sludge in oil and gas pipe lines

Sludge is the general term for all the sediments, such as scale, corrosion, wax, tar, sand and what else is found in pipe lines. This sludge is normally removed during the pigging and will be removed from the line when the pig is received at the end of the line.

The amount of sludge can easily accumulate to several 100kg, depending on the size of the pipe line, the frequency of the pigging (cleaning) and of course the amount of sediments carried by the fluid transported through the pipe line.

Unfortunately this sludge can contain also very toxic parts, such as mercury. If this is the case the operators, which have to take care about the sludge from the pipe line, have to wear special gear and breathing protection, in order to be save of the highly toxic materials in the sludge. See pictures to the right. This sludge has a high content of mercury.

In addition if there are such toxic or other problematic parts found in the sludge the whole sludge might be qualified as hazardous sludge and have to be taken care in a special very expensive way.

Merus reduce the amount of sludge

The amount of sludge received during the pigging will be reduced by Merus. The normal major ingredients in the sludge such as paraffin wax, or scale is kept solved in the crude itself or will not settle if there is less wax or less scale, so the total amount of sludge is getting less. We have shown in projects, the amount of sludge was reduced up to 90%.

Merus is saving operating costs

If there will be less sludge, there is less need of pigging. The pigging will be saver, because there is less sludge to be pushed through the pipe line. Less need of pigging leads direct to reduction of cost. Doing lesser pigging and still receive less sludge, will reduce the cost even further, if the sludge has to be treated as hazardous. The operation will be securer, as there is less risk of the pig gets stuck in the pipe line.

How much the savings will be is differing from case to case. But as Merus is not only taking care about the sludge itself, but is at the same time fighting the corrosion, or lessening the emulsion, a whole row of savings will be possible.

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Sludge with mercury removed from oil pipeline

Further images (click to enlarge)