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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LLOYD'S REGISTER LISTS SEA SWEEP; ABSORBENT RECOVERS VENEZUELAN ORIMULSION DENVER, CO. -- Lloyd's Register of Shipping, London, has designated Sea Sweep, produced by Denver-based Sea Sweep, Inc. as the first approved oil spill cleanup agent for use on oil tankers insured by the giant underwriter.

Lloyd's said Sea Sweep is effective for "absorbency of heavy, medium, light oil and chemicals." Tests, including those sponsored by the Insurer, found that Sea Sweep will absorb up to seven times its weight in oil.

"The designation in the Lloyd's Register is an important step in marketing Sea Sweep internationally," William Mobeck, Sea Sweep president, said.

The announcement came as Sea Sweep officials were meeting with Venezuelan officials on test results that show Sea Sweep is effective in cleaning up spills of Orimulsion oil produced in Venezuela's Orinoco region.

The tar-like oil extracted in Orinoco cannot be pumped or piped. When altered to produce the more fluid Orlmulsion, it becomes a low cost alternative for boiler oil. When spilled on salt water, Orimulsion breaks up on the surface and some sinks below. Tests show that, in spite of this, Sea Sweep will absorb Orlmulsion in a reasonable period of time when spread on the water surface.

Orimulsion is Imported by Canada, Japan, Denmark, Germany, China, Italy, Lithuania and the United Kingdom but environmental concerns recently led the State of Florida to reject the use of Orimulsion by Florida Power and Light.

"Because of its cost advantage and with Sea Sweep as a safeguard for spills, a much larger market now exists for Orimulsion worldwide," Mobeck said.

Sea Sweep is approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration and the Coast Guard, the State of California, Greece, United Kingdom, Chile and Malta.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DENVER, COLORADO, USA - A product developed by Sea Sweep, Inc. of Denver, Colo., is the first to demonstrate that it can effectively clean up Venezuelan Orimulsion oil if it is spilled at sea or in fresh water:

Other oil spill cleanup materials have not been successful in recovering Orimulsion oil on water because it quickly de-emulsifies when spilled and about 60% to 70% sinks to various levels in the water where other cleanup materials don't reach it. Test results show that over a period of time, the product, Sea Sweep, cleans as much as 100% of all the oil spilled.

"The discovery of the effectiveness of Sea Sweep in cleaning up Orimulsion oil makes it possible to consider export of the oil to worldwide markets safely without fear of a spill that can't be recovered," said William Mobeck, Sea Sweep, Inc. president.

Orimulsion oil was developed by NTEVEP Company, a state-operated research institute in Venezuela, in order to convert Orinoco oil to a useful product. In its natural semisolid state, Orinoco oil was difficult lo use In normal applications.

Through additives, NTEVEP converted Orinoco to an emulsion known as Orimulslon which is equivalent in characteristics and use to Grade C heavy oil. Bitunames Orinoco S.A. was created as a subsidiary of PDVSA to market Orimulsion worldwide. Orimulslon oil currently is being shipped to Japan, the United Kingdom and other locations. The shipments were somewhat at risk because, until now, no known clean up material was effective in recovering an accidental oil spill.

Testing of Sea Sweep was conducted by Dr. Siddhartha Gaur, research assistant professor, Chemical Engineering and Petroleum Refining Department, Colorado School of Mines, one of the world's leading schools in geology and natural resources.

Dr. Gaur placed Sea Sweep in a beaker of salt water into which he had poured Orimulsion oil. Within 30-45 minutes, Sea Sweep had absorbed all of the surface oil, which was 31% to 37% of the oil put into the beaker,

"The excess Sea Sweep over time absorbs water and sinks slowly to various depths in the water," Dr. Gaur said. "When I left the mixture of salt water, Orimulsion and Sea Sweep overnight, the Sea Sweep had absorbed what appeared to be all of the oil beneath the surface as well as on top."

Further tests showed that when Sea Sweeps came into contact with the oil under the surface, the oil at first adhered to the surface of the particles and then actually displaced the water that had been absorbed, lowering the specific gravity to the point where the Sea Sweep floated again to the surface of the beaker.

While actual measurements showed that in the overnight process about 70% of the Orlmulsion by weight had been absorbed by the Sea Sweep, Dr. Gaur said Orimulsion contains water which remained in the beaker. A characteristic of Orimulsion is that oil below the surface within 24 hours floats back to the surface where it will be absorbed by the remaining floating Sea Sweep if it hasn't been absorbed by then.

"Based on the test results, I can suggest that Sea Sweep is able to absorb Orimulsion if enough time is provided for the process to take place," Dr. Gaur reported.

Sea Sweep is created in a patented process of treating wood chips so that the cellulose structure remains active for oil absorption it is hydrophobic (repels water) and oleophilic (attracts oil).

Applied on either water or land, Sea Sweep will absorb four to five times its weight in oil immediately upon contact. It is available loose, In booms, pillows and other containers, biodegradable oil soaked Sea Sweep can be incinerated or composted with other waste products into a fertilizer or landfill soil.

Sea Sweep has been approved by the Thames Region of the U.K., and by the Coast Guards of Greece, Chile and the Department of the Environment in Malta. The U.S. Coast Guard has placed Sea Sweep on its Emergency Response Inventory and the Environmental Protection Agency has approved it for use on all navigable waterways.

In 1993, Sea Sweep was named as one of the top 100 new inventions in the U.S. by R&D Magazine and it was awarded the Gold Medal at the Clean Seas '93 International Conference in Malta.

Sea Sweep was developed by Mobeck and Dr. Thomas Reed, a Colorado School of Mines professor, following the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

"We currently are presenting the results of Dr. Gaur's research to the Venezuelan government and to the oil companies involved in production of Orlmulslon in Venezuela," Mobeck said. "We also will be contacting the transportation and end users of Orimulsion.

"We believe that this development removes a principal problem with Orimulslon and opens the product for worldwide marketing..

Vast deposits of Orinoco oil were discovered in 1920. Because of its semi-solid state, no means was available for developing a useful oil product until the NTEVEP research in 1970. The NTEVEP process provides a stable oil emulsion which can be transported and used much like any other heavy crude.

Power plants using Orimulsion oil will be less costly to construct than coal-fired plants, and Orimulsion will be competitive In fuel costs with coal and other oil, as well as stable in price.

 

### Editors Note: The following represents the results of Dr. Gaur's tests.

TESTING OF SEA SWEEP. IN SALT WATER WITH ORIMULSION OIL

Test#    Water Wt. Oil Wt. SS Wt. Time(Min,) SS(Sat.)Wt. SS Wt.Gain  %Oil Abs.
  1      150.00     21.87   5.67   30        13.13        7.45       34.08
  2      150.23     10.89   5.54   30         9.54        4.00       36.75
  3      150 45     25.67   5.21   30        12.89        7.68       29.92
  4      150.34     30.56   5 32  Overnight  26.67       21.35       69.87
  5      150.23     30.65   5.32   45        14.78        9.46       30.87
       
         All weight in grams.
         SS = Sea Sweep

 

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