Crude oil and natural gas producer Canadian National Resources (CNR) will send two Hippo 350 kW medium-voltage submersible slurry pumps to South African pumps manufacturer Hazleton Pumps for repair and upgrade later this month.
The pumps, used to convey liquids containing solids contaminated with tar sludge to the company’s tailings dams, were initially meant to be returned to Hazleton in May last year. However, the forest fires that ravaged Alberta, in Canada, in that month resulted in CNR’s Fort McMurray and the surrounding oil sands fields being evacuated, therefore, delaying the decommissioning of the pumps.
As a result of the competitive cost of manufacturing in South Africa, assisted by the current exchange rate, Hazleton will provide CNR a total cost saving of at least 30%, compared with the cost of undertaking repairs in Canada. The manufacturer notes that the Hippo medium-voltage submersible slurry pumps have been in operation at CNR’s Fort McMurray field since 2000.
Hazleton, based in Centurion, Gauteng, says the main challenge of this particular project is the delivery timeframe dictated by shipping lead times, which is exacerbated by customs clearance processes. To overcome this problem, Hazleton has introduced a “service exchange programme” with its international clients. At least two pumps will be made available on a service exchange basis to be exported immediately when the pumps in need of repair arrive in South Africa. The service exchange pumps will travel to the client on the same sea freight container that delivered the pumps for repair.
The manufacturer adds that, in view of the delays caused by the Alberta fires, CNR requested that one of the service exchange pumps be flown to Canada before the two pumps in need of servicing arrived in South Africa. The 5.5 t Hippo medium- voltage slurry service exchange pump was flown to Fort McMurray in October last year. The pump was installed on arrival at the CNR plant.
Hazleton was responsible for the pump’s commissioning, which was successfully accomplished on November 15.
In 2013, Hazleton received an urgent order to manufacture two 250-300M Hippo submersible slurry pumps for CNR to prevent its tailings dams from spilling over into the surrounding waterways.
These pumps each weighed in excess of 5 t and had to be flown on two separate flights, as the combined weight was too heavy to be loaded on one aircraft.
The Hippo medium-voltage slurry submersible pumps range, which was designed and developed in South Africa, has contributed to a major portion of Hazleton’s export growth.
Hazleton is a family-owned and -managed business that has been receiving awards since the company’s inception 37 years ago and is regarded as a world leader in the pumping of high-head, high-volume acidic liquids containing solids using its branded Hippo submersible slurry pump range. To date, the company has received 34 awards for manufacturing innovation, management of technology and product development.
The company has also been honoured with ‘Minister’s Awards’ on three occasions by Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor.