31 July 2019
One of the largest oil refineries in Korea recently built five new factories as part of a residue-upgrading1 and an olefin downstream complex2 . Once the oil pipelines to the new factories had been installed and in order to be fully operational: the pipes needed to be blown and de-watered.
Cleaning such pipes requires equipment that guarantees absolutely no residual waste remains. In addition, the entire project needed to be time-efficient, while also using compact and fully certified equipment. That’s where we came in!
Since the new factories had not yet been connected to the main factory, the latter was not able to provide the necessary amount of compressed air to the construction sites. Therefore, the oil refinery contacted us. They were looking for a partner to provide the right equipment to eliminate dust, sludge and water from the newly-installed pipelines.
Although this might seem like a straightforward request, from past experience we knew we had to keep some challenges in mind.
First, cleaning the pipes would require the use of a fluid that does not contaminate them with any substances, as this could lead to corrosion. In addition, the fluid needed to have a dew point of -40°C, and be 100% oil- and water-free.
Second, even though the construction site for the five additional factories was large, there was only limited space for additional equipment. This meant we needed to provide equipment able to service the entire area, but, at the same time, compact.
Third, the entire construction project had suffered delays. So the cleaning of the pipelines had to be executed as fast as possible.
After careful consideration, we advised the client to work with 100% oil-free compressed air. Of course, we also had to take into account that compressed air generates a certain amount of moisture: reason why we recommended it be used in conjunction with dryers to prevent corrosion.
Our solution consisted of 10 high-capacity, oil-free PTS mobile diesel driven compressors with a maximum flow of 1600 cfm, to clean the pipes of dust and sludge, and 3 absorption-type dryers with a dew point of -40°C to eliminate the moisture generated by the compressed air. In addition, we supplied fuel and operators who provided 24/7 support and maintenance of the equipment.
This solution ticked all the boxes, but we were still facing one additional challenge: registration and certification. In Korea, every piece of equipment used on construction sites needs to be registered and certified. Thorough preparation saves a lot of time and effort, so we made sure to prepare all the right documents and get them approved by the relevant government organizations in good time so as not to further delay the project.
Our total solution fully satisfied the customer. In addition, he considered our international and long-standing expertise in the field a real asset.
This project was a very valuable experience for both parties. Working with one of the largest oil refineries in Korea was a very instructive process that really helped us gain valuable field experience. We might even say this collaboration opened new doors, as we landed another project in the oil refinery business thanks to this fruitful cooperation!”
1 residue-upgrading complex: complex which converts crude oil residues to high-valued products such as propylene and gasoline daily. The residues are what is left after extracting gas and light oil from crude oil. 2 olefin downstream complex: complex which produces polypropylene and oxide polypropylene, mainly used for the interior materials of vehicles, electronic products, and insulators.
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