Operations – Environmental Remediation
Hydrocarbon Contamination: a Global Issue for the Oil Industry
International oil companies face increasing pressure to minimise their environmental footprint, whether from host governments, shareholders or external parties such as NGOs. Historically, IOCs and NOCs have not been able to achieve the environmental performance demanded of them, whether through a lack of technology available to deal with complex pollution issues and produced water streams, or through a lack of incentive to tackle the problems.
Contaminated earths (whether soils, sands or clays) are significantly more challenging to treat than contained contaminated waters, and this has inevitably led to a backlog of contaminated materials requiring remediation in almost all large onshore producing areas. As large producing fields age and move towards abandonment, this issue becomes more urgent.
Minotaur offers cost-effective solutions for large volumes of contaminated earths, as well as decentralised solutions for the localised treatment of oil lakes or pits where a central processing plant is not feasible or desired, and offers guaranteed remediation to below the 1% Total Percentage Hydrocarbon threshold.
Operations - Environmental Remediation for Refineries
Refineries often offer a different challenge for remediation when compared to an upstream project, generating three primary sources of pollution:
Production-stream contaminated water .
Earth contamination from minor spills and hydrocarbon storage
Tank bottoms and sludge from storage and process tanks
Whilst process water is reasonably straightforward to treat, the immense volumes generated by larger refineries can be challenging.
Minotaur’s equipment is not designed for bulk water treatment in this way, but can operate as a later part of a water treatment chain, once the volumes have been reduced to manageable levels. Any earth contamination from spills and transport can be treated in an identical manner and by an identical machine as normal hydrocarbon-contaminated soils.
Tank bottoms and sludge, however, can pose more serious issues, and are often considered as Hazardous Waste by local environment agencies. Minotaur has developed a variant on its standard technology to address these issues directly, and ensure full remediation as well as following Hazardous Waste protocols where relevant.
This technology variant introduces a more significant element of heating into the process in order to remediate sludge and tank bottoms effectively. Whilst this additional heating is far below that required by many competitor technologies, any heating of this sort of material above approximately 40C generates Volatile Organic Compounds, which pose air pollution risk, and therefore the machine designed for these applications is pressurised, heated, and enclosed, additionally incorporating a set of scrubbers to remediate these VOCs.
In summary, despite the additional complexity of the waste streams, Minotaur is able to offer a full remediation solution to refineries, petrochemical plants, and similar downstream operations.