Understanding The Crude Oil Transportation Process

By Eugenia Dickerson

Petroleum products are at the backbone of may economies all over the world. Due to recent advances in the exploration and processing of naturally occurring reserves, the demand for petroleum has been satisfied considerably. Since demand and supply are rarely concentrated at the same point, the need for a reliable means of crude oil transportation always arises.

From the oil field, the product is delivered via pipelines to the loading terminal for tankers or trains. These bulk movers then deliver it to the pipelines that serve the demand side of the market. Due to the sensitive nature of some end products, it is safer to refine the oil on the consumer side than to ferry them over the open seas.

Pipelines are the ideal means of transporting petroleum because they are located underground away from curios eyes. Most field networks converge at the main collection point where the fluid is measured for consistency before being containerized. The consumer side is fitted with booster pumps at predetermined points to guarantee efficient flow to retail points. A single pipeline may be used to transfer more than one product depending on the schedule used by the controller.

It is quite unfortunate that the largest consumers of oil usually have to purchase it from sources located on other continents. Crude from middle east, Africa and Latin America is transported to major consumers by large tankers. Because tankers may accidentally spill some of their cargo, marine authorities all over the world have devised many stringent laws governing this sector.

A serious investor will also facilitate the tracking and guiding of his shipping vessels through advanced satellite systems when transporting this sensitive cargo. Innovative merchant also invest in vessels such as replenishment ships that replenish moving ships without disrupting their work. There are many marine operations regulatory authorities that engage in the formulation of laws governing the industry.

most oil exploiters charter renowned shipping companies to move their commodity to demand centers. The agreement may either be voyage, bareboat, time or affreightment drafted. In the former, the hiring firm leases the equipment for usage between the source and destination for his product. He may also opt to hire the vessels for a stipulated period of time during which he purports to have transferred all his cargo.

Tanker loading usually involves pumping fluids into the reservoirs through the cargo manifold. During this process, the vapors must be vented to the atmosphere to maintain pressure balance in the reservoirs. All ships have cargo pumps with a large capacity for the transfer of crude to offshore reservoirs at the destination. Tank cleaning is done from time to time to facilitate the handling of another product or inspection by the appointed authorities.

If the crude oil transportation vessel held a less viscous liquid, water may suffice as a cleaning fluid. Sometimes, the water is heated and introduced by a high pressure spraying system all over the inner tank surface. Purging is them done by pumping volumes of an inert gas to remove remaining traces of hydrocarbons. All these processes are performed by the oil washing system onboard.

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