Neighbors of Maryland LNG site question storage tank safety

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Latest Oil and Gas News: 
February 3, 2014

(Southern Maryland Online; Feb. 1) - The seven towering white tanks that store liquefied natural gas for Dominion Resources at its Cove Point, Md., import terminal have never caused a safety issue for the company. But some Calvert County residents said they are uncomfortable with the proximity of the tanks to their neighborhood and Dominion's plan to expand the operations to include LNG exports.

The tanks are single-walled containment, which means the gas is stored in a container with an outer metal shell surrounded by a dike that can hold 110 percent of the gas inside. The seven tanks can hold a total of more than 13 billion cubic feet of LNG, according to Virginia-based Dominion. June Sevilla, an engineering consultant whose house is next to Dominion's property, said she is concerned about how close the tanks are and would prefer double-walled tanks.

"Some of those tanks are old, very old," Sevilla said. Double-walled tanks have two containers — one inside the other — that can contain liquefied natural gas. Dominion officials said there are enough safeguards in place with the single-walled tanks to contain a spill. But neighbor Dale Allison, a retired aerospace engineer, said he is concerned that if there was ever a leak in a tank, the gas that enters the dike could create a potential vapor cloud that might drift to nearby homes.

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