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Material Storage Considerations As Per Gpsa Engineering Databook

Material Storage Considerations As Per Gpsa Engineering Databook

A lot of queries on the forum relate to storage of materials like crude oil, gas condensate, natural gas liquids, butanes, propanes, natural gasoline, petrochemicals (butadiene), natural gas, LNG.


A variety of answers are provided to these queries with many quoting from outdated books and standards (some quotes relate to books from the 50s).


I have always maintained that engineers should keep pace with the times and be familiar with current trends of engineering and design. This includes those engineering practice that have been modified and adapted for modern day engineering. Unfortunately some people believe engineering has remained static since the last 50 years and have got stuck in a time warp, giving references of books and standards that are decades old despite knowing that these books and standards themselves have undergone revisions to keep up with modern engineering trends and providing new concepts and ideas on engineering and design.


Today's blog entry provides material storage trends based on the latest edition of the GPSA Engineering Databook. The attached file classifies material storage in terms of gas pressure of the stored material such as Atmospheric, Low Pressure (0 to 17 kPag), Medium Pressure (17 to 100 kPag), High Pressure (Above 100 kPag). Also the basic concept of underground storage is explained briefly.


Material Storage Classification as per GPSA Engineering Databook      
Above Ground
  Atm Pressure, 0 to 17 kPag, 17 to 100 kPag, Above 100 kPag, §    
Crude Oils X X X - X  
Condensate X X X X X  
Oils X X - - X  
Natural Gasoline X X X - X  
Butanes - X X X X  
Propane - X X X X  
Raw NGLs - X X X X  
Ethane - X X X X  
Petrochemicals - X X X X  
Natural Gas - - - X X  
LNG - X X X -  
Treating Agents X X - - -  
Dehydration Fluids X X - - -  
Speicalty Chemicals X X X - -  
Solid Materials X - - - -  
Water X - - - -  
API STD 650 governs  
API STD 620 governs  
§ ASME Unfired  Pressure Vessel  Code, Section VIII governs  
⁰ Refrigerated only  

Above Ground


Atmospheric pressure tanks are designed and equipped for storage of contents at atmospheric pressure. This category usually employs tanks of vertical cylindrical configuration that range in size from small shop welded to large field erected tanks. Bolted tanks, and occasionally rectangular welded tanks, are also used for atmospheric storage service.

Low Pressure (0 to 17 kPag)

Low pressure tanks are normally used in applications for storage of intermediates and products that require an internal gas pressure from close to atmospheric up to a gas pressure of 17 kPa (ga). The shape is generally cylindrical with flat or dished bottoms and sloped or domed roofs. Low pressure storage tanks are usually of welded design. However, bolted tanks are often used for operating pressures near atmospheric. Many refrigerated storage tanks operate at approximately 3.5 kPa (ga).

Medium Pressure (17 to 100 kPag)

Medium pressure tanks are normally used for the storage of higher volatility intermediates and products that cannot be stored in low pressure tanks. The shape may be cylindrical with flat or dished bottoms and sloped or domed roofs. Medium pressure tanks are usually of welded design. Welded spheres may also be used, particularly for pressures at or near 100 kPa (ga).

High Pressure (Above 100 kPag)

High pressure tanks are generally used for storage of refined products or fractionated components at pressure above 100 kPag. Tanks are of welded design and may be of cylindrical or spherical configuration.


Gas processing industry liquids may be stored in underground, conventionally mined or solution mined caverns. No known standard procedures are available for this type storage; however, there are many publications and books covering the subject in detail.

  Regards, Ankur

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