Pit cleaning onboard the Ocean Nomad has been a labor intensive task that has been
carried out using the M-I SWACO 100-HP vacuum. This system is time consuming, produces
unnecessary amounts of waste and raises many quality, health, safety and environmental
(QHSE) concerns due to the time exposed to confined spaces. The job is made more difficult
by the multi-low-level pipe work layout of the pits, creating obstructions for pit cleaning.
The M-I SWACO ATC unit was provided as the solution for improving the older pit cleaning
processes on the Ocean Nomad. The unit was installed on the starboard mid-ship deck and
hoses were run under the skip station, through the pump room and into the pit room.
As this was a trial project, no deck penetrations were cut. To install the tank cleaning
machines (TCMs) in their optimum positions, a temporary solution was found using prefabricated
brackets to ensure optimal placement. Each pit was cleaned using one SC30 TCM
and one Cloud 180 TCM. This setup gave between 80 to 90% coverage in each pit.
The ATC unit cleaned 5 of the 7 pits onboard; each pit was cleaned to between 80 and 90%
brine spec with the remaining mud/barite being removed using the vacuum and squeegees.
No manual digging of barite or heavy solids was required. This was necessary due to the
tank design on the rig.
Pit entry was reduced to no more than 2 hr per pit with the total setup and cleaning time
being no more than 5 hr per pit.
Waste from the total cleanup was reduced to 12 skips containing 45 tons; however, this
included 3 skips that were full of mud from the sand traps and also water that was generated
during the manual cleaning of the slops pit and sand traps.
Use of the ATC unit achieved a 45% reduction in slop waste generated, and cleaning time
was reduced by 60%. Due to the success of the pit cleaning operation using the ATC unit,
approval was given for semi-permanent deck penetrations for the tank cleaning machines.
This allows for an even quicker setup time.
Having penetrations cut for the slop pump in strategic places allows for greater flexibility
in recovering slops especially in poor weather conditions where fluid can agglomerate in
certain areas of the pit system due to rig movement.
The ATC deployment to the Ocean Nomad proved successful in reducing pit cleaning time
and reducing confined space entry. Significant savings were also made by reducing the
volume of slops generated and their disposal.