Did you know that in Stillwater, OK, the Boone Pickens football stadium is one of only a handful of stadiums that’s aligned in an East-West direction?

Because of the stadium’s alignment, the football players play part of the game staring at the sun. Although the stadium has become the butt of many Aggie jokes (chalked up to poor planning), the stadium was purposely built in an East-West fashion to avoid Oklahoma’s strong prevailing winds.

Just as the sun can affect the outcome of a football game, it can also affect our total oil sales. The heat radiated from the sun warms the contents of each tank, and has the potential to decrease the operator’s total measurable volume of oil.

Sound like an uneven playing field? Well, if we take a page from the Savvy Operator’s playbook, we can minimize the effect the sun has on our oil production bottom line.

How?

Aligning tanks from North to South causes each tank to absorb an equal amount of sunlight throughout the day. The next time you build-out a lease, make sure you line up your tanks in an East-West fashion.  When tanks are aligned from East to West, the first tank takes the brunt of the sun’s rays and shades the other tanks from unnecessary heat.

Also, here’s another useful bit of information: the coolest oil generally resides on the North side of the tank. Although this seems somewhat obvious, few operators use this piece of knowledge to their advantage.

When planning a battery, make sure that every tank’s “hatch” is installed/positioned on the North side. That way, when the oil hauler takes the temperature of the oil, he’s taking the reading from a sample of the coolest oil in the tank. A 10 degree decrease in temperature of 40 API oil will increase your oil sales by 0.5%.

“Hey GreaseBook… that’s real interesting and all, but what do the rest of us do who already have their batteries set?”

Good question! Actually, the oil inlet line is a great place to start. We’ve seen many companies install a down-comer line inside their tanks on the inlet line. Since some welded tanks don’t have threads on the inside of the vessel, a line is welded inside a nipple where it can be lowered inside through the top (the line usually reaches down to within one foot of the bottom). To prevent siphoning and allow free gas to escape, it’s best practice to have one or two ½-inch holes drilled into the downcomer near the top.

According to the Marginal Well Commission’s “Lease Pumpers Handbook”, there are several benefits to installing an inlet line. First, by reducing the amount of “splashing” caused by dumping the oil directly into the tank, inlet lines can eliminate a lot of the static electricity. Remember, reduced static electricity means less corrosion caused by electrolysis.

Second, since inlet lines keep oil from splashing the liquid surface, the amount of light-ends escaping through the low pressure gas line is reduced. In fact, a downcomer installed on a tank full of condensate has the potential to increase the total sales by up to 5%!

And last — but definitely not least — one of the most important benefits of the inlet line is that it increases the circulation of our oil. The rolling action of the oil coming out of the inlet line further stimulates treatment and water fallout. It also helps stir-up any BS&W that has accumulated underneath the inlet area which helps keep our tank bottoms clean.

Got any tips of your own? Share them in the comments below!

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