Routine maintenance of Oil & Gas storage tanks increases their reliability and lifespan

Routine maintenance of Oil & Gas storage tanks increases their reliability and lifespan

21 April 2023 by Sinead Little

Structural integrity of storage tanks is one of the core considerations of any tank owner and the maintenance of these tanks should be scheduled routinely, to ensure they are always in good working condition and do not pose safety risks to workers or the environment.

The main reason for conducting inspection and maintenance procedures is to identify problems such as the presence of any leaks or corrosion. Addressing these matters reduces the chances of catastrophic failure and prevents the high cost of repair following an actual tank failure.

Ensuring the integrity of oil and gas storage tanks is essential because of the disastrous nature of incidents that have occurred in the past.

To the tank owner a tank failure translates to the loss of an expensive asset. It also corresponds to the loss of business because the tank is no longer in operation. Adding to that fatalities, personal injury of workers and contractors, public investigations and fines can all have a devastating impact on a business’s reputation and their bottom line.

A tank failure could also have catastrophic consequences to the environment, including contamination of earth and waterways, and the deaths of animals on land and potentially in seas and rivers.

Therefore, maintenance procedures should be performed regardless of the condition of the tanks, and storage tank owners can keep themselves right by employing proactive measures aimed at systematically cleaning and inspecting the integrity of their assets.

According to the team at Re-Gen Robotics, experts with over 12,000+ hours of reliable storage tank cleaning under their belt, safety should always be the first business driver. The health and safety of personnel engaged in tank cleaning and inspection for the company, is paramount.

Fortunately, technological advances have resulted in the creation of fully submersible, no man entry tank cleaning robots that undeniably reduce the risks associated with outdated, dangerous, and time-consuming manual cleaning procedures, while increasing efficiency and tank performance.

Re-Gen Robotics’ autonomous robots have been proven to considerably reduce the complexity and time taken in conducting tank cleaning maintenance. From arrival on site, to the robot entering the tank is approximately two hours, with no spading of the tanks required. Additionally, the job can be done on average 60% faster in comparison to traditional methods.

Manual tank cleaning which requires costly, potentially dangerous scaffolding and rope access can be avoided. Re-Gen Robotics provides a fully contained system so no cranage or vacuum jetting is required. Remote-controlled tank cleaning robots can also perform maintenance faster and more consistently than human beings and eliminate the need for managing a large number of personnel on site, that would have otherwise been involved.

The reduced time taken during the cleaning of the tank considerably improves the operational safety and efficiency of the process. If the repairs are marginal, the tank need only be out of operation for a short period of time.

Minimal resources are required because the process is simpler compared to traditional manual tank cleaning and inspection methods. Environmental risks are significantly reduced due to the closed-loop cleaning circuits and the highly efficient hydrocarbon recovery system Re-Gen Robotics employs: no vapour is released into the environment and there is less likelihood of spills.

Once the tank has been cleaned inspection can then be performed on specific parts of the structures of the tanks including tank welds, tank shell, rafters, girders, joints, and the roof. Problems like flaking or oil material deposits and build up in joints, deep corrosion, deformation, and exposure of raw metal to oxidation and galvanic reaction can easily be assessed and issues remediated.

In the last few years, the number of tank failures has been significantly reduced because the new inspection technology has a high accuracy level compared to physical inspections. The reports produced following tank cleans can be relied upon by tank owners to make well informed decisions which all translates to cost savings.

Planned maintenance procedures for storage tanks not only increase their reliability but also their lifespan. Preventative maintenance operations such as routine tank cleaning can really benefit storage tank owners, helping them locate specific defects and provide the correct type of repair which will ultimately achieve significant increases in speed in returning the asset back to operation.

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