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Menard Oceania carries out ground improvement works for Vopak

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Menard Oceania has successfully delivered ground improvement works for the construction of three, 30 m diameter fuel storage tanks at the Sydney Terminal of Vopak. Menard’s work supports main contractor Saunders, who is delivering the new tank development.

This project builds on Menard’s strength in providing ground improvement solutions for the oil and gas sector. Menard recently teamed up with sister company GFWA in Western Australia to deliver a design and construct ground improvement package using controlled modulus columns (CMCs) for Puma Energy on the Kwinana Fuel Terminal Project, which included the ground improvement work for eight fuel tanks with treatment ranging up to 22 m deep.

An important factor in designing the foundations for fuel tanks is the control of differential settlement to meet tank manufacturers’ requirements, in order to limit movement that may interfere with the operation of the tank. The focus to control differential settlements allows total settlement to occur whilst also providing a stable foundation for the integrity of the tank. This relaxed approach to total settlement, allows an optimised foundation to be achieved.

“Given their need for close proximity to ports, tank farms are frequently developed where soils are deep and compressible, which creates geotechnical challenges,” said Jonathan Hale, Menard’s business development manager for WA/NSW/NZ. “As a result of our strategy to not eliminate settlement but treat the ground conditions and deliver an appropriate settlement to an agreed performance criterion, Menard is able to provide savings to both program and cost to foundation construction as compared with conventional deep piling systems.”

Menard has a deep understanding of the local geotechnical conditions and a solid history in the Port Botany area, where the Vopak Terminal is located. The company has been involved in several other notable projects in the vicinity including a major ground improvement project adjacent to the Vopak site as part of Sydney Port Authority’s expansion of Port Botany, and the grouting for the Elgas Underground Storage Facility, Australia’s first LPG facility.

Sydney has become a hub for the storage of fuel and subsequent redistribution to ports along the east coast of Australia and into New Zealand. The new tanks form part of Vopak’s expansion of its fuel storage capacity in the city, announced in July last year, in which it expects to have an additional 105 000 m3 available to be commissioned in 2Q21.

“It was very important to us that our contractor work closely with us during the key development and execution phases of the project” said Tim Coltzau, Saunders Project Manager. “Saunders have been very impressed by their design and construct expertise and this has clearly led to the safe and successful installation of several hundred controlled modulus columns. We appreciate their responsiveness and commitment to help find a solution that best suited this project’s geotechnical challenges.”

As recently reported by Nasdaq, the worldwide capacity for fuel storage is under major pressure with fuel consumption having dropped drastically due to the economic slowdown caused by Covid-19. With many of the world’s onshore storage tanks nearly full, oil traders are considering costly alternative options. According to the report, data from consultancy Kpler indicated onshore capacity is now at around 85% full. These tanks will therefore not only secure fuel supply for the Greater Sydney area during high demand, they will also support the management of fuel during periods of unprecedented low demand for Vopak.

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