Case Studies

Helping to Keep Runways Operational in Winter Weather

William Nicol is contracted by Univar to transport, store and distribute runway de-icer to airports and air bases throughout Scotland, including the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland.

Each year, before the onset of winter, eight of our tankers transport some 200 tonnes of de-icer from Middlesbrough to our storage facilities in Portlethen. We then distribute the de-icer to the various airports and airfields including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Prestwick, Inverness, Aberdeen, Sumburgh, Scrabster, Wick, Stornoway, Kirkwall, Lossiemouth and Kinloss.

We also keep a buffer stock of de-icer at our storage facilities ready to deliver when required, so that there is never any risk that the airports and airfields will run out of this vital product.

Providing the Solution to Lack of Mains Water

The construction company Morgan Sindall enlisted our help during their construction of the Marriott Hotel at Dyce, west of Aberdeen.

During the early stages of the project, there was no mains water on site. We provided them with a tanker trailer for on-site storage of potable water and, as the most cost-effective solution, we sold the tanker trailer to them with a buy-back clause. We then bought the tanker back from them once they no longer needed it.

Helping to Save the Roofs of Whisky Warehouses

During some particularly severe winter weather, snow was building up on the roofs of the Chivas Bros whisky warehouses in Speyside and the weight of the snow was threatening to bring the roofs down. We responded to the emergency by delivering a tanker of de-icer to the site so that a helicopter could then be used to spray it onto the roofs to prevent their collapse.

Cleaning and De-gassing Fuel Storage Tanks for the RAF

William Nicol Ltd was sub-contracted by the RAF to clean and de-gas five 1-million litre fuel storage tanks at one of their bases.

We removed the sludge which had built up at the bottom of the tanks and disposed of it in accordance with waste disposal regulations. We then cleaned and de-gassed the tanks, after which another contractor shot-blasted and painted parts of the tank.

The tanks were then inspected by a specialist inspection company and we provided the rescue team to be on standby whilst their operatives were working in the confined space of the tanks.

Finally, we carried out a second clean of the tanks to bring them back up to the required standard.

With the tanks playing a key role in the operations of the air base, we had very tight deadlines to meet and we completed our work well ahead of schedule.

Cleaning Components of Large Heat Exchangers

As part of their contract with Talisman Energy to refurbish some 57 feet long heat exchangers, Glacier Energy Services sub-contracted us to clean the various parts of the equipment.

We allocated an area within our site at Badentoy Industrial Park, Portlethen in which to carry out the work. The site was cordoned off and tightly controlled due to the potential risk of norm radiation.

The team from Glacier Energy Services brought the heat exchangers to the site and removed the tubes from them. They then cut the tubes into three sections and we cleaned them and disposed of them safely in a controlled area.

We then cleaned the main shells of the heat exchangers and returned them back to Glacier Energy Services’ own premises where they inserted new tubes.

Solving a Client’s 5 Million Litre Tank Cleaning Problem

SSE employed William Nicol Ltd to clean a 5-million litre heavy oil tank at their Peterhead power station in the north east of Scotland.

They had drained as much oil as they could into adjacent tanks but there remained at the bottom of the tank a mixture of thousands of litres of oil and sludge which their pumps could not remove.

Using our specialist low suction pumping equipment we removed the remaining oil and then, for several days, our operatives worked inside the tank to clear out the remaining sludge.

We then thoroughly cleaned out this lower area of the tank, taking it back to bare steel to enable specialist tank inspectors to check for corrosion.

The project took two weeks and we finished well within the timescale we had been given with two teams of operatives working 12-hour shifts seven days per week.