STORAGE and terminaling facilities must have a tank inspection program in order to reduce the potential for failure and the release of stored products.
“If you don't have a tank inspection program, you are basically working blind,” said Philip Myers, Chevron Products engineer.
For an inspection program to be effective, a company must provide a significant, sustained budget, and support from upper management.
“You can't get anywhere with this program unless it's adopted by top management,” Myers said.
He posed some questions for management to consider:
Are we in compliance with minimum industry standards governing our business?
How do we stand in complying with Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) mechanical integrity for tanks?
Are we in regulatory compliance?
Myers pointed out that the basic principles of the American Petroleum Institute (API-653) have been adopted as the tank inspection standard for the industry.
“Remember that API-653 is a performance-based standard, and that it must be tweaked to get it right for your operation,” he said.
A plan should include a risk-based ranking of tanks; identification of key drivers of risk for each tank; and identification of risk mitigations for each tank. The model results should be used to develop a preliminary long-term capital plan for tank upgrades. Update and use model results annually to fine-tune the implementation of the capital plan.
He pointed out that any tank constructed after 2002 must have a third-party coating inspection certification that attests to the coating installation meeting industry standards. The certification, like the inspection information, must be written, documented, and available.
Reputable companies should be chosen for the tank inspection, and they should provide adequate inspection reports.
In addition, he advised companies to develop a good, detailed inspection standard so that all reports will be consistent with the same organization and content.