July 2013, Vol. 240 No. 7


Lightning, The Costliest Threat to Oil Tankers and Refineries

Why is lightning so often overlooked when talking about protecting the oil and gas industry? Its effects on a refinery, storage tank or compressor station can be catastrophic. Lightning is an explosive, rapid event that releases large amounts of energy in just a few milliseconds with an unpredictable path. In a strike that terminates on or near a floating roof tank (FRT), for example, the current will flow in all directions and will vary in proportion to the lowest path of impedance. One unexpected arc across the roof-shell interface could ignite the fumes that are almost always present and as a consequence put that tank and an entire facility in immediate danger. Fairly recent

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