Certified for ATEX zone 1
100% optimized maintenance and application safet
The Buzzard oil field, which is not far from the coast and only 100 kilometers northeast of Aberdeen, was discovered in 2001. It delivers about ten percent of the United Kingdom's entire oil output. Every day, 400 thousand barrels of crude oil are transported by the Forties Pipeline System to the refinery of a globally active oil and energy company. However, the oil from Buzzard contains mercaptan, which is a major challenge for pipelines and discharge systems and an interesting challenge for SEEPEX.
Mercaptan belongs to a group of chemical compounds, which are also referred to as thiols or sulfur hydrocarbons. In other words, it is toxic and has a penetrating smell. Therefore, an open oil collection system especially during pipeline and valve maintenance is not possible. This ultimately led to a catalog of requirements for SEEPEX to fulfill.
All the Main Oil Line (MOL) pipelines had to transport the Buzzard crude oil in a closed pipe system while, at the same time, classic oil collection had to remain as an open system. The installed system had to fulfill two functions: to pump liquid out of a six meter deep tank and to remove liquid from the MOL. Finally, it had to ensure that maintenance employees could work risk-free.
First, SEEPEX experts analyzed the process conditions: the NPSH (Net Positive Suction Head) value was 0.5 m and there was a temporary occurring gas content of 15 percent.
"In such cases when we do test runs, we simulate the operating conditions to find a pump that can accurately handle the process conditions."
An innovative approach was required to resolve the restricted access to the sump area. For this purpose a canned-type pump was selected for conveying the liquids. In this design, SEEPEX vertically installed the pump unit in housing connected to the pipeline and assembled it on a caisson. The canned-type pump’s inlet opening to the tank was placed as low and close to the bottom as possible. The pump conveys from the lowest point to optimize the NPSH. The advantage: the vertical pump can be dismantled from above due to the design of the cylindrical tank. Moreover, it is in an area which poses no risk to the employee. Double connections ensure that the open oil sump or the MOL can be drained depending on the valve arrangement.
The result: significant improvements in maintenance, safety, hygiene, and efficiency. The SEEPEX pumps corrected the problems previously encountered and reliably coped with the most difficult process applications in the petrochemical industry.
"One pump, two applications and a special design made from standard parts. SEEPEX’s modular system is extremely flexible and adaptable to any environment."