Bulk Tank Gauging and Measurement for Midstream Oil Processing and Storage

The Scenario - Bulk Storage Tank Levelling and Gauging 

A midstream oil processing and storage company operates numerous bulk storage terminals across a large geographical area. Product sent through pipelines from upstream oil exploration and production companies arrives at the site for storage, processing, and transporting onward to downstream refineries. 

As part of the normal tank management and maintenance processes, workers must manually inspect tanks for signs of corrosion, degradation, or other damage. Similarly, oil tank gauging and measurement requires operators to climb on top of the tanks, open the hatch, and visually inspect and verify the level of oil. 

To reduce operational expenses, optimize performance, and mitigate risk to personnel, the midstream oil company needs a better approach to monitoring and maintaining bulk storage tanks. 

The Challenge - Keeping Workers Safe and Avoiding Accidents

Bulk liquid storage tanks are difficult to monitor, maintain, and operate. They require frequent inspections to ensure they are operating in good condition and to verify tank levels to avoid overflows and spills while maximizing storage capacity. 

Manual tank gauging is not only a time-consuming and expensive process, but one that also puts workers at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals. Toxic gasses and other emissions can be released when opening the tank, leading to both acute and long-term injury, illness, or death. In fact, a recent report found that tank gauging caused at least 21 deaths since 2010 after workers inhaled toxic gasses. 

Further, storage tanks contain highly volatile and corrosive materials that can degrade the structure of the tank over time. If left unrepaired, tank wall failures can result in leaks and spills that damage the surrounding environment and increase the risk of fire or catastrophic failure. Companies can also face significant fines or penalties for non-compliance with local safety and environmental regulations.

Alternative approaches to tank monitoring, such as internal gauging equipment or guided wave sensors that sit inside the tank are expensive, difficult to install, and hard to maintain, limiting their usefulness. 

The Solution - Touchless™ Monitoring for Bulk Storage Facilities 

Explosion-proof radiometric thermal sensors from Systems With Intelligence allow operators to quantify and visualize liquid in storage tanks, measure fuel temperatures, and evaluate conditions for pressure build-up and leaks without the need for manual verification. 

Optical gas imaging (OGI) sensors that leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics can also be used to detect, visualize, and quantify gas leaks as soon as they occur. Similarly, the sensors provide early detection and quantification of liquid oil leaks, reducing the loss of valuable product and minimizing emissions and environmental damage. 

The easy-to-install sensors offer pan/tilt/zoom capabilities to monitor multiple tanks with a single camera. Additional alarms can be configured to detect a person entering a restricted area or climbing a tank, while automatic fire detection systems immediately trigger an alarm and alert technicians to the presence of flames or smoke. 

Features and Capabilities

  • Thermal or OGI sensors to detect tank level and gas leakage
  • Certified explosion-proof and corrosion-proof
  • Pan/tilt/zoom to monitor multiple tanks with a single sensor
  • Min/max threshold alarms to prevent overflow and spills
  • Advanced AI and analytics for visualization and quantification 
  • Cost-effective and easy to install and maintain 


  • Improved safety of personnel and surrounding communities 
  • Reduced product loss from leaks or spills
  • Reduced emissions and environmental damage
  • Early detection of corrosion, degradation, or damage
  • Mitigated risk of fire or catastrophic failure
  • Improved operations & maintenance processes

The Results - Optimized Performance and a Safer Environment

Remote monitoring solutions reduce the time workers spend operating in dangerous and hazardous conditions. With thermal and OGI sensors covering the entire bulk storage facility, workers no longer need to climb on tanks and open the hatch to verify oil levels. 

Operators can instead monitor multiple facilities from a centralized location, mitigating risk, reducing the burden on scarce technical resources, and lowering overall operations & maintenance costs. When an alarm is triggered, operators can quickly identify the source of the issue and prioritize a response.

With greater visibility of remote storage facilities and better access to data, the midstream oil storage and processing company can optimize performance, reduce emissions and product loss, and transition toward a condition-based maintenance strategy based on the actual health of the tanks.