Category Archives: Tank Bottoms

Tank Anode Systems for the Richest Man in Africa

This month MATCOR will ship the final tank anode system assemblies for Africa’s most audacious industrial project. The project is being undertaken by Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest person, and when completed this $12 billion Dangote oil refinery could, according to a 2018 New York Times article, “transform Nigeria’s corrupt and underperforming petroleum industry. Planned as the world’s largest refinery…should process 650,000 barrels of crude oil daily.” With Nigeria poised to become the world’s third most populous nation by 2050 (surpassing the USA) and having Africa’s largest economy, this project is being touted as a milestone achievement in what many are dubbing the African Century.

tank anode system installation
MATCOR Field Engineer E.Gopal (yellow vest)
at Lagos site inspecting tank anode system installation

As part of this ambitious refinery project, a total of 153 above ground storage tanks for crude oil, refined and intermediary products up to 92m in diameter (300 ft) are being erected on the 6,180 acres of swampland just outside of Lagos, Nigeria. MATCOR’s innovative tank anode system technology using linear anodes was selected by the project’s EPC contractor, Engineer’s India Limited, as the design basis for the cathodic protection for the project’s above ground storage tanks. Working closely with both the owner’s Indian based engineering team and the EPC contractor, MATCOR was successful in identifying the key tank contractors that would be bidding the tank erection and supplying the cathodic protection systems as part of their specifications.

tank anode system installation on large crude oil tank foundation
Linear Anode being installed on large crude oil storage tank foundation

Ultimately, MATCOR was successful in securing contracts to provide the linear anodes for each of the three tank packages, one from a Chinese contractor and two from a UAE based contractor.

tank anode system materials
Tank anode system materials prepped for export at MATCOR’s Chalfont PA facility.
Over 520 reels of anode material have been shipped to Nigeria.

In total, MATCOR has supplied over 500,000 linear feet (150+ km) of our SPL™-FBR linear anode product along with other ancillary materials for the under tank cathodic protection systems over an 18-month period. With all the anodes having been manufactured in MATCOR’s ISO 9001 certified Chalfont PA facility, MATCOR continues to be the global leader in the manufacturing of impressed current linear anodes for above ground storage tank cathodic protection.


Have questions about tank corrosion protection, or need a quote for services or our tank anode system? Contact us at the link below.

CONTACT A CORROSION EXPERT

Specifying Sand Bedding to Support Above Ground Storage Tank Corrosion Protection

The ideal sand bedding supports tank corrosion protection and long service life.
Specifying the ideal sand bedding supports tank corrosion protection and a long tank bottom service life.

For new construction tank projects and for retrofits of existing tanks, it is common practice to install clean washed sand as the pad upon which the tank bottom is fabricated. The use of oil sand, crushed stone, asphalt, or other materials directly under the tank bottom should be avoided, as these hinder effective tank corrosion protection. This article provides guidelines to the specifications for the sand bedding materials. These guidelines are based on providing a low corrosivity environment  compatible with cathodic protection to assure a long service life of the tank bottom.

Economic Considerations

For a typical 150-foot diameter tank using 12 inches of sand bedding the quantity of sand that is required is approximately 17,679 cubic feet of sand which is roughly 883 tons. The cost of the sand, including delivery, is a significant cost and far exceeds the cost of cathodic protection– especially if the sand specifications are quite stringent and require sourcing sand that requires significant transportation. Some consideration can be given to relaxing the sand recommendations, even if that warrants increasing the cathodic protection requirements, should there be a significant cost impact to complying with the sand specifications – consult your cathodic protection designer.

Recommended Sand Properties

The table below summarizes the recommended sand properties to support aboveground storage tank corrosion protection.

PropertyRecommended Value
Resistivity (ohm-cm)20,000 – 100,000
pH> 6.5
Chlorides (ppm)< 10
Sulfates (ppm)< 200
Sulfides (ppm)< 0.1
Particle Size100% pass through #4 Sieve

Soil Resistivity

The best proxy for determining corrosivity of sand materials is the electrical resistivity of the sand. Clean washed sand typically has resistivity values more than 20,000 ohm-cm and in some cases can exceed 100,000 ohm-cm. The higher the resistivity of the sand, the lower the corrosivity of the sand; however, when designing cathodic protection, the higher the sand resistivity the greater the impact on the overall system resistance and the electrical power required for the cathodic protection system. API Recommended Practice 651 Cathodic Protection of Aboveground Petroleum Storage Tanks provides the following table classifying resistivity of soil/sand.

Resistivity Range (ohm-cm)Potential Corrosion Activity
<500Very Corrosive
500 to 1000Corrosive
1000 to 2000Moderately Corrosive
2000 to 10,000Mildly Corrosive
>10,000Progressively less corrosive

Soil Resistivity Testing Methods »

Sand pH Range

Measuring pH indicates the hydrogen ion content of a soil. Corrosion of steel is fairly independent of pH when it is in the range of 5.0 to 8.0. The rate of corrosion increases appreciably when pH is < 5.0 and decreases when pH is> 8.0. pH may be determined in accordance with ASTM G 51 or equivalent

Chlorides

Chlorides will affect the resistivity of soil, and act as a depolarizing agent which will increase the current requirement for cathodic protection of steel. Pitting corrosion on steel can begin at chloride levels of 10 ppm. Chloride content may be deter­mined in accordance with ASTM D 512 or equivalent.

Sulfates

Sulfate levels >200 ppm frequently indicate high concentrations of organic matter. Sulfate content may be determined in accordance with ASTM D 516 or equivalent.

Sulfides

Sulfide levels > 0.10 ppm may indicate that sulfates have been reduced by bacteria. Sulfide content may be determined in accordance with EPA 0376.1 or equivalent.

Particle Size

The sand bedding material should be clean of rocks, clumps and other debris and for clean sand capable of passing through a #4 sieve, for washed river sand an alternative acceptable particle size is 100% pass through a 3/8” sieve.

Sand Depth of Cover

For new construction tanks, the typical design is to provide a minimum of 12 inches (30 cm) of sand cover; however, for tank bottom retrofits it is quite common to provide 6 inches of sand (15 cm) for double bottom installations or for applications where the existing bottom is removed, and the top layer of the underlying soil foundation is being removed.


Have questions about tank corrosion protection, or need a quote for services or cathodic protection design and materials? Contact us at the link below.

CONTACT A CORROSION EXPERT

Quick Ship Cathodic Protection for Tanks

This program applies to replacement cathodic protection systems for above ground storage tank (AST) bottoms.

cathodic protection for tanks
Tank Emergency? Contact Us About Our Quick Ship Cathodic Protection for Tanks Program

With existing ASTs, you may not always have the luxury of a planned tank bottom cathodic protection system replacement. After taking a storage tank out of service for inspection, you are often required to make an immediate decision as to the integrity of the existing floor. In some cases, this means a new floor has to be quickly planned and installed to minimize the time that the tank is out of service.

MATCOR Quick Ship Cathodic Protection for Tanks Program

MATCOR is pleased to announce our stock tank bottom anode system to meet your replacement needs with very short notice.

For your tank bottom replacement applications where a very fast delivery is required, MATCOR will now be maintaining stock of our Tank Ring Anode System.

  • Up to 200 ft diameter SPL-FBR tank ring anodes
  • Pre-assembled and ready to ship from our Chalfont PA facility
  • Two day turnaround
  • Set up in concentric rings with five foot spacing
  • Requires a minimum of just 6 inches of sand cover from the new tank bottom
  • Designed for 25 mA/ft output which is generally sufficient for 50+ year anode life based on a nominal current density of 2 ma/ft2 of surface area.

For more information please contact your MATCOR sales representative or contact us at the link below.


Have questions or need a quote for a replacement tank bottom cathodic protection system? Contact us at the link below.

CONTACT A CORROSION EXPERT

Tank Farm Design Recommendations for Corrosion Prevention

Tank Farm Design RecommendationsWhether designing a few above ground storage tanks or performing tank farm design for an entire facility, proper consideration should be given to the adverse impact of corrosion that can occur on the tank bottoms. When addressing the issue of tank bottom corrosion, consider the environment, the tank size and design, and the type of tank foundation to be employed. There are definite advantages in certain materials based on the size and requirements of an above ground storage tank (AST) foundation. By carefully assessing the tank farm surroundings and long-term requirements, costly and potentially dangerous corrosion related tank failures can be avoided. Whether you are relying on a reputable company in the industry or taking on your own front-end engineering and design, there are across-the-board tank farm design recommendations to consider when it comes to corrosion prevention:

In terms of corrosion prevention for under ground storage tank (AST) foundations, is cathodic protection (CP) effective?

For tanks erected on compacted soil or sand foundations, with or without a concrete ring wall, cathodic protection is considered a “good engineering practice” and has been proven as an effective means of addressing tank bottom corrosion concerns. When you compare various methods of corrosion prevention for above ground storage tank bottoms, CP is shown to prevail over asphalt or concrete unless your project involves smaller diameter tanks. The corrosion failure rate is greater for tanks built on asphalt or concrete compared to tanks where a concentric ring cathodic protection system is installed.

In terms of corrosion, when is asphalt or oil/sand acceptable for above ground storage tank (AST) foundations?

Asphalt foundations are not common in the United States, as the mechanical integrity of asphalt can be an issue depending on the AST environment. As well, the use of oil/sand layer designs has been phased out by most tank owners in the United States due to the adverse impact that these oil/sand layers have on tank bottom cathodic protection systems. While historically prevalent in the Middle East and Asia, most larger national oil companies have abandoned this approach because it causes shielding of cathodic protection (CP) current, allowing corrosion to occur. Kuwait Oil, Aramco, and others now prefer clean sand combined with CP as the base material of choice. This is standard in the United States and has been for several decades.

What is a Concentric Ring Cathodic Protection System for above ground storage tanks (AST)?  

A. Designed for long-term storage, an AST cathodic protection ring system offers a factory-assembled design whereby the anode rings are ready to install with cable leads that extend past ring wall penetration. Concentric rings sizes are made to order, requiring no onsite welding, cutting, or splicing. The anode locations are marked, rings are laid out, and cabling is placed using a proven labeling system for future monitoring. A mixed metal oxide (MMO) anode is centered among a low-oxygen-generating coke backfill to eliminate depolarization.

Learn about MATCOR’s complete AST cathodic protection design services.

Are there some cases where concrete foundations are advantageous for tank farm corrosion prevention?

During installation of above-ground storage tanks, there are some advantages to concrete foundations for tanks when it comes to corrosion—the high pH of the concrete acts to passivate the steel, unless you have an above ground storage tank (AST) liner pad or something that is between the concrete and the tank bottom. If you can effectively seal the chime from the ingress of water and oxygen, the corrosion rates are generally quite small. Unfortunately concrete foundations for larger diameter tanks are not typically practical and can be quite expensive to properly install. Concrete foundations with appropriate AST liners are best for smaller diameter tanks.

In tank farm design for corrosion prevention, what are the best recommendations for above ground storage tank (AST) liners?

Plastic secondary containment liners are largely phased out in the United States and have been replaced by geotextile membranes that serve the same secondary containment purpose as plastic—they are conductive to allow cathodic protection (CP). The general standard in the United States is to have a CP system directly under the tank in order to minimize stray current or current losses due to earthing systems around the tank. Since the tank bottom is a large bare structure and the anodes are closely coupled to the tank bottom, there is usually very little current drain to other structures; the system if properly designed can accommodate modest current drain. While a plastic liner provides isolation from other nearby structures, when a problem arises with the CP system or if the CP system reaches the end of its projected service life, there is no way to install a new CP system without replacing the tank bottom.

Tank farm corrosion prevention is more manageable now than ever before. The MATCOR Concentric Ring Cathodic Protection System™ is just one of many excellent options for protecting your above ground storage tank (AST) from damaging corrosion.


For assistance with tank farm design, our Concentric Ring AST Cathodic Protection System™, project management or installation, please CONTACT US.

Learn more about Tank Cathodic Protection


MATCOR Corrosion Experts Launch New App for Tank Cathodic Protection System Design

Design a Detailed Tank Ring Anode System for an Above Ground Storage Tank in Seconds with MATCOR’s Web Application.

Chalfont, PA – August 28, 2014, MATCOR, Inc., the trusted full-service provider of proprietary cathodic protection products, systems and corrosion engineering solutions, launched a valuable, timesaving web application that enables corrosion professionals to design a cathodic protection system for their above ground storage tanks (ASTs) in seconds.
Isaac Renfro, NACE Workforce Development Program graduate and MATCOR Technician
“This web-based app makes it easy for our customers to design tank cathodic protection systems and enables rapid turnaround for a quote,” says Douglas Fastuca, President of MATCOR. “An ease-of-use and quick response philosophy is consistent with MATCOR’s Tank Ring Anode System, which is very easy and safe to install within a few hours. With this productivity tool MATCOR continues its tradition of innovation and enabling creative cathodic protection solutions.”

The MATCOR Tank Ring Anode System App is available at matcor.com/tankring. The user enters specifications for their above ground storage tank and installation environment, and the app delivers detailed tank ring anode cathodic protection design specifications. MATCOR will then quickly quote and manufacture an accurate, reliable impressed current cathodic protection system, which utilizes patented Kynex® waterproof connection technology.
The factory-assembled MATCOR Tank Ring Anode System is fast and easy to install with no field anode assembly required. A small crew can install most systems in under two hours with no welding, hot permit, splicing of anode sections or special backfill required. MATCOR offers Tank Ring Anode Systems for new and retrofit tanks.


Learn more about AST Cathodic Protection


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