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Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???
4

Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

(OP)
Can we talk about BLEVE, ????

A BLEVE is a Boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion a deadly and unpredicatble element in some storage tank fires.

Wikipedia tells us: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_liquid_expan...)

A boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion ... is an explosion caused by the rupture of a vessel containing a pressurized liquid that has reached temperature above its boiling point. Because the boiling point of a liquid rises with pressure, the contents of the pressurized vessel can remain liquid as long as the vessel is intact. If the vessel's integrity is compromised, the loss of pressure and dropping boiling point can cause the liquid to rapidly convert to a gas and expand rapidly. If the gas is combustible, as is the case with hydrocarbons and alcohols, further damage can be caused by an ensuing fire.


Can we talk about the crucial importance of NEC compliant tank grounding systems ?

.... and finally, can we talk about the MASSIVE COSTS for this particular accident, with today's expensive oil ?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TB9tOSmTKF8

https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/06/americas/cuba-light...

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/worl...

MJCronin
Sr. Process Engineer

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

If it's for the power plant it can't be crude oil.

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

How are these designed for lightning? Do they have 'air terminals'? or a special grounding system. You often see them isolated in a field where they would be 'good lightning targets'.

So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

(OP)
Dik: See this document ...

https://www.lightningprotection.com/wp-content/upl...

"Because of the high incidence of lightning related tank fires, the American Petroleum Institute
(API) formed technical committee 545 to investigate the cause of these fires, evaluate tank
designs and write a standard to force changes in petroleum storage practices. API sponsored
testing proved that shunts will arc under all conditions, whether they are clean, dirty, rusty, wellmaintained, etc.
....

[i]After years of testing and deliberation, in October 2009 the API published
API RP 545, Recommended Practice for Lightning Protection of Above Ground Storage Tanks for Flammable or Combustible Liquids.
This document makes three key recommendations to improve thelightning safety of petroleum storage tanks with external floating roofs, as follows:

1. Install submerged shunts between the roof and shell every 10 feet (3 meters) around the roof
perimeter. The shunts should be submerged by one foot (0.3 meters) or more, and if existing
above-seal shunts are present, they should be removed.

2. Electrically insulate all seal assembly components (including springs, scissor assemblies, seal
membranes, etc.), and all gauge and guide poles, from the tank roof. The insulation level
should be one kilovolt or more.

3. Install bypass conductors between the roof and shell no more than every 30 meters (100 feet)
around tank circumference. These bypass conductors should be as short as possible and
evenly spaced around the roof perimeter. They should have a maximum end-to-end
resistance of 0.03 ohms and be of the minimum length necessary to permit full movement of
the floating roof"]

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/259576161...



MJCronin
Sr. Process Engineer

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

Great article, and information MJ... and the links are excellent.

So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

(OP)
Just released picture:

Twitter account said [i]"JUST BEFORE THE SECOND EXPLOSION !!!!!!"

[
/i]

DOZENS HURT AND SEVENTEEN MISSING....!!!!!

https://www.cbsnews.com/miami/video/dozens-hurt-at...

MJCronin
Sr. Process Engineer

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

In that picture they're doing boundary cooling on an adjacent tank. Is the spacing between tanks considered so that they would not require require boundary cooling in such a situation?

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

Looks like a dome tank roof, not a floating roof. The poles on the roof are likely air terminals or supports for suspended air terminal wires.

clipped from the cbs video
There is the possibility that the headspace contained an ignitable mixture, particularly with the tank being heated by the adjacent fire.

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

We had an ethanol tank explosion recently near my house. Someone caught it on video:

https://youtu.be/AN4MfaWJRGo

When I was younger, there was a seal fire on an oil tank by my parents house. I think they focused on containing the oil vs extinguishing the fire. The tank was nearly empty when the fire started.

https://sanctuarysimon.org/2003/07/duke-energy-pow...

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

(OP)
Hello everyone

TugboatEng asks: Is the spacing between tanks considered so that they would not require require boundary cooling in such a situation?
The answer is yes, but the explantion is complex and detailed.

Rules for flammable/combustable liquid classification, tank spacing, tank construction and containment design are contained in:

"NFPA 30 Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code"

NFPA 30's rules intend to minimize the hazards of flammable and combustible liquids. It is adopted by most states and enforceable under OSHA,

This internationally recognized flammable and Combustible Liquids Code presents the best guidance on the safe storage, handling, and use of dangerous liquids. It provides the criteria needed to design facilities for better protection, comply with sprinkler rules, and use safe operating of liquids storage cabinets, inside storage areas, and liquid warehouses * Sprinkler design rules for storage of all types of liquids Detailed requirements cover * Siting of storage tanks * Spill control, normal breather vents, and emergency relief vents for storage tanks

Additionally, there should be HAZOP/HAZID evaluation of the facility, a fire protection plan should exist and a fully equipped fire brigade should practice for this specific type of disaster. We have no idea what the plan was in this Cuban facility ....

Lightning induced fires at petro tank farms are nothing new!!... Lightning induced rim fires should be the major hazard that fire brigades practice for. Frequently, an AFFF foam system is already bolted in place, with nozzles pointed to fight this specific fire

MJCronin
Sr. Process Engineer

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

Thanks for the answer, I live next to a refinery and a chemical storage facility. They've both had fires. The one tank exploded in the video I posted but with no collateral damage. In the other cases the fires were confined to a single tank. I understand Cuba may not follow the same standards.

On a side note, We purchased some remote control mounted nozzles for FiFi capabilities on one of our boats. Talk about a garbage product... The nozzles would flip upwards once flow was applied because the manufacturer machined a step in the wrong place on the shaft and had to leave a nut loose so they could sell the product. This is a premier manufacturer. Eyes on you Stang.

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

Thanks, MJ...

So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

(OP)
A little "look-see" using GOOGLE EARTH, indicates that there are eight massive tanks at the CUBAN facility.... in two groups of four

The first group of four, I assume are older (they are nearest the loading facility) and the second (newer ?)group is farther away

The tank on fire is in the last in the first group..... an adjacent tank is now on fire.... the fire is spreading downhill
...

GOOGLE EARTH seems to clearly indicate a RED fire protection piping system surrounding and piped to only the second group of tanks

https://www.local10.com/news/local/2022/08/06/52-h...

The NEWS report indicates that the tanked oil is used for power generation ... This probably means that it is heavy fuel oil and not crude

MJCronin
Sr. Process Engineer

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

Quote (MJCronin (Mechanical)(OP))

Can we talk about BLEVE, boys and girls ????
Unlikely, heavy oil does not BLEVE. A boilover accident is a possibility.

Quote (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boilover)

NFPA defines boil-over as: An event in the burning of certain oils in an open-top tank when, after a long period of quiescent burning, there is a sudden increase in fire intensity associated with expulsion of burning oil from the tank.

I have seen this once, fortunately not associated with fire. Tank (volume about 5,000 gal) had about 8 feet of oil/water emulsion in it and perhaps 3 feet of water. As attempt was being made to de-emulsify the water the free water in the bottom was heated above 212F, perhaps to 215F. At some point the free hot water became buoyant enough to start to rise into the oil, where it did boil, creating a very rapid rolling of the oil in the tank, and liberating enough steam to shoot the oil & water froth out of the manhole and - we think more than 100 feet in the air. It left a rather large area to clean up.

Fighting oil tank farm fires is hard and dangerous.

Reference https://fpec1.co.jp/en/plantdisaster-preventing-si...
Video: Fire in an oil storage tank - Boilover - Three rivers texas

Google map link

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

(OP)
Then, on a closely related matter .... The design of these important tank ...safety systems has changed over time

...there are the fine points of a proper Lightning Protection System (LPS) design for tanks located in the Tropics (2019 paper)

https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9011116

I also found this vendor document to be very informative:

https://angusfire.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Tank-Pr...


MJCronin
Sr. Process Engineer

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

At one time Venezuela was trying to develop a market for emulsified heavy oil fuel in Florida. Never worked out as the ash was full of heavy metals. Their heavy oil (API°4) is effectively solid at room temperature.

Einstein gave the same test to students every year. When asked why he would do something like that, "Because the answers had changed."

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

That local 10 link is the best by far.

These are a few screen grabs, but it looks to me like this is a dome roof tank, possibly with an internal floating roof, but it may have simply replaced or originally built that way and with some sort of tank breathing system.

However it looks like once it caught fire, it has simply buckled and the "explosion" is more likely to be simply the tank partly collapsing and spilling out large quantities of burning liquid which once it got some more surface area went up. You can see that the fire has spread outside the tank bund and in looks to me like the second tank has been completely burnt to the ground.



Second tank looks destroyed


tank rim starting to buckle


Fire pool extending into the bund

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

This reminds me of the Doraville,GA gasoline tank farm fire in 1972. I was only a few years old but I remember my Mom taking me to the window to see the sky glowing red at night. We live miles away but it lit up the entire sky. The fire lasted 3 days. The tank farm still exists and is located at Buford Highway and I-285 near Atlanta.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNPxevZ4RR0

https://dekalbhistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/...

Kyle

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

(OP)
Personally, I think that a disabled Lightning Protection System (LPS)is the first place to investigate

.... I believe that CUBAN thieves stealing copper grounding cable with wire cutters is a probable cause

It is 9:30 am EST here .... Is the fire still burning ? .... How many more days/weeks will it burn ???

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Information update... According to the LA Times.... a few hours ago ....

21 hours ago —
It is understood that this oil reserve base has a total of 8 crude oil storage tanks, each crude oil storage tank volume of 50,000 cubic meters...


If that is correct ...That's 13.2 million gallons .... each !!! ..... and the second tank has buckled !!!!

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bloomberg news update: Emergency Ship Attempt to offload oil from burning facility !!!

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-07...

"The fire at the Matanzas industrial complex that began Friday night after a lightning strike has left at least 122 injured, 17 missing and over 4,000 evacuees, the presidency and state-run media reported. On Sunday, Health Minister Jose Angel Portal said a body recovered the previous day belonged to a Cienfuegos firefighter......The fire has affected two storage tanks, one containing 26,000 cubic meters of petroleum and another containing some 50,000 cubic meters of fuel oil, according to the provincial government of Matanzas. Nestor Perez, director at state-run oil company Union Cuba-Petroleo, known as Cupet, said as of 2:00 am Sunday 520 cubic meters of fuel oil had been extracted from one of the tanks and that they were expecting the arrival of a ship to continue the extraction. "



___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

NPR update ... from a few hours ago ....

https://www.npr.org/2022/08/07/1116215799/17-missi...

"Cuba's Health Ministry reported that 121 people were injured with five of them in critical condition. The Presidency of the Republic said the 17 people missing were "firefighters who were in the nearest area trying to prevent the spread." ....Later Saturday, the Health Ministry said in a statement that a body had been found and officials were trying to identify it."

MJCronin
Sr. Process Engineer

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

#3 is on fire now. 13:20 GMT
It has been reported that the first tank was 50% full when a lightening strike overwhelmed the grounding system. Efforts to keep the adjacent tanks cool failed.

Einstein gave the same test to students every year. When asked why he would do something like that, "Because the answers had changed."

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

If indeed that first 50% full tank contained gasoline and not fuel oil, that would actually explain to me why the flames were as high as they were. If the first one was the fuel oil tank then the gasoline tank could well have exploded once the venting system couldn't cope anymore with boiling gasoline.

I can't find any details of the tanks so can't see if they were just domed tanks or actually had internal floating roofs. But if you don't have adequate cooling going on then the tank is going to go when it's that close to a large pool fire. I'm sure I saw photos of people just sitting next to a jet hydrant, but maybe they were waiting for someone to bring them more foam. A report /I saw said the original tank fire was now out, but no 2 was still burning.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

All Spanish news articles only mentioned oil for power generation for the Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric plant, That's 1km away and has reserves for 48hr of operation.
One article noted tanks of "steel and aluminum construction".

It seems that hr 49 is going to be a big problem.

Einstein gave the same test to students every year. When asked why he would do something like that, "Because the answers had changed."

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

(OP)
Third tank collapse ....Now humanitarian disaster still unfolding !!!... two hours ago ...

Third oil storage tank collapses in Cuba terminal following fire, spill -governor--- Reuters

August 8, 2022
2:27 PM EDT
Last Updated 2 hours ago


"Sabines compared the situation to an "Olympic torch" going from one tank to the next, turning each into a "caldron" and now encompassing the area covering three tanks and with flames and billowing black smoke making tackling the situation "complicated".

The Communist-run and heavily U.S. sanctioned country is all but bankrupt and blackouts, gas and other shortages already had created a tense situation with scattered local protests following last Summers historic unrest in July.

Residents expressed fear that the crisis will worsen as the hottest months of the year bear down.

"Oh my God, no lights and no gas, that is what this means," Havana resident Pia Ferrer exclaimed in an upscale neighborhood of Havana.
"

https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/third-oil-s...

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/aug/08/cuba...

"Firefighters had sprayed water on the remaining tanks over the weekend to cool them and try to stop the fire from spreading. A fourth tank is threatened, but has yet to catch fire.

The governments of Mexico and Venezuela have sent special teams to help extinguish the fire, with water cannons, planes and helicopters fighting the fire from several directions, as military constructions specialists erected barriers to contain oil spills.....

The blaze at the Matanzas Supertanker Base in Matanzas city prompted officials to evacuate more than 4,900 people, most of them from the nearby Dubrocq neighborhood."

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Wall St Journal ... Massive Fire Spreads at Cuba’s Main Oil Terminal After Tank Explosion
Fuel spilled after a fuel tank’s explosion led to third tank catching fire, intensifying pressure on Cuba’s electricity grid

https://www.wsj.com/articles/massive-fire-spreads-...



MJCronin
Sr. Process Engineer

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

Quote (https://www.npr.org/2022/08/09/1116560066/cuba-oil...)

A raging fire at a Cuban oil facility worsens the island's energy crisis, August 9, 20222:42 PM ET; THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Flames engulfed a fourth tank at an oil storage facility in western Cuba on Tuesday...

Quote (https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/cuba-still-...)

Cuba brings oil depot fire under control, worst in island's history; Reuters; August 9, 2022, 5:25 PM EDT

Regarding the other thread with the strange title


RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

(OP)
10 August 2022 10:25 GMT

Firefighters on Tuesday finally overcame what officials described as the worst fire in Cuba's history that over four days destroyed more than 40% of the nation’s main fuel storage facility and caused massive blackouts across the island.

Reuters reported witnesses as saying the raging flames that destroyed four of the eight tanks of the Matanzas Supertanker port had died down and the towering plumes of thick black smoke streaming from the area were now mostly grey. As of Monday morning, three of the eight tanks had actually collapsed.

The fire, initially caused by a lightning strike on Friday 5 August, killed one firefighter and injured more than 100 other people — five remain in a critical condition — while at least another 14 firefighters have been reported as missing. A second fire broke out on Saturday.


https://www.upstreamonline.com/safety/cuba-s-deadl...

MJCronin
Sr. Process Engineer

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

Iran was involved in firefighting Link

Venezuela to assist Cuba with reconstruction Link

Cuba Asks US For Technical Help to Clean Up Oil Depot After Fire; August 26, 2022 11:23 PM VOA News

Quote (VOA News)

Cuba has asked the United States for technical help in restoring a major oil storage plant after a massive fire at the facility, killing 16 people.

Cuba’s foreign ministry said Friday that experts from Cuba and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency met online Wednesday to talk about exploring "possible ways of cooperation to rehabilitate the worst-affected areas" of the plant in Cuba’s western port of Matanzas.

The foreign ministry described the meeting as a “professional and fruitful exchange” and said the Cuban delegation asked about "the most innovative techniques and procedures" used by the EPA as well as oil companies to clean up such disasters.

Looks like while the fire is out, the story will play on for a while longer.

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

US EPA? Looks like they're trying to figure out how to get paid for this.

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

I think some helpful free advice from the good ole USA is very appropriate.

A whole lot of free work and supplies might not be.



spsalso

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

I should have added this link to Joe Blogs comment on geopolitics.
Cuba may not have enough currency reserved to purchase essentials (like rebuilding the only supertanker port in Cuba).

A longer piece on the economic environment surrounding the port fire.
Joe Blogs on CUBA on Brink of COLLAPSE & Forced to Close SUPERTANKER Port. VENEZUELA & RUSSIA Send Help; Aug 22, 2022

Asking the US for help sounds a bit desperate. Disclaimer - I am an engineer not an economist, your mileage may varry.

RE: Spectacular Oil Tank Fire in Matanzas, CUBA ... Caused by lightning ???

I'm surprised that China hasn't stepped up to offer them a hand. ponder

So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

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