Difficult cleaning task called for expert assistance

Milazzo Refinery favours regular cleaning
The Milazzo Refinery is a joint venture between ENI SpA from Italy and Kuwait Petroleum, located on the outskirts of Milazzo. The refinery has a rela- tively large number of aboveground storage tanks for everything from crude oil to refined products. The tanks are regularly cleaned in accordance with inspection and maintenance.

BLABO process chosen for atypical task
Different contractors, mainly from Italy, have cleaned tanks at the refinery. In August 2009, the refinery decided to award this particularly atypi- cal job to the local Italian company Giovanni Aprile S.p.A, which owns a BLABO system, due to the ad- vantages offered by the process. The task at hand was not a standard crude oil tank, so the refinery de- cided to utilize a contractor with a long track record of reliability; a contractor capable of implementing an innovative tank cleaning solution in keeping with the refinery policy for having the highest regard for safety, health and environmental aspects.

Facts and figures

Location: MilazzoRefinery,Italy 
Contractor: MilazzoRefinery,Italy 
Sludge content: Slop oil and ballast water from oil tankers
Tank type: Floating roof single deck type, Cone up
Tank capacity: 15,000 m3 / 95,000 bbls
Sludge volume: 2,760 m3 / 17,388 bbls
Sludge composition: Oil 25%, Solids 45% and Water 30%


Cleaning time: 50 days (from mob-in to mob- out)
Recovery: 690 m3 / 4340 bbls
Solids separated: 1,242 m
Water separated: 820 m3

High solids and ballast water content
The atypical tank in question was a Trash Tank con- taining a relatively low content of hydrocarbons and an unusually high content of solids and ballast water. These conditions made the job particularly difficult. The refinery was keen to avoid any need of having personnel entering the tank until gas-free, clean conditions were achieved. Furthermore, re- ducing volumes of polluting matter as much as pos- sible while completing the work in relatively short time were main concerns for the refinery.

Rapid cleaning process
The work was completed in relatively short time for a job of this nature. No incidents were report- ed, and it is estimated that work was completed in approx. half the time required by the alternative solution proposed by other contractors. The rug- ged BLABO system efficiently removed large solids contents, and the fully trained and certified BLABO operators ensured speedy completion to meet the refinery’s expectations.

Benefits to the Milazzo Refinery
• Non-man-entry work execution
• Cleaning time reduced to 2 months
• Recovered oil 690 m3 / 4,340 bbls
• Savings for reducing waste disposal volume in 1,518 m3 / 9,560 bbls


Head of Operations, Fabio Azzoppardi, from Aprile company adjusts the flow of the hydrocyclones placed in the Recirculation module of the BLABO system.

A view of the floating roof on the Trash tank at Milazzo Refinery. Piping connects tank cleaning nozzles which are operated from the BLABO system.

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

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