The Sarlux plant lies next to the sea, and its marine terminals are its gateway to the world. Most of the crude for the refining process is delivered by sea; likewise, most of the finished product is shipped by sea. The Sarlux terminal is under the supervision of the Cagliari Port Authority. It covers approximately one third of the stretch of water fronting Sarroch. The local waters are also rich in marine life. However, in view of constant oil tanker traffic, to ensure the safety of fishermen and pleasure boaters, the terminal area is off limits to other boats, by order of the Harbour Master. The remaining two thirds of the sea area fronting Sarroch are freely accessible for all sea activities, including fishing. The old Sarlux pier belongs to the southern plant of the complex (the original site of the refinery, to which on 1 January 2015 the former Versalis petrochemical plant was added, now known as northern plant). The pier, which is linked to the refinery, juts out to sea by almost 3,000 m. Along its sides the raw materials are received and most of the refined products are shipped (82% in 2013).
The old terminal at the South plant has 11 independent mooring points: 9 for tankers of up to 65,000 tonnes: they are used for shipping the finished oil products and for receipt of semi-processed products. The two piers further away from the shore, for the mooring of tankers of up to 300,000 tonnes, are used for the unloading of crude.
Even before a legal requirement was introduced, Saras decided to allow mooring at its wharves only of double-hull ships, to ensure safe transport of crude oil and protection of the sea. In addition to complying with strict international safety standards, the ships admitted to the Sarlux port must comply with other minimum security standards established by the Saras Group, which establish a sort of ”identity card” for each vessel: a precious store of information for the staff handling the sea operations, especially because it makes it possible to decide which ships are fit for mooring and which instead fall short of Sarlux standards. All crude delivery and product shipping operations – including ship mooring and their connection to the loading arms for loading/offloading products – are carried out in conditions of utmost safety.
TERMINAL CONTROL ROOM The port is monitored by a dedicated control room. This is the Sarlux operations room, equipped with the latest control technology, and manned 24 hours a day. The room is in constant radio contact with the ships waiting at anchor, to ensure that all operations comply fully with safety and environmental protection requirements.
STORAGE Raw materials and finished products are stored in the Tank Farm, while liquefied gases (LPG) are stored in special pressurised containers, called spheres and bullets. In total, the refinery has 161 tanks with an overall capacity of around 3.8 million cubic metres. All tanks are fitted with permanent fire-prevention systems and containment basins in reinforced concrete with cement floors, or with earthworks, to isolate the products and protect the soil from any leaks.
FIRE PREVENTION SYSTEM AT THE TANK FARM
The fire prevention system in the LPG storage areas is controlled by a device which considers several parameters (including wind direction) to activate actions to prevent fires and contain any product leaks. To prevent accidents, the LPG tanks are also equipped with pressure monitoring and unexpected pressure surge relief systems.