Over the past ten years Thermtech, a Norwegian technology and engineering company, has doubled in size, and in 2008 it was ranked as number one on Deloitte’s Fast 50 in Norway.
This success has been established on the vision of setting the global standard for the treatment of drill cuttings, which contain oil from drilling fluids. The tool it developed to reach this goal is Thermomechanical Cuttings Cleaner (TCC) technology.
Patented and highly advanced, TCC is a friction based thermal separation technology that is able to recover the Base Oil from the Oil Based Mud for re-use, and can be operated both onshore and offshore. The treatment with the TCC represents both the best environmental and commercial options since the TCC is able to recover the high value Base Oil from the cuttings with the same qualities as the original Base Oil.
The last time that Thermtech appeared in European Oil and Gas, sales and marketing director Rocco Valentinetti explained how the company operated: “Across the world there are numerous oil companies of all sizes that require the use of the TCC technology for the treatment of their waste. What Thermtech does is supply this technology, both as complete units to its customers and as manufacturing licenses to its license holders, the industry’s leading service providers, which in turn provide services to the exploration and production companies.”
Operationally, Thermtech is the technology owner of the TCC process, and focuses mainly on selling turnkey solutions to customers that are in, or want to enter into, the treatment business. Thermtech itself does not offer services, but rather, it assists the customers in getting their business up and running.
In addition to the equipment itself, Thermtech offers assistance with permit applications and plant design, education and training of customer’s operators and supervisors, installation and commissioning, operational start up assistance, remote and on site supervision of operations, spare parts and maintenance.
The actual manufacturing is outsourced to professional and experienced manufacturing companies, while Thermtech retains the project management and carries out the assembly, the installation and the commissioning of the TCC units. All the design work is performed in-house by professional engineers who use advanced software and knowledge tools.
The most important property of the TCC process is its ability to recover every material found within the waste itself, while retaining the same qualities possessed by the original components. This means that at the end of the treatment process, the oil can be re-used and the clean solids can be used in different applications, land filled or discharged to sea. With all the elements recovered and able to be reused with their chemical and physical characteristics still in place, the TCC process has completely eliminated the concept of waste.
The application of the TCC process results in major environmental benefits, these positive results are attracting more and more customers, as they look for ways to adhere to the stricter environmental regulations.
Indeed, the reputation of the TCC process is so strong that Thermtech sometimes finds that some oil companies operating in areas of lax regulation have still adopted its technology, not for any commercial advantage, but mainly to reinforce their ‘green’ reputation and thus emphasise their environmental credentials.
Furthermore, Thermtech’s customers appreciate that the TCC technology keeps the environment clean and, at the same time, creates commercial benefits. The beneficial environmental effect created by the recovery of the Base Oil from the waste also creates a positive income and cost savings. In particular in regions where the Base Oil is imported, such as in the Caspian, it results in an income that is equivalent to the cost of the recovery operation. This means that environmental and commercial interests go hand in hand since the recovered Base Oil is re-used to replace the expensive virgin Base Oil, which can be even more costly due to transport costs.
Thermtech affirms that the TCC process challenges any other existing method or technology simply based on the business case itself. Even discharge to sea can be less economic in given situations, in particular if future liability is taken into account.
Going forward, Thermtech has plans for more expansion and growth. It is always investing in research and development into new and more advanced TCC options, such as mobile units or those designed to handle different types of waste. It is also interested in geographic expansion into new areas that are seeing exciting developments in the oil industry. By maintaining its focus on both the environmental and commercial benefits of TCC technology, Thermtech looks set for a successful future.
Products: TCC technology and engineering