SUMMARY - Solex Robotics provided a  API 653 inspection in a tank (174 ft. diameter) containing 206,000 bbls of light crude.  BP Amoco saved more than $185,000 by using Maverick in lieu of a conventional inspection.  The tank stayed in-service during the entire inspection.


February 15-17, 1999 Maverick successfully inspected a large floating-roof storage tank containing light crude at BP AMOCO's Port Hudson, Louisiana facilities.  The large 206,000 bbl. floating roof tank had been in continuous use since its construction in 1979.  This tank is used for gathering light crude for pipeline transport to barge terminal facilities on the Mississippi River. In order to complete a conventional inspection, it would have been necessary to hire barges for 35 days to provide alternate storage capacity.  The tank would have needed to be drained, the sludge removed, the bottom cleaned and the shell degassed prior to inspection.  The inspection was a complete API 653 consisting of: an engineering evaluation of the foundation and edge settlement; roof, roof vents and seal inspection; wall and roof UT examination; and, featuring an in-service robotic UT floor survey,   Based on prior hard dollar bids, Solex Robotics demonstrated to BP AMOCO a savings of more than $185,000. 

The robotic inspection was made difficult by several factors.  Based on samples, the bottom sludge was estimated to be less than 2 inches.  In the initial insertion, Maverick encountered sludge in excess of 25 inches deep and was completely submerged below the sludge line.  Countermeasures were used to dissipate the sludge and enabled the inspection to proceed.  Due to the beveled construction of the chine ring, Maverick was not able to survey the ring.  Collecting ultrasonic data through the bottom floor fiberglass coating was at first considered to be a major obstacle.  Solex was able to match the UT transducers with the substrates and gate the fiberglass readings.  This allowed the system to take back wall readings off the carbon steel floor.  BP AMOCO hired Veritank Inspection an independent inspection firm to verify Solex's equipment and operating procedures, the UT data reliability and collection repeatability. 

The results were substantial.  Maverick performed in a very large tank.  The sonar mapping and data acquisition provided more than 100,000 discrete UT data points for analysis.  The estimates on the set-up and take-down time were accurate.  Even though there was a torrential downpour on the second and third days of operations, the Maverick inspection proceeded uninterrupted.

A major factor in BP AMOCO's selection of Solex was safety.  Maverick and its complete supporting systems have been independently and verifiably certified for Class I Division 1 Group D.  We are committed to safety and are proud of our safety record.  Solex, since its inception in 1989, has never had a lost day or workers compensation claim.

The estimated environmental savings from this project follow:

References are available upon request.