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The Importance of Lightning Protection for Oil Tanks

EMP Defense Aug 1, 2023 3:27:21 PM

What's the Importance of Lightning Protection for Oil Tanks?

In oil storage facilities, the threat of lightning strikes is an ever-present concern that cannot be overlooked. These colossal tanks, housing valuable and flammable resources, are susceptible to direct lightning strikes and the destructive consequences of nearby strikes. 

Understanding the significance of implementing effective lightning protection measures is paramount to safeguarding assets and the surrounding environment. In this blog, we'll dive into the importance of lightning protection for oil tanks so you'll know how to ensure safety, mitigate risks, and preserve the integrity of these critical facilities. 


Why Are Oil and Gas Facilities at High Risk of Being Struck by Lightning?


Oil and gas facilities are particularly susceptible to lightning strikes due to a combination of factors that increase their risk. These facilities often consist of tall structures such as storage tanks, pipelines, and towers, which naturally attract lightning due to their height. The elevated nature of these structures makes them more likely to be the preferred path for lightning discharge. 

Additionally, the presence of flammable materials like oil and gas increases the potential for severe damage and catastrophic consequences in the event of a lightning strike. The volatile nature of these substances heightens the need for effective lightning protection to minimize the risk of fire, explosions, and environmental hazards. 

Furthermore, oil and gas facilities are frequently located in open areas, often away from other structures or natural features that could act as lightning attractors. This isolation makes them more exposed to lightning strikes and the subsequent dangers associated with them. 


What Happens if an Oil and Gas Facility Is Struck by Lightning?


When an oil and gas facility is struck by lightning, several risks and potential consequences arise, including the following:

  • Fire and Explosions: The most immediate and significant risk is igniting flammable materials, such as oil, gas, or other hydrocarbons. A lightning strike can cause a sudden and intense release of energy, leading to fires or explosions within the facility, resulting in significant damage, loss of assets, and endangering the lives of workers.

  • Structural Damage: Lightning strikes can cause structural damage to various components of the facility, including storage tanks, pipelines, electrical systems, and equipment. The immense energy from a lightning bolt can fracture or weaken metal structures, leading to leaks, ruptures, or even collapse. 

  • Electrical System Disruption: Lightning strikes can induce power surges or create disturbances that disrupt the facility's electrical systems. The sudden surge of electrical energy can damage electrical equipment, transformers, and control systems, leading to power outages, equipment malfunction, and potential safety hazards.  

  • Environmental Hazards: If lightning strikes a storage tank containing oil, it can result in spills or leaks, leading to environmental contamination. These spills can pollute soil, water bodies, and surrounding ecosystems, causing long-term ecological damage and requiring extensive cleanup efforts. 

  • Worker Safety: Lightning strikes in the vicinity of an oil and gas facility pose a risk to the safety of workers. Electrical discharges from lightning can travel through conductive materials, including metal structures and equipment, potentially leading to injuries or fatalities. Furthermore, the ensuing fires, explosions, or structural failures can endanger personnel within the facility.

    Equipment and Production Downtime: In the aftermath of a lightning strike, repairs, inspections, and assessments need to be conducted to ensure the facility's integrity and safety. This downtime can disrupt production schedules, resulting in financial losses, contract penalties, and a negative impact on the facility's reputation.


What Is the Best Lightning Protection for Oil Tanks?


When it comes to the best lightning protection for oil tanks, lightning suppression is hand’s-down the superior solution. Unlike traditional lightning protection systems that focus on redirecting or conducting lightning safely to the ground, lightning suppression aims to prevent lightning formation altogether.

5 Reasons Why Oil and Gas Facilities Should Invest in Lightning Suppression: 

  1. Enhanced Safety: Lightning suppression systems prevent lightning strikes from occurring, thereby minimizing the associated risks of fires, explosions, and structural damage. By preventing lightning formation, the system reduces potential catastrophic incidents and enhances personnel safety.
  2. Preservation of Assets: Lightning suppression systems provide proactive protection, ensuring the integrity of the tanks and preventing damage that could result in leaks, spills, or structural failures. By preserving the assets, these systems help avoid costly repairs, replacement, or cleanup efforts.
  3. Continuous Operations: Lightning strikes can disrupt operations, leading to downtime and production losses. Lightning suppression systems minimize the risk of lightning-related interruptions, allowing oil tank facilities to maintain continuous operations.
  4. Environmental Protection: Lightning strikes on oil tanks can result in environmental hazards, including spills and contamination. Lightning suppression systems significantly reduce the chances of such incidents, protecting the environment and minimizing the ecological impact of potential leaks or spills.
  5. Long-Term Cost Savings: Lightning suppression systems require an upfront investment but offer long-term cost savings. By preventing lightning strikes and associated damages, these systems help avoid expensive repairs, equipment replacements, environmental cleanup, and potential legal liabilities.



EMP Defense Offers Best-in-Class Lightning Suppression for Oil and Gas Facilities


When it comes to the installation, inspection, and maintenance of lightning suppression devices for oil and gas facilities, there's no better choice than EMP Defense. Our team of qualified professionals understands the criticality of lightning protection and provides top-notch services to ensure the safety, integrity, and continuous operation of oil and gas facilities.


With our commitment to quality, reliability, and adherence to industry standards, choosing EMP Defense guarantees peace of mind and the best possible protection against lightning strikes for oil and gas facilities.

Interested in learning more about our products and services? Contact us today.