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Storage Tank Cleaning and
Sludge Management Services
Increase your storage capacity and maximize hydrocarbon recovery;
while reducing downtime, risk, waste and cost
Thermographic 3-D mapping and sludge
characterization provides a clear picture
of the quantity/quality of sludge. This
information is used to develop an optimized
tank cleaning program and to quantify the
potential recovery of valuable oil
Sludge Management System to minimize
the accumulation of sludge in the tanks.
System: re-suspends sludge
and separate hydrocarbons, water and
solids to enable the recovery of oil and
storage capacity with the tank in-service.
system: Tank degassing with zero
emissions before opening the tank.
All equipment installation and
preparation of tank for processing at
ground level with the tank in-service
Unique, integrated, biotechnological
and hydro-mechanical process for
automated in-tank separation and
No requirement to open the tank unless
complete cleaning is required for
inspection and maintenance
All work is carried out with certified
equipment according to zone
Maximize storage capacity without
taking tanks offline or emptying tanks
Recovers over 95% of valuable
hydrocarbons trapped in sludge.
Reduces up to 95% of waste-treatment
volumes, disposal requirement and cost
Reduces up to 90% of personnel
entry into confined space compared
to other methods
Mitigates personnel risks through the
elimination of working at height and
reduced crane lifts
The system can be used to clean
Eliminate the need for a secondary
With the sludge treatment inside the
tank the hydrocarbons are largely
separated from the solid. Only if the tank
needs to be cleaned to a gas free are the
settled solids are then jetted from the
tank and recovered to an external
separation system (centrifuge etc.)
Refineries and tank farms, marine and
shipping terminals, and any installation
with hydrocarbon-storage tanks.
Storage-tank sludge contains valuable
hydrocarbons that can be recovered.
Conventional tank-cleaning methods
do not reduce the waste and the
resultant expense of disposal. These
conventional methods also take tanks
offline for a significant period of time,
costing owners considerable revenue.
M-I SWACO has solved this problem
with the BIORECOIL process that is
completely automatic, designed to
desludge the tank, minimize cleaning
time and manpower, recover as much
as 95% of the hydrocarbons, reduce
the resultant waste by up to 95% – all
while the tanks stay on-line.
The value of the recovred oil,
combined with the saving from the
reduction in waste and the reduced
downtime of the tank collectively make
the use of the BIORECOIL system a high
value proposition for the refinery or oil
The system uses environmentally
acceptable natural products that
are tested for biodegradability and
deliver optimal results while ensuring
operator safety and significantly
reducing waste generation.
As sludge accumulates inside your
storage tanks, it slowly reduces your
profits along with the usable tank space.
Conventional tank-cleaning methods can
be just as detrimental to your business
revenue, because they can work against
you in three ways. They take your tanks
out of service for prolonged periods,
they generate waste and sludge
volumes, and they can require dangerous
The advanced BIORECOIL process from
M-I SWACO helps you maximize your
storage capacity rather than draining your
operating budget removing waste. Not
only does the process release revenue by
recovering more than 95% of the valuable
hydrocarbons present in the sludge, it
also helps tank operators reduce waste-
disposal costs by up to 95%.
The M-I SWACO system is also inherently
safe. All of the hydromechanical equipment
is installed in the lateral manways of the
tank at ground level, eliminating the risks
associated with roof-installed equipment,
and the system requires no personnel
entry, creating a safer alternative to
traditional manual solutions or semi-
automatic systems that work from the roof.
After the initial use of the system, the
equipment can be left in place to provide
on-going sludge management, protecting
your tanks from corrosion and maintaining
processing capacity as well as reducing
your long-term operating costs by
preventing sludge accumulation.
Recover up to 95% of your
hydrocarbons and reduce
waste-disposal costs by as
much as 95%
How the BIORECOIL in-tank separation
and recovery process works
Because tank sludge consists of varying
ratios of hydrocarbons, water and some
solids, M-I SWACO performs 3D Sludge
Mapping and Characterization in order
to develop the most appropriate sludge
treatment and cleaning program that
ensures optimum results.
The M-I SWACO BIORECOIL
From experience, M-I SWACO knows
that the bulk of a sludge mass is the oil
and water, with the solids being a much
lower percentage. Our strategy for the
on-line desludging is to separate and
remove the oil and water from the solids.
This can be repeated several times without
losing a significant amount of a tank’s
working volume and without shutting the
tank down, taking it offline and sacrificing
Because the BIORECOIL process does not
require removing the roof’s legs or tapping
the roof, the floating roof can be kept
floating at all times, eliminating the vapor
space. After the treatment, if required, the
floating roof will land uniformly, avoiding
mechanical troubles and enhancing the
safety of the operation.
The process has been successfully used
for cleaning more than 100 oil tanks, fuel
oil tanks and slop tanks belonging to
leading oil companies around the world.
BIORECOIL cleaning is most effective
for tanks with capacities and diameters
ranging from 1,000 m
/20 m diameter up to
/100 m diameter.
Sludge mapping and characterization
This begins with a thermographic survey that yields an accurate 3-D picture of the amount
of sludge and its distribution profile. M-I SWACO collects the thermographic information
from various points outside the tank and around its perimeter. This data is added to
imagery from ATEX-certified density-profile sensors and proprietary software. M-I SWACO
also gathers samples of the sludge to determine its properties and design the optimum
tank-cleaning strategy. This will also enable us to forecast the amount of recoverable oil
as well as the amount of solids that will remain after the cleaning process has finished.
Cold tapping and circulation
With the cleaning strategy determined, M-I SWACO then uses cold-tap technology
to create an opening into the tank through the blind flanges, without hot works. This
eliminates having to open the manways, regardless of the sludge and oil levels. The cold
tapping device is then replaced with a telescoping jetting tool that is used to circulate
the contents of the tank (sludge and oil) with a predetermined amount of biosurfactants.
During circulation, the oil, water, biosurfactants and solids are thoroughly mixed together
to create a temporarily stable emulsion.
Closed-loop, in-tank separation
and oil recovery
At the end of this phase the pumps
are switched off and the oil and water
separate from each other and from the
solid phase. The oil phase, unchanged by
the biosurfactant, can now be pumped
directly to a ship or another tank, via the
closed-loop system. The water phase
is pumped to a wastewater system or
another process. With storage capacity
recovered and the sludge removed, the
small residue of solids (salts, sands and
mineral oxides) can be left in the tank until
a total tank cleaning is required.
Although the cleaning process is
automatic, we constantly monitor
quantitative and qualitative parameters
throughout the operation. Particular care
is taken during the recovery of oil and
during a degassing operation, with multiple
sensors delivering real-time gas analyses
from different locations around the tank.
Hydraulically controlled jets rotate to create optimized circulation pattern
M-I SWACO has additional services to
keep your operation safe and productive
Complete tank cleaning. For situations
when a tank must be completely cleaned,
— inspection or maintenance work, for
example — M-I SWACO can remove the
residual solids from the tank, and still
minimize personnel entry. We use the same
circulation equipment as for desludging but
with the nozzles changed for hot washing.
We pump the solids to a separation tank
where they can be centrifuged prior
to disposal. Detailed manual cleaning
can then take place in the areas behind
pipework and legs.
Degassing. When a tank must be
completely cleaned via the hot-water
method, M-I SWACO can help you avoid
the risks associated with gas accumulation
within the tank’s vapor space. Our NOGAS
degassing employs a gas-scrubbing
column attached to the exterior of the tank.
A pneumatic extractor draws in the gas
into the column where it is neutralized
with a nebulized spray of “LECS”. The
system can reduce the Lower Explosive
Limits (LEL) to below 5% before the
manholes are opened without emission
into the atmosphere.
Particular care is taken during degassing
operations, with multiple sensors
delivering real-time gas analyses from
different locations around the tank.
Production waste management.
M-I SWACO can help you deal effectively
with your tank wastes and help keep
you in compliance with local, state and
national environmental regulations.
We can help you treat the waste water
as well as the remaining sludge.
Whatever your requirements, we
provide a range of waste-management
solutions that can be tailored to suit your
Continuous emissions control. M-I SWACO
can reduce dangerous gas emissions from
storage tanks and other sources with the
LECS VOC CONTROL
system. Situated on
the tank roof, the system sprays a fine
mist of surfactants, chelating agents and
nutrients onto the gaseous emissions to
neutralize volatile organic compounds.
Safety and the environment are
top priorities for M-I SWACO
M-I SWACO provides leading oil and gas
waste management and environmental
technology, from the oilfield to the refinery.
All of our personnel are trained to the
highest standards and dedicated to
complying with QHSE requirements.
BIORECOIL is an environmentally
responsible technology as the
biosurfactants used are natural
biotechnological products that have no
detrimental effect on the environment
or on the oils recovered. Hydrocarbons
can be effectively recovered in-situ
from the bottom sludge, leading to a
significant reduction in the amount of
waste to be disposed of in landfill or
transformed in inert matter. The process
also has a minimal effect on the immediate
environment, minimizing the risks of
damage to the tank due to the use of
mechanical equipment, and cutting the
impact in terms of emissions into the
Avoid risks from gas accumulation with the
ROTOFLEX* degassing system
LECS VOC CONTROL system in service to
abate gaseous emissions
BIORECOIL process removes
90% of sludge, recovers
$2 million of oil
A client wanted to minimize sludge
content in a tank with a diameter
of 61 m and a volume of 65,000 m
Thermographic imaging and manual
measurements quantified the sludge
volume, and then three telescopic-
nozzle modules were installed
on the tank shell through existing
manway covers. This project used a
combination of biosurfactants and the
crude oil in the tank.
Desludging required 30 days, and
the tank was kept in service except
during the circulation phase. Following
the BIORECOIL process, 99% of the
hydrocarbon content was recovered,
and the sludge was reduced by 90%,
restoring valuable storage capacity
with no significant service interruption.
M-I SWACO recovers
oil in just 12 days,
with no personnel entry
M-I SWACO used the BIORECOIL
process to recover 97% of the
hydrocarbons trapped in 5,000 m
of sludge from a client’s tank with
a diameter of 96.5 m and a capacity
of 160,000 m
Analysis of the tank revealed that
the sludge was composed of 94%
hydrocarbons, 4.5% water and
1.5% sediment. Four hydro-dynamic
modules were installed through
existing manways on the tank shell.
M-I SWACO circulated the tank for
120 hours with the floating roof in the
service position. The biosurfactants
were mixed with 11,000 m
oil and 3,700 m
of fire-fighting water.
The recovery of the hydrocarbons
took just 12 days with the entire
project lasting 10 weeks due to
additional maintenance works.
No personnel entry was required to
process the sludge.
Client recovers $1 million
of crude during pre-demolition
The floating roof on a 76-meter-
diameter tank (90,000-m
distorted and sunk, and there were
leaks at the bottom of the tank. The
client needed to demolish the roof and
recover as much of the oil as possible.
During the BIORECOIL process, safety
was paramount, which necessitated
gas monitoring and the use of the
LECS VOC CONTROL system. Following
oil recovery, the tank was washed
and drained so the roof could then
All demolition devices were equipped
with special probes connected to
an LEL detector. The entire process,
including roof demolition, took just
15 weeks and recovered 30,000 m
crude from the tank and an additional
from the sludge.
For a safe, efficient and cost-effective
solution for recovering storage
capacity and hydrocarbons, contact
M-I SWACO today.
This information is supplied solely for informational purposes and M-I SWACO makes no guarantees or
warranties, either expressed or implied, with respect to the accuracy and use of this data. All product
warranties and guarantees shall be governed by the Standard Terms of Sale. Nothing in this document
is legal advice or is a substitute for competent legal advice.
Via Molinero, 4
P.O. Box 42842
Houston, Texas 77242-2842
©2010 M-I L.L.C. All rights reserved. *Mark of M-I L.L.C. ^Mark of Idrabel Italia S.r.l.
DBR.2008.1101.R1 (E) 300 Digital in U.S.A.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?