Clear Span Tents: A Flexible Option for Oil and Gas Refineries

Industrial Portable Warehouses and Clear Span Tents

The oil and gas refinery industry is a critical pillar of the global economy, dedicated to processing raw hydrocarbons into usable fuel and other valuable products. These sprawling facilities are engineering marvels, covering large areas with intricate networks of machinery and infrastructure. They operate around the clock, often in challenging environmental conditions, to meet the world's energy needs.

Given the industry's scale and complexity, refinery operations face several challenges. Among these are effective space management, streamlined logistics, and minimizing operational disruptions during maintenance or unexpected events. Additionally, the ever-evolving demands of the industry necessitate adaptable solutions that can respond to change swiftly and efficiently.

In this context, one solution has emerged as particularly adaptable and beneficial: clearspan tents. Offering a blend of flexibility, ease of installation, and robust performance, these temporary structures are becoming an increasingly popular choice for many oil and gas refineries.

Fabric Hoop Building Construction

Understanding Clear Span Tents

Clear span tents are versatile, freestanding clear span structures devoid of internal columns or supports, thus maximizing usable space within. The "clear span" in the name refers to the unobstructed space within the tent, providing a wide, open area that can be customized to suit various needs. They are known for their durability, weather resistance, and ease of assembly and disassembly, making them an excellent choice for temporary or semi-permanent installations.

The key advantage of clear span tents lies in their flexibility. Their modular design allows for diverse configurations, adapting to different sizes and shapes as per the requirement. Furthermore, their robust galvanized frame construction enables them to withstand wind gusts up to 90 mph and blast loads up to 6 PSI making them suitable for oil and gas refineries that often operate in challenging environments. A clearspan tent can be outfitted with various amenities, such as HVAC systems, specialty doors, flooring, lighting, electrical, tv mounts, and more, enhancing their functionality and comfort. Moreover, the absence of center poles or interior poles allows for efficient utilization of interior space, crucial for activities like storage, equipment housing, or setting up operational control rooms.


The Flexibility of Clear Span Tents

Clear span tents come in a wide array of sizes, offering a significant level of customizability to suit specific needs. Whether a refinery needs a smaller shelter for a temporary control room or a larger structure to house machinery during maintenance, clear span tents can be adjusted to meet these requirements. This adaptability extends to their design and features, which can include elements such as transparent roofs for natural light, or reinforced flooring for heavy equipment.

A key attribute of clear span tents is their ease of assembly and disassembly. Their modular nature allows them to be quickly erected and dismantled, offering a practical solution when temporary space is required. This capability is beneficial during refinery upgrades or when an emergency response is needed, minimizing disruption to regular operations.

Clear span tents are designed to adapt to a variety of environmental conditions and terrains. Their robust construction can withstand harsh weather, including high winds, rain, and snow, providing reliable shelter for personnel and equipment. Additionally, these tents can be set up on different ground surfaces, from concrete to gravel, making them versatile for various locations within a refinery. Their resilience and adaptability make them a fitting choice for the demanding conditions often encountered in the oil and gas industry.

Lunch Tents

Applications of Clear Span Tents in Oil and Gas Refineries

  • Lunch Tent / Break Room: In bustling refinery environments, having dedicated, comfortable spaces for staff to rest, eat, and regroup is essential for productivity and morale. Clear span tents can be transformed into large, comfortable break rooms or lunch tents. Equipped with tables, chairs, climate control, and even amenities for preparing and storing food, these spaces offer workers a much-needed respite during their shifts. Plus, their mobility allows them to be conveniently located close to work zones, reducing downtime and boosting efficiency.
  • Temporary Storage and Warehousing: Clear span tents offer an effective solution for temporary storage needs within oil and gas refineries. Whether it's storing machinery during maintenance or acting as a temporary warehouse for supplies during a facility upgrade, these tents provide ample, adaptable space that can be quickly erected and removed as needed.
  • Use as Mobile Offices or Control Rooms: The flexibility and customizable nature of clear span tents make them ideal for use as mobile offices or control rooms. These structures can be equipped with all necessary amenities, such as power, lighting, and air conditioning, to create a comfortable and functional working environment.
  • Shelter during Maintenance and Shutdown Operations: Regular maintenance and periodic shutdowns are a critical part of refinery operations. Clear span tents can provide shelter for workers and machinery during these periods, protecting them from environmental elements and ensuring operations can continue smoothly.
  • Setting Up Temporary Labs for On-site Analysis and Testing: For refineries that need to conduct on-site analysis or testing, a tent structure can be transformed into temporary labs. This allows for immediate processing of samples and quicker results, which can be crucial in managing refinery processes and responding to any potential issues.
  • Emergency Response Event and Safety Training: In case of emergencies or for routine safety training, clear span tents can provide the necessary space for equipment, personnel, special event, and activities. Their quick installation and dismantling time makes them a practical solution for these critical aspects of refinery operations.


Considerations When Implementing Clear Span Tents in Refineries

Site Inspection and Proper Planning: A thorough site inspection should be conducted before installing a clear span tent. This helps identify the best location for the tent, taking into account factors like ground condition, accessibility, proximity to work zones, and exposure to environmental elements. Once the site is determined, proper planning should be carried out to ensure the chosen tent meets the needs of the intended application, whether it's a break room, a storage area, or a mobile office.

Safety Considerations: Safety is paramount in oil and gas refineries. When using clear span tents, it's important to ensure they are securely anchored to withstand winds and other weather conditions. Fire safety should also be considered, especially when the tents are used for storage or as operational areas. This involves using fire retardant vinyl that meets the National Fire Protection Association NFPA-701 code for fire retardant materials and having proper fire safety equipment on hand.

Tips for Maximizing the Utility of Clear Span Tents: To get the most from a clear span tent in a refinery setting, consider its many possible uses. These tents can be easily moved and reconfigured as needs change, making them highly versatile. Furthermore, customizing them with the necessary amenities and features can significantly enhance their functionality and comfort, making them a more effective solution for your temporary space needs.



The potential of clear span tents in refineries is considerable. As their benefits become more widely recognized, we can expect to see them playing an increasingly important role in refinery operations. By adapting to the industry's needs and evolving with it, clear span tents will continue to offer innovative solutions for the challenges faced by oil and gas refineries.

If you're in the oil and gas refinery industry and facing challenges with space management, logistical efficiency, or operational disruptions, we encourage you to consider a clear span structure from Southern Comfort Shelters as a flexible, practical solution. Their varied applications and benefits could be the answer to many of your operational needs.

For more information or to discuss how clear span tents could benefit your refinery, feel free to reach out to our team. We'd be delighted to share our expertise and assist you in exploring the perfect solution for your specific requirements. Contact us for a free no obligation quote or visit our tent rental page to learn about the advantages of renting vs purchasing a temporary structure.