Simon – investing in our infrastructure

Greater complexity

Stock control work has become increasingly complicated with some niche areas – such as AvGas for light aircraft and military requirements – requiring much additional documentation and HMRC administration. The capability to store hydrocarbon oil and biofuel products under excise duty suspension arrangements is a key aspect of the Simon Storage business. The correct operation and control of stocks held in the duty suspended warehousing facilities is fundamental to this capability.

Recent years have seen significant changes; which have led to greater complexity in terms of Simon’s stock accounting and HMRC compliance functions. The changes have been driven by a number of factors including developments in fuel technology and environmental legislation, more complex fuel blending operations, economic volatility and a revised regulatory methodology resulting from reductions in HMRC resources. In combination these factors have had a substantial impact.

Simon Storage has responded to this challenge by establishing a dedicated in-house Customs and Stock Management Services (CASMS) team to focus on compliance. The team assists terminals with customer queries related to stock reporting and excise duty issues where required, providing expertise to facilitate full compliance with relevant stock management and HMRC approvals.

Opening up new storage horizons

Greenergy operates a biodiesel plant at Immingham West. Indeed, the growth of the specialised fuels market, and biofuels in particular, has provided new work along with the recent introduction of a ‘first fill’ fuel contract for prestige cars on behalf of another customer who is new to the terminal.

Now, as oil majors withdraw from North Sea oil fields, selling interests to smaller companies with novel technologies to get the last buck out of the field, a decommissioning and waste management industry is emerging.

“We were part of the process when North Sea oil extraction took off, now as its fields decline and close there’s a new storage need emerging,” said Keith. “We now have a permit from the Environment Agency to handle a broad range of aqueous waste and to transfer this to UK disposal sites. Some waste will be potentially presented with Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material so we’re now looking to gain appropriate permitting to allow us to handle these specialist streams. Ideally, we’d like to receive, store and treat using our own onsite effluent treatment plants.

“Still a decade off, I believe there’s a whole new industry to be borne out of fracking, with energy storage and responsible receipt, disposal of waste water and chemicals derived from these processes.

“Also in the Humber region, carbon capture and storage has been under discussion. We await results from Statoil’s pilot plant in Norway to see how these economics develop.”

Providing infrastructure support

On a dock site first developed over 100 years ago by the Great Central Railway Company with interesting connections to the Pilgrim Fathers and the Titanic, Simon continues to play its part in supporting our energy infrastructure, bankrolling asset conversion work against a commercial agreement with a potential customer.

“Storage and distribution of oil products is tough at the moment for our customers. In the halcyon days, we’d often wonder how we were going to accommodate enquiries for product. In recent times the credit squeeze has had an impact and backwardation means product can be worth less just a day after it’s purchased. As a result, more product is now mortgaged, with a bank holding legal interest, and stocks are managed to maintain as small an inventory as practicable, but balancing this against economic parcel sizes for shipment.”

Safety is paramount to Simon, each of its UK terminals having won a RoSPA award every year for nearly 20 consecutive years. This year the Immingham terminals each merited a special order of distinction for excellence in health and safety.

Living with the hydrocarbon chain

“The hydrocarbon chain remains an intrinsic part of the complicated building blocks which make up our 21st century life. It’s not just about buying oil products such as the fuel for your car; it’s about all the other essential benefits that oil produces for our present way of life.”


Company information

Simon Storage, part of Inter Pipeline Europe Ltd, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Inter Pipeline Ltd., which operates energy infrastructure assets in western Canada, the UK, Germany, Ireland and Denmark.

The 4th largest in European capacity, Inter Pipeline’s European operation has 8 terminals in the UK, Ireland and Germany with a combined bulk liquid/gas storage capacity of 1.28 million m3, and 4 terminals in Denmark with 1.8 million m3. Across Simon’s storage network, 250 different products and blends are handled, including the full range of petroleum and petrochemical products, renewable fuels, chemical products and vegetable oils.