Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, TCEQ has received numerous inquiries related to the regulatory requirements of temporary storage of excess crude oil in aboveground storage tanks (ASTs) at locations not regulated by the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC).
While the storage of crude oil in ASTs is not regulated under TCEQ Petroleum Storage Tank (PST) rules, there are other permitting, reporting, and spill requirements that we regulate. The purpose of this guide is to summarize TCEQ’s regulatory oversight for those storage tanks in Texas.
Please note that the requirements for authorization of air emissions and Tier Two reporting are applicable to crude oil storage at locations that are under the jurisdiction of either the TCEQ or the RRC.
General Requirements for Bulk Storage of Crude
- Crude oil storage is not regulated in PST rules for ASTs as it does not meet the definition of petroleum product -Title 30, Texas Administrative Code (30 TAC), Sections§§ 121(a) and 334.2(84). Therefore, the registration and release reporting requirements for ASTs in Chapter 334 do not apply.
- Spill prevention and control rules in 30 TAC Chapter 327 rules do apply for storage of crude oil. This chapter provides general spill prevention requirements
- If an entity is covered under the Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP), it will need to incorporate any additional crude oil storage in its Stormwater Pollution Prevention
- If storage is occurring over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge or Transition Zone, 30 TAC Chapter 213 rules, including secondary containment, may apply prior to construction and use of an AST. Chapter 213 provides protection of the Edwards Aquifer.
- Any secondary containment requirements are implemented directly by EPA through Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 112 and not by TCEQ.
- Also, there may be local government and/or fire marshal requirements and additional regulations within the city, county, or other local juristictions.
Air Permitting of Crude Storage
The storage of crude oil in ASTs requires an air authorization through either a Permit by Rule (PBR) or a case-by-case New Source Review (NSR) permit prior to construction or operation of the tanks.
All emissions from operation of the storage tanks, and any other emissions from the project due to truck, rail or marine loading, roof landings, and/or maintenance, startup and shutdown must be authorized.
Under current air permitting rules, there is not a specific definition of a crude storage terminal.
Permit by Rule (PBR)
- PBR registrations can authorize the construction and/or operation of new crude storage tank facilities that meet the specific requirements of 30 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Chapter 106, Subchapter U (§§ 106.473 and 478).
- 30 TAC§ 106.473: Organic Liquid Loading and Unloading
- 30 TAC§ 106.478: Storage Tank and Change of Service
*Please note that unloading of crude can be authorized under 30 TAC§ 106.261 Facilities (Emission Limit at ions) .
- 30 TAC§§ 106.473, and§ 106.478 can also authorize the change of service for NSR permitted storage
- PBR requirements include control, monitoring, and throughput limitations that depend on the size of the tank, chemical stored, and location of the
- If the storage tank(s) cannot meet the specific requirements of the PBR authorization, authorization under a case-by-case NSR permit would be required .
- PBRs may require registration which can be submitted using the TCEQ online STEERs system.
Case-by-Case NSR Permit
- If a NSR permit is required, best available control technology (BACT) is required to be installed for the storage tanks . This includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements:
- All tanks must be equipped with permanent submerged fill pipes and be painted white or unpainted
- Atmospheric storage tanks shall not be permitted to store material with a vapor pressure greater than 0 psia at 95 degrees Fahrenheit (QF) without a closed vent system routed to control.
- Material with a vapor pressure greater than 5 psia at 95 QF that is stored in tanks that are greater than 25,000 gallons must be stored in either an internal floating roof tank, an external floating roof tank, or a fixed roof tank with vents routed to an emissions control device.
- Material with a vapor pressure less than 0.5 psia at 95 QF or material being stored in a tank that is less than 25,000 gallons may be stored in a fixed roof tank.
- New tanks shall be constructed with a drain-dry sump and floating roof tanks shall be equipped with connections to route vapors to a control device during
- In addition to meeting BACT requirements, an impacts analysis and federal applicability analysis will also be required based on permit program
- Initial case-by-case NSR permits and some permit amendments are subject to two 30-day public notice periods per 30 TAC§ 402(a)
- To apply for a case-by-case permit, prepare and submit a Pl-1 workbook and all supporting technical and administrative information
Control of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) for Crude Storage
Control requirements for the storage of crude are specified in 30 TAC Chapter 115, Subchapter B, Division 1.
- Individual tanks storing crude oil are required to control emissions based on vapor pressure of liquid, tank storage capacity, and location of tank (§115.112(e)(1));.
- Individual tanks or aggregate of tanks at a pipeline breakout station or tank battery storing crude oil prior to custody transfer in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW1) and the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria (HGB2) areas are required to control flash gases if emissions from tank(s) meet a major source threshold (§115.112(e)(5)).
- 50 tons per year (tpy) of VOC in the DFW area, except Wise County; currently 100tpy of VOC in Wise County then 50 tpy beginning July 20, 2021
- 25 tpy of VOC in the HGB area
- Tanks with certain capacity limits qualify for exemption in 30 TAC Chapter 115, Subchapter B, Division1.
- Tanks with capacity < 210,000 gal prior to custody transfer in Beaumont-Port Arthur (BPA3) and El Paso areas, and Gregg, Nueces, and Victoria Counties, are exempt from the division
- Other requirements in Subchapter B, Division 1 apply, such as vapor control system monitoring requirements (§115.115) and tank inspection and repair requirements (§115.114).