How Tank Intelligence prevented loss of HC & helped in tank maintenance saving $12M for operators

4 min read

Digitalization is helping Oil & Gas industry to take a leap ahead of its time, covering every aspect of upstream, midstream & downstream. So, storage remains no unmarked territory in this. Particularly considering the production phase of upstream, storage tanks play a crucial role. After the initial separation of the crude oil, these tanks act as the collection point for both pushing it for further separation on the field or to transport the separated products to refineries hundreds & thousands of kilometres apart. Since the numbers of these tanks on production field are large, the current conventional approach of manual monitoring & intervention is not feasible. According to Oil & Gas Technology, digitalization is the key for the operators to be in front of competitors, while considering the tank storage management.

Since there are different applications of the tanks over the producing fields, different types of tanks are also introduced for every application. Talking about the types of roof present in the tanks, fixed roof tanks & floating roof tanks are the two types where the earlier one is primarily used for storing residual fuel oil & the latter one is for crude oil. When you get down to tanks particularly used for storing separated petroleum products, bullet tank & spherical tank comes for storing normal butane, propane, isobutane etc. But if you consider the challenges faced by the facility operator engineer there in the field, it is generally the same with all types of tanks.

But what exactly are the challenges there on producing field? This was the question we asked the one of the largest oil and gas producer primarily into shale gas. The answer really helped us understand as to how we can help the facility operator to make his job easy. Starting off, the primary concern for them was the monitoring of the tanks. The facility operator today had to travel a significant distance in order to reach the storage tanks over the field & note the value in order to gauge the tank. They will be recording the flowline volumes, but the reading noted helped them understand the situation of leakages or large spills. This whole process posed a problem for them when considering the environmental conditions prevailing in the field such as snowstorm or severe weather conditions, keeping them away from the field. Also, marking the reading was a post-facto analysis for them which made them vulnerable to spills & leakages.

Talking about the next concern, they faced the issue of maintenance of the storage tanks. They were following the maintenance schedule as marked but facility operator there on the field saw that tanks sometimes needed immediate inspection due to corrosion over the side of tanks. This resulted in leakage of the crude oil. This made the operator search for some solution which could help the facility operator take actions in order to be safe from any issues & also to possess the information as to when to inspect the tanks.

So, the next part comes as to how AI can help operators? Just think about the situation where the facility operator can monitor the tank from the operations command centre. It could be a leap forward for the operator since the time wasted for visiting the tank every time for taking the reading is saved. Cerebra made this possible, by ingesting the level sensor data which helped the field operator to monitor the tank from his/her command centre in real time. With this feature, the operator was able to see the trend of tank storage which in turn solved the problem of quick detection of leakage & spillage. One example of the scenario was there with this operator was that with real-time remote monitoring, the facility operator detected the rise of crude oil in the floating roof tank above the safety limit. This led to the prevention of LOPC (Loss of Primary Containment), thus saving time & money.
Another benefit that operator availed of Tank Intelligence was with the real-time remote diagnostics, where the operator could see the performance of the tank. This indicates the facility operator about the condition of the tank so that he/she can plan for preventive maintenance, thus reducing inspection trips to the field.

This solution was marked as an important option for this producer as it helped to save time, & in-turn creates a higher level of safety across the tank storage area. Talking in numbers, Tank Intelligence helped operator save about 12 hours a week, and with the prevention of events of leakages & spillages, the numbers show a saving of about $12 Million per year.

How about creating another level of safety over your field with our Tank Intelligence solution & reducing work for your facility operators? Do contact us to see the potential of Cerebra in saving millions for your producing fields.

Do let us know your views as to how much more savings can be done when it comes to AI applications in the production phase of upstream. Also, stay tuned for our next post where we will talk about the top 7 AI use cases which have transformed the upstream production phase.

Nigel Alley


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