The VEBA terminal in Libya experienced the benefits of the BLABO® system

One tank cleaning job at the VEBA terminal at Ras Lanuf in Libya saved the desert from be- ing contaminated by 22,148 m3 of crude oil. Instead, the terminal received almost 4 mill. USD worth of recovered oil.

The Libyan service provider, VAOS Ltd., cleaned a crude oil tank at the VEBA terminal in Ras Lanuf us- ing the BLABO® system from Oreco A/S. It was the first time that this particularly terminal chose an automated system to clean its tanks. The tank to be cleaned had a very high level of sludge, forcing the VEBA terminal to find an alternative method to the conventional, manual cleaning as human entry in the tank was impossible.

The tank was a very large tank, reaching 80 meters in diameter and was filled with oil sludge at a height of more than 4.5 meters. Due to the large sludge volume it was not possible to land the roof on its legs and the roof was still floating when VAOS com- menced the desludging and cleaning process.

Neither a high level of sludge nor a roof that floats on the sludge pose a problem for the BLABO® technology – on the contrary, the system is built to conquer such challenges. The sludge volume also meant that the roof tilted to one side, leaving a gap in the sealing, which required the construc- tion of an extra seal. This was necessary in order to maintain the highest possible safety level during the cleaning process.

Facts and figures

Location: VEBA Terminal, Ras Lanuf, Libya
Contractor: VAOS Ltd.
Tank size:
Volume: 80,384 m3
Ø: 80 m
Tank content: Crude oil
Roof: Floating roof with singledeck, cone down
Sludge content: 22,600 m3
Cleaning nozzles: 10 Single Nozzle Sweepers
Time consumpt.:
Mobilisation: 6 days
BLABO in use: 110 days
De-mobilisation: 5 days
Recovery rate: Hydrocarbons: 98%
Recovered oil: 22,148 m3
Value of rec. oil: Approx. 4 mill. USD
22,148 x 6.3 x 28 USD = 3,906,907, USD.
(1 m3 = 6.3 barrels, 1 barrel oil costs approx. 28 USD)

Eco-friendly and cost-effective process
It is normal procedure in Libya to pump sludge into oil ponds or directly into the desert. By choosing VAOS as contractor for this cleaning job, a new en- vironmental-friendly approach opened up.

VAOS offers services to the oil industry and is the only service provider in Libya that provides simul- taneous tank cleaning and oil recovery using the Oreco BLABO® system.

This choice saved the Libyan environment for being further contaminated. Instead, 22,148 m3 of recovered oil was pumped directly to an oil tanker, moored at a nearby pier. The recovered oil represented a value of close to 4 mill. USD – a sum that otherwise would have been wasted into the desert sand.


Disposal of oil sludge into desert ponds is common practice in Libya. This oil pond has the size of a small lake and poses a potential threat for the environment in the future.

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

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