PIANC New Guidelines for Gas Terminals – Ambitious effort makes good progress

Working Group 153B
Working Group 153B at Harbour House, Port of Antwerp
Harbour House, Antwerp
Harbour House, Antwerp

Rodney Hancock, Chair of PIANC Young Professionals Commission in Australia and New Zealand, has recently returned from Antwerp after the third meeting of PIANC Working Group 153B which aims to complete its magnum opus “Recommendations for the Design and Assessment of Marine Oil, Gas & Petrochemical Terminals” by 2020.

This is a follow up to the completed 2016 PIANC WG Report No. 153 which looked at Marine Oil & Petrochemical Terminals, but not Gas.

The main objectives for 153B are to add gas terminals to the scope of the preceding 2016 document; to update that document based on feedback received from users on WG153; and thirdly to add design guidance for additional countries/regions beyond the EU and USA.

The report is an ambitious effort involving many engineering disciplines – including structural, coastal, geotechnical, seismic, mechanical and electrical engineering. It aims to establish comprehensive guidance for functional requirements and basis of design development; Risk and hazard analysis; Scoping and layout; Mooring and berthing; Construction materials and selection; Equipment; Fire protection; and Inspection and assessment.

The members of Working Group 153B come from engineering consulting firms, oil and gas operating companies, port authorities, equipment suppliers, research institutes and independent consultants. The members also represent a wide geographical range, including Australia (Rodney is joined by Alistair Traylen – an independent consultant), Belgium, Britain, Canada, France, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the United States.

The group met in Antwerp over three days in October to review chapter progress and guide further development of the report. Rodney, who plays a central role as the Group secretary, commented:

“The task of incorporating gas terminals into the report has been a challenging undertaking, but we are making good progress. Gas terminals introduce many new complexities to the scope with regards to hazards, design considerations and emerging technologies.”

Upon completion, the updated document will provide guidance to owners and designers of oil and gas terminals worldwide, to facilitate the protection of public health, safety and the environment.

The guidelines will also aid countries in transition since compliance with the standards will result in improved safety and environmental protection, taking advantage of the collective knowledge of the developed countries and major global stakeholders.

Climate change is an important consideration in the planning and design of coastal infrastructure and civil engineering projects. The WG153 document addressed this issue through guidance on risk assessments during the establishment of site conditions and in the Basis of Design. The updated WG153B document will retain and enhance such guidance as appropriate.

As Rodney notes:

“The gas industry is constantly evolving, so it is important that we are providing up-to-date guidance to the industry in order to minimise risks to the public and the environment.”