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Atmospheric Distillation- Part 5- Appendix

Atmospheric Distillation- Part 5- Appendix

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Published by: Refinery Pedia on Apr 28, 2012
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08/16/2014

 
Course Manual Crude Distillation (Atmospheric Distillation)
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Appendix
Appendix 1
Page # 1 of 34
 
Course Manual Crude Distillation (Atmospheric Distillation)
Crude Units
Even though a crude unit is relatively simple, the opportunities for improving itsoperations are comparable to those of more exotic refining processes. Some of the problems that the troubleshooter is likely to encounter are:
Off-color naphtha
Low furnace oil production
High distillate end point
Excessive light ends in cat cracker feed
Condenser tube failures.
Poor operation of pump around circuits
1. DECREASED FRACTIONATION
Accounting for a loss in fractionation is a common troubleshooting assignment. For example, crude unit operators find that they can no longer meet furnace oil end-pointspecs unless they sacrifice furnace oil yield. On one unit, furnace oil production haddropped from 7,000 b/sd to 4,000 b/sd.Possible explanations for this type of problem are
Tray flooding,
Improper heat balance, and
Tray damage.Trays can flood even below design loads because of fouling of the tray decks.Flooded trays lose fractionating efficiency. Check the pressure drop across thesuspect trays. If the pressure drop per tray (in feet of liquid hydrocarbon) exceeds 40-50 percent of the tray spacing, flooding is likely.
1.1 Upset Tray Decks
Although trays can corrode through, a more common cause of damage is unit upsets.
A high liquid level, above the flash zone, will cause the trays to be bumped by the up-flowing vapors.
Slugs of water can disrupt tray decks when the water suddenly flashes.It seems that many tray upsets occur during short unit outages. At such times, steam
Page # 2 of 34
 
Course Manual Crude Distillation (Atmospheric Distillation)
may back into the fractionator and form pockets of water. Also any operatingmalfunction that causes a pressure surge in the overhead or flash zone (check the pressure recorder) can disrupt tray decks. If the operating engineer sees a loss infractionation following such incidents, he should proceed as follows:1.Quantify the reduced fractionation. This is done by measuring the 5—95%gap. For example, the gap between heavy naphtha and furnace oil is calculated by subtracting the naphtha. 95 vol. % ASTM temperature, from the furnace oil,5 vol. % ASTM temperature. Compare this gap against historical data. Areduction of 20ºF to 30ºF in the gap is significant.2.Check the pressure drop across the trays. Low pressure drop is symptomatic of  broken tray decks.3.X-ray the tower. On one 11-ft-dlameter fractionator, upended tray decks coulddistinctly be seen on the X-ray film.Recommending to management that a crude unit be shut down to repair trays can bea milestone in an operating engineer's career. If the trays are found intact when thetower is opened, the recommendation can be an albatross around one's neck, X-raying is a good way to avoid this risk.
Figure 1.1 Typical Crude Unit1.2 Improper Heat Balance
Page # 3 of 34

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