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Lightning and Tankers and Rigs “Oh, My!” Oil Tanker Racks up $40 Million in Damages…and Still Counting!

Hundreds of people are either killed or injured, and billions of dollars of damages are incurred each year due to lightning strikes. Oil and Gas operational facilities and equipment make-up a large percentage of this destruction This includes tankers and rigs which are generally thought of as not being more susceptible to lightning strikes due to their proximity to the water, which due to colder temperature does not receive as many lightning strikes. However, they are just as much a target as Oil and Gas related structures on land and perhaps more so, due to their architecture and composition floating in the middle of the ocean acting as a moving target. Rigs have high points and are made of metal, both of which attract lighting. If there is lightning over the water, this means that the tanker and/or rig will be the likely target; the damages can be extremely costly.

Just recently, a chemical tanker being loaded with methanol exploded in Malaysia amid a vicious thunderstorm.  Three loud explosions followed the rolling thunder and lightning strike. The explosion left five workers dead, pulling the last charred crewman from the water four days later. The 38,000 tonne vessel, owned by MISC, a subsidiary of Petronas’, was 80% destroyed. The damages are said to be around $40 million, but the environmental damages have yet to be determined. After the explosion, authorities feared the fire would ignite the nearby methanol silo and lead to astronomical damages of the surrounding areas. For safety measures, Petronas shut down its 660,000 tonne/year methanol 1 unit.

If this area had been utilizing lightning protection and prevention technologies, the catastrophe could have been avoided.  Lightning Eliminators & Consultants, Inc. (LEC) specializes in providing lightning protection and prevention systems that use patented charge transfer technology which continually reduces the localized electrostatic charge in the atmosphere so that lightning cannot  terminate within the protected area. By implementing these systems beforehand, you could save your company or facility from spending millions of dollars when lightning strikes.

LEC provides consulting services for your facility, whether you need a preliminary assessment or require a complete in-depth engineering study or survey. These surveys will help you identify the areas of concern and your desired level of lightning protection by reviewing past lightning statistics in your area, examining and reviewing your current lightning protection, facilities, and data systems, and also performing ground testing as needed. The consulting process will include a comprehensive budgeting and a recommendation report to help you understand the importance of protecting your facility against lightning threats.  Contact us to set up a consultation today, it is inexpensive insurance!

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