An Envent account manager received a call from a long-time customer who had just started a tank cleaning project a day earlier. He said his project had been shut down early in the morning when the cleaning contractor witnessed flames leaping from the side manway of the tank – dragons. The customer said the tank had been several hours into the degassing phase of the project when the flames were observed. Through discussion the customer indicated Envent had bid on the degas portion of the tank project. The tank was a slop tank. The petroleum processing facility had decided to award the project to a cleaning contractor relatively new to the degassing business. Apparently by this contractor bundling their services, they had touted cost savings. It should be noted here, you get what you pay for. A meeting was scheduled to review Envent’s approach to the problem.
During the meeting the customer stated H2S was present in liquid in the 4,000 to 5,000 ppm range. Envent had asked about pyrophorics during the tank bidding and the customer had indicated the cleaning contractor would determine the answer to that question upon award and subsequent sampling and analysis. Apparently the cleaning/degassing contractor that was awarded the project had failed to follow through with any sludge analysis and therefore did not determine if pyrophorics were present. And since the cleaning contractor was also the degassing contractor, there were no checks and balances in place that would have prevented such an oversight. Envent would never allow a degas to begin until it is positively proven there are no pyrophorics present in the tank. After all, if the degassing company is bringing in outside air, it is the degassing company’s responsibility to allow or disallow the degas to commence if all information has not been provided or proven. Envent was invited to take over the degas of the project. Using Envent’s specialized nitrogen inert degas sequence, the tank was safely and successfully degassed while the sludge inside the tank was neutralized and safely removed.
The benefit to the customer came in the form of Checks and Balances. When one company provides two completely different scopes of work, transparency to the customer can suffer. In this case, lack of experience was crystal clear! When Envent works with an experienced cleaning contractor, the scopes of work have boundaries and it takes a team effort on both company’s behalves to safely complete the project. When one company “bundles” their cleaning and degassing services to cut costs, doesn’t it make sense that quality would also suffer? It is rare that a Jack-of-all-Trades is also the Master of all Trades.