Oil Field Services

Oil Field Services Company Attributes 40% of Recovered Oil Sales to Skimmer

Oil Skimmers

Tapping into a gusher isn’t the only way to strike it rich in Texas. Joe T. Smith Inc., Hawley, Texas, has been in business since 1936, offering oil-drilling customers 24-hour service for field-related jobs such as saltwater disposal.

For the past 30 years, the company has used a Model 6V Brill oil-recovery system from Oil Skimmers Inc. to recover up to 25 barrels of oil a day from its saltwater disposal pit. According to president Hoss Smith, sales of the skimmed oil comprise 40% of the company’s revenues from recovered oil.

PROBLEM: Companies such as Joe T. Smith remove and dispose of saltwater (a naturally occurring by-product of oil production) from oil-production sites. They store this water in outdoor disposal pits according to regulatory guidelines. A certain amount of residual oil remains in the saltwater. Removing the oil from the saltwater is important because:

  • Oil that is exposed to the atmosphere degrades at a fairly rapid rate due to evaporation of volatile organic
    chemicals (VOCs). These VOCs are not only an important and valuable part of the oil, but they enter the air as greenhouse gases as they evaporate.
  • If the oil remains in the saltwater pumped from the pit into a porous-rock disposal well, it can clog the formation, reducing the effectiveness and life of the well.
  • Allowing the oil to degrade reduces its value to refineries.

SOLUTION: Cleveland-based Oil Skimmers Inc. Model 6V oil skimmer is an affordable and long-lasting solution for recovering residual oil from saltwater pits and tanks. Hoss said Joe T. Smith uses its Model 6V continuously on its 500,000-gallon pit, and the only maintenance the skimmer has required in 30 years is normal parts replacement.

BENEFITS: This quick and continuous oil removal benefits Smith’s company in a number of ways:

  • Prevents evaporation of VOCs, which makes Joe T. Smith Inc. a more environmentally responsible company.
  • Extends the life of and reduces the maintenance needs of the disposal well.
  • Oil quality is preserved, which results in a higher sales price for the recovered oil, thus paying for the skimming equipment in a short period of time.

Smith uses a standard unit, but Jim Petrucci, Oil Skimmer’s Vice President, said the company can specialize installations and gives personalized service to each customer. “You aren’t picking out something from a catalogue. We can adapt, modify, or even build from scratch.”

The Model 6V utilizes a unique floating-tube system. The closed-loop tube – made of flexible, specially formulated plastic – attracts oil but not water. The unit continuously draws the oil-covered tube through scrapers (which remove the oil) and returns the clean tube to the water surface to gather more oil.