Increasing production of hydrocarbons such as crude oil and natural gas coupled with rising demand of them makes inventory management a crucial aspect of the hydrocarbon market. With fluctuating prices and demand, maintenance of inventory is vital from operations point of view. Every process in the hydrocarbon industry, starting from production, refining of crude oil, and distribution of refined products requires storage tanks of various types and sizes depending on the operation. The storage tanks range from small welded or bolted tanks ideal in crude oil production fields to larger welded tanks mainly used in refineries and distribution terminals.
Storage tanks are selected based on the type of product to be stored, operating conditions, designing issues such as location of installation and space constraints, and storage capabilities for any operation. As storage tanks form an essential part of the hydrocarbon industry, their cleaning and maintenance is of great importance for proper functioning, safe, and continuous operation of the industry.
Cleaning of hydrocarbon tanks allows for full and safe access of tanks for inspection and maintenance purposes. It increases the dynamics of operational safety at the storage location. In order to maximize the lifetime or total service life of a tank, sufficient maintenance should be undertaken to counteract degradation mechanism such as corrosion or deposition. Cleaning of the tank is recommended even when one decides to change its storage content, so as to prevent the mixing of one content with another. Cleaning plays an important role in the maintenance of tank and it potentially helps in increasing the service life of the tank; however, it requires the tank to be out of commission for a certain period of time. Moreover, the cleaning process in itself can be a potentially hazardous procedure both for the environment and human life.
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Based on type of tank, the global hydrocarbon storage tank cleaning service market can be classified into crude oil storage tank, refinery storage tank, distribution terminal storage tank, and others. The crude oil storage tank segment includes tanks used for storing of crude oil either for transportation or for processing purposes. The segment is estimated to hold the leading share of the global hydrocarbon storage tank cleaning service market. The refinery storage tank segment comprises tanks used in a refinery for storing of refined products or intermediate products. The distribution terminal storage tank segment consists of tanks used for storing of refined products at distribution terminals out of the refinery. The others segment includes storage tanks utilized for storing of liquefied natural gas (LNG) or storage tanks installed at retail outlets.