Inspections and maintenance
Every two years a certified inspector must carry out an external, visual inspection. This is known as an “inspection during operation”. With underground tanks the cathodic protection must be checked by a suitable firm every two years to determine whether the tank is rusting in any places. The safety valves must be checked every four years. Normally this involves a specialist firm dismantling them, testing them in a workshop and replacing them if necessary. Every twelve years the tank must be shut down and subjected to thorough inspection by suitably qualified technicians. Normally this is done by means of acoustic emission testing, but on rare occasions the inspector climbs into the tank and checks the interior by various methods.
According to the manufacturers’ specifications, pressure regulators have a useful life of 15 years, after which they have to be replaced. The durability of the paintwork is heavily dependent on the surroundings. Certain trees emit substances that attack paint. Generally, though, the paintwork can be expected to last at least 20 years.
Under current legislation the “operator” of a gas tank (i.e. the person who uses the gas) is responsible for safety and compliance with all rules and regulations imposed by law.
As a service offered to all its contractual customers, SOCAR can take responsibility for organising these safety and compliance duties and activities. In exchange for a flat-rate annual fee SOCAR will co-ordinate and liaise with all necessary specialists and arrange for any works required to be carried out. A condition of this service is that any sub-contractor called in by SOCAR must have unobstructed access to the customer’s installation at all times.
LPG tank surroundings
In general, any change in the surroundings will affect the gas tank. For example, if you wish to erect a wooden structure (shed, etc.), the safety rules governing minimum distances from the tank will apply, i.e. the wooden structure must be at least ten metres from the tank.
Before embarking on any works that will alter the tank’s immediate surroundings, please contact the SOCAR area manager, who will visit the site and offer advice on potential additional protective measures as well as helping you with applications to the authorities for any planning permission you will require.
Whenever there is a defect in your system, SOCAR will help to identify the cause and call in an appropriate technician as early as possible. If tank fittings are defective they will be replaced by a qualified firm; if necessary, your tank will be emptied into a SOCAR tanker to allow this work to take place.
SOCAR hotline for emergencies
During office hours your call will be put through directly to a suitably qualified SOCAR employee, who will discuss the situation with you to establish the best way to resolve your emergency.
Outside office hours your call will be put through to an external emergency service which will then connect you with a suitably qualified maintenance company. In this way SOCAR guarantees the quickest possible response to a gas tank emergency at any time of night or day.
Emergency hotline: 044 214 41 11