Flare Line Cleaned With Nitrogen Gas

DrifTT pig being loaded DrifTT system removing deposit from flare line DrifTT system after clean Advanced flare line cleaning techniques Flare line cleaning Overhead view of refinery Morning cleaning information

First clean for UK oil refinery

The flare line at a UK refinery had not been cleaned since the refinery opened in 1964. Although the refinery operators had considered high pressure water jetting they were certain a safer and more efficient flare line cleaning technique must be available.


  • The flare line at this UK oil refinery had been transporting volatile gases and sludge effectively for many years.
  • When the operator wanted to remove accumulated sludge they believed Tube Tech would have a safe and efficient solution.
  • The flare line was 30ft above the ground and as it is used to carry gas and sludge the flare line supports would have struggled to support the one tonne water per meter of flare line if traditional water pigging methods were used.
  • Many access points would also be required for the use of high pressure water jetting.
  • The 1.3km flare line was 36” diameter with a number of 90 degree 1.5D minimum radius bends incorporating the thermal expansion loops.


  • Tube Tech developed a unique drifTT™ technique specifically for this unique flare line cleaning challenge.
  • The drifTT™ system uses a specially made pig that is moved through the flare line by the motive expansion of nitrogen.
  • As an inert substance nitrogen did not pose any risks when it made contact with the pyrophoric deposits within the line.
  • Once the Drift system had passed through the line a foam swab was sent down the line to clear out the loosened debris.
  • As well as increasing the safety aspects of the cleaning procedure the Tube Tech system also eliminated the need to dispose of large volumes of contaminated water/oil mixture.

Tube Tech Comment

Scott Donson, Technical Sales Manager. “Our client was delighted with the success of the drifTT™ system. Our in-house trials and attention to detail meant that even though this was a first for Tube Tech the contract was completed successfully and quickly thus providing financial savings to our client”.

For more information or to discuss your cleaning challenge call us on +44 1268 786999 or e-mail info@tubetech.com, alternatively click here to fill out our contact form.

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