Lightning Protection for Tanks

Lightning and Static Protection is a wise investment for Production and Salt Water Disposal (SWD) Tank Batteries. An effective Lighting and Static Protection System for tanks can be achieved by Grounding and Bonding, using Streamer Delaying Air Terminals (Dissipators), installing static control inside tanks and at truck load out stations and installing rated surge suppression.

Production, Salt-water separation, distillate, storage, and similar tanks, particularly fiberglass tanks, have a history of susceptibility to catastrophic damage from lightning and static discharges. The protection plan detailed below addresses both problems of lightning strike and static accumulation and discharges in the flammable environment of the tanks.

All protection systems need a path to ground. Streamer delaying air terminals can lower the likelihood of lighting attachment and streamer formation by dissipating rising ground charges during electrical storms, delaying streamer formation and reducing the likelihood of a lightning strike. Should a lightning strike occur, these streamer delaying air terminals still act as traditional lighting rods, that collect the strike and send its energy into earth. Equi-potential bonding through the tank battery helps to ensure that differences in potential do not arise during a lighting event leading to sparks that could ignite the flammable gasses. Installing an inductive neutralizer (Static Lasso®) inside fiberglass and coated steel tanks also helps to collect and ground accumulating static charges to mitigate the risk of igniting vapors inside of tanks.

Static bonding and grounding systems at the load outs create an equi-potential bond between the load out pipe and the truck. This reduces the possibility of a dangerous static discharge during loading or unloading while hydrocarbon vapor is present.

Industrial grade surge suppression protects critical electronic and communication equipment such as VSDs, PLCs, ESPs and RTU's. A surge suppression system helps to protect your equipment from nearby electrical power surges and nearby lightning strikes.

There are no guarantees with lighting, but by following best practices, damages are minimized. When a critical Central Tank Battery or SWD is lost to a lighting event, sadly operators realize that they could have protected the whole field for less then the cost of the clean up and rebuild of that single critical site. Wise operators now proactively have lighting and static protection installed at every new site while the AFE is open during site construction.