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home 2018-09-11T11:51:54+00:00

Pi Foam – Extinguishing Tank Fires in π Minutes.

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ESTIMATED COST OF THE DISASTERS
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MANAGERS / DIRECTORS ARRESTED
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CUBIC METERS OF FUEL LOST
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CASUALTIES: 1401 INJURED, 219 DEAD
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CUBIC METERS OF STORAGE CAPACITY DESTROYED
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STORAGE TANKS DESTROYED

Pi Foam technology can put out even the biggest full-surface storage-tank fires in (1) under π (3.14) minutes – but it is capable of much (2) more than just that. It can extinguish fires in refineries, dikes, pump stations and all other auxiliary areas.

The Pi Foam System offers (3) optimum reliability due to its streamlined and robust design, yet both its (4) CAPEX and its OPEX are much lower than any comparable system on the market for an average-sized tank farm.

Pi Foam technology extinguishes the toughest flames (5) without any external energy input, water supply or human resources.

Pi Foam technology works perfectly with (1) the fluorene-free, biodegradable, non-PBT “SFPRD-LL”TM bio-foam, which was carefully designed for this type of extinguishment, (2) as well as our our patented Impulse Gun SystemTM, which is ideal for putting out liquid-jet fires and blazes in oil and gas wells.

Our Mission

Swiss Fire Protection AG, the developer of the Pi Foam System, wants to change the oil and chemical industry by raising awareness about the new potential for saving lives and property – our #1 priority.
We aim to revolutionize the way firefighters battle combustible-liquid fires. First, we do it fast: We have reduced the duration of storage-tank fires from days to just three minutes. There is no tank damage and virtually no air pollution. Second, we care for the environment: The Pi system introduces the foam directly into the tank, avoiding any updraft loss and instantly cooling the tank walls. There is no foam spillage and no soil contamination, which usually poses a much graver threat to the environment than air pollution during firefighting operations.
We offer a non-toxic, biodegradable foam that is infinitely more environment-friendly than the traditional foams currently used by other systems. We can also equip the system with standard commercial foams if the client so desires.
When fire strikes, time is of the essence. The Pi Foam System extinguishes fire and eliminates danger instantly. The system operates automatically and does not put firefighters’ lives at risk.
Uncompromised performance was key from Day One. We have managed to accomplish just that.

Are you sure you can keep your people and your facility safe?

The safety and health of employees is the number one priority for every company. The Pi Foam System is the safest and the most effective fire-extinguishing system on the market. Our revolutionary technology will usher in a new era of safety and quality in the oil and chemical industries – an era where the consequences of large-scale accidents are marginal.
In our opinion, a safety professional at a storage terminal should be like a ghost. Mind everything, be everywhere – but remain unseen. The workers and nearby residents need to know that they are safe, no matter what. Storage tanks are high-risk facilities. They store flammable petrochemicals in large quantities. The company’s duty is to keep everything and everyone safe. Are you able to control any fire at your storage-tank site, no matter what the circumstances?
Research shows that everyone thinks that they have the right tools to extinguish any storage-tank fire. Well, think again! In most cases, local fire units are the first to respond to industrial-fire incidents. Small fire brigades generally lack the resources and training to handle fires of such magnitude as a full-surface storage-tank fire. Their best option is to secure the area and focus their resources on cooling adjacent tanks to prevent the fire from escalating. A controlled transloading of oil in the tank is also a good strategy, when applicable.
It may be frightening to realize, but most tanks that store flammable liquids lack even minimal fire protection, according to informed sources. If a full-surface fire breaks out, it can easily endanger the entire site and everyone living nearby. The scale of the disaster rises exponentially if a fire spreads from one tank to others.
The Pi Foam System reacts instantly, putting out fires before they cause catastrophe.

Introducing the Pressurized Instant (Pi) Foam System

The Pressurized Instant (Pi) Foam System offers an unprecedented, compromise-free solution to storage-tank disasters. It sets a new standard in the oil, chemical, pharmaceutical and vegetable-oil industries. We offer a variety of foam compounds, each of which is tailored to the specific fire hazards that threaten each individual industry.
The Pi Foam System can also protect storage tanks from sabotage or terrorism with a special option that addresses these extreme risks.
The Pi Foam System represents the third and fourth generations of Swiss Fire Protection AG’s original firefighting system, known as “Foam Fatale.”

Handling Any Situation

Extreme weather, technical malfunctions, sabotage or a chain of mishaps can all touch off a full-surface fire. Your extinguishment capacities determine whether you can save your burning tank and prevent escalation, which may threaten your entire facility. The question is, have you got what it takes to extinguish a fire?
If a fire ignites one of your tanks… your options narrow down. You must regain control of the situation using the best you’ve got. You rely on prevention technologies — lightning-protection devices, advanced roof structures – to avoid such incidents. A low-level fire-intervention protocol may prevent the incident from escalating into a devastating crisis. Your options may include mobile fire brigades, low-capacity rim-seal fire protection systems, etc.… but what if they all fail?
A conventional fixed system matching the minimum recommended foam-application rate is able to extinguish rim-seal fires. A fixed, automated rim-seal fire-protection system is the bare minimum every site must have. If a full surface fire were to occur in a tank larger than 40m in diameter, basic protection systems won’t make much difference – such fires are just too powerful. If the basic systems can’t muster the combined extinguishment capacity to overpower the fire, the firefighters’ only option is to allow a controlled burn-down while cooling the surrounding tanks to prevent the fire from spreading.
For example, under NFPA 11 standards, traditional fixed fire-extinguishing systems must maintain a foam intensity of around 4 l/m2/min for 30 minutes, which means 120 l/m2 altogether. The Pi Foam System can introduce the same amount of foam to the tank in three minutes (40 l/min for three minutes). That means the foam does not break down and smothers the fire before it can inflict significant damage on the tank.
Mobile emergency units (e.g. Williams Fire and Hazard Control) have the equipment, experience, and strategies that give them a fighting chance against large full-surface fires. Specialized emergency units have the ability to scale up their foam-application capacity with powerful monitors, pumps, and proportioners. If circumstances are ideal – the fire doesn’t spread, there is sufficient water, conditions don’t worsen – they can extinguish a fire within a few hours, or at least help control the situation and prevent it from escalating.
But there are three important factors to consider:
– The time it takes for firefighters to arrive the scene
– The resources available to them
– The damage the fire will inflict on the tank and the site while waiting for firefighters to arrive and prepare.
The Pressurized Instant Foam Fire-Protection System is a fully automatic tank-fire fighting technology that can put out fires in three minutes, irrespective of the tank size and weather conditions. It makes no difference whether the tank is in a desert or the temperature is minus 40. There is no need for water networks, electricity or specialist firefighting crews.

The PI Foam System is the fastest on the market, delivering the foam instantly – where you need it, when you need it.

This may sound paradoxical. Fire safety is one of the most technology-driven industries. And yet… what we see is that the majority of market players have been offering the same mechanics for 30 years. Unfortunately, if you think about it… it is starting to make sense. Precisely because fire safety is a technology-driven industry, every vendor must be perceived as top notch. If a completely new, more reliable, affordable and effective technology comes around, it disturbs the established supply chain.
Either everyone must switch to the new technology – tacitly admitting that it’s better than what they’ve been selling so far – or try to discredit it. If you look closely, you see that system designers have been making only small improvements and updates for decades. And these systems have repeatedly failed to handle large-scale incidents.
Specialized emergency units greatly increase your chances of controlling or even extinguishing a full-surface fire. Since they have greater capacity, they can effectively isolate the fire if it hasn’t spread by the time they arrive. The costs and losses for your company are still very high, though lower than they would be in other scenarios. A system that qualifies as “emergency-level” must effectively extinguish even the largest of full-surface fires within a short time without external intervention. This depends on two things: The injection method and the attainable foam application rate.
To reach the critical foam-blanket thickness on the burning-liquid surface quickly, the foam must be applied much faster than it burns away. To accomplish this, the foam must be injected directly onto the burning-liquid surface from all sides.
The larger the size of the tank, the larger the foam-application capacity must be. It may be shocking to hear this, but the ruling economy of storage-tank fire protection opposes major technology improvements.
When fire strikes, time is of the essence. To put things into perspective, our system can even extinguish a 120m-diameter storage-tank fire easily, without a water network or electricity, in less than three minutes. The Pi Foam System is the innovative fire-extinguishing system of the 21st century. Your storage tanks, terminals or oil rigs will stay safe all day, every day.

Not Only Tank Fires

We mainly advertise the Pi Foam System as a storage-tank firefighting technology, but it is naturally capable of protecting dikes, pump stations, loading stations for trucks, trains, and ships, and other areas. It offers all-around complex protection for any site where foam is used to extinguish fires.
The Pi Foam System is unlike any other system on the market!
It can protect against sabotage. The automatic detection system reacts quickly to any scenario, without depending on externalities such as manpower, electricity or water networks.
The Pi Foam System was developed by engineering geniuses who designed it to be 100% compatible with current firefighting systems.
Once installed, the Pi Foam System can be the “central brain” of your tank farm, distributing foam to all your installations via underground pipelines.
The Pi Foam System is fully capable of accommodating all current foam-dispensing devices, creating a complete next-generation system that supplies all equipment with the required quantity of foam.
These devices range from foam pourers, foam monitors, hand monitors, foam sprinklers and bare open pipe ends – even devices such as the Circular Injection Ring, which traditional firefighting systems can’t accommodate due to their performance limitations.
The Pi Foam System operates independently as one giant network – and all this for a fraction of the lifetime price of traditional systems.

Biodegradable Foams

Environmental protection is a priority for us. We have therefore developed biodegradable foams that are certified as non-PBT (non-persistent, non-bioaccumulative, non-toxic), do not contain fluorine and are made of natural substances. The Pi Foam System can also be used with traditional foams. For details, see the “Biodegradable Foams” section below.

Costs

Our Mission

Our Mission

Swiss Fire Protection R&D AG, the developer of the Pi Foam System, wants to change the oil and chemical industry by raising awareness about the new potential for saving lives and property – our #1 priority.

We aim to revolutionize the way firefighters battle combustible-liquid fires. First, we do it fast: We have reduced the duration of storage-tank fires from days to just π minutes. There is no tank damage and virtually no air pollution. Second, we care for the environment: The Pi system introduces the foam directly into the tank, avoiding any updraft loss and instantly cooling the tank walls. There is no foam spillage and no soil contamination, which usually poses a much graver threat to the environment than air pollution during firefighting operations.

We offer a non-toxic, biodegradable foam that is infinitely more environment-friendly than the traditional foams currently used by other systems. We can also equip the system with standard commercial foams if the client so desires.

When fire strikes, time is of the essence. The Pi Foam System extinguishes fire and eliminates danger instantly. The system operates automatically and does not put firefighters’ lives at risk.

Uncompromised performance was key from Day One. We have managed to accomplish just that.

Are you sure you can keep your people and your facility safe?

The safety and health of employees is the number one priority for every company. The Pi Foam System is the safest and the most effective fire-extinguishing system on the market. Our revolutionary technology will usher in a new era of safety and quality in the oil and chemical industries – an era where the consequences of large-scale accidents are marginal.

In our opinion, a safety professional at a storage terminal should be like a ghost. Mind everything, be everywhere – but remain unseen. The workers and nearby residents need to know that they are safe, no matter what. Storage tanks are high-risk facilities. They contain flammable petrochemicals in large quantities. The company’s duty is to keep everything and everyone safe. Are you able to control any fire at your storage-tank site, no matter what the circumstances?

Research shows that everyone thinks that they have the right tools to extinguish any storage-tank fire. Well, think again! In most cases, local fire units are the first to respond to industrial-fire incidents. Small fire brigades generally lack the resources and training to handle fires of such magnitude as a full-surface storage-tank fire. Their best option is to secure the area and focus their resources on cooling adjacent tanks to prevent the fire from escalating. A controlled transloading of oil in the tank is also a good strategy, when applicable.

It may be frightening to realize, but most tanks that store flammable liquids lack even minimal fire protection, according to informed sources. If a full-surface fire breaks out, it can easily endanger the entire site and everyone living nearby. The scale of the disaster rises exponentially if a fire spreads from one tank to others.

The Pi Foam System reacts instantly, putting out fires before they cause catastrophe.

Introducing the Pressurized Instant (Pi) Foam System

The Pressurized Instant (Pi) Foam System offers an unprecedented, compromise-free solution to storage-tank disasters. It sets a new standard in the oil, chemical, pharmaceutical and vegetable-oil industries. We offer a variety of foam compounds, each of which is tailored to the specific fire hazards that threaten each individual industry.

The Pi Foam System can also protect storage tanks from sabotage or terrorism with a special option that addresses these extreme risks.

The Pi Foam System represents the third and fourth generations of Swiss Fire Protection AG’s original firefighting system, known as “Foam Fatale.”

Handling Any Situation

Extreme weather, technical malfunctions, sabotage or a chain of mishaps can all touch off a full-surface fire. Your extinguishment capacities determine whether you can save your burning tank and prevent the fire from escalating, wich may threaten your entire facility. The question is, have you got what it takes to extinguish a fire?

If a fire ignites one of your tanks… your options narrow down. You must regain control of the situation using the best you’ve got. You rely on prevention technologies — lightning-protection devices, advanced roof structures – to avoid such incidents. A low-level fire-intervention protocol may prevent the incident from escalating into a devastating crisis. Your options may include mobile fire brigades, low-capacity rim-seal fire protection systems, etc.… but what if they all fail?

A conventional fixed system with the minimum recommended foam-application rate is able to extinguish rim-seal fires. A fixed, automated rim-seal fire-protection system is the bare minimum every site must have. If a full surface fire were to occur in a tank larger than 40m in diameter, basic protection systems won’t make much difference – such fires are just too powerful. If the basic systems can’t muster the combined extinguishment capacity to overpower the fire, the firefighters’ only option is to allow a controlled burn-down while cooling the surrounding tanks to prevent the fire from spreading.

For example, under NFPA 11 standards, traditional fixed fire-extinguishing systems must maintain a foam intensity of around 4 l/m2/min for 30 minutes, which means 120 l/m2 altogether. The Pi Foam System can introduce the same amount of foam to the tank in three minutes (40 l/min for three minutes). That means the foam does not break down and smothers the fire before it can inflict significant damage on the tank.

Mobile emergency units (e.g. Williams Fire and Hazard Control) have the equipment, experience, and strategies that give them a fighting chance against large full-surface fires. Specialized emergency units are able to scale up their foam-application capacity with powerful monitors, pumps, and proportioners. If circumstances are ideal – the fire doesn’t spread, there is sufficient water, conditions don’t worsen – they can extinguish a fire within a few hours, or at least help control the situation and prevent it from escalating.

But there are three important factors to consider:
– The time it takes for firefighters to arrive on the scene
– The resources available to them
– The damage the fire will inflict on the tank and the site while waiting for firefighters to arrive and prepare.

The Pressurized Instant Foam Fire-Protection System is a fully automatic tank-fire fighting technology that can put out fires in three minutes, irrespective of the tank size and weather conditions. It makes no difference whether the tank is in a desert or the temperature is minus 40. There is no need for water networks, electricity or specialist firefighting crews.

All-Around Complex Protection

It may be shocking to hear, but the leading lights of the storage tank fire-protection industry often oppose major technology improvements.

This may sound like a paradox. Fire safety is one of the most technology-driven industries, and yet the majority of market players have been offering the same mechanics for 30 years. Unfortunately, if you think about it… it starts to make sense. Precisely because the fire-safety industry is so technology driven, every vendor must always be perceived as top notch. If a completely new, more reliable, affordable and effective technology comes around, it disturbs the established supply chain.

Either everyone must switch to the new technology – tacitly admitting that it’s better than what they’ve been selling so far – or try to discredit it. If you look closely, you see that system designers have been making only incremental improvements and updates for decades. And these systems have repeatedly failed to handle large-scale incidents.

Having specialized emergency units on hand greatly increases your chances of controlling or even extinguishing a full-surface fire. Since these teams have greater capacity, they can effectively isolate the fire if it hasn’t spread by the time they arrive. The costs and losses for your company are still very high, albeit lower than they would be in other scenarios. A system that qualifies as “emergency-level” must quickly extinguish even the largest full-surface fires without external intervention. This depends on two factors: The method of applying the foam and the attainable foam-application rate.

In order to quickly attain the critical foam-blanket thickness on the surface of the burning liquid, the foam must be applied much faster than it burns away. This means the foam must be introduced directly onto the burning liquid surface from all sides. The larger the size of the tank, the larger the foam-application capacity must be.

When fire strikes, time is of the essence. To put things into perspective, our system can even extinguish a 120m-diameter storage-tank fire easily, without a water network or electricity, in less than three minutes. The Pi Foam System is the innovative fire-extinguishing system of the 21st century. Your storage tanks, terminals or oil rigs will stay safe all day, every day.

Standards

There is usually a certain delay before a new technology appears in the relevant industry standards. In most cases, the standards only acclimate to innovations, along with their technical requirements, once industry players are already using them on a widespread basis. For this reason, the development of a good system is the shared responsibility of the engineer (who designs the system) and the manager (who chooses the engineer), independent of the groups that publish standards. In our view, the standards provide adequate guidance for creating an average system, but a truly state-of-the-art design requires extensive experience and comprehensive knowledge of the latest technologies. The TÜV successfully tested the Pi Foam System against EN 13565-2 and proved its effectiveness under real conditions in a 25m-diameter test tank.

Not Only Tank Fires

We mainly advertise the Pi Foam System as a storage-tank firefighting technology, but it is naturally capable of protecting dikes, pump stations, loading stations for trucks, trains, and ships, and other areas. It offers all-around complex protection for any site where foam is used to extinguish fires.

The Pi Foam System is unlike any other on the market!

It can protect against sabotage. The automatic detection system reacts quickly to any scenario, without depending on externalities such as manpower, electricity or water networks.

The Pi Foam System was developed by engineering geniuses who designed it to be 100% compatible with current firefighting systems.

Once installed, the Pi Foam System can be the “central brain” of your tank farm, distributing foam to all your installations via underground pipelines.

The Pi Foam System is fully capable of accommodating all current foam-dispensing devices, creating a complete next-generation system that supplies all equipment with the required quantity of foam.

This equipment includes foam pourers, foam monitors, hand monitors, foam sprinklers and bare open pipe ends – even devices such as the Circular Injection Ring, which traditional firefighting systems can’t accommodate due to its performance limitations.

The Pi Foam System operates independently as one giant network – and all this for a fraction of the lifetime price of traditional systems.

Biodegradable Foams

Environmental protection is a priority for us. We have therefore developed biodegradable foams that are certified as non-PBT (non-persistent, non-bioaccumulative, non-toxic), do not contain fluorine and are made of natural substances. The Pi Foam System can also be used with traditional foams. For details, see the “Biodegradable Foams” section below.

Costs

We have prepared a thorough comparative analysis of the costs of different fire-protection systems for combustible-liquid storage tanks. We divided the various technologies into four categories: Mobile systems, semi-stable systems, fixed systems, and the Pi Foam System.

Naturally, the Pi Foam System is capable of protecting not only tanks, but also the dike and other technological areas. However, we omitted these areas from our study because they would have made the calculations inordinately complex, and including them would not have affected the final result. We focus exclusively on storage tanks. We conducted a comparative cost analysis for each of the four systems at a medium-sized tank (50m diameter) in a medium-sized storage facility (20 tanks). Calculations were conducted in line with industry standards published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and European Standards (EN).

Our study calculates how many years it would take for each system to provide a return on investment. At first glance, an extinguishment system does not generate profit, so it may be difficult to understand the concept of “breaking even.” However, we can calculate a “break-even” cost by evaluating the dollar amount of damage that would be inflicted by a full-surface fire at a single storage container at the tank farm described above. We then multiply this by the annual statistical probability of such a fire occurring. This theoretical cost of a fire event became our “alternative cost,” or the cost of “risking it” by failing to install a fire-extinguishment system. We then compared this cost to the annual OPEX for a single tank equipped with one of the fire-extinguishment systems in our survey. If the annual OPEX is greater than the “alternative cost,” then the system will never break even. However, if there is a “profit” – that is, if the system’s annual OPEX for a single tank is less than the cost of “risking it” for a year – then we calculated how many years it would take for the investor to break even on the CAPEX for installing the system.

Among the three traditional technologies, mobile systems have the lowest upfront investment cost (USD 3.1 milllion). However, the cost of salaries for an on-site team of firefighters, on duty 24 hours a day, makes this the most expensive option in the long term. Over a 20-year period, maintenance and operational expenses come to USD 16.48 million, pushing total expenses to USD 19.58 million. And since the OPEX is higher than the alternative cost of risk, the investor will never break even.

Installing a semi-stable system is somewhat more expensive (USD $3.8 million), and the operating costs are almost as high as those of a mobile system. Over 20 years, total costs come to USD 16.34 million. Thanks to the high OPEX, the investor will never get a return.

A fixed system incurs the highest installation costs (USD 4.9 million). It also operates automatically, meaning it can be maintained with minimal human resources. However, the complex machinery requires a considerable amount of maintenance. We calculated OPEX at USD 1.7 million for 20 years; total costs for this period come to USD 6.6 million. Here, we can finally discuss a return on investment, because the OPEX is lower than the alternative cost of risk. An investor would break even in approximately 15 years.

The Pi Foam system qualifies as a fixed-automatic system, without the complicated machinery of a traditional fixed system. This means savings on the OPEX side as well as significantly greater operational reliability.

Maintenance is incredibly simple. The system monitors its own pressure and sends a signal if it detects a problem. Otherwise, the only maintenance required is regular functionality tests on the valve and an annual foam sample to check for proper consistency. These costs come to less than USD 30,000 a year, which can be rounded up to USD 600,000 for a 20-year period. The total budget for protecting our theoretical tank park with the Pi Foam System would come to USD 3.9 million over 20 years.

Since this system offers the lowest installation and maintenance costs of all the systems in our study, the time required for an investor to break even is also very advantageous – just seven (7) years.

We believe the most important lesson is that it is always worthwhile to thoroughly evaluate a firefighting system from a professional and financial standpoint, even if it appears to be the most expensive at first glance. This is especially true when discussing a technology as efficient and low-maintenance as the Pi Foam System. For those who would argue that a fixed-extinguishment system cannot respond to all types of fire events (a problem that we believe can be resolved through proper design), we suggest that the best price-value option would be the Pi Foam System’s instant-reaction capabilities (no preparation time required) combined with keeping a smaller-capacity mobile fire brigade at the ready.

If you are interested in additional details, we invite you to download the case study below. We would also be happy to talk about the details of our cost calculations with anyone who is interested.

See full comparison table
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Since environmental protection is a priority for us, we have developed foams that are:
  • Certified non-PBT (non-Persistent, non-Bioaccumulative, non-Toxic)
  • Fluorine-free
  • Made of natural substances
  • Biodegradable
Pi Foam’s firefighting power can be delivered via any foam that meets system specifications — whether it is our environment-friendly foam or a traditional variety.
Not all combustible liquids are created equal. When firefighters combat flames on liquids with low boiling points, the fluid may continue to evaporate even beneath the foam layer. If the boiling point is high, the foam may evaporate before the liquid does, exposing the fluid to additional hazards such as boilover. They might try to defeat such blazes by ramping up the foam intensity — but if the foam is not up to the job, this often proves useless.
Swiss Fire Protection’s solution is to develop foam formulas that are expressly designed for putting out fires on tricky liquids, even in the most extreme climactic conditions. And the Pi Foam System reliably distributes foam with an intensity that extinguishes even the toughest fires.
We have developed an ideal instant-foam formula and pressure for each of the following industries:

References

The second-generation Pi Foam System, currently installed at Chevron’s Kuwait facility, will be capable of extinguishing a fire on a surface area the size of a 122m-diameter tank, making it the largest-capacity fixed firefighting system in the world.

The TÜV examined and tested the first-generation Pi Foam System against EU fire-safety standards.

These companies are already using Pi Foam’s earlier versions

Our TÜV-tested system is used worldwide by companies including:

“As demonstrated by a fire-extinguishing test witnessed by a TÜV expert, the fire detection, the automatic activation of the fire-extinguishing system and the direct fighting of the incipient fire took place so quickly that the system stopped it from fully developing… The high application rate of the fire-extinguishing agent ensures that the fire is extinguished very quickly, thus minimizing any environmental pollution caused by the fire and the foam layer.”
– Johannes Rehklau, Manager, HVAC & Fire Protection Business Unit of the Technical Inspection Association (TÜV)
“We have been using the earlier version of this system for many years. It works perfectly in our regular operation tests, while our maintenance costs are marginal compared to a regular built-in system or a facility fire brigade.”
– Janos Kovacs, Company & Terminal Leader, Oiltanking Hungary
“As demonstrated by a fire-extinguishing test witnessed by a TÜV expert, the fire detection, the automatic activation of the fire-extinguishing system and the direct fighting of the incipient fire took place so quickly that the the system stopped it from fully developing… The high application rate of the fire-extinguishing agent ensures that the fire is extinguished very quickly, thus minimizing any environmental pollution caused by the fire and the foam layer.”
– Johannes Rehklau, Manager, HVAC & Fire Protection Business Unit of the Technical Inspection Association (TÜV)
“We have been using the earlier version of this system for many years – it works perfectly in our regular operation tests, while our maintenance costs are marginal compared to a regular built-in system or a facility fire brigade.”
– Janos Kovacs, Company & Terminal Leader, Oiltanking Hungary

Our mission is to revolutionize firefighting while eliminating environmental threats

Until recently, tank-firefighting systems have not given sufficient priority to environmental protection. Contamination from flue gas, dangerous substances, toxic-foam spillage, and fumes was considered inevitable, so authorities have imposed neither criminal nor financial penalties in relation to environmental damage. The Pi Foam System sets a new standard that fulfills the technical requirements of the 21st century. Imagine the environmental impact of a weeklong storage-tank fire that can even be seen from outer space! Meanwhile, our Pi Foam System limits smoke and combustion to a maximum of three minutes.

This image from NASA’s Aqua satellite shows the smoke from five burning oil-storage tanks off the coast of Libya stretching over 500 square kilometers on January 5, 2016. Each tank is believed to have contained 420,000 to 460,000 barrels of oil. The particulate matter and other chemicals in the smoke can cause respiratory and other health problems.

The fluorinated hydrocarbons in firefighting foam causes long-term soil contamination that can far outweigh the environmental damage from air pollution.

To revolutionize the methods of combating combustible-liquid fires in an environmentally conscious manner, we have changed the principles of traditional firefighting in oil-storage tanks. First, we reduced the duration of oil storage-tank fires from hours or days to just under 3.14 (π) minutes. Secondly, we offer biodegradable foam instead of toxic traditional foams. Unlike traditional foam-shooting methods, Pi Foam is applied directly onto the fire and nowhere else. No foam spillage, no soil contamination. The Pi Foam System prevents catastrophe and minimizes the impact of any fire event in the oil-storage sector.

Theoretically, everyone has the right to claim innocence by arguing that their fire-prevention system has all the official seals and complies with current recommendations, standards and laws. Unfortunately, technical specifications often lag behind technical innovation. Authorities may not force manufacturers and operators to replace ineffective technologies. Makers of traditional firefighting equipment may come out with new and improved devices, but these still cannot extinguish flames in a reasonable amount of time. Although firefighters around the world perform heroic work, the profession’s approach to technology is sometimes problematic. State-of-the-art equipment inevitably becomes outdated in just a few years, meaning firefighters may someday confront a blaze they can never put out. In many cases, the best they can do is to “keep the fire under control,” which simply means allowing it to burn until it consumes all the combustible material. With the Pi Foam System, the tank remains intact. There is no damage to the environment and no risk to human life. It may not be an exaggeration to say that true “control” means extinguishing fires in less than three minutes using the Pi Foam System.

The fire profession may also be among the reasons, as there are hundreds of thousands of firefighters waiting in the world for a fire that they will never be able to extinguish even with the expensive new tools that are being replaced in every few years or so. The existence of the fire departments are justified by what fire-control terminology calls “fire under control”, but unfortunately this is no different in most cases than the fire will burn until all the combustible material is consumed. For us, however, that under control means firefighting under 1-3 minutes, so that the tank remains intact. The tank smokes for maximum 3 minutes, no other environmental and material damage happens, and no human are being at risk of life. It may not be an exaggeration to say that real “under control” in the firefighting sector means extinguishing the fire under 1-3 minutes with PI Foam System.

Our mission is to revolutionize firefighting while eliminating environmental threats

Our mission is to revolutionize firefighting while eliminating environmental threats

Our mission is to revolutionize firefighting while eliminating environmental threats

Until recently, tank-firefighting systems have not given sufficient priority to environmental protection. Contamination from flue gas, dangerous substances, toxic-foam spillage, and fumes was considered inevitable, so authorities have imposed neither criminal nor financial penalties in relation to environmental damage. The Pi Foam System sets a new standard that fulfills the technical requirements of the 21st century. Imagine the environmental impact of a weeklong storage-tank fire that can even be seen from outer space! Our Pi Foam System limits smoke and combustion to a maximum of π minutes.

This image from NASA’s Aqua satellite shows the smoke from five burning oil-storage tanks off the coast of Libya stretching over 500 square kilometers on January 5, 2016. Each tank is believed to have contained 420,000 to 460,000 barrels of oil. The particulate matter and other chemicals in the smoke can cause respiratory and other health problems.

The fluorinated hydrocarbons in firefighting foam cause long-term soil contamination that can far outweigh the environmental damage from air pollution.

To revolutionize the methods of combating combustible-liquid fires in an environmentally conscious manner, we have changed the principles of traditional firefighting in oil-storage tanks. First, we reduced the duration of oil storage-tank fires from hours or days to just under π minutes. Secondly, we offer biodegradable foam instead of toxic traditional foams. Unlike traditional foam-shooting methods, Pi Foam is applied directly onto the fire and nowhere else. No foam spillage, no soil contamination. The Pi Foam System prevents catastrophe and minimizes the impact of any fire event in the oil-storage sector.

Theoretically, everyone has the right to claim innocence by arguing that their fire-prevention system has all the official seals and complies with current recommendations, standards and laws. Unfortunately, technical specifications often lag behind technical innovation. Authorities may not force manufacturers and operators to replace ineffective technologies. Makers of traditional firefighting equipment may come out with new and improved devices, but these still cannot extinguish flames in a reasonable amount of time.

Although firefighters around the world perform heroic work, the profession’s approach to technology is sometimes problematic. State-of-the-art equipment inevitably becomes outdated in just a few years, meaning firefighters may someday confront a blaze they can never put out. In many cases, the best they can do is to “keep the fire under control,” which simply means allowing it to burn until it consumes all the combustible material. With the Pi Foam System, the tank remains intact. There is no damage to the environment and no risk to human life. It may not be an exaggeration to say that true “control” means extinguishing fires in less than π minutes using the Pi Foam System.

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2018

Husky Energy Refinery fire, Wisconsin, USA 2018

Husky Energy Refinery fire, Wisconsin, USA 2018

An initial explosion have hit a tower, near giant asphalt storage tanks. A storage tank was punctured, and a second fire erupted. The explosion injured 21 people at the plant and led to the evacuation of nearly the entire city of Superior. The refinery can process up to 38,000 barrels of oil a day. Husky shares fell 8 percent to C$17.54 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the same day it reported financial results. The explosion and fire at Husky Energy’sSuperior refinery resulted in $27 million in damage and $53 million in expenses, according to the company’s second quarter results.

2018

Tankstore Fire, Pulau Basang, Singapore 2018

Tankstore Fire, Pulau Basang, Singapore 2018

A fire had broken out at an oil storage tank at Tankstore’s Pulau Busing terminal in Singapore. Firefighters took six hours hours to extinguish the blaze. The terminal has a total capacity of 2 million cubic meters, or 112 tanks, to store petroleum and petrochemical products. The fire-struck storage tank was said to have contained fuel oil. The cause of the fire is not yet known and is under investigation.

2018

Kemaman Bitumen Company Fire, Terengganu, Malaysia 2018

Kemaman Bitumen Company Fire, Terengganu, Malaysia 2018

A fire broke out and quickly affected 3 storage tanks. Despite the best efforts of 140 firefighters and rescue personnel, the blaze burned for 3 days. 1 storage tank was destroyed and 1 person injured. The three affected oil tanks at the six-tank facility contained a total of around 20,000 litres of crude oil. 14,000 litres of foam concentrate was used by the fire department in the 3 day operation. Experts estimated the cost of the incident to be around: 35 M USD.

2018

Fida Oil Farm, Ras Lanuf, Libya 2018

Fida Oil Farm, Ras Lanuf, Libya 2018

Recent eruptions of violence in Libya’s so-called ‘oil cresent’ between armed forces loyal to Haftar’s Libyan National Army and rival armed groups resulted in another row of burning oil tanks. As a result of the shelling, three oil tanks at the Fida Oil Farm, west of the Ras Lanuf oil terminal were hit and caught fire. Oil tanks are being destroyed almost every year in Libya since 2014 thus damaging the already ailing economy. Tank No. 2 held 200,000 barrels of crude before it was hit, and No. 12 held 240,000 barrels, a firefighting official said, adding crews were running out of foam to contain the blazes. The NOC earlier put the immediate production loss from fighting at the ports at 240,000 barrels per day, expected to rise to 400,000 bpd if they remained shut. Later a third tank caught fire. Experts estimated the damage to be around USD 100 Million.

Incidents 2017-2015
Incidents 2014-2012
Incidents 2011-2009
Incidents 2008-2006
Incidents 2005-2001

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2001

El Paso Refinery – Aruba, Dutch Antilles

El Paso Refinery – Aruba, Dutch Antilles 2001

A faulty valve led to an oil spill that auto-ignited. The flames spread to nearby equipment and set off a series of explosions, making it difficult for firefighters to battle the flames. The fire was extinguished after three and a half hours. Three people suffered minor injuries during evacuation. Experts estimated property damage at USD 159 million.

2001

Los Angeles Refinery – Carson, California

Los Angeles Refinery – Carson, California 2001

A piping leak caused a fire to break out in the refinery’s coker unit. More than 100 firefighters battled the blaze for three hours. The refinery’s owner, Tosco Corp., shut down the coker unit for approximately two months. Property damage was estimated at USD 120 million.

2001

Citgo Refinery – Lemont, Illinois

Citgo Refinery – Lemont, Illinois 2001

A ruptured pipe elbow in the refinery’s crude-distillation unit caused a fuel spill that auto-ignited. Firefighters put out the flames in a few hours. The blaze exacerbated pre-existing structural flaws in a distillation tower, causing the structure to collapse three days later. Citgo suffered property damages estimated at USD 145 million and had to shut down the crude unit for more than nine months. In 2006, Citgo won USD 387 million in a compensation lawsuit against Babcock & Wilcox, the company that manufactured the pipe.

2001

Orion Refinery – Norco, Louisiana

Orion Refinery – Norco, Louisiana 2001

Lightning ignited this blaze, which holds the Guinness World Record for biggest fuel-tank fire in history. After 12 hours of preparation, firefighters defeated the flames in 65 minutes by continuously spraying foam while pumping residual gasoline out of the 82m-diameter tank. Roughly one third of its 10 million-gallon (37 million-liter) capacity went up in smoke. Direct damage was estimated at USD 50 million, which does not include production shortfall, brand-image depreciation and environmental pollution.

2001

Petroleum Fuel and Terminal Oil Co. – Granite City, Illinois

Petroleum Fuel and Terminal Oil Co. – Granite City, Illinois 2001

Disaster struck this facility twice during the summer of 2001. An unexplained fire burned up 400,000 gallons of asphalt fuel in a 15,900m3 tank. After 15 hours of smoke and flames, firefighters applied foam and extinguished the blaze in 45 minutes. A month later, a second fire started as workers tried to warm up the remaining asphalt in order to transfer it into a new tank. This second fire consumed 378,000 gallons of asphalt.

2002

Trzebinia Refinery – Malopolska, Poland

Trzebinia Refinery – Malopolska, Poland 2002

A lightning bolt triggered this full-surface fire at a 30m-diameter tank with an internal floating roof. A semi-fixed extinguishment system began applying foam, but the process had to be terminated immediately due to system damage. It took 362 firefighters five hours to put out the flames by blanketing them with 109.5 tons of foam, using 13 foam monitors supplied by 35 vehicles. Damages were estimated at USD 2.3 million.

2002

Cabras Island - Hagatna, Guam

Cabras Island – Hagatna, Guam 2002

A buildup of static electricity sparked this fire as Super Typhoon Pongsona pounded the island. The flames persisted for six days, destroying three fuel tanks and prompting officials to ban gasoline sales to the public. The first tank to catch fire contained less than 15% of its total capacity of unleaded gasoline. Damage was estimated at USD 20 million.

2002

Houston Fuel and Oil Terminal Fire – Houston, Texas

Houston Fuel and Oil Terminal Fire – Houston, Texas 2002

The fire started after a fuel pipeline burst. The flames spread to a giant tank containing 30,000 barrels of residual fuel oil, an asphalt-like residue. Firefighters extinguished the blaze nearly five hours later with the help of 20 fire and foam trucks and a local emergency team. The accident cost at least USD 1.2 million.

2002

SAMIR Refinery –Mohammedia, Morocco

SAMIR Refinery –Mohammedia, Morocco 2002

Heavy rains triggered a flood that engulfed the Mohammedia refinery, the biggest in Morocco. Waste oil floating on the water’s surface ignited when it came into contact with hot refinery components and quickly developed into a massive blaze. Two people were killed and three were reported missing. It took more than a year for SAMIR to restore production capacity of 125,000 barrels per day. Experts said the blaze inflicted as much as $200 million in property damages.

2002

Raudhatain Oil Field – Kuwait

Raudhatain Oil Field – Kuwait 2002

The blaze broke out after a leak from an underground oil pipeline spread to a power substation, causing a massive explosion that killed four people. The ensuing fire spread to an oil-gathering center and a gas-booster station. It took firefighters two days to extinguish the flames, which injured a further 19 people. Experts estimated property damages at USD 180 million.

2003

Idemitsu Kosan Refinery – Tomakomai, Hokkaido, Japan

Idemitsu Kosan Refinery – Tomakomai, Hokkaido, Japan 2003

A blaze broke after a powerful earthquake struck, causing a floating roof to sink into a storage tank containing naphtha. Some 134 firefighters swung into action, but high winds and the force of the fire made it difficult for them to apply foam where necessary. The flames died out after 44 hours, consuming all 26,000 kiloliters of naphtha. The foam contaminated nearby residential areas. The accident caused damages of USD 88.7 million.

2003

Digboi Refinery – Guwahati, India

Digboi Refinery – Guwahati, India 2003

This disaster was the result of a terrorist attack by the United Liberation Front of Assam, whose rebels fired a mortar at a petroleum tank at night. Witnesses said the flames shot up as high as 100m. Some 70 firefighters worked for 56 hours to prevent the blaze from spreading to other tanks. The preliminary loss was estimated at over INR 100 million (USD 1.6 million).

2003

Gdansk Oil Refinery – Gdansk, Poland

Gdansk Oil Refinery – Gdansk, Poland 2003

An explosion triggered this full-surface fire in a tank holding 19,100m3 of gasoline. The blast blew the cone lid off the tank and caused the internal roof to sink. Three workers were killed. It took firefighters 10 hours to extinguish the blaze, which inflicted losses estimated at USD 5.3 million.

2003

Athabasca Oil Sands Project – Fort McMurray, Canada

Athabasca Oil Sands Project – Fort McMurray, Canada 2003

This facility, majority-owned by Shell Canada, had been operational for just over a week when a hydrocarbon leak sparked explosions and a fire. The blaze broke out near a solvent-recovery unit at the facility’s Muskeg River mine, seriously damaging infrastructure and forcing a delay in the production of bitumen. Firefighters extinguished the flames in two hours and only one minor injury was reported. Experts put property damages at USD 120 million.

2004

Formosa Plastics PVC Unit – Illiopolis, Illinois

Formosa Plastics PVC Unit – Illiopolis, Illinois 2004

Five workers died and two others were critically injured when an explosion occurred in a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production unit. The blast demolished 50-75% of the plant. Total damage was estimated at USD 100 million.

2004

Port Kembla Industrial Site – New South Wales, Australia

Port Kembla Industrial Site – New South Wales, Australia 2004

A welding mishap caused an explosion in a tank holding 5 million liters of ethanol. The blast blew the lid off the 32m-diameter tank and shook buildings as far as 25km away. It took firefighters 20 hours to extinguish the resulting blaze, which caused estimated losses of USD 8 million. The tank’s owner, Manildra Inc., was fined AUD 160,000 (USD 118,000) while the manager faced penalties of AUD 16,000.

2004

Petrowidada Chemical Plant – Gresik, Indonesia

Petrowidada Chemical Plant – Gresik, Indonesia 2004

An overheated machine touched off massive explosion that one witness compared to a volcano eruption. The resulting fire engulfed at least two chemical tanks. The disaster killed two people, injured 68 and destroyed five nearby houses. Authorities evacuated some 250 people from the surrounding area. Experts put property damages as high as USD 100 million.

2005

BP America Refinery – Texas City, Texas

BP America Refinery – Texas City, Texas 2005

One of the worst industrial disasters in recent U.S. history occurred when a hydrocarbon vapor cloud caught fire and exploded, spreading flames over a 19,000m2 area. The blast killed 15 people and injured 170. Federal authorities slapped BP with a USD 21 million fine and issued 270 safety citations. In 2009, authorities determined that BP still had not resolved the safety problems and imposed additional penalties of USD 87.4 million. The two sides settled most of the outstanding violations by 2012. BP paid a total of USD 84.6 million in fines and suffered cumulative financial losses exceeding USD 1.5 billion.

2005

Buncefield Oil Terminal – Buncefield, England

Buncefield Oil Terminal – Buncefield, England 2005

Overflow from a petroleum tank led to the rapid formation of a fuel-air vapor cloud that ignited, causing multiple explosions. The fire spread to 20 storage tanks and consumed 273 million liters of fuel. It took 180 firefighters four days to put out the flames with support from 25 fire engines and 20 support vehicles. Some 244 people required medical aid. Damages were estimated at GBP 1 billion (USD 1.8 billion). Investigators later determined that a large quantity of fuel had leached out during the blaze, contaminating water resources.

2005

Suncor Energy – Fort McMurray, Canada

Suncor Energy – Fort McMurray, Canada 2005

Suncor company officials blamed this fire on a defective nozzle at the oil-sands refinery. Firefighters extinguished the flames after nine hours in temperatures as low as -35 celsius; the water they used froze, inflicting additional damage on the facility. Oil production at the unit dropped more than 50% for eight months. Insurers paid Suncor CAD 979 million (USD 813 million) to cover business interruption and CAD 148 million for property damages. In late 2006, Suncor sued the companies whose engineers had designed the facility, including Bantrel Co. and Bechtel Group Inc., for CAD 630 million on behalf of its insurers.

2006

ISAB Nord Refinery – Priolo Gargallo, Italy

ISAB Nord Refinery – Priolo Gargallo, Italy 2006

A fire erupted after a pipe carrying crude oil sprung a leak. While firefighters initially were able to contain the flames, excessive heat caused additional pipelines to explode, prompting authorities to shut down the refinery and adjacent industrial plants The blaze lasted two days, injuring six people. Experts estimated property damages at USD 110 million.

2006

Mazeikiu Nafta – Mazeikiu, Lithuania

Mazeikiu Nafta – Mazeikiu, Lithuania 2006

Flames ravaged Lithuania’s only refinery after an old vacuum-distillation unit caught fire, allowing a column to collapse onto a heat-exchange train. As many as 100 firefighters battled the blaze through the night. Analysts put property damages as high as USD 142.9 million.

2007

Engen Refinery – Durban, South Africa

Engen Refinery – Durban, South Africa 2007

Lighting hit a tank containing 7.5 million liters of refined petrol, igniting a blaze. The floating roof and seals collapsed into the tank. Firemen struggled against strong winds as the flames lingered on for five days. When it was all over, the fire had consumed 60 percent of the tank’s contents and inflicted losses of about USD 9.7 million. It was the second major fire to hit the Durban area in less than two months.

2007

Gary-Williams Refinery – Wynnewood, Oklahoma

Gary-Williams Refinery – Wynnewood, Oklahoma 2007

A storage tank holding 8,000 barrels of naphtha burst into flames when lighting struck. The fire persisted through the day, spreading to a second tank that evening. It took firefighters two days to put out the fire, the second to hit the Wynnewood facility in a year. The refinery lost 25 million liters of naphtha, 14 million liters of diesel and 25 million liters of gasoline. Total financial losses came to around USD 15 million.

2007

Chevron Refinery – Pascagoula, Mississippi

Chevron Refinery – Pascagoula, Mississippi 2007

Authorities decided that the safest way to extinguish this fire was a “controlled burnout.” In other words, they allowed the flames to continue until they had consumed all the flammable material. Estimated property damages were as high as USD 230 million.

2007

Shin-Etsu Chemical Factory – Joetsu, Japan

Shin-Etsu Chemical Factory – Joetsu, Japan 2007

Static electricity at a methylcellulose facility sparked a powder-dust explosion and a fire. Firefighters extinguished the flames seven hours later, but were unable to prevent the blaze from destroying most of a four-story building. Seventeen people were injured and authorities suspended operations at the unit for two months. Property damage was estimated at USD 240 million.

2008

Bakersfield Explosion – California

Bakersfield Explosion – California 2008

Three oil tanks exploded at a facility southeast of Bakersfield. Fire officials decided to let the fires burn themselves out at two large tanks and one smaller tank. Total damages were estimated at USD 600,000.

2008

Tanjung Langsat Port – Johor, Malaysia

Tanjung Langsat Port – Johor, Malaysia 2008

A fire broke out in a 16,000-ton gasoline tank. The next day, the intense heat caused an adjacent tank containing naphthalene to ignite. Firefighters attempted to extinguish the blaze by pumping in water from the sea, to no avail. The flames burned on for 67 hours, dying out only after they had consumed all the tanks’ contents – 17.8 million liters of unleaded petrol and 8 million liters of naphthalene. Total damages were estimated at USD 40 million.

2008

Alon USA Refinery – Big Spring, Texas

Alon USA Refinery – Big Spring, Texas 2008

This fire erupted after a propylene tank released vapor that came into contact with refinery equipment, causing an explosion. Firefighters brought the blaze under control about an hour after it started, but the blast inflicted severe damage on the facility as well as homes and businesses in the surrounding area. Five people were injured. Juries found Alon USA liable for negligence and awarded victims compensation for their damaged properties. Total property losses were estimated at USD 380 million.

2008

Ras Lanuf Oil Complex – Ras Lanuf, Libya

Ras Lanuf Oil Complex – Ras Lanuf, Libya 2008

A storage tank went up in flames during routine maintenance operations. The blaze was blamed on hot work. Some 1,000 firefighters managed to contain the blaze to a single tank, but were unable to extinguish it for more than nine days. The fire destroyed 60,000m3 of crude oil. Total damages were estimated at USD 50 million.

2009

Caribbean Petroleum Corp. Refinery – Bayamon, Puerto Rico

Caribbean Petroleum Corp. Refinery – Bayamon, Puerto Rico 2009

Due to a faulty gauge, refinery workers did not notice that an overfilled fuel tank was emitting deadly vapor. The fumes caught fire, causing an explosion equivalent to a 2.8-magnitude earthquake. The flames spread to fuel containers, raging for 66 hours until there was no more material left to burn. The catastrophe destroyed 20 tanks, damaged another 12, and battered hundreds of homes and businesses in a 2km radius. The Fort Buchanan military facility suffered over USD 5 million in damages. In addition, 136 million liters of petroleum were released into the environment. The Caribbean Petroleum Corporation, facing an estimated USD 200 million in damages, filed for bankruptcy in 2010.

2009

IOC Terminal Jaipur – Mohanpura, India

IOC Terminal Jaipur – Mohanpura, India 2009

An explosion ripped through the Indian Oil Corporation depot, unleashing a fire in a giant tank. The incident occurred while workers were transferring gasoline from the depot to a pipeline. Flames raged on for 11 days, killing 12 people and injuring at least 300. Police arrested nine senior company officials including the general manager on charges of criminal negligence. The fire resulted in the loss of 18 million liters of petroleum, 2 million liters of kerosene, 40 million liters of high-speed diesel, and 2.8 million liters of interface. Total estimated losses came to INR 18 billion (USD 280 million).

2010

BOPEC Terminal – Bonaire, Dutch Antilles

BOPEC Terminal – Bonaire, Dutch Antilles, 2010

Two tanks caught fire during an electrical storm. Firefighters battled the blaze for three days but could not extinguish it until the tank had burned out. The incident resulted in the loss of 32 million liters of naphtha and caused estimated financial damages of USD 35 million. Dutch investigators later reported that the plant’s firefighting system was not working due to improper maintenance.

2010

Colonial Pipelines – Greensboro, North Carolina

Colonial Pipelines – Greensboro, North Carolina 2010

A tank containing 20,000 barrels of gasoline was hit by lightning and caught fire. Firefighters worked for six hours to contain the blaze, which eventually burned itself out. Total damages were estimated at USD 3.5 million.

2011

Pembroke Refinery – Pembroke, Wales

Pembroke Refinery – Pembroke, Wales 2011

Four people were killed and one injured following an explosion in a 730m3 storage tank where maintenance was being carried out. The resulting fire damaged at least two tanks at the facility, which was owned by Chevron at the time. Fire crews backed by 10 fire engines brought the incident under control in 90 minutes. Total damages were estimated at USD 1.6 million.

2011

Algeciras Bay Fuel Depot – Gibraltar

Algeciras Bay Fuel Depot – Gibraltar, 2011

Welders performing maintenance work in this empty storage tank were apparently unaware that fuel residues can be as deadly as the fuel itself. The heat from their torches ignited the diesel dregs left behind in the container, setting off an explosion that unleashed a huge fire. The flames soon spread to a second tank. Firefighters battled the blaze for two days, but were unable to stop it from destroying both tanks and consuming every drop of the 2.5 million liters of fuel therein. Fuel also spilled into the Algeciras Bay, contaminating several beaches. The total cost of the incident was estimated at USD 2 million.

2011

Horizon Primary Upgrader – Fort McKay, Canada

Horizon Primary Upgrader – Fort McKay, Canada 2011

An explosion ripped through the plant, injuring five workers. A fire then started on top of a coke drum, lasting nearly four hours. Authorities decided the safest course of action was to let the fire burn itself out. The value of insured losses was estimated at USD 600 million.

2011

JX Nippon Refinery – Sendai, Japan

JX Nippon Refinery – Sendai, Japan 2011

A tsunami devastated this facility in the wake of the most powerful earthquake in Japan’s history. Investigators believe the wall of water sent tanker trucks crashing into an oil-shipping facility, which in turn ignited fuel that was floating on the water’s surface. Firefighters were unable to reach the blaze for three days due to warnings of additional tsunamis. The flames completely destroyed a gasoline tank, asphalt tanks, molten-sulfur tanks and the oil-shipping facility. Property damages were estimated at USD 590 million.

2011

Royal Dutch Shell Refinery – Pulau Bukom, Singapore

Royal Dutch Shell Refinery – Pulau Bukom, Singapore 2011

A blaze erupted in a pump house where workers were de-oiling naphtha from a pipeline. Automatic extinguishers blanketed the area with foam and firefighters blasted it with water, but the flames persisted for 32 hours. The operation involved more than 100 firefighters, 13 fire engines and 21 support vehicles. Shell was forced to shutter its biggest plant and did not resume full operations for more than two months. A year after the disaster, Shell pleaded guilty to safety violations and was fined SGD 80,000 (USD 65,573). Property damage was estimated at USD 150 million.

2012

Amuay Refinery – Punto Fijo, Venezuela

Amuay Refinery – Punto Fijo, Venezuela, 2012

A ferocious fire ravaged Venezuela’s biggest refinery, killing at least 47 people, wounding at least 151 and halting operations at the facility. Investigators blamed the disaster on a faulty pump that allowed gas to leak, forming a vapor cloud that ignited and exploded. Eleven storage tanks were destroyed or damaged. A USD 23 million fund was created to help cover cleanup costs and replace more than 200 damaged homes. It took four days for firefighters to quash the flames, resulting in a loss of 105 million liters of product. Damages at the refinery alone were seen at $1.1 billion.

2012

Nasr Oil Company – Suez, Egypt

Nasr Oil Company – Suez, Egypt 2012

An explosion and fire raged through one of Egypt’s biggest refineries, killing two people and injuring 72. The blaze lasted for four days, consuming 24 million liters of product and destroying at least two storage tanks. Damages were estimated at USD 30 million.

2012

BST Elastomers Factory – Map Ta Phut, Thailand

BST Elastomers Factory – Map Ta Phut, Thailand 2012

An explosion tore through this rubber plant while workers were cleaning out a storage tank using toulene, a highly flammable solvent. Emergency workers extinguished the ensuing blaze within a few hours; however, nine people were killed on site and three others died in hospital. At least 129 people sustained injuries and authorities ordered thousands of nearby residents to evacuate. Property damages were estimated at USD 143 million.

2012

Bangchak Petroleum Refinery – Bangkok, Thailand

Bangchak Petroleum Refinery – Bangkok, Thailand 2012

A suspected oil leak triggered an explosion and fire that severely damaged the plant’s crude-distillation unit. The incident forced the plant to shut down for several weeks and drove down production to 80,000 barrels/day, roughly two-thirds of the refinery’s capacity. Investigators put property damages at USD 140 million.

2013

IOC Hazira Terminal – Ichapur, India

IOC Hazira Terminal – Ichapur, India 2013

Three people were killed in a fire that broke out in a storage tank at this Indian Oil Corporation terminal. The blaze spread to a second petroleum tank. Firefighters brought the flames under control after more than 24 hours. The conflagration destroyed 75,000 barrels of product and inflicted estimated losses of USD 16 million.

2013

Puerto La Cruz Refinery – Anzoategui, Venezuela

Puerto La Cruz Refinery – Anzoategui, Venezuela, 2013

Lightning hit a storage tank, igniting a fire that forced authorities to evacuate the surrounding area. The blaze was extinguished after four hours.

2013

Williams Olefins Plant – Geismar, Louisiana

Williams Olefins Plant – Geismar, Louisiana 2013

An explosion and fire ripped through the plant, killing two people and injuring 167. The blast caused an estimated USD 102 million in property damage and USD 384 million in business interruption. Total losses were estimated at USD 580 million. Juries awarded a combined USD 30 million to the first eight workers who sued for damages, concluding that officials at both the plant and its parent company had been negligent and knew with substantial certainty that a deadly fire could occur.

2013

Stanlow Refinery – Ellesmere Port, England

Stanlow Refinery – Ellesmere Port, England 2013

Investigators said the blast occurred after flammable hydrocarbons had entered an unused furnace. Heat from an adjacent furnace then caused the equipment to explode. Firefighters extinguished the blaze promptly, but the refinery, England’s second-largest, was forced to halt production for two weeks. The facility’s operator, Essar Oil Ltd., pleaded guilty in 2017 to violating hazard-control regulations and was fined GBP 1.65 million (USD 1.2 million) plus legal fees of GBP 57,645. The incident inflicted damages estimated at USD 150 million.

2013

YPF La Plata Refinery – Ensenada, Argentina

YPF La Plata Refinery – Ensenada, Argentina 2013

A coke oven at Argentina’s biggest refinery caught fire amid torrential rains that had disrupted the facility’s systems. Firefighters brought the flames under control in six hours. The blaze destroyed the coke furnace and also damaged a distillation unit. Production dropped by as much as 45%. At the end of 2014, YPF recorded insurance payouts of USD 556 million for damaged facilities and business interruption stemming from the fire.

2014

Milazzo Oil Refinery – Sicily, Italy

Milazzo Oil Refinery – Sicily, Italy 2014

A fire broke out during nighttime maintenance work. Firefighters kept the fire under control for 14 hours until it had consumed all 86,000 liters of product. Experts estimated total damages at USD 1.6 million.

2014

Midwest Fuel Plant – La Crosse, Wisconsin

Midwest Fuel Plant – La Crosse, Wisconsin 2014

A malfunctioning gauge led to an explosion at a 132,000-gallon (500,000-liter) tank, which contained around 7,000 gallons of an asphalt-diesel fuel mixture. One person suffered minor injuries in the blast. Experts estimated total costs at around USD 200,000.

2014

Port of Es Sider – Ras Lanuf, Libya

Port of Es Sider – Ras Lanuf, Libya 2014

Libya Dawn, a pro-Islamist coalition, fired rockets at Libya’s biggest oil port from speedboats, igniting an oil tank and killing at least 19 soldiers. The blaze spread to seven tanks. Despite firefighters’ best efforts, the flames persisted for more than a week until all 295 million liters of fuel had burned out and the tanks were destroyed. Total damages were estimated at USD 305 million. Fighting between government forces and militias at the end of 2014 reduced Libya’s crude output to 352,000 barrels a day.

2014

SAMIR Refinery – Mohammedia, Morocco

SAMIR Refinery – Mohammedia, Morocco 2014

This blaze resulted from a gas leak that occurred while workers were performing a liquefied propane-filling operation. It quickly spread to two storage tanks, destroying both of them. One worker died and two suffered severe burns. Experts estimated property damages at USD 15 million.

2014

YPF Cerro Divisadero Plant – Mendoza, Argentina

YPF Cerro Divisadero Plant – Mendoza, Argentina 2014

A fire swept over six of the 10 oil tanks at this crude-treatment facility. The blaze raged for three days with such ferocity that it partially melted the containers. Seventeen people were injured. YPF was forced to halt operations at the Mendoza plant, which had been responsible for 3.8% of the state-owned company’s output. Property damages were seen at USD 180 million.

2015

BRSM-Nafta – Vasylkiv, Ukraine

BRSM-Nafta – Vasylkiv, Ukraine 2015

An unexplained fire broke out at this facility near Ukraine’s capital, destroying 16 storage tanks. Five people died, including three firefighters who were killed in an explosion while battling the flames. An additional 12 people sustained injuries. Although authorities mobilized 62 firefighting units and three trains carrying water and supplies, the fire persisted for four days until all the fuel had burned out. Total damages are estimated at USD 40 million. BRSM-Nafta blamed the disaster on arson, but authorities suspected negligence and opened a criminal investigation.

2015

LyondellBasell – Berre-l‘Etang, France

LyondellBasell – Berre-l‘Etang, France 2015

Police say a saboteur set off two explosions that rocked this petrochemical plant near Marseilles. The ensuing fire destroyed one tank holding 11,000m3 of gasoline and another containing 42,000m3 of naphtha. Some 120 firefighters battled the blaze for several hours. Total costs were estimated at USD 2.5 million.

2015

Husky Lima Refinery – Lima, Ohio

Husky Lima Refinery – Lima, Ohio 2015

An isocracker unit exploded following routine maintenance, triggering a blaze. Firefighters extinguished it after a day, but remained on the scene for 36 hours to provide aid. Experts put damages at USD 75 million.

2015

Aden Refinery – Aden, Yemen

Aden Refinery – Aden, Yemen 2015

Militants with the Houthis, a rebel group at war with Yemen’s government, fired rockets at the facility, unleashing a fire. Flames broke out in two large fuel-storage tanks and a pipeline linking the refinery to the city port. The attack killed the refinery’s director of operations. Two days later, Houthis launched a second missile that targeted an empty storage tank at the refinery port. Total costs were estimated at USD 2 million.

2015

Ultracargo Fire – Port of Santos, Brazil

Ultracargo Fire – Port of Santos, Brazil 2015

Over 100 firefighters were deployed to battle a fire at this fuel-storage facility near Santos, Latin America’s largest port. The fire spread to four tanks and lasted three days. People in the surrounding area were evacuated. Total damages were estimated at USD 2.5 million.

2015

Chempark Zaluzi Plant – Litvinov, Czech Republic

Chempark Zaluzi Plant – Litvinov, Czech Republic 2015

A propylene leak touched off an explosion at a steam-cracker unit. The blast interrupted utility lines, which eventually caused a quench-oil leak that formed a pool and ignited. The blaze damaged four of the facility’s 10 cracker furnaces. The plant’s owner, Unipetrol AS, was forced to suspend all petrochemicals production at Litvinov. Property damages were estimated at USD 180 million.

2016

Matautu Wharf – Apia, Samoa

Matautu Wharf – Apia, Samoa 2016

A fuel-storage tank exploded during maintenance, killing one worker and injuring another. Firefighters put out the blaze in 16 hours, but not before it had destroyed 206,000 liters of product as well as the tank. Thousands of people were evacuated from the area. Total damages were estimated at USD 250,000.

2016

Jingjiang, Jiangsu Province, China

Jingjiang, Jiangsu Province, China 2016

A warehouse containing chemicals and fuel has exploded in the city of Jingjiang on April 22. A firefighter died while battling the blaze, which took 16 hours to extinguish. One storage tank exploded and several more burned out. Experts said total costs were at least USD 25 million.

2016

Keamari Oil Terminal - Karachi, Pakistan

Keamari Oil Terminal – Karachi, Pakistan 2016

At least two workers were killed and several others injured when an explosion ripped through a tank containing chemicals. Firefighters decided to let the flames consume all 1,000 tons of material inside the tank, along with the tank itself. The blaze burned itself out after 34 hours. Total costs were estimated at USD 1.5 million.

2016

Jurong Aromatics Corp. - Jurong Island, Singapore

Jurong Aromatics Corp. – Jurong Island, Singapore 2016

Firefighting teams extinguished this blaze in less than five hours and managed to contain it to a single 40m-diameter tank. The operation involved five fire engines, 29 support vehicles and three Singapore-made firefighting cars known as Red Rhinos. Total costs were estimated at USD 9 million.

2016

Bazan Oil Refinery - Haifa, Israel

Bazan Oil Refinery – Haifa, Israel 2016

A blaze broke out in a 12,000m3 benzene-storage container that was about 10% full. Firefighters had the blaze under control within a few hours. Experts estimated total damages at USD 4 million.

2016

Puma Energy Plant - Puerto Sandino, Nicaragua

Puma Energy Plant – Puerto Sandino, Nicaragua 2016

A fire broke out in a fuel-storage tank following an explosion at the Puma plant, Nicaragua’s sole oil refinery. A second tank ignited the next day. Puma Energy and Williams Fire & Hazard Control decided to let the fire burn itself out. Both of the damaged fuel tanks had a capacity of about 144,000 barrels. Costs were estimated at USD 30 million.

2017

Mohawk Asphalt Emulsions – Glenville, New York

Mohawk Asphalt Emulsions – Glenville, New York 2017

A heater operating inside the plant caused a cleaning solution containing kerosene to overheat and catch fire. One tank containing between 5,000 and 7,000 gallons of the solution burned out. Afterwards, the plant’s owner said it would cease production of the kerosene solution at this facility. Experts estimated total damages at USD 1 million.

2017

Port of Mumbai - Butcher Island, India

Port of Mumbai – Butcher Island, India 2017

A lightning bolt touched off this storage-tank fire at Mumbai’s Butcher Island. The blaze persisted for four days even as 60 firefighters worked to contain it. More than 10 million liters of diesel went up in smoke. Experts put damages at USD 20 million.

2017

Iranian Oil Pipelines - Tehran, Iran

Iranian Oil Pipelines – Tehran, Iran 2017

A fire broke out after lightning struck an oil-storage tank. Some 400,000 liters of crude oil evaporated during the incident. Extinguishment took about four hours. Experts estimated damages at USD 6 million.

2017

Salina Cruz Refinery – Oaxaca, Mexico

Salina Cruz Refinery – Oaxaca, Mexico 2017

The fire broke out after crude oil began leaking from a 500,000-liter storage tank. One person died and at least nine people were injured. Total damages were estimated at USD 600.000.

2017

Kuala Garing Factory, Selangor, Malaysia 2017

Kuala Garing Factory, Selangor, Malaysia 2017

An explosion rocked a diesel-storage tank at a cement factory, knocking three maintenance workers into the tank and setting it ablaze. A team of 30 firemen put out the fire in an hour. The company then brought in tanker trucks to pump out 725,000 liters of diesel so authorities could recover the victims’ bodies.

2018

Husky Energy Refinery fire, Wisconsin, USA 2018

Husky Energy Refinery fire, Wisconsin, USA 2018

An initial explosion have hit a tower, near giant asphalt storage tanks. A storage tank was punctured, and a second fire erupted. The explosion injured 21 people at the plant and led to the evacuation of nearly the entire city of Superior. The refinery can process up to 38,000 barrels of oil a day. Husky shares fell 8 percent to C$17.54 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the same day it reported financial results. The explosion and fire at Husky Energy’sSuperior refinery resulted in $27 million in damage and $53 million in expenses, according to the company’s second quarter results.

2018

Tankstore Fire, Pulau Basang, Singapore 2018

Tankstore Fire, Pulau Basang, Singapore 2018

A fire had broken out at an oil storage tank at Tankstore’s Pulau Busing terminal in Singapore. Firefighters took six hours hours to extinguish the blaze. The terminal has a total capacity of 2 million cubic meters, or 112 tanks, to store petroleum and petrochemical products. The fire-struck storage tank was said to have contained fuel oil. The cause of the fire is not yet known and is under investigation.

2018

Kemaman Bitumen Company Fire, Terengganu, Malaysia 2018

Kemaman Bitumen Company Fire, Terengganu, Malaysia 2018

A fire broke out and quickly affected 3 storage tanks. Despite the best efforts of 140 firefighters and rescue personnel, the blaze burned for 3 days. 1 storage tank was destroyed and 1 person injured. The three affected oil tanks at the six-tank facility contained a total of around 20,000 litres of crude oil. 14,000 litres of foam concentrate was used by the fire department in the 3 day operation. Experts estimated the cost of the incident to be around: 35 M USD.

2018

Fida Oil Farm, Ras Lanuf, Libya 2018

Fida Oil Farm, Ras Lanuf, Libya 2018

Recent eruptions of violence in Libya’s so-called ‘oil cresent’ between armed forces loyal to Haftar’s Libyan National Army and rival armed groups resulted in another row of burning oil tanks. As a result of the shelling, three oil tanks at the Fida Oil Farm, west of the Ras Lanuf oil terminal were hit and caught fire. Oil tanks are being destroyed almost every year in Libya since 2014 thus damaging the already ailing economy. Tank No. 2 held 200,000 barrels of crude before it was hit, and No. 12 held 240,000 barrels, a firefighting official said, adding crews were running out of foam to contain the blazes. The NOC earlier put the immediate production loss from fighting at the ports at 240,000 barrels per day, expected to rise to 400,000 bpd if they remained shut. Later a third tank caught fire. Experts estimated the damage to be around USD 100 Million.

Recent Major Incidents Videos

Tanjung Langsat Port – Johor, Malaysia

2008

Tanjung Langsat Port – Johor, Malaysia, 2008

A fire broke out at a 16,000-ton gasoline tank at Tanjung Langsat Port. The next day, the heat from the fire ignited an adjacent tank containing naphthalene. Extinguishment took 67 hours, ending when both the product and the tanks had completely burned out. The fire consumed 17.8 million liters of unleaded petrol and 8 million liters of naphthalene. Total damages were estimated at USD 40 million.

Jaipur Oil Depot - India

2009

Jaipur Oil Depot – India, 2009

Half a million people were evacuated after a massive fire erupted at the Indian Oil Corporation fuel depot. The fire raged on for 11 days, killing 12 people and injuring at least 300. Police arrested nine senior company officials including the general manager on charges of criminal negligence. The fire resulted in the loss of 63,000,000 liters of fuel. Total losses were estimated at INR 18 billion (USD 280 million).

Nasr Oil Company – Suez, Egypt

2012

Nasr Oil Company – Suez, Egypt, 2012

An explosion and fire raged through one of Egypt’s biggest refineries, killing two people and injuring 72. The blaze lasted for four days, consuming 24 million liters of product and destroying at least two storage tanks. Damages were estimated at USD 30 million.