maintenance manual of tank appurtances, and the equipments
7, maintain your tools, devices you working whereby”

Hank Hilliard, PURGIT tank degassing
I am always amazed that terminals allow combustion devices around storage tanks and operating areas. There are 2 main problems with combustion burners:
1. the fire is virtually at ground level and that is where heavy hydrocarbon vapors collect
2. huge potential for sparks from the flue exhaust stack. watch one at night sometime.

MR Balagam, Terminal Manager / Project Engineer at Al-Rahim Tank Terminal and group of Industries
Follows following procedures for operation of Tanks stores with explosive products:
1: Should wear rubber sole shoes.
2: Should be Earth grounded tools to be use for operation.
3: Should check the Vacuum Vent pipe with respect to vacuum create by pump. check the Air Breathing Valve on top of roof )
4: No battery operated Tools to be use.
5: Don’t keep the empty tank for a longer time.
6: Never ground the Welding / Electrical equipments with Tank Earth.
7 Check the Earth tank every month end, should be .03 Ohms.
8 Should check Light Arrester and Flame Arrester on every month interval.

Pumping Station Safety: As Follows
1: Fire Proof Pumps always use
2: Cabling should be well clamped with wall, not allow spread on ground.
3: Should consider never form a Triangle of ” Heat – Fumes – Air ”
4: Always make a High Roof and well natural ventilated pumping station.
5: Should be make a bypass system with individual pumps.

TNphoto Tatsuya Nakagawa
Tatsuya Nakagawa is the VP of Marketing and co-founder of Castagra Products, a storage tank and wastewater coatings manufacturing company that is highly acclaimed for its sustainable coatings (& safe), cold weather tank coating applications, and its durable frac tank coatings. Castagra is used by the world’s top oil and gas field services companies.