In what isbeing called the first Oil and Gas "Sustainable Commissioning" project, advanced composite abrasives (ACAs) is beingused to help conserve precious resources. A recent field study and projectconducted by Odebrechtcommissioning manager, Bernardino Nilton do Nascimento revealed key points thathave already saved water in a region with unprecedented pressure to conserve. The core ofthis sustainable solution includes ACAs and a "pig" system, which were firstfield tested then used in Petrobras Refinaria Abreu de Lima (Brasil). Theproject entailed blast-cleaning cooling lines, hydrostatic testing and thennon-destructive testing in their TR-86 (Unity 32) Cooling Tower. Typically, residual products are removed (1) toassure efficient flow though refinerysystems and (2) to protect operating equipment. A rinsingsolution is passed through all pipes and then to a water treatment station. Testresults provided groundbreaking observations for Nascimento and PetrobrasProject Manager, Ricardo dos Santos Ramos:

  • No water was used during ACA blasting it was concluded that 200,000 liters (or53,000 gallons) of water was saved on Unity 32 Cooling Tower alone.

  • Water-relatedsteps (e.g. conditioning, special treatment, disposal anddisposal) were eliminated.

  • Cleaningoperations on commissioning projects would have included seven steps:

    1. waterconditioning,

    2. water washing,

    3. chemical rinsing,

    4. drying,

    5. applyinglining/pipe treatment,

    6. water treatment

    7. disposal.

During ACAblasting, the number of steps dropped to two? (1) blasting pipe internals(2) applying the appropriate treatment via pig.

Nascimentoand Ramos extrapolated savings of 16 million liters (4.3 million gallons) ofwater by using ACA for all refinery line cleaning during the commissioning.

Withtesting and the first lines completed, Nascimento and Ramos then proceeded toother parts of the refinery commissioning project, continuing to usedust-suppressing ACA technology. They also found that sensitive equipment likecompressors and pumps had added reliability. This paperwill outline field testing and project data, comparing common cleaningoperations to the "Sustainable Commissioning" process. Results will convey environmental and economic significance and the carryoverto similar offshore applications - during commissioning and maintenance of internalpiping systems.

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