Case Study to eliminate and clean the hydrocarbon buildup on the inner walls of crude oil pipeline owned by the largest terminal operator at the port.
Site Location: Port of Brownsville, Texas
Contamination: No. 6 crude oil, diesel
Area Treated: 2,500-ft., 12-inch pipeline
Effectiveness: 12 pigs reduced down to 4
Project scope: Eliminate and clean the hydrocarbon buildup on the inner walls of a 12-inch, 2,500-foot crude oil pipeline owned by the largest terminal operator at the port. Cleaned pipeline required to pass DOT inspection in order to be placed back in service.
Challenge: The pipeline transported No. 6 crude oil, one of the most difficult oils to treat due to its high viscosity. The average buildup on the inner walls of the pipeline was ½- to 1-inch thick. The dried oil had aggregated on the pipeline, making it extremely difficult to treat and remove.
Situation: The contractor initially selected several industry leading products to treat the pipeline’s substantial oil buildup, including Stack-Magic and diesel. However, due to the thickness and composition of the oil, conventional products were not penetrating or cleaning the caked-on deposits effectively. It was taking 12 full pig runs to get the pipes sufficiently clean and the contractor was missing customer deadlines and facing a huge financial loss on the project.
Solution: TerraHydroChem was called in and recommended its 2-step cleaning process, which first applies its solvent, TerraSolveTM, followed by the application of its proprietary surfactant, TerraCleanseTM.
Step 1: Treated the pipeline’s inner walls using a foam pig soaked with TerraSolve™, which reduces the surface tension of the unwanted media. The wetting agent in TerraSolve™ helps to rid hydrocarbon deposits, allowing access to inorganic materials. The pig soaked in TerraSolve™ was pushed through the pipeline three times, effectively cleaning and prepping the pipeline’s walls for the finishing rinse.
Step 2: Utilized a vinyl pig soaked with TerraCleanse™ and pushed once through the pipeline. The application of TerraCleanse™ desorbs and liberates oil molecules in a temporary emulsion, enabling the complete release, separation and recapture of the oil.
Results: TerraHydroChem’s 2-step cleaning process effectively eradicated the pipeline’s oil buildup, allowing it to pass inspection, and doing so with a 60+% reduction in labor hours.
The contractor, a 10-year oilfield services veteran, said, “We had burned through 80% of our budget and the job was only 20% done. TerraHydroChem’s products helped us complete the job on time, on budget and more effectively than we ever thought possible.”