Ecomex uses Oreco NitroGen to ensure an inert and safe oil tank cleaning operation case study


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Oreco NitroGen helps Ecomex in Mexico produce nitrogen on-site in combination with its tank cleaning operations – freeing it from costly third-party suppliers.

As the name suggests, Ecomex is driven by environmental concerns and one of the primary services of Ecomex Mexico S.A. de C.V. is safe and environmental-friendly cleaning of large crude oil tanks and oil recovery. But manually cleaning tanks means cleaning personnel are exposed to potentially explosive, hazardous and extremely unhealthy environments.

To live up to its environmental vision, the company needed an alternative. Ecomex chose the BLABO® system from Oreco and became the first company in Latin America to employ the “non-man entry” oil tank cleaning method – a fully automated cleaning system that removes the danger to personnel and risk of explosion.

Nitrogen ensures non-explosive atmosphere during cleaning processes
To completely eliminate the risk of ignition of flammable gasses during the cleaning operation, the tank is blanketed with an inert gas before the cleaning process starts. Tank blanketing with nitrogen gas is a very viable and safe way to prevent costly accidents. During cleaning, the Nitrogen is fed into the tank to keep the oxygen percentage below ignition level (8%). This must be maintained through the entire process.

Nitrogen always on-demand
The problem is that Nitrogen is not easily available on the market. Fortunately for Ecomex, the BLABO system included two containerised Nitrogen generators from Oreco, NitroGen, which have reduced Ecomex’s reliance on third-party nitrogen suppliers and proved massive time and money savers.

As Amaury Abreu, technical manager and environmental engineer at Ecomex, says: “If we don’t get Nitrogen when we need it, we have to stop the tank cleaning process. But as we now supply our own Nitrogen, it’s always available. It’s easier and cheaper to have your own nitrogen unit.”

The benefi ts of a mobile system
The Nitrogen generators are also mobile, meaning that Ecomex can simply move the containerised units to another location when they need to. Amaury Abreu explains: “There’s no installation required. You just plug the electricity in and that’s all. It’s very easy to operate and very easy to train people to use it. And simple and cheap to maintain.”

Much more than cleaning tanks
At Ecomex, the Nitrogen generators are used for a number of different purposes, including providing low pressure and high safety levels while emptying and cleaning irregular and damaged pipes.

NitroGen generators have helped Ecomex reduce costs and save time, and have freed them from reliance on third-party suppliers. In fact, it is proving so useful that Ecomex is looking into getting another unit – this time with a higher purity rate for stimulating stopped oil wells.

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