Oil is one of the most important liquids in various industries. It is used as fuel and further refined as an important ingredient in various products. But it also has potential to damage the environment. So, when huge quantities of oil are stored and transported, it has to be placed in secure tanks to prevent spills and other accidents. Spill containment units, such as portable bunding, are now used to prevent massive oil spills and leaks like those that occurred in recent history:
Gulf War Oil Spill in 1998
Around 11,000,000 US barrels (1,300,000 m3) of crude oil was spilled into the Persian Gulf during the 1998 Gulf War crisis. This was because retreating Iraqi forces opened oil wells and pipelines to keep American troops from closing in on them. The incident resulted in the largest oil spill in history, affecting an area larger than Hawaii. The cleanup took weeks to finish, and they were only able to recover a fraction of the amount of spilled oil from the gulf. Skimmers and booms had to be deployed, but about a quarter of the oil washed ashore to Saudi Arabia.
Fergana Valley Oil Spill in 1992
This accident happened in Uzbekistan and spilled close to 88 million gallons of oil. This is said to be the largest inland spill and took place on one of the most active oil refining areas in the country, Fergana Valley. Cleanup didn’t take very long since the ground absorbed most of the spill.
ABT Summer Oil Spill in 1991
A fully loaded oil tanker named ABT Summer was travelling en route to Angola when it exploded and caught fire. Its precious cargo was leaked into the ocean, resulting in an oil slick spanning 80 square miles. The tanker reportedly burned for three days before it finally sank. Fortunately, the accident happened offshore, and most of the oil was broken up by the ocean, with very minimal damage to the environment.
It’s important to note that using secure storage and transport systems are one of the reasons why no major oil spill or leak has been recorded in the past few years. It’s the lessons learned from these major accidents that have led to the development of tighter security measures and more secure storage systems.