September 2, 2012
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№ 6 (June 2012)

Flexible Tanks. Obvious advantages for any company

   Neftetank LLC entered the tank manufacturing market only 4 years ago. However, over this time it has managed to gain tangible results. The list of Neftetank LLC clients includes major companies, specifically, Gazprom and Transneft, the RF Defense and Emergency Response Ministries and a number of other organizations.

By Lada Ponomareva

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   The company manufactures diverse types of tanks designed to store various products (mostly liquids). However, Neftetank LLC has given priority to manufacturing flexible tanks. Yulia Y. Molchanova, Neftetank LLC General Director, has accorded an interview to an Oil & Gas Eurasia (OGE) correspondent on flexible tanks’ advantages for consumers.

OGE: Yulia Yurievna, could you please describe the Neftetank LLC business scope. What is the current market demand for its products? What companies use the services provided by Neftetank LLC? Does Neftetank LLC provide services to foreign companies?
Yulia Molchanova: Neftetank LLC is Russia’s leading manufacturer of MR-NT series flexible vessels and tanks. It also ranks as a leading supplier of a wide range of oil and gas equipment. Our company manufactures high quality state-of-the-art tanks designed to store potable and process water, fertilizers, alcohols and acids.
Flexible tanks are indispensable for setting up fuel storages, fuel or fire water reserves or delivering water to remote areas.
The list of our clients includes the RF Defense and Emergency Response Ministries, Integra Group, ERIELL NEFTEGAZSERVICE, Plarex, AMUR Cooperative Prospectors Association, Mechel, Stroygazconsulting, Alliance Oil Company, KCA Deutag and other organizations.

OGE: What tanks and why are currently in demand?
Molchanova: The volume of MR-NT flexible tanks manufactured by our company ranges between 25 and 500 000 liters. Our company’s individual approach to every order is, above all, based on our clients’ preferences. For instance, 250 000 liter MR-NT tanks are now extensively used by oil and gas and construction companies to set up mobile oil depots and fuel and lubricant storages while laying pipelines, performing construction work in Arctic areas, launching geological surveys etc. 25 000 and 50 000 liter MR-NT tanks designed to store transformer fluid are also in great demand. Besides, flexible tanks are extensively used by RF Emergency Response Ministry units during fire hazard periods.

OGE: Could you please describe a “flexible tank” as a product? What materials are used to manufacture it? What products can it store?
Molchanova: MR-NT series flexible tanks are water-tight pillow-shaped impermeable envelopes (in English they are normally referred to as pillow tanks or flexible tanks) made of high quality polymer materials. All materials used to manufacture our tanks are produced on our orders nowhere else but in Europe.
Such tanks are designed to store various bulk liquids, including different oil products (diesel fuel, gasoline and kerosene), potable and process water, acids and fertilizers. The flexible tanks’ key feature is the ease of use and storage: such tanks can be folded and unfolded. It ensures the tanks’ mobility: they can be easily transported from site to site, mounted and dismounted without special equipment being used and installed on unprepared sites. Such tanks can be easily delivered even to the most remote areas. The tanks’ dimensions enable users to transport them by motor cars. Depending on their volume, such tanks can be installed within a few hours by two or three workers. The flexible units’ key feature is their light weight. For example, an empty 25 000 liter tank weighs only 100 kg, while a 250 000 liter tank weighs about 500 kg.

OGE: Is there any difference in the parameters of tanks designed to store water and those used to store various acids? Do such tanks require additional protection depending on the stored product characteristics?
Molchanova: In fact, no additional protection is required. Appropriate materials are selected on a case-by-case basis to manufacture MR-NT tanks designed to store specific types of liquids in compliance with their technical and chemical properties.

OGE: What are the tanks storage conditions at warehouses? Can tanks be used under extreme conditions (for instance, in case of huge temperature swings)?
Molchanova: Flexible tanks do not require special storage conditions. The operating temperatures range widely between +60°С and -60°C. Flexible tanks can easily withstand temperature swings. Besides, the materials used to manufacture such tanks resist ultraviolet radiation.

OGE: What are the principal advantages of flexible tanks versus steel tanks? How do they differ in terms of integrity and reliability?
Molchanova: Flexible tanks have a number of advantages as compared with steel tanks:
Ease of use (personnel needs no special training to use such tanks);
Short manufacturing and supply timeframes (tanks are basically manufactured in about 3 days);
Prompt and cost effective installation (250 000 liter tanks are installed within 15 to 20 minutes by 6 to 8 workers);
Compactness and low weight facilitate the tanks transportation (tanks of up to 25 m³ can be easily transported by motor cars);
Possibility to deliver tanks to remote areas;
Seismic safety;
Service life of 10 years or longer;
Operating temperature between -60°С and +60°С;
Inertness to stored substances.

OGE: Are flexible tank analogs manufactured elsewhere in the world?
Molchanova: Currently, there are several flexible tank manufacturers operating both in Western (USA, Canada, Germany) and Eastern countries (China, Australia). The application of patented processes is a distinctive feature of tanks manufactured by Neftetank LLC. Besides, our prices are a few times lower than those of the current Western and even Chinese models. As of today, out of the entire range of similar products, including those manufactured abroad, Rostechnadzor has so far approved the use of tanks manufactured exclusively by Neftetank LLC. Along with that, fire and environmental certificates and, of course, a GOST R compliance certificate, have been issued to our company. Besides, this year our company has received an ISO 9001 certificate confirming a high quality of its products.
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