No. 4, 2011

Sergey Nenashev


In St. Petersburg, LUKOIL filling stations dispense fuel on land and on the water

This summer, on the banks of the Neva in the center of St. Petersburg, LUKOIL opened the city's (and country's) second riverbank filling station for the simultaneous servicing of automobiles and, during the navigation season, small motor vessels. The new station can service around 430 vehicles a day, including 80 small vessels (with displacements of up to 12 tons).

The first dual-purpose filling station was also opened in St. Petersburg in the Neva estuary two years ago; at the time, there was no other like it in Russia. Has the station lived up to the hopes for it? Is it really environment friendly? How does the new station differ from the first?

According to Vladimir Kaluzhenov, General Director of JSC LUKOIL-Severo-Zapadnefteprodukt, "Our pilot project turned out to be entirely viable: all of the design solutions were absolutely correct and guarantee the station's environmental friendliness. The station has also proven itself economically, since the onshore section (for automobiles) operates all year round. Private boat owners come to us willingly and have spoken highly about the station. The demand for dual-purpose onshore/offshore filling stations will grow, especially if the municipal government's plans to widen the waterways for city residents' transportation this summer go through."

The owners of small vessels often fill them up right from the canister. Hence the unavoidable full spills no one can monitor. Sometimes they're filled up from a fuel vessel or seasonal stations mounted on pontoons in the water. Both are essentially huge floating fuel canisters - very dangerous for the Neva.

The know-how of LUKOIL's filling stations is that the fuel reservoir remains on shore. This precludes large petroleum product spills. In addition, a stationary facility is easy for oversight bodies to monitor, and any resident of the city can come and see for himself how the fuelling is done.

The project was developed by St. Petersburg engineers. The pontoons from which small vessels are serviced are made at local shipyards. After the first such station was opened, LUKOIL received a patent from the Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents, and Trademarks. The document was registered with the RF State Register of Utility Models.

Like any other LUKOIL facility, the riverbank station is outfitted with the best equipment from Russian and foreign manufacturers. The gasoline pumps are equipped with a gas return system that traps up to 95% of all dangerous vapors when an automobile is filled. The service life of the plastic fuel lines is at least 30 years. The onshore section is equipped with a local waste treatment system.

The reservoirs where the fuel is stored were designed especially for the riverbank stations. They are double-walled ("glasses within glasses") with monitoring of the interwall space, and are equipped with their own overfill prevention and gas return systems. The reservoirs' metal is specially coated on the outside, as is required for the fire safety of underground reservoirs in a riverbank zone.

During the navigation season, a qualified boatman is always on duty to perform the task of servicing vessels, from mooring to filling the fuel tank. This is required by the rules of technical safety.

A speedboat is always on standby at each dock, along with a floating containment boom (a specially designed string of floats that limits the slick on the surface of the water in the event of an oil or gas spill), sorbents capable of quickly absorbing a gasoline spill on the surface, and other specialized equipment.

The new filling station is located next to the Neva's main channel. Larger vessels ("river trams," as they're called by city residents) can dock here than at the station built two years ago.

Since the station is of a standard design, the experience LUKOIL gained in St. Petersburg can be applied across the country. Russian cities have always been built along waterways.

The figures from last year's navigation season show that around four-fifths of the customers at the station's water section were the private owners of small vessels. The rest were tourist companies, water taxis, and larger passenger boats.

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Oil of Russia, No. 4, 2011
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