Case History

FQE Solvent-ME+ cleans desalter in 3.5 days after competitor product failure


Previous cleaning attempts using
a competitor’s product failed,
causing the client to spend 2 weeks
manually removing the residue


Solvent ME+ results in successful cleaning project
through circulation for 8 hours

Final cleaning by vapor phase cleaning with
degassing and iron sulfide mitigation products


In house cleaning
Reduced cleaning time by 30%
Removing 100% of mechanical
cleaning costs
No blinds
No entry permits


FQE Solvent-PR+
Rapid removal of solid hydrocarbon and polymer deposits

Revolutionizing desalter cleanup

A refinery was experiencing a buildup of 7 years worth of crude oil in their 14’ x 90’ primary desalter unit. The refinery had tried using a competitor product in the past but failed to effectively remove the buildup. This resulted in a 15-day cleaning process of solid removal.

FQE solution

The refinery turned to FQE Solvent-ME+ as a solution to dissolve the crude oil buildup. The product was able to be circulated using a rental pump. They stopped production, drained the desalter unit, and handed it over to our team with the crude oil still present. FQE Solvent-ME+ was circulated for 8 hours in the vessel, and 5 totes were used. Additionally, 165 gallons of FQE LEL Surface, FQE LEL Vapor, FQE H2S Scavenger, and 110 gallons of FQE Pyrophoric were injected into the steam only and was applied for 4.5 hours to the crude oil.

Guaranteed results

The FQE Solvent-ME+ dissolved the crude oil buildup in an 8-hour circulation process, a significant improvement compared to the previous 15-day cleanup using the competitor product. The LEL, H2S, and benzene levels were all zero, indicating that the desalter was ready for entry. The inspection of the vessel after cleaning determined that no mechanical cleaning was required as the remaining material was removed through the pressure of a fire hose. The refinery was able to resume production in 3.5 days, and our client was extremely satisfied.


Conclusion: FQE Solvent-ME+ proved to be an effective solution for dissolving long-term crude oil buildup in primary desalter units. Its ability to circulate quickly without the need for prewashing or steaming, as well as its effectiveness in dissolving the buildup in a shorter period of time, make it a valuable option for refineries looking to improve their cleanup processes. Furthermore, the additional injection of LEL Surface, LEL Vapor, H2S Scavenger, FQE Pyrophoric, and steam guarantees a complete removal of the crude oil buildup and safe processing.


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