Storage Terminals Magazine Top 100 Tank Storage Influencers Guide 2023 – Chris Platt

16 May 2024

Chris Platt is a highly regarded industry expert with senior-level experience in both tank storage line management and Group SHE/HSEQ roles. With over 35 years in the oil & gas sector, Chris brings a wealth of knowledge and a track record of success to his role as Commercial Director at Re-Gen Robotics.

CP: I have worked in petrochemicals, refining and tank storage since completing my Chemical Engineering studies at Birmingham University. During this time, I have been fortunate to acquire significant senior-level experience in both Operational line management and Group SHE/HSEQ leadership roles. Most recently, I ran VARO Energy’s 42 European oil products terminals, spending 5 years based
in Switzerland. In recent roles, I have enjoyed representing my employers on committees for TSA, UKPIA and CONCAWE.

I am now bringing some of that experience to bear in promoting a cause that I feel very strongly about; improving the safety and environmental performance of the industry. Having moved from a client to a contractor organisation, I ensure that Re-Gen Robotics is both straightforward to deal with and noted
for employing the most capable and flexible robotic technology and teams available. My
role is to help the next generation of managers, engineers and commercial people to understand how they can address the challenges of cleaning storage tanks as safely as possible.

CP: Re-Gen Robotics provides specialist
B2B services to clients across the UK and Europe. With the first, Zone 0, (Class1 Div1) Ex-certified robotic tank cleaning technology in the UK, we are revolutionising safety in
the oil industry, by helping our clients avoid the need for confined space entries (CSE)
to remove sludge from tanks. Such entries subject operatives to toxic and flammable hazards for reasons that Re-Gen Robotics have demonstrated are no longer required. We seek to provide a service that is safer, faster and smarter, than the alternatives.

I lead and manage Re-Gen Robotics’ commercial activities, developing strong relationships with customers and partners to drive business growth. Re-Gen Robotics is an ambitious company, driven by its engineering DNA, setting itself aggressive targets in the UK and Europe.

CP: Industrial tank cleaning has long been
a challenging and hazardous task. Using traditional methods based on manned CSE, workers face numerous risks, from exposure to toxic chemicals to flammable and oxygen deficient atmospheres. However, with the advent of robotic tank cleaning, recently
the oil industry has witnessed a significant improvement in risk mitigation, which we confidently expect will become apparent in recorded safety performance. This innovative, yet now proven technology effectively reduces human presence in hazardous environments.

CP: I am proud to be part of an organisation that is successfully innovating to bring improved safety performance to the tank storage industry. Within the UK, we have undertaken the first robotic tank sludge removals and we are now being rewarded with repeat business. We expect that robotic tank cleaning will become part of the future and we are excited to be driving such a change forward.

CP: My vision is simple – It is for robotic cleaning to become the accepted norm for storage tank cleaning in the industry and for Re-Gen Robotics to become the provider of choice for that service. We will continue to innovate to both i) improve the rate at which we consistently remove oil sludges from tanks and ii) expand the range of services and processes that we offer to the customer in support of this.

CP: Industries handling materials that pose considerable hazards and therefore risk to human life, such as those storing large quantities of toxic or flammable materials are good candidates for robotic cleaning.

CP: Primarily, the development of our technology and the services offered is supported by an exceptional team of SHE, engineering, R&D and design professionals. Industry leading experts provide input on the key elements of our technology such as certification of electrical safety, the design of waste handling vehicles, robot suction head design and track technology.
We improve our systems with the twin goals of reliability and performance maximisation. Risk assessment is at the forefront of what we do, as we actively consider equipment failure modes and seek simplicity and ruggedness wherever it can be introduced. We carefully assess spares requirements and we examine routine maintenance methods and frequencies to ensure fitness for purpose and uptime of all equipment items.

CP: A number of key factors are important:

  • Is your organisation prepared and able to consider changing the way it does things? Is it capable of innovating in order to secure a better future?
  • Will you address the full cost of alternative approaches vs. robotic cleaning in your evaluation of tank cleaning options? Robotic usage offsets financial, reputational and societal costs of accidents – how will you assign value to those benefits?
  • Robots minimise the number of personnel on site, resource intensive planning and the need for complex management procedures. They also reduce tank durations. Do you account for those factors?
  • Will you consider the value brought
    by robotic sludge removals to the achievement of your ESG goals to keep employees and contractors safe on your sites? Isolating humans from significant hazards in tanks represents a step change in risk reduction for your operations.

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