Flare Line Cleaning “ON-LINE!” avoids Refinery Crash within a Dutch refinery

No downtime during on-line flare line cleaning

Following a previous On-line flare line cleaning success, Tube Tech provided a rapid mobilization to one of the world’s largest oil refineries to remove severe ammonium bi-sulphate fouling from within a severely restricted flare line. The risk of a complete refinery crash was at stake, hence a proven safe and effective ‘online’ solution was essential. This critical path contract was successfully completed thanks to a fantastic all round team effort with Tube Tech, from both client and other supporting companies.

The Challenge

  • A 9m long section of a 30” x 5km long flare line was severely restricted.
  • Deposits were expected to be very soft but in reality were rock hard. Deposit was potentially pyrophoric.
  • Due to the presence of explosive chemical components such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulphide within the flare line, no oxygen was allowed to enter the system and no gases were allowed to escape during cleaning.
  • So critical was the nature of this contract the entire refinery were on high alert and as a result safe working practice and procedures were of paramount importance.
  • The flare line had to be cleaned On-Line otherwise the entire refinery would have to shut down – costing a substantial 7 figure sum per day.
  • Adverse weather conditions made maintenance of equipment challenging.


  • Survey within 48 hours and ready to mobilise within 5 days. As client request Tube Tech was to develop an innovative dry and wet cleaning system.
  • Tube Tech provided 2 additional back up systems to cover worst case scenario.
  • Access to the flare line was made available via pre-negotiated hot taps. Waste was contained and guided to a controlled waste disposal system installed and operated by Altena Group.
  • Taking extreme weather conditions into account, risk assessments were regularly re-assessed and decisions made upon the best system.
  • Tube Tech also inspected before and after cleaning of the flare line using explosion proof inspection equipment.

Tube Tech Comment

, Operations Director: “The client reported that immediately after cleaning, a substantial volume of gas was bypassed to the flare with recorded no significant back pressure, indicating that the cleaning process had been a complete success. This contract was a great achievement for Tube Tech and a huge relief for the client.”

Images and videos associated with this project are available via Tube Tech International
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