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Editorial comment

A topic that can’t be avoided at the moment is storage, whether it is the much needed storage tanks of Asia or LNG terminals that are battling for licenses in the USA; oil, gas and oil products storage is a sought after commodity. This is, as briefly mentioned above, especially true in Asia as the region’s growing economies demand more fuel and oil products to sate their ever increasing hunger. Also, as more and more countries look to secure their energy future, it is definitely something that can’t be ignored.

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Asia is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, and the southeast is particularly looking to enhance its storage capacity as recently Singapore, the storage hub of the region, has hit its capacity and no longer has any wiggle room for new facilities to be built. Increasing refining capacity is one of the major factors to blame for this storage deficit. The US is becoming increasingly fossil fuel self sufficient so is not seeking imports from foreign sources as frequently, and whilst Asian domestic demand is increasing, it is not quite keeping pace with refinery output just yet, and it is possible this situation will only worsen in the short term. The increase of storage capacities in Asia will only be a positive move and countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia are looking to get on board with the boom. It will not only create more work and revenue for a particular nation, as some countries seek to have storage hubs on neighbouring land, but an increase in storage capacity will give a boost to sustaining supply levels during high demand periods and of course enhance security of supply.

When casting an eye over to Asia and looking at the storage sector, the Pacific and particularly Australia cannot be ignored. When it comes to LNG the country is seeing big ramp ups with the Gorgon and Wheatstone projects, and as Ng Weng Hoong said in our August regional report To be or not to be…the world’s LNG king, ‘Australia has plotted and bulldozed its way to expanding its LNG capacity that will likely exceed 85 million t by 2017’. However, it is the storage of oil and oil products that is causing the problem as some refineries in the country have closed and the future of those remaining looks dubious. Australia is becoming ever more reliant on the import of oil products, and storage capacity to ensure a sufficient continuous supply of these is lacking. At the moment there are very few international storage operators active in the country, but as refineries close, and Australia’s oil security of supply becomes uncertain, companies such as Oiltanking of Germany are seeing an opportunity to invest and take advantage of what is expected to be a huge market gap.

Storage is a popular topic of discussion for Hydrocarbon Engineering at the moment as not only are we heading to Tank Storage Asia in Singapore this month, but we are launching a new supplement for the magazine, which is being published next year, Tanks & Terminals. For more information on the supplement or if you are interested in being part of it with articles and press releases, do not hesitate to contact me or any of the Hydrocarbon Engineering team.