Process Optimization And Safety In Petrochemical Industry

The Long Distance Solution


Crude oil


1 Pump,

2 Applications

Sealed pump

ATEX certified for zone 1


Perfect Optimization of Maintenance and Safety

Pump type


The Buzzard oil field is not far from the coast and only 100 km northeast of Aberdeen. The field was discovered in 2001. From the field, about 10% of the UK's total oil production is delivered. Every day, 400,000 barrels of crude oil are transported through the Forties Pipeline System (FPS) to a refinery belonging to a global oil and energy company. However, the oil from Buzzard contains mercaptan, which is a major challenge for pipeline networks and outlet systems - and an interesting assignment for SEEPEX.


Mercaptans are a group of chemical compounds also called thiols or sulfated hydrocarbons. They are toxic and have a strong, unpleasant odor. Using an open collection system for the oil while pipeline and valve maintenance is in progress is therefore not an option. This eventually led to an entire directory of requirements that SEEPEX wanted to meet.

Task and Target

All pipelines in the Main Oil Line (MOL) for the transport of crude oil from Buzzard must be a closed system, while the traditional oil collection must continue as an open system. The installed system must perform two functions: pump liquid from a six meter deep tank and remove liquid from MOL. Finally, the system must be able to be maintained without risks to staff.


First, SEEPEX experts analyzed the process conditions: the NPSH value (Net Positive Suction Head) was 0.5 m and the gas content could temporarily amount to 15%.

"In such cases we do test drives - we simulate operating conditions to find the pump that is perfect for the current conditions."

Peter Mcgarian

Managing Director, Seepex UK ltd.

Innovative thinking was required to solve the problem of limited access to the swamp. A pump of sealed design was selected. The design means that the pump is installed vertically in a house connected to the pipeline. SEEPEX technicians mounted the pump unit in a box. The inlet of the sealed pump from the tank could thereby be placed very close to the bottom, so that the available liquid level was utilized to maximize NPSH. An additional advantage of this solution is that the vertical pump can be dismantled from above, thanks to the design of the cylindrical tank. In addition, the pump is located in an area that is safe for personnel. Dual connections and associated valves make it possible to empty both the open oil sump and MOL.


Result: significantly reduced maintenance and significantly better safety, hygiene and efficiency. The SEEPEX pumps solved the problems they previously had and worked reliably in one of the petrochemical industry's most demanding process applications.

A pump, two applications and a special construction created by standard components. seepex module systems are extremely flexible and can be adapted to any operating environment.

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