Industrial Waste

Treatment Of Hydrocarbon Sludge From Large Ballast Storage Tank


Blue Chip Oil & Gas E&P Company


North Sea

Following a competitive tender process, Separo was awarded a contract to receive and process hydrocarbon sludge and effluent that had accumulated over several years in one of the UK’s largest ballast storage tanks.

Our primary objective was to minimise waste by separating the liquid and solid fractions and recovering water and oil.   

About Our Client

Our client is a blue-chip oil and gas exploration and production company operating in the North Sea. The project was undertaken at one of the most remote and inaccessible crude oil storage terminals in the UK (owned and operated by the client).

The Challenge

Due to the large volume of sludge within the tank, the client's ability to operate the storage facility at optimum capacity was being compromised. The sludge had to be removed in order that the tank could be used without restrictions and in accordance with statutory requirements. The un-treated quantity of waste presented a significant technical challenge and cost to the client.

What We Did

In order to minimise the time and cost associated with mobilising to such a remote and potentially hazardous location, Separo deployed a fully mobile, high-capacity separation system, specifically designed for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. The treatment system was delivered, installed and operated on a single trailer. In the absence of representative samples, Separos’ knowledge and experience were crucial in terms of identifying and implementing the most efficient and effective treatment process.

Over a period of six months Separo processed and separated 6,675m³ of hazardous hydrocarbon sludge and in doing so reduced the waste requiring off-site disposal by 70%.

Value Gained

As a result of Separo’s work, our client was able to ensure the integrity of the tank (by inspection and repair) and return the asset to full operational capacity. In addition, environmental and legal compliance was assured. Over a period of 6 months and approximately 3,000 man-hours, the hazardous waste was removed, processed and reduced in volume by 70%. This reduction represents a significant financial saving and is effectively self-funding. The project was completed by Separo with zero health, safety or environmental incidents.

Project Statistics

  • Volume of waste prior to Separo process: 6,675m³
  • Volume of waste after Separo process: 2,000m³
  • Manhours worked: 3,000

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