Automatic Shutdown Systems to Prevent Overfill at Fuel Storage Terminals
UK Petroleum Industry Association
Tank Storage Association

25th September 2008


Automatic Shutdown Systems to Prevent Overfill at Fuel Storage Terminals

UKPIA and the Tank Storage Association(1) announce today that their member companies have committed to the standards of Safety Integrity Level 1(2) and the installation of automatic shutdown systems at storage terminals to prevent overfill of tanks storing gasoline (petrol) received via pipeline transfer.

This decision follows on from the continuing work by the industry through the Process Safety Leadership Group, and its predecessor the Buncefield Standards Task Group, to develop and implement recommendations to improve safety at major fuel storage terminals. Automatic shutdown was also a recommendation made by the Buncefield Major Incident Investigation Board (3).

Chris Hunt, Director General of UKPIA, and Martyn Lyons Chairman of the TSA, commented “This is a significant step forward for the industry and the result of close collaboration with the Competent Authority (4) to come up with workable proposals that will further enhance safety. Petroleum products play a vital role in the day-to-day life of everybody and confidence in the safety of the industry’s operations is paramount.

They continued “There remains further work to be done and in particular we shall continue to work with the Competent Authority towards practicable solutions for refinery and ship-loading gasoline transfers."

Peter Baker of the Health and Safety Executive in welcoming this announcement commented "I welcome this commitment by the major fuel storage companies to upgrade their control systems. HSE and our COMAH Competent Authority partners, EA and SEPA, have been working closely with industry since the Buncefield incident to improve standards of control at fuel storage sites. For HSE ensuring high standards for the control of tank overfilling is a priority. This commitment makes it clear that industry will move to a higher standard of control than was commonly in place prior to Buncefield and also to fully automated shutdown systems. This is an encouraging example of strong leadership by industry to improve the management of process safety risks."


Nick Vandervell +44 (0)20 7269 7604
Chris Hunt +44 (0)20 7269 7601
Hugh Bray +44 (0)1244 335627
Martyn Lyons +44 (0)1737 775602             
Notes to editors:
  1. UKPIA represents nine oil refining and marketing companies operating in the UK, which also own approximately 2,200 of the UK's 9,382 service stations, and own and operate the nine major crude oil processing refineries in the UK.
  2. Tank Storage Association is an industry based organisation whose members are dedicated to the professional provision of third party bulk liquid storage in the UK. TSA’s members own and operate 35 terminals across the UK. Products stored typically include crude oil, petroleum and chemicals as well as potable liquids, edible oils and fats.
  3. The main process safety regulation of refineries and terminals in the UK is the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations 1999. Refineries and larger oil storage terminals are categorised as top tier sites. These regulations require all such sites to have a major accident prevention plan and, in addition, top tier sites must produce a safety report to show that risks have been systematically reviewed and controlled, and necessary measures taken. Increasingly, safety systems are moving towards a risk analysis based approach. There is an internationally recognised standard for integrity of control systems (BS EN 61511: 2004 - Functional Safety: Safety Instrumented Systems for the Process Industry Sector. British Standards Institute). Attainment of Safety Integrity Level 1, SIL 1, demonstrates compliance with this standard.
  4. The independent MIIB, chaired by Lord Newton of Braintree, was set up to supervise the investigation into the explosions and fires at Buncefield. The investigation is directed by the Health and Safety Commission. The joint industry/Competent Authority Buncefield Standards Task Group was established in June 2006 in the aftermath of the explosion and fire at the Hertfordshire Oil Storage Buncefield terminal in December 2005, to make recommendations to enhance safety and environmental standards at major petroleum storage facilities.
  5. COMAH Regulations are enforced by a joint Competent Authority: the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency in England and Wales; and HSE and Scottish Environment Protection Agency in Scotland.

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If you need more information,
please contact either:

Nick Vandervell
+44 (0)20 7269 7604

Chris Hunt
+44 (0)20 7269 7601