Inspectioneering
Inspectioneering Journal

Transforming Tank Management Through the Power of Drones

By Philip Buchan, Commercial Director at Cyberhawk. This article appears in the January/February 2019 issue of Inspectioneering Journal

Introduction

The use of drones for confined space inspection is already proving to reduce safety risks and create efficiencies in both time and cost. These benefits have been realized particularly in the oil, gas and petrochemical industry in internal tank inspection, a traditionally expensive, time-consuming activity which involves personnel working at elevated heights and in confined spaces for sustained periods of time.

Why is inspection needed?

Tanks are subject to many challenges, from adverse weather to the containment of hazardous, often corrosive substances.

Many assets in the oil, gas and petrochemical industry are also aging and being pushed well-past their design life, which means more frequent inspection is required to identify and monitor any problem areas. The frequency of inspection required only increases risk to safety issues surrounding confined space entry for inspection.

It is essential that any defects, or areas which could become a problem, are identified as quickly as possible so they can be regularly monitored and addressed at the appropriate time, before failure occurs. If failure does happen, this can result in numerous problems, from loss of product containment and production and environmental contamination, to safety risks and potentially knock-on effect to other assets.

A comprehensive tank integrity management strategy is required to maximize the life of the tank, ensure it operates effectively and efficiently, and avoid the cost implications associated with any downtime.

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