A 120-foot diameter skim tank — one utilized as a baffled bitumen emulsion separation asset — began with an estimated 11 feet of heavy sludge and solid deposits. The cleaning scope required a full regulatory inspection (API 653) within a turnaround outage schedule.
The tank had never been fully cleaned for inspection, with previous cleaning attempts marred by project cost and schedule overruns. Given the tight timeline to complete the project with a turnaround, the client was looking for an innovative option that worked and would provide predictable results.
RJ Maclean devised a multi-phased cleaning methodology to address the significant sludge volume. The tank was first circulated and liquid-freed using the SandPiper Circulation System. Once confined entry was established, RJ Maclean utilized a series of robotic tracked vehicles to safely remove the residual sludge volume while dramatically reducing the project timeline.
RJ Maclean succeeded in completing the cleaning scope to regulatory inspection within the turnaround schedule requirement. The scope efficiencies presented by RJ Maclean led to a 68 percent reduction in project duration. Significant cost savings were achieved, as well, with trucking and disposal costs dropping by 38 percent and the project as a whole experiencing a 49 percent reduction in cost.