Difficult cleaning task called for expert assistance

The Libyan service provider, VAOS Ltd., had serious concerns about its workers’ safety and disposal of hydrocarbons when cleaning oil storage tanks.

The environmental legislation in North Rhine West- phalia is known for being one of the most stringent in the world, and the authorities have imposed a series of specific regulations to minimise emis- sions. For example, hydrocarbon emissions to the air during cleaning of crude oil tanks must be less than 0.5 kg hydrocarbon/m2 tank bottom.

When BP-Gelsenkirchen GmbH (Ruhr Oel), situated in North Rhine Westphalia, Germany, had to choose a tank cleaning contractor, it was vital that a service provider be found that fulfilled the demands for environmentally friendly and safe cleaning operations, without the need for staff to enter the tank during cleaning. A partnership between Ruhr Oel, Maersk Contractors and Oreco resulted in a tank cleaning procedure that complied with both local regulations and Ruhr Oel’s own practices.

“When it comes to complying with
the German environmental regulations, the advantages of using the BLABO® cleaning technology are numerous.”

Norbert Nagler from the Ruhr Oel Refinery.

Shorter tank down-time
In addition to the environmental issues, tank down- time is an important issue for tank farm manage- ment. Mr. Norbert Nagler from Ruhr Oel refinery estimates that compared to traditional manual methods, the use of the BLABO® system reduces the cleaning time by approximately 50%.

The high hydrocarbon re- covery represents both an environmental improve- ment, as disposal of sludge is reduced to a minimum, as well as cost savings, as nearly 100% of the hydro- carbons are recycled.

The safety benefits of the BLABO® cleaning process are also considerable. Compared to conventional manual tank cleaning, time spent by personnel inside the tank is reduced by 90-95%, and no breathing apparatus is required. Only gas filters are required, and for no longer than one or two days.

Reduction of total tank cleaning costs
According to Norbert Nagler the total cost reduc- tion is approximately 60% when using the BLABO® technology instead of manual methods. This figure comprises all tangible and intangible costs, where there are significant reduction in all areas, includ- ing the contractor costs, tank downtime, amount of sludge for disposal, reprocessing costs for flush- media (reduced by as much as 90-95%) and water savings.


The German Ruhr district has very strict environmental legislation.

Oreco A/S . Oldvej 1A . DK-3540 Lynge . Denmark . TEL. +45 4332 0200 . info@oreco.com

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