Building & Launching Dubai's Kazzans 1970s

Dubai's Oil was discovered offshore in 1967. That raised the problem of how oil could be stored before being exported. Land based storage was expensive so the concept of undersea storage tanks was decided as the most economical and practical solution. Chicago Bridge and Engineering Company were given the task of designing and building these tanks. These undersea storage tanks were given the name Kazzan.

Champagne and Oil don't mix

Neither does Oil and Seawater.

This property forms the basis for deploying Dubai's underwater storage tanks (called Kazzans). The system harnesses both oil pressure from the offshore oil well and seawater pressure to allow oil to flow in and out of the underwater storage tanks without the need for any powered pumps. This system provided an economical solution to Dubai's problem of how to store their offshore oil.

CLICK CHAMPAGNE GLASS to see How Kazzans Work

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    Take One Champagne Glass
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    Turn Champagne Glass upside down
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    Place upsidedown Champagne Glass in the sea so its rim is just clear of the sea bed
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    Replace Champagne Glass with a Steel Tank the same shape as the Champagne Glass.
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    Connect tank top to oil well on one side and a floating single point mooring buoy on the other
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    Tank is now ready to operate
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    • Open the valve top the oil well
    • Oil flows under pressure from the oil well into the tank
    • Seawater is forced out through the gap between the tank and sea bed
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    Oil and Water don't mix so oil fills the tank displacing seawater in the process
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    When the tank is full, valve from the oil well is closed.
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    Now the tank is ready to deliver oil to a Tanker Ship via the mooring buoy
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    Tanker Ship connects to the buoy via a flexible pipeline
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    • Ship ties up to the mooring buoy
    • Valve to mooring buoy is opened
    • Sea water pressure forces oil upwards and out of the tank
    • Tanker Ship fills with oil
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    Tanks completes loading and sails
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    Tank is now ready to be filled again with oil.

Building Kazzans on Chicago Beach

Chicago Beach, as it came to be called, was out of town back in 1970. Road access was poor and there were no nearby facilities. These three 100 meter high structures were to be built on top of the beach sand then but inside a sand dam wall. This was to allow sea water to be pumped in and float the Kazzans with the aid of airbags after construcction was complete. Once a Kazzan was afloat, the dam wall was dug away and the Kazzan towed out to sea. Once the Kazzan was in position at Al Fateh Offshore Oilfield, then air was released from the airbags and the Kazzan sunk onto the sea bed.

CLICK IMAGE to see how Kazzans were constructed

Sheikh Rashid launches the first Kazzan

Kazzans were important to Sheikh Rashid. Although oil had been discovered in 1960s, Dubai had not been able to export their oil so obtain revenue to support Sheikh Rashid's ambitious development plans.

Putting these Oil Storage Tanks in place meant Dubai was close to exporting its oil and funding Dubai's development. Dubai's oil find was modest compared to some of its neighbours but crucial to Dubai's future.

CLICK IMAGE to see Sheikh Rashid launch the first Kazzan in 1970

VIDEO: Building Kazzans on Chicago Beach