The excellent surfactant and detergent properties of OIL-XORB ERC result in removal of even the most resistant oil and grease deposits. The OIL-XORB ERC system operates by preferentially absorbing on the surface to be cleaned, displacing the previously existing deposits of oil, dirt and other contaminants. Heavy or baked-on oil deposits stripped from the surface are reduced in viscosity, or liquefied by a proprietary mechanism, and float to the surface of the OIL-XORB ERC solution. Particulate matter and loose or lightly adherent scale is stripped of oil (and stripped from the surface) and sinks to the bottom. A clean surface, protected by a micro-thin inorganic film, remains. As a result of its combination of hydrophilic and oleo-phobic behavior, the OIL-XORB ERC system strips any water from the oil so that excellent separation can be achieved. The OIL-XORB ERC can be reused until its effectiveness is reduced by biodegradation, usually after 30-45 days.
OIL-XORB ERC has proven itself useful in oilfield applications as an agent for the removal of the carbonate scales commonly found in pipelines, fittings, pumps and submerged equipment. The scale is typically derived from formation or cooling water. The OIL-XORB ERC System strips out of the scale the organic content that typically holds it together, leaving a loose deposit that is easily removed by re-establishing normal pipeline flow.
Injection of the OIL-XORB ERC System into the water phase in pipeline and water handling systems that are subject to scaling will, by the same mechanism, inhibit scale formation. The scale compounds may instead form as suspended solids or not precipitate at all.
The basic OIL-XORB ERC formulation provides modest corrosion inhibition by depositing a very thin but tightly-bonded inorganic film on the metal surfaces to which it is exposed. In addition, if the corrosion is microbial in origin (e.g., sulfide corrosion caused by anaerobic bacteria), the antibacterial action of OIL-XORB ERC can reduce this markedly.
OIL-XORB ERC injected into produced fluids that are flowing to wash or storage vessels increases the surface energy at the oil/water interface and thus helps to break emulsions of all types into distinctly separate layers of oil and OIL-XORB ERC-bearing water. Any particulate in the incoming fluid is dropped out and all water present in the oil is absorbed into the OIL-XORB ERC-containing water layer. Any waxy solids are typically returned to the oil phase. Any bacterial action in the produced fluid is sharply inhibited.
As a consequence of the use of OIL-XORB ERC in this application, excessive use of conventional emulsion breakers can be avoided. Water drop-out is often acceptable with just the OIL-XORB ERC treatment alone, or with a greatly-reduced (typically one-third) level of emulsion breaker. In addition, because many emulsion breakers contain high levels of known or potential carcinogenic aromatic solvents such as benzene, toluene or xylene, their presence in the waste water from production operations presents serious disposal problems. They can be used at greatly reduced levels or even eliminated entirely by using OIL-XORB ERC.
One of the most interesting characteristics of OIL-XORB ERC is its ability to solubilize waxy deposits or paraffin's in the oil phase. In the process, trapped water is absorbed by the OIL-XORB ERC/water phase and clean, hydrocarbon-free, inorganic particulate is dropped out. In a typical waxy deposit of 60% hydrocarbon and 40% water + particulate, the entire 60% hydrocarbon is returned as merchantable product while the remaining 40% is retained as easily disposable waste. Similar results can be obtained down-hole or in pipelines or surface apparatus. Once again, OIL-XORB ERC contains no aromatic or volatile solvents, and is biodegradable, resulting in zero effluent problems.
A concentration of 60ppm OIL-XORB ERC compound based on the water content of the produced fluid is sufficient to achieve or maintain complete paraffin solubilization (somewhat higher concentrations may be needed at lower temperatures more typical of northern operations). This concentration will inhibit deposition, even from abnormally high-paraffin crude's.
OIL-XORB ERC has proven very effective at cleaning crude or heavy oil storage tanks containing heavy bottom residues (which are usually a mixture of particulate matter, crude oil and emulsified water or brine). Similar problems are encountered in field production wash tanks, wastewater ponds and lagoons. OIL-XORB ERC can be used in two ways - (a) to correct problems that have already developed and (b) to prevent those problems from occurring in the first place.
In existing tanks, addition of OIL-XORB ERC as a solution at suitable concentrations followed by agitation (using jets of re-circulating OIL-XORB ERC solution, for example) and subsequent settling quickly liquefies and strips the water from the heavy emulsion (provided that the latter is sufficiently agitated), leaving the hydrocarbon phase (now of somewhat lower viscosity) to float to the top and the residue of sand, dirt, rust and other solids to sink to the bottom. The result is typically an oil-free tank with an easily removable particulate residue in the bottom, a marketable (or at least recyclable) hydrocarbon product and a water phase which is usually easily disposed of.
If the ingoing oil + water + suspended solid stream is pretreated with about 100ppm of OIL-XORB ERC, any oil/water emulsion is broken, oil floats to the top of the tank or pit and is easily separated, heavy particulate settles to the bottom and fine particulate such as flour sand, clay etc. will remain suspended and leave with the water phase containing OIL-XORB ERC. The heavy solids can easily be removed by vacuuming or during scheduled tank cleanings. Occasionally, the effluent water may contain asphaltines. In some cases, the higher surface energies induced on most materials by the OIL-XORB ERC result in flocculation (or at least floc stabilization) of these and other particulates and hence enhanced downstream separation of solids. This can be especially useful in areas where processed fluids are re-injected since the enhanced separation of suspended solids keeps the injection formation at optimum performance.
Use of OIL-XORB ERC in old wells experiencing a production decline has been well documented in field trials. OIL-XORB ERC has been shown to work in two ways:
In some applications, the use of OIL-XORB ERC is a proven alternative to the use of dangerous, costly and environmentally unsound biocide products.
The use of biocides in oilfields and in waste water treatment is a common cause of problems in many phases of oil production. For example, many biocides are highly volatile and exposure to their fumes can involve high personal risk. In addition, over-treatment is commonplace in the belief that "more is better" (the opposite is true) with the result that the desired results are often not achieved. A reduction in the volume and frequency of application of most biocides can greatly reduce their undesirable environmental impact.
An example of the use of OIL-XORB ERC is the control of hydrogen sulfide production in wash and storage tanks and in waste water treatment ponds and lagoons. The H 2 S is produced by the action of anaerobic bacteria on the organic sulfides present in the tank and pond bottoms where there is no oxygen available (anaerobic bacteria die in the presence of oxygen). This problem is often addressed by the introduction of toxic and sometimes flammable biocides which do little more than sterilize the entire tank or pond contents, typically with the exception of the inaccessible anaerobic bacteria in the tank bottoms. However, all aerobic microorganisms present are completely eradicated, and yet it is these that can be used to assist in the biodegradation and eventual disposal of the organic materials in the tank bottoms. What is really needed is a selective means of eradicating the anaerobic bacteria present while stimulating the aerobic bacteria.
Addition of biodegradable OIL-XORB ERC not only provides nutrient for the anaerobes, thus stimulating their activity and the growth of biomass, but also helps to liquefy and thus provide access to the tank bottoms. Under these conditions, aerobic destruction of the tank bottom hydrocarbons is accelerated while the oxygen in solution suppresses or even destroys the anaerobic bacteria present, which in turn halts the production of H2S.
Addition of conventional biocides will, of course, interrupt this process by eradicating the aerobic bacteria and returning the tank bottom to its original H2S - producing condition.
The apparent liquefaction (viscosity-reduction) effect of OIL-XORB ERC is not fully understood, but is very real. Since the OIL-XORB ERC strips water out of typical oilfield emulsions, it is not due to emulsification (other than transiently, perhaps) but may simply be due to the ability of OIL-XORB ERC to destabilize the relatively complex "composite" of water, oil and solids that is representative of most heavy tank residues. OIL-XORB ERC is investigating the effect.
Chlorination of influent into staged waste water lagoons is also a concern. Chlorine is typically used to control coliform ( E.coli) bacteria which are present when domestic (human) and oil field waste are commingled. Chlorine does an excellent job of dealing with the coliform bacteria but also (a) kills off all other forms of bacteria present, some of which are of use in biodegrading any hydrocarbons in the effluent (for example, aromatic solvents such as toluene, benzene and xylene) and (b) it may chlorinate those hydrocarbons into even more dangerous chloro-hydrocarbons such as dichlorobenzene. The remaining biomass is likely to be inadequate for further biodegradation. Under these circumstances, oxygen (as measured by BOD) is quickly depleted with the result that the effluent is not bioremediated and H 2 S production becomes possible.
Introduction of OIL-XORB ERC into the influent stream well ahead of the chlorine injection point can promote the formation of biomass and hence the biodegradation process in the tank, pond or lagoon. Although it is not likely that any live E.coli bacteria will remain, chlorination of the effluent water, followed by a brief "hold" can then be used to ensure that all remaining coliform are inactive before the water phase is transferred to the receiving ecosystem. Heavy biocide treatment can, as before, actually promote the formation of slime-forming and anaerobic bacteria.