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Statoil president and CEO Eldar Sætre. Image courtesy of Harald Pettersen/ Statoil.

Norway’s Statoil awarded a $55 million contract to M-I SWACO, a Schlumberger company, on Wednesday to use the firm’s new tank cleaning technology.

The deal, worth about $55.73 million including options, marks the first time that M-I SWACO has commercialized the cleaning system.

M-I SWACO became part of Schlumberger in August 2010 through Schlumberger’s merger with Smith International.

The technology uses an automatic system that will allow personnel to avoid entering the tanks to clean them.

“The solution increases the safety of our personnel as there is no need to enter the tanks and we reduce both time use and costs,” Statoil vice president of logistics and emergency preparedness Jone Stangeland said.

Wash water and soap are recycled by the system, meaning that only waste washed out of the tank has to be delivered for further processing.

“By cleaning the water in the same operation, the volume of waste is reduced significantly,” Stangeland said.

The technology is expected to “significantly” reduce the amount of waste produced during the cleaning process, Stangeland added.

The new system will fit onto a lorry, and once the system has replaced manual cleaning, and will also cut down on the time a vessel must dock for tank cleaning.

Statoil has not used this type of technology on supply vessels before but M-I SWACO has used it on its own vessels.