When Fairway Energy Partners needed to expand its underground crude oil storage capacity at a facility in Houston, it turned to XR-5 geomembranes. The membrane liners were an ideal solution for containing brine and crude oil on the massive project.
With an underground capacity of roughly 11 million barrels, supported by 6.8 million barrels of operational brine pond capacity, the project is helping Fairway Energy capitalize on a growing need for storage in Texas’ thriving energy industry, which is home to numerous pipelines and refineries. The early reception from Fairway Energy’s customers has been so strong, they are likely to move forward with a second phase of the project that includes more cavern storage and a third storage pond.
Using underground storage with salt caverns is used for very large storage capacity. It is a more efficient and environmentally friendly alternative to above-ground tanks because at depths of 2,000 to 4,000 feet, caverns are protected from natural disasters and are leak-proof. The key to keeping things environmentally friendly at the surface is a safe storage containment liner for the brine, which is displaced by the crude.
Underground crude storage is created by “solution mining,” which is drilling a well into a salt formation, then injecting fresh water to dissolve the salt. This creates large amounts of brine which must be stored above ground as crude is pumped back into the cavern to be stored, displacing the brine. Ultimately, the brine is pumped back into the cavern, bringing the crude out to be sent to refining. Because some crude oil can enter the ponds, a tough, reliable and chemically-resistant storage containment liner is critical. The ponds may also be empty at times, demanding a thermally-stable geomembrane which is not affected by thermal expansion-contraction.
For the storage ponds, XR-5 geomembranes stood out due to their superior strength, durability, thermal stability and unparalleled resistance to contaminants like crude oil. XR-5 geomembranes are made with a tough, proprietary base fabric that delivers flexibility, dimensional stability, tensile strength and puncture resistance. The fabric is coated by molecular primers that bond to the fabric, effectively creating a single system that won’t delaminate, resists stress cracking and lasts for many years.
Engineers like those at Fairway Energy have trusted XR-5 for more than 40 years. As the strongest and most chemically-resistant geomembrane liner on the market, it can withstand challenging conditions like the high heat, salt, and oil encountered in this storage containment liner project.
To learn more about what sets XR geomembranes apart, contact us today.