Vapor Loss of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from the Shipping Port of Abadan Petroleum Refinery

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Department of Environmental Engineering, Ahvaz branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz, Iran

2 Department of Environment, Ahvaz branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz, Iran

3 Department of Chemical Engineering, Mahshahr branch, Islamic Azad University, Mahshahr, Iran


Hydrocarbon storage tanks, the major source of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emission, have unfavorable effects on atmospheric chemistry and human health. The present study aims at calculating the amount of VOCs’ loss with an emphasis on benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX). It has been performed by means of TANKs 4.0.9d and WATER9 Software Programs, as well as field measurement for validation. It, then, provides control strategies to reduce the amounts of VOCs in the shipping port area. Emission sources include 32 internal and external floating roof storage tanks, 7 pump houses, and one wastewater treatment pool. Field sampling has been done, using SKC sampling pump and activated carbon adsorption tube according to NIOSH 1501 standard. The obtained samples have been analyzed with FID and GC-MS. Results show that the total emission of VOCs has been equal to 933.25 tons/year, the majority of which (881.74 tons/year ) comes from storage tanks, followed by pump houses and wastewater treatment pool (47.88 and 3.63 tons/year, respectively). BTEX emission includes 1.49 tons/year of benzene, 3.2 tons/year of toluene, 0.57 tons/year of ethylbenzene, and 1.53 tons/year of xylenes. In order to reduce the emission of VOCs from the storage tanks, the paper proposes to change the design of tanks’ roof and sealing. As a result, the total emission of VOCs could be reduced by 18.27%, equivalent to 158.16 tons/year. The total cost of the oil vapors loss is estimated at 253’000 $/year, part of which (i.e., up to 43’000 $/year) could be saved by applying the proposed control strategies.


User's Guide to TANKs, Storage Tank emission calculation software version 4.0, Emission factor and inventory group emissions, monitoring and analysis division, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards U.S. 1-2, 1999.
Emission factor documentation for AP-42, section 7.1, Organic liquid storage tanks, official of air quality planning and standards emission factor and inventory group, research Triangle park, NC 27711, pp. 123, 2006.
User's Guide for WATER9 software, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, 2001.
Aklilu, Y., Cho, S., Zhang, Q. and Taylor, E. (2018). Source apportionment of volatile organic compounds measured near a cold heavy oil production area. Atmospheric Research, 206, 75-86.
Allen, D.T. (2016). Emission from oil and gas operation in the United States and their air quality implications. Journal of The Air & Waste Management Association, 66, 549-575.
Ashrafi, Kh., Shafiepour, M., Salimian, M., and Momeni, M.R. (2012). Determination and Dispersion Modeling of VOC Emissions from Liquid Storage Tanks in Asalouyeh Zone. Journal of Environmental Studies, 38 (63), 13-15.
Ceron Berton, J.G., Ceron Berton, R.M., Ucan, F.V., Baeza, C.B., Espinosa Fuentes, M., Lara, E.R., Marron, M.R., Montero Pacheco, J.A., Guzman, A.R. and Uc Chi, M. (2017). Characterization and Sources of Aromatic Hydrocarbons (BTEX) in the Atmosphere of Two Urban Sites Located in Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Atmosphere, 8, 107-130.
Correa, M.S., Arbilla, G., Marques, M.R.C. and Oliveria, K.M.P.G. (2012). The impact of BTEX
emission from gas station into the atmosphere. Atmospheric Pollution Research, 3, 163-169.
Cunningham, D. (1996). Estimation of VOC Emissions. Journal of Cleaner Production, 3(4), 225-228.
Dumanoglu, Y., Kara, M., Altiok, H., Odabasi, M., Elbir, T. and Bayram, A. (2014). Spatial and seasonal variation and source apportionment of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in a heavily industrialized region. Atmospheric Environment, 98, 168-178.
Hadidi, L.A., Aldosary, A.S., Al-Matar, A.K. and Mudallah, O.A. (2016). An optimization model to improve gas emission mitigation in oil refineries. Journal of Cleaner Production, 118, 29-36.
Howari, F.M. (2015). Evaporation losses and dispersion of volatile organic compounds from tank farms. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 187(5), 187-273.
Jackson, M.M. (2006). Organic liquids storage tanks volatile organic compounds (VOCS) emissions, dispersion and risk assessment in developing countries: the case of Dar-Es-Salaam City, Tanzania. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 116, 363-82.
Karbassi, A.R., Nabi Bidhendi, G.R., Moattar, F. and Abdollahzadeh, E.M. (2009). Role of oil storage tank structure in the prevention emission of hydrocarbon pollution. Journal of Environmental studies, 35(50), 73-82.
Malakar, S. and Das Saha, P. (2015). Estimation of VOC Emission in Petroleum Refinery ETP and Comparative Analysis with Measured VOC Emission Rate. The International Journal of Engineering and Science (IJES), 4(10), 20-29.
Masih, A., Lall, A.S., Taneja, A. and Singhvi, R. (2018). Exposure levels and health risk assessment of ambient BTX at urban and rural environments of a terai region of northern India. Environmental Pollution, 242, 1678-1683.
Pandya, G.H., Gavane, A.G, Bhanarkar, A.D. and Kondawar, V.K. (2006). Concentration of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) at an oil refinery. International Journal of Environment Studies, 63(3), 337-351.
Rattanajongjitrakorn, P. and Prueksasit, T. (2014). Temporal variation of BTEX at the area of petrol station in Bangkok, Thailand. Procedia APCBEE. 10: 37-41.
Raazi Tabari, M.R. et al.
Pollution is licensed under a "Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0)"
Somarin, A.P. and Peyghambarzadeh, S.M., Hazardous air pollutants emission characteristic and environmental effect of typical petrochemical incinerators, International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, doi: 10.1007/s13762-020-02690-4 (in press).
Syimir Fizal, A.N., Nadiah, M.Y.N., Aini, B.N., Sohrab Hossain, Md. and Ahmad Naim, A.Y. (2018). Characterization of BTEX in Malaysian petrol. Materials today: Proceedings, 5(10), 21541-21546.
Venkatram, A., Isakov, V., Seila, R. and Baldauf, R. (2009). Modeling the impacts of traffic emissions on air toxics concentrations near roadways. Atmospheric Environment, 43(20), 3191-3199.
Wei, W., Lv, Z. and Yang, G. (2016). VOCs emission rate estimate for complicated industrial area source using an inverse-dispersion calculation method: A case study on a petroleum refinery in Northern China, Environmental Pollution, 218, 681-688.
Zhang, Y., Li, R., Fu, H., Zhou, D. and Chen, J. (2018). Observation and analysis of atmospheric volatile organic compounds in typical petrochemical area in Yantze River Delta, China. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 71, 233-248.