TerraChem evolved from the refining and petrochemical industry with the partners identifying the need to improve Safety, Quality and Schedule during turnarounds and ultimately reducing costs and improving profitability. TerraChem uses their exceptional level of industry knowledge and experience to work with plant operators to deliver tailored solutions ensuring the highest levels of safety and cleanliness are achieved in a minimum time period. TerraChem commits to delivering zero LEL, zero H2S, zero pyrophoric, <0.5ppm benzene and minimal, often zero hydro-jetting requirement, all without environmental impact using our fully biodegradable chemicals.

From the outset TerraChem will deploy a dedicated Decontamination Process Specialist to integrate with the client, consulting with Operations, Engineering and Turnaround teams to design a process to meet the requirements of all stakeholders. Providing detailed procedures and training to the shutdown team TerraChem will ensure the finest of details are covered ready for the smoothest of executions from individual equipment to Full Unit Decontamination.

According to the Decon strategy chosen, whether Vapor Phase, Liquid Phase or a combination of both, the relevant piping, temporary circulation pumps (if any), dosing pumps and tanks will be mobilised to site and assembled in advance of the shutdown. Before the decon procedure is initiated, all equipment included in the circuit will be pumped out and depressurised. Heavy circuits will be flushed with light oil at maximum velocities in order to bring down the pour point of the remaining heavy hydrocarbon below 90 C. Due to TC-5000's exceptional emulsification properties, a large volume of free oil can often be left in the system, which saves time and minimizes water consumption and effluent generation prior to starting the decontamination process.


Once most of the free oil is displaced the system is charged with water (assuming liquid phase application) to normal operating levels and placed under self-sustained circulation. Steam injection is used to raise the temperature of the system to 80-90°C and it is now ready for decontamination. TC-5000 (for refinery applications) or TC-6000 (ethylene or olefins units) will be added to the water circulation (liquid phase) or the steam flow ( vapor phase) at predetermined dosing rates by our process specialists. During the decontamination process, TC-5000 forms a stable emulsion with the hydrocarbons present in the plant equipment and piping. Chemical injection and circulation times range from 6-12 hours depending on the system parameters. At the end of the cycle, the emulsion is pumped out of the system, thus transporting the trapped hydrocarbons out of the system. The system is then rinsed with fresh water to displace the residual emulsion out of the system and the decontaminated unit will now have zero LEL, <1ppm of benzene, and zero H2S.

The effluent generated during the decontamination process is typically pumped to a holding tank, where demulsifiers are added, breaking the effluent immediately into its hydrocarbon and aqueous phases. The organic and biodegradable nature of TC-5000 allows the oil phase to be returned for reprocessing and the aqueous phase to be handled in normal plant water treatment facilities without issue - Product recovery and NO waste off site!
Advantages of TerraChem Decontamination Process
  • Cuts cleaning time at least 80% over traditional methods
  • 100% biodegradable
  • Safe to all metallurgy
  • Eliminates personnel exposure hazards
  • Cleans the piping associated with the process equipment
  • Virtually eliminates steam-out of equipment
  • Reduces waste generation and waste treatment
  • Enhances productivity by allowing crews to enter and work inside the equipment immediately
  • Safely removes pyrophoric iron sulphide and residual H2S
  • Allows for the oil removed out of the unit to be recovered and reprocessed
  • Significantly reduces and often eliminates hydro-jetting time
  • Allows for faster decoking of heaters
  • Reduces energy costs