At Josh and Mak International, we are committed to providing detailed legal guidance on regulatory and technical standards within the energy sector. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the “Technical Standards for Depots for the Storage of Petroleum Products,” issued by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) of Pakistan. These standards are designed to ensure the safety, reliability, and efficiency of petroleum storage facilities.

Scope and Applicability

The “Technical Standards for Depots for the Storage of Petroleum Products” apply to all licensees involved in the regulated activity of storing petroleum products. These standards cover various aspects, including design, construction, operation, and maintenance of storage depots, ensuring that they meet the necessary safety and operational requirements.

Key Provisions of the Standards

1. Short Title and Commencement

  • These regulations may be cited as the “Technical Standards for the Petroleum Industry (Depots for the Storage of Petroleum Products)” and came into force on July 2, 2009.

2. Applicability

  • These regulations apply to all licensees undertaking the regulated activity of storing petroleum products. They ensure that storage depots are designed, constructed, and operated in accordance with prescribed technical standards.

3. Definitions

  • The standards provide definitions for key terms used throughout the document, such as articulated vehicle, boiling point, bulk plant depot, classification of fire, classification of liquids, emergency relief venting, foam application systems, foam concentrate, flash point, hazardous area classification, and storage tank types.

Chapter 1: Design Standards

1. Pipe Design

  • Pipes must be designed with sufficient wall thickness and protection to withstand external pressures and loads. The design pressure for steel pipes is calculated using a specified formula considering factors like yield strength, diameter, wall thickness, design factor, longitudinal joint factor, and temperature derating factor.

2. Valves and Flanges

  • Valves must meet the minimum requirements of API 6D or equivalent standards. Flanges must conform to ANSI B16.5 and MSS SP-44, ensuring they can withstand maximum operational pressures.

3. Pressure Control Guidelines

  • The standards outline the maximum allowable pressures at various points in the distribution system, such as sales meter stations, city gates, and customer service points.

Chapter 2: Construction Standards

1. Handling and Installation

  • Proper handling and installation techniques are mandated to prevent damage to pipes, coatings, and fittings. Guidelines are provided for ditching, backfilling, and ensuring sufficient cover for buried pipelines.

2. Crossing Railroads and Highways

  • Standards for both cased and uncased crossings are detailed, including minimum wall thickness requirements and the need for proper alignment and clearance.

3. Cathodic Protection

  • Measures to prevent corrosion through cathodic protection systems are required, ensuring long-term integrity of the pipeline.

Chapter 3: Operational Standards

1. Inspection and Maintenance

  • Regular inspections and maintenance activities are required to ensure the continued safety and efficiency of the distribution system. This includes periodic testing of pressure control devices and cathodic protection systems.

2. Emergency Preparedness

  • The standards mandate procedures for handling emergencies, including gas leaks, equipment failures, and natural disasters. Companies must have contingency plans in place to mitigate risks.

3. Record Keeping

  • Detailed records of inspections, maintenance, and operational activities must be maintained. This ensures traceability and accountability, facilitating regulatory compliance and operational audits.

Chapter 4: Safety Measures

1. Fire Safety

  • The standards classify different types of fires (Class A, B, C, D, K) and provide guidelines for fire prevention and control measures. This includes the installation of fire extinguishing systems and emergency relief venting to prevent excessive vapor pressure rise.

2. Hazardous Area Classification

  • The standards define classes of hazardous locations (Class I, II, III) and the required constructional features for equipment used in these areas. This ensures that equipment is suitable for use in environments where flammable gases, vapors, or dust may be present.

3. Foam Application Systems

  • Guidelines for fixed, semi-fixed, mobile, and portable foam application systems are provided. The standards also classify foams into low-expansion, medium-expansion, and high-expansion groups and specify their appropriate use.

Chapter 5: Tank Specifications

1. Aboveground and Underground Tanks

  • The standards specify the design, construction, and installation requirements for both aboveground and underground storage tanks. This includes requirements for burial depth, cover, venting, and protection against traffic damage.

2. Venting Requirements

  • Detailed venting requirements for atmospheric, low-pressure, and pressure vessels are provided. This ensures that tanks are adequately vented to prevent pressure or vacuum conditions that could compromise their integrity.

3. Prevention of Overfilling

  • The standards mandate the use of high-level detection devices, alarms, and automatic shut-off systems to prevent overfilling of storage tanks, thereby reducing the risk of spills and accidents.

Chapter 6: Fire Fighting Systems

1. Fire Water Systems

  • The standards outline the design and application rates for water and foam systems used in fire fighting. This includes the capacity and flow rates of fire pumps, the spacing of hydrants, and the provision of sectional block valves and check valves.

2. Foam Systems

  • Guidelines for the design and operation of foam application systems for various types of tanks and storage areas are provided. This includes the use of fixed, semi-fixed, and portable systems for fire suppression.

3. Equipment Protection

  • The standards specify water spray application rates for protecting equipment, structural steel, and other installations from fire exposure. This ensures adequate cooling and fire suppression in the event of an incident.

Legal and Operational Implications


  • Adherence to these standards is mandatory. Non-compliance can result in severe legal and financial consequences, including fines, operational shutdowns, and increased liability.

Quality and Reliability:

  • Implementing these standards ensures the high quality and reliability of storage facilities. This reduces the risk of failures and enhances the overall safety and efficiency of petroleum storage operations.

Safety and Risk Management:

  • The standards are designed to mitigate risks associated with the storage of petroleum products. By following these guidelines, companies can prevent accidents, protect public health, and ensure the safety of their operations.

Transparency and Accountability:

  • The detailed record-keeping and reporting requirements promote transparency and accountability within the industry. This facilitates regulatory compliance and enables quick identification and rectification of any issues.

International Standards:

  • Compliance with internationally recognized standards ensures that storage facilities in Pakistan meet global benchmarks for safety and quality. This enhances the competitiveness and credibility of the industry.


The “Technical Standards for Depots for the Storage of Petroleum Products” provide a robust framework for ensuring the safety, reliability, and efficiency of petroleum storage facilities in Pakistan. These standards are well-aligned with international benchmarks and emphasize quality assurance and safety. At Josh and Mak International, we are dedicated to assisting our clients in understanding and complying with these standards, ensuring their operations meet the highest regulatory and safety requirements. For detailed advice and support, please contact our expert team

By The Josh and Mak Team

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