The Oil & Gas sector utilizes large capacity Aboveground Storage Tanks (AST) to temporarily hold several different liquid or gas substances (e.g., water, crude, chemicals). The tanks are typically built up from welded steel plates, rest on top of the ground and are prone to corrosion over time.
Tank inspections are extremely costly, laborious, and creates a significant safety risk as they are performed manually, requiring storage tanks to be taken out-of-service, cleaned, and degassed to allow workers to enter the confined space.
In general, the population of tanks is quite diverse, ranging from 40’ to 300’ in diameter, in refineries, the most common are 110’ and 300’. The crude oil is of all types, light, paraffinic or asphaltenic, depending on the origin. Uncleaned tanks can be particularly challenging as the access to the tank floor is limited by a buildup of sediment or sludge (e.g., crude, wax, asphaltene). The sludge can range from 2-6 inches to 10 feet depending on the product characteristics but mostly in 2-5 feet range.
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