Amine Basic Practices Guidelines The following is a compendium of basic operating guidelines for H2S/CO2 amine systems

. It was compiled by process experts from several major oil and gas processing companies and independent consultants. It is based on their collective experiences relating to operating guidelines for H2S/CO2 amine systems. The intent is to help the industry better understand and operate their amine plants with the goals of improved environmental compliance, improved reliability, reduced operating costs, and improved sulfur plant operation. In putting this document together, a number of assumptions were made. Some of the key assumptions, particularly in the “action” section, include:
• Plant equipment functions as designed and is correctly designed. • All instrument readings (flows, temperatures, and pressures) are correct;

“repair instruments” is not included as a listed action.
• Amine quality is within established limits.

We have described how to operate a generic amine unit that we believe to be typical of those in the industry. The reader may have to adjust the information presented here where his operation or amine unit is atypical. In preparing these practices we have used one set of terminology, recognizing that other terminology is used in the industry. Examples include: Regenerator – stripper, reactifier, tower, still, still tower Absorber – treater, contactor, scrubber Disclaimer It should be noted there is no operational guarantee implied with the data or procedures presented in this manual. They are intended to be used as guidelines against which to measure or evaluate specific amine unit operations.

05/23/07

Amine Best Practices Group

Page 1

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page PROCESS FLOW DIAGRAM Typical Amine System………………………………………… 3 EQUIPMENT 1. Feed Preparation…………………………….................... 4 2. Overhead KO Drum…………………………………….. 7 3. LPG-Amine Coalescer…………………………………... 8 4. Gas Absorber…………………………………………..... 9 5. LPG Contactor…………………………………………... 14 6. Rich Amine Flash Drum………………………………… 17 7. Rich Amine Pump………………………………………. 20 8. Lean-Rich Exchanger……………………….................... 21 9. Regenerator……………………………………………… 23 10. Regenerator Overhead Condenser……………………..... 29 11. Reflux Drum…………………………………………….. 30 12. Reflux Pump…………………………………………….. 31 13. Lean Amine Pump……………………………………..... 34 14. Lean Amine Coolers…………………………………….. 35 15. Regenerator Reboiler…………………………………..... 37 16. Amine Filter……………………………………………... 39 17. Amine Carbon Treater…………………………………... 42 18. Carbon Treater After Filter……………………………… 45 19. Amine Surge Tank…………………………..................... 46 20. DGA Reclaimer………………………………………..... 48 21. Amine Reclaimer………………………………………... 51 22. NH3 Scrubber………………………………..................... 53 SPECIAL ISSUES Amine Condition………………………………………............. 55 Caustic Neutralization…………………………………............ 60 Water Balance…………………………………………............. 61 Foaming……………………………………………………….. 62 Ammonia………………………………………………………. 63

05/23/07

Amine Best Practices Group

Page 2

TYPICAL AMINE SYSTEM

TO FUEL OH CONDENSER OH KO DRUM 10 2 REGENERATOR LEAN/RICH EXCHANGERS GAS ABSORBER

NH3 SCRUBBER (OPTIONAL)

TO SRU

22 SOUR WATER

11 4 RAW GAS FEED PREP 1 15 FLASH GAS TO FUEL 6 7 LEAN AMINE PUMP 13 14 LEAN AMINE TRIM COOLERS 8 9

REFLUX DRUM 12

SOUR WATER

REFLUX PUMP REBOILER

RECLAIMER 20 21

RICH AMINE FLASH DRUM

CARBON TREATER AMINE AFTER FILTER FILTER 18 17 16

RICH AMINE PUMP

19

LEAN AMINE

3

LPG-AMINE COALESCER WATER

AMINE SURGE TANK LPG

LPG CONTACTOR (ABSORBER)

5

05/23/07

Amine Best Practices Group

Page 3

commonly applied apparatus includes knockout drums. A circulating water stream removes these contaminants. FEED GAS PRETREATMENT For gas feeds. or Vacuum Unit that may contain cyanides.1. Check level instruments (auto drain). once/shift (round). A Filter-Separator is frequently used to remove liquids and solids from gas streams. board. Liquid is bled to the sour water system. Amine Best Practices Group Page 4 05/23/07 . It is difficult to size the apparatus for slug protection and the need is determined by an analysis of the upstream system considering the tendency of the source to carryover. at alarm or upset < 0. Filter Separator Pressure Drop • • • • Normal Range: Instrument: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: < 2 psi Differential pressure gages (field) Differential pressure transmitter/recorder/alarm (board) Field. Coker. Close bypass. A pump may be added if significant carryover is expected. corrosion. Replace elements. Sour water stripper feed is commonly used as make-up because the ammonia is a good buffer and this minimizes refinery sour water. open bypass Hydrocarbon contamination leading to foaming Filter material carried into amine equipment Confirm board and field instruments in agreement. filter-separators or a water wash drum or column. The Inlet Knockout Drum functions to catch entrained hydrocarbon liquids and occasional slugs. acids or other contaminants into the contactor to help prevent foaming.1 psi reading Torn elements. and other upsets. acids ammonia or particulates. What about adding aerosol coalescing separation?? A water wash drum is a trayed column recommended for gas streams from an FCC. HC contamination leading to foaming Drain liquid boot more frequently (manual drain). Clean or replace dirty element. The goal of any of these alternatives is to prevent the introduction of hydrocarbons. Continual rise Particle accumulation. Check for separation efficiency in upstream equipment. high liquid loadings Reduced throughput.

Clean or replace dirty element.cont • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Sudden increases Upstream upset. gas release to unprotected vessels or atmosphere Close bypass Check valves for leaks Replace element Gradual level increase Infrequent manual draining. torn element Hydrocarbon contamination of amine leading to foaming.1. or other level sensor / transmitter / readout / alarm Field. float. at alarm or upset No level ever shows Bypassing. level control failure (high) on upstream equipment. liquid/solid fouling Blind-off leading to relief or compressor problems HC contamination of amine leading to foaming. d/p cell. Drain liquid buildup. FEED GAS PRETREATMENT . reduced throughput Control upset in upstream unit.25% (board or field level instrument) Gage glass. higher than normal liquid influx Hydrocarbon contamination of amine leading to foaming Control upstream upsets Increase manual drain frequency Check level control valve • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 5 . start once/shift (round) Board. Action: Liquid Levels • • • • Normal Range: Instrument: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Level in gage glass (field). faulty level control/control valve. 50% +/. manual drain valve leaks.

ammonia. loss of makeup water Loss of circulating water Check downstream KO pot for water. increase purge rate 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 6 . FEED GAS PRETREATMENT . high and low level alarms Every round and at alarm Low Water carryover. loss of suction.10 gpm/sq. particulates. control failure Breakthrough of contaminants to amine contactor (cyanides. check tower level Water Wash Drum Level • • • • Normal Range: Instrumentation: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Design normal liquid level +/. organics) Check pump. Flow controller On alarm at sign of upset Low Pump failure. hydrocarbon carryover Loss of treating Check upstream source for problems. acids.5% Level gauge.1. check source of makeup water and restore High Excess makeup water.ft. restart or start spare.cont Water Wash Drum Circulation Rate • • • • Normal Range: Instrument: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 5 .

in response to it High Upset in upstream equipment If not stopped. Level • • Normal Range: Instrument: Empty to just visible Level gauge (sight glass) High level alarm in critical service Automatic level control valve in "wet" service Level to be visually checked on every round and vessel drained as needed. liquid will carry over and contaminate downstream processes Drain liquid . POTS An overhead knockout drum may be installed to pick up amine carryover. If foaming is expected. This requirement is a function of contactor design and the perceived likelihood of entrainment of foaming.2.hydrocarbon to a slops system Amine to the amine system Check operation of upstream equipment • Status check: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 7 . a water spray to collapse the foam may be appropriate.O. OVERHEAD K. If alarm is provided.

Recovery is further maximized by the upstream injection of recycle water which is typically limited to 5 wt-% amine. carryover of amine is a common occurrence.3. in response to it High Upset in upstream contactor If not stopped. but a coalescer-separator is generally recommended to recover chronically entrained droplets. liquid will carry over and contaminate downstream processes Drain liquid to the amine system Check operation of upstream equipment Low Drain valve open or passing If not stopped. A simple knockout drum may be acceptable if the expectation is that the only significant carryover of amine will be as slugs. hydrocarbon will carry under and contaminate the regenerator Check drain valve • Status Check: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 8 . LPG-AMINE COALESCER With liquid hydrocarbon contactors. If alarm is provided. Level • • Normal Range: Instrument: Visible interface Level gauge (sight glass) High level alarm in critical service Automatic level control valve in "wet" service Level to be visually checked on every round and vessel drained as needed.

316 or 410SS. However. and is an absolute necessity for MEA systems. flooding Poor efficiency. off-spec treated gas. erratic action Foaming. reduce gas and/or liquid rates. Note: By locating the lower d/p cell tap at roughly the same elevation as the top sight glass connection. if the gas is not saturated or any heavy (C6+) HCs are not surface active.2 psi/tray Continuous recorder w/alarm. Common industry practice is to maintain lean amine temperatures 10-15°F hotter than the raw gas feed to the absorber. Design pressures of the contactor and associated KO pots normally match the gas source design pressure so that the contactor does not require overpressure relief capacity for full gas flow at blocked discharge. Adequate separation space is required at the top and mist pads are frequently used. it doubles as an independent high-level alarm. liquid carryover. At alarm or sign of upset Consistently low Possible tray damage Poor efficiency. contamination) Sudden increase.4. typically containing about 20 trays or equivalent. general plant upset Add antifoam (discriminately). corrosion.0. to avoid foaming due to HC condensation where the gas is saturated. check feed gas for entrained HC’s Amine Best Practices Group Page 9 • • Status check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 . condensation may not be an issue and it may be preferable to minimize the lean amine temperature (to 80°F) in order to maximize fuel gas cleanup. Stress relieving (post weld heat treatment) is preferred for all amine vessels. trays are typically 304. Tower material is steel. off-spec treated gas Mechanical repair Gradual increase Possible fouling Flooding.g. capacity limit Cleanout.1 . check relative gas/amine temperatures to determine likelihood of HC condensation. identify root cause (e. Differential Pressure • • Normal Range: Instrument: 0. GAS ABSORBER The Gas Absorber (or Contactor) is a typical counter flow gas-liquid contactor equipped with trays or with random or structured packing. poor efficiency.

4. potential reduction in mass transfer due to weeping Reduce amine flow.cont Feed Gas Flow Rate • • • • Normal range: Instrument: Status check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Amine Flow Rate • • • • Normal range: Instrument: Status check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 Site specific Continuous recorder At sign of upset or change in process conditions Low Upstream process change Reduced amine demand. supplement feed gas with recycle or clean gas if warranted High Upstream process change Increased amine demand. GAS ABSORBER . possible jet flooding Increase amine flow As necessary to achieve on-spec treated gas within rich amine loading targets Controller w/alarm At alarm or sign of upset Low Change in controller status or supply pressure Potential reduction in acid gas recovery Adjust conditions determining rate High Change in controller status or supply pressure Increased utility consumption Adjust conditions determining rate Amine Best Practices Group Page 10 .

4.cont Feed Gas Temperature • • • • Normal range: Instrument: Status check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 80-120°F Indicator Once/round or at sign of upset Low Change in upstream process and/or ambient conditions Reduced acid gas recovery in extreme cases Increase temperature of feed gas and/or amine High Change in upstream process and/or ambient conditions Potentially reduced acid gas recovery Decrease feed gas temperature. with potential downstream condensation and resultant corrosion/fouling Increase lean amine cooling Amine Best Practices Group Page 11 Action: 05/23/07 . GAS ABSORBER . or increase amine flow rate to improve heat balance Lean Amine Temperature • • • • Normal range: Instrument: Status check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: 90-130°F Indicator Once/round or at sign of upset Low Change in upstream process and/or ambient condition Potentially reduced acid gas removal from high viscosity or low rate of reaction Reduce lean amine cooling or supply heat High Change in upstream process and/or ambient conditions Potentially reduced acid gas removal due to poor equilibrium at high absorber temperatures Excessive moisture in treated gas.

4. GAS ABSORBER . LPG entrainment and excessive (> 0. ranging from once/shift to weekly Low Overcirculation Excessive utility consumption Reduce amine circulation rate High Undercirculation Reduced acid gas removal. contingent on satisfactory gas cleanup Spot lab sample Samples exposed to air or allowed to weather may not yield accurate results. potentially resulting in foaming and/or emulsification Increase lean amine temperature • • • Hazard: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 .5) mole loadings. Potential H2S release Site-specific. where gas is HCsaturated Indicators on individual streams Once/round or at sign of upset Low Change in upstream process and/or ambient conditions Condensation of HCs.cont Lean Amine / Feed Gas Temperature Differential • • • • Normal range: Instrument: Status check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Rich Amine Loading • • Normal range: Analysis: Caution: Maximum within target (see Appendix for typical rich amine loadings). Relative H2S loss is significantly increased by high contactor pressures. corrosion Increase amine circulation rate Amine Best Practices Group Page 12 Lean amine at least 10°F hotter than feed gas.

cont H2S in Treated Gas • • • • • Normal range: Instrument: Analysis: Status check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 10-50 ppm Optional online analyzer Length-of-stain tube Once/round or at sign of upset High One or more of following: flooding. temperature or quality Contractual/environmental non-compliance Adjust process conditions as warranted 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 13 . foaming. inadequate stripping. GAS ABSORBER .4. amine rate.

The rate is dependent on upstream devices such as level control or flow control from storage. Minimum recommended is flow rate indication. The operating pressure/bubble point temperature relationship must be considered and it may be necessary for amine temperature to be below liquid hydrocarbon temperature to assure that localized vaporization of hydrocarbon does not occur. Recording instrumentation should be considered and provides indication of instability and upset conditions. configuration. Flow rate can vary from design rate down to 20-30% depending on refinery requirements. and design pressure considerations. There is a liquid-liquid interface to deal with. These essential differences must be kept in mind: 1. Hydrocarbon Flow • Normal Range: Hydrocarbon flow direction is upward through the contactor. LPG CONTACTOR The LPG Contactor (Absorber) is similar in most respects to the gas contactor with regard to materials. with the interface above the packing or trays. The flow of the discontinuous phase is from bottom to top and trays must be designed accordingly. Once/shift or upon upset or alarm High Upstream flow rate changes Process upset Sour product Emulsion formation at interface Amine carryover to downstream process Find cause of problem. 2. it is recommended that amine be the continuous phase.5. add antifoam Low Upstream flow rate changes None Lower lean amine rate • Instrument: • • Status check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 14 . 3.

hydrocarbon feed temperature and rich amine temperature. upstream HC processing problems Sour product. Normally. Minimum recommended is flow rate indication. Rates may be varied to match hydrocarbon loads if required. improper phase separation.5. Normal temperature ranges from 100°F to 130°F. Higher temperatures tend to break emulsions and assist interface control but hinder absorption and create bubble point problems. Once/shift or on indication of problems High Improper amine cooling. Once/shift or on alarm and indication of problems Low Improper set point Sour product Adjust amine flow to design rates High Improper set point Loss of interface control. flows are relatively low and may remain fixed without regard to economic considerations. Recommended lean amine temperature. amine carryover Adjust cooling to get amine to proper temperature Amine Best Practices Group Page 15 • • • Instrument: Status check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 . LPG CONTACTOR – cont Amine Flow Rate • Normal Range: Amine flow rate should be adjusted at design flow rate and rich loadings. amine losses Adjust amine flow to design rates • • • Instrument: Status check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Temperature • Normal Range: Temperature is a function of the hydrocarbon temperature since it is normally the major flow component. Some heat of reaction occurs and contributes to the temperature of the system. Bubble point of the hydrocarbon must be considered. Recording instrumentation should be considered.

hydrocarbon undercarry or amine losses Look for upstream hydrocarbon or amine control problems. hydrocarbon flow may stop. Recommended is RVP of the hydrocarbon plus 50 psi unless the operating temperature causes the vapor pressure at conditions to be much higher. loss of amine. Consider level controllers resetting flow controllers. upstream HC processing problems Loss of interface control due to emulsions. partial vaporization of hydrocarbon. Low Improper set point Loss of interface control. sour product Bypass cooler to heat up amine Pressure • Normal Range: The minimum pressure is a function of the liquid hydrocarbon composition to be treated and the temperatures anticipated in the contactor. As a minimum. LPG CONTACTOR – cont • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Low Improper amine cooling. amine carryover Raise set point to recommended minimum Raise pressure set point or lower temperature • Instrument: • • Status check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 16 . pressure indication on hydrocarbon overhead Recorder recommended Once/shift or on upset Surges Hydrocarbon or amine control problem. loss of amine. sour product. feed composition change Loss of interface control. Normal control is by a backpressure control system on the contactor overhead system.5. Operation near bubble point conditions must be avoided.

add antifoam.6. as H2S levels are typically on the order of several %. incinerator or heater firebox – usually subject to amine scrubbing. Stilling wells are required for liquid feed to avoid continual turbulent mixing of liquid hydrocarbon with amine. FLASH DRUM The Rich Amine Flash Drum provides for the venting of flashed light hydrocarbons and separation of liquid hydrocarbons ranging from LPG to gas oil. a rich amine pump is required. Pressure • • • • Normal operating range: (1) High pressure (no rich amine pump): 45-65 psig (2) Low pressure (with rich amine pump): 0-25 psig Instrumentation: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Pressure controller If amine foaming is observed High Excessive hydrocarbon in rich amine Regenerator foaming. SRU upset or fouling Correct absorber operation.are not uncommon. Level instrument design must consider the potential for accumulation of liquid HC layers of varying densities. It is recommended that the flash drum be operated at a pressure of 15 psig or less. flare. although pressures as high as 90 psig . skim hydrocarbon from flash drum Low System venting to atmosphere or relief system May not get into the regenerator Find leak Negative pressure Relief stack draft causing a vacuum on the system Air may be drawn into flash drum and contaminate the amine or cause an explosive mixture Adjust relief system pressure to hold positive pressure on drum 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 17 . Materials are as for the Gas and LPG Contactors. clean up amine. At low pressure. Flash gas at less than fuel gas header pressure can be disposed of to the vapor recovery system.

diluting amine strength Remove some amine from plant. low and high level alarms At or changing level High Water leaking into system. FLASH DRUM – cont Flash Gas Rate • • • • Normal operating range: Depends on absorber pressure and feed composition Instrumentation: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Flow indicator and/or pressure controller At alarm or sign of upset High Hydrocarbon carryover from absorber Foaming and reduced acid gas absorption (possible violation). absorbers returning amine inventory. Check amine strength. add antifoam. SRU upset Increase skim rate. clean up amine.6. imbalance in amine flows Amine carryover into gas system. check gas and liquid absorber operation for hydrocarbon carryunder 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 18 . foaming in regenerator (SRU upset) Correct absorber operation. absorber level problem. Sight glass Once per round or regenerator foaming problems High Insufficient skimming Amine foaming. skim hydrocarbon from flash drum Hydrocarbon Level • • • • Normal operating range: 0-5% level above amine Instrumentation: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Amine Level • • • • Normal operating range: 40-75% when flash drum is system's surge capacity Instrumentation: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Level recorder.

or system losses. foaming in absorbers or regenerators. absorber upset and holding up or losing amine. find leak or loss Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 19 .6. FLASH DRUM – cont • Deviation: Cause: Low Dehydrating amine system. Flash gas or liquid hydrocarbon carryover in rich amine to regenerator due to low residence time for gas or liquid hydrocarbon separation (SRU upset) Add amine or condensate to plant.

7. 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 20 . but must consider the following: 1. a potentially toxic fluid. Mechanical seals are required of a quality to contain rich amine. RICH AMINE PUMP The Rich Amine Pump(s). plus pump differential pressure. Pump cases and seals must be designed for the relieving conditions of the flash drum. 2. Pump materials include steel or stainless steel case and chrome or chrome-nickel stainless intervals. required for low pressure flash drum operation may be to API or ANSI specifications.

at about ambient temperature. For shell-and-tube units. Both shell-and-tube and plate-and-frame exchangers have been used. design pressures must consider actual maximum system pressure. typical 5-10 psig Local pressure gauges Recorded as part of heat transfer monitoring or at capacity limitation 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 21 . temperature. tube sheets. Rich Outlet Temperature • • • • Normal Range: Instrument: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Will vary with system design and current operation. 18-8 stainless tubes are recommended with stress relieved steel for the shell. exchanging Regenerator bottoms at reboiler temperature against rich amine feed to the Regenerator. and channels. a 10 degree change from “normal” value should be investigated Control-board mounted on final rich amine. As with all equipment. possibly bypass hot lean amine flows Low Exchanger fouling Poor stripping in regenerator and/or increased reboiler steam demand Check all temperatures for poor performance (fouling). If the Rich Amine Flash Drum relief valve provides rich side protection. the rich side pressure can be designed for Flash Drum design pressure plus Lean Amine Pump differential. LEAN/RICH EXCHANGERS The Lean-Rich Exchanger is a heat conservation device.8. clean exchangers Pressure • • • Normal Range: Instrument: Status Check: Design. to preheat the feed. Lean side design depends on location but should at least match Regenerator design pressure. local temperature indicators Once per round Heat transfer coefficients calculated monthly High rich amine temperature Low fuel rate Flashing and corrosion in exchangers and regenerator inlet piping Check amine flows.

8.cont • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: High Fouling. equipment failure Reduced circulation Reduced heat transfer High lean amine temperature and low regenerator feed preheat Locate the point of high pressure drop Action: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 22 . LEAN/RICH EXCHANGERS .

excessive reboiler duty. once/shift(round). REGENERATOR The Regenerator is usually a trayed tower. install reflux purge and clean water makeup to control corrosion. Capacity in the bottom may be provided for surge (common in tail gas treater systems) or surge may be external (preferred in primary systems). Reflux Drum Pressure • • • • Normal Range: Instrument: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 5-15 psig Pressure gage (field). Feed is below a rectifying section and above the stripping section. Design pressure is based on system protection requirements and potential over pressure sources. flooded vessel. unit shutdown Determine cause for loss of feed or heating medium. increased lean loadings. although packed towers are occasionally used. at alarm or upset Low or decreasing pressure Failed pressure controller. Minimize velocities by optimizing steam consumption High or rising pressure Downstream unit problems. transmitter/recorder alarm (board) Field. release to atmosphere. The feed nozzle is usually of 18-8SS or is lined with an 18-8 SS sleeve. loss of reboiler heat source. loss of feed. reduced heat input. blocked outlet line. board. failed pressure controller. unit shutdown.9. loss of containment Upset of or shutdown of downstream sulfur unit. hydrocarbon contamination Relief. Trays of 410SS or 18-8SS are used successfully. downstream unit shutdown or upset accelerate amine degradation Reduce feed Reduce reboiler duty Drain hydrocarbons from flash drum Raise reflux temperature Steam out liquid gas product Drain hydrocarbon liquid from reflux drum Shutdown and clean overhead line Amine Best Practices Group Page 23 • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 . decreased throughput. The tower shell is of steel (516-60 or 516-70) and is stress relieved. Not all of this is true in the gas patch.

plugging from corrosion products or salts. transmitter/recorder/alarm (board) Field. Check rich amine feed circuit for plugging in valves. unit shutdown. acceleration of amine degradation.9. at alarm or upset Sudden loss of flow Loss of flash drum or contactor levels. increased lean loadings. Remove heat stable salt anions and sodium Remove degradation products (reclaim). check for hydrocarbons to regenerator. flow control failure. once/shift(round). SRU upset Check rich flash drum level control. REGENERATOR – cont Top Pressure For Conventional Condenser/Drum Overhead Systems • • • • Normal Range: Instrument: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: 5-15 psig (set primarily by downstream sulfur unit) Gage (field). condenser fouled on the cooling media side. high regenerator pressure Loss of throughput. reduced throughput Reduce feed Reduce reboiler duty Drain hydrocarbons from flash drum Steam overhead line Drain hydrocarbons from reflux drum Shutdown and clean overhead line Action: Rich Amine Feed Rate • • Normal Range: Instrument: System dependent Field. or exchangers. local flow indicator/ controller. at alarm or upset High or Rising Pressure Condenser fouled and plugged on the process side. board. board. meter/ transmitter/recorder/alarm (prefer to have flow control reset by upstream drum level) Field. foaming and excessive entrainment. board. loss of treating capability. Check contactor level control and flows. once/shift(round). loss of cooling media Upset of downstream sulfur unit. orifices filters. relief. Amine Best Practices Group Page 24 • • Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 .

equipment draining). leaks or open drains Loss of throughput.002 to 0. once/shift(round). Balance reflux purges and makeup water rates. Check for maintenance activity (filter changes. Acid Gas Product Rate • • Normal Range: Instrument: System dependent Field. REGENERATOR – cont • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Gradual decline in flow Declining rich amine flash drum level resetting flow. board. meter/transmitter/ recorder alarm (should coordinate into downstream sulfur unit control scheme) Field. local flow indicator. pressure controller failure. loss of reboiler heat input. relief. at alarm or upset Sudden loss of flow Loss of feed. plugged overhead line. unit shutdown Restore feed.9. tower internals malfunction Loss of throughput. downstream unit shutdown. Restore reboiler heating media. foaming. upset/shutdown of downstream sulfur unit Skim rich amine flash/reflux drums for hydrocarbon Change carbon filter • • Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Lean Loading • • Normal Range: Instrument: 05/23/07 Amine and acid gas dependent. loss of containment.1 mol acid gas/mol amine Laboratory test Amine Best Practices Group Page 25 . board. Steam out or otherwise heat overhead line. raise reflux or pumparound return temperature. tower internals malfunction Amine carryover. Sudden increase in flow Hydrocarbon intrusion into regenerator. loss of treating capability. plugging from corrosion products or salts. loss of treating capability Balance flows in and out of system. Check for contactor foaming or upset. Lean loadings vary from 0.

in sight glass. Check sodium level. gage glass. over-circulation. Caution must be taken in sampling and sample handling. Clean fouled exchangers. Decrease circulation. loss of reboiler heat input Check controller. fouled lean/rich exchangers. Remove heat stable salt anions and sodium. loss of regenerator level Leaking lean/rich exchangers when rich amine exceeds lean amine pressure Caustic contamination Off-spec products. Change carbon filter Action: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 26 . once/day to once/week. d/p cell or float/transmitter/recorder/alarm Field. at alarm or upset Sudden loss of level Control failure. Special consideration: In H2S-containing systems.25% Field. Skim flash drum and reflux drums for hydrocarbons. loss of circulation causing off-spec products. foaming Bottoms pump failure. Lean loading exceeds spec/treated gases and liquids fail to meet spec. Level-Trol or d/p cell with local indicator Board.9. board. residual H2S tends to oxidize to thiosulfate when exposed to air. Insufficient reboiler heat input caused by: insufficient heating media supply. lean circulation pump failure/shutdown. Check for loss of feed. Check for signs of hydrocarbon incursion. fouled reboiler. loss of feed. • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Bottom Level • • • • Normal Range: Instrument: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Field. once/shift. REGENERATOR – cont • Status Check: Laboratory. excessive corrosion Increase reboiler heat input. rapid pressure-up. board 50% +/. Increase amine strength.

Reduce feed rate. Skim rich amine flash drum and reflux drum for hydrocarbon. insufficient heat input leading to excessive lean loadings. tower internals malfunction Amine and/or hydrocarbon carryover into downstream sulfur unit. increased filter pore size to control filter replacement cost. Monitor carbon filter. Test feed and bottoms for foaming tendency. unit shutdown downstream sulfur unit shutdown Determine reason for loss of feed Determine reason for loss of heating media Occasional sudden rise then returning to normal Foaming. temperature. change if necessary. Excessive particle accumulation caused by poor filtration. if high in amine stop purge of reflux to stop amine loss. reboiler heat input fluctuations.05-0. hydrocarbon intrusion from flash drum. high lean loadings leading to off-spec products. add antifoam until pressure drop is normal. Excessive corrosion rates caused by high ammonia/amine concentrations in reflux. filter placement. at alarm or upset Little or no pressure drop Loss of feed. check level instruments Check reboiler heating medium control for fluctuating pressure.2 psi/tray d/p gage (field).9. under-circulation leading to excessive rich loadings. high heat stable salt anion content. hydrocarbon refluxed to tower. d/p cell/transmitter/recorder/alarm Field. once/shift(round). REGENERATOR – cont Tower Pressure Drop • • • • Normal Range: Instrument: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: 0. board. Reduce heat input Gradual buildup or sudden permanent buildup Buildup of corrosion products causing tray plugging. tower internals malfunction High lean loadings leading to off-spec products. loss of reboiler heating media. if high in hydrocarbon increase purge. damage. tray blowout. or flow. Ensure proper levels are maintained in rich flash and reflux drum. accumulation of particles in rich amine flash drum Amine Best Practices Group Page 27 Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: 05/23/07 . tray blowout Determine composition of reflux.

Re-establish condenser/pumparound cooler cooling media. Amine Best Practices Group Page 28 Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 . increased filtration costs and increased plugging Discontinue antifoam additions and change carbon filters to prevent antifoam buildup and foaming episodes Remove heat stable salt anions and sodium Remove amine degradation products (reclaimer) Shutdown and chemical or water wash tower Reduce filter pore size. high lean loadings leading to off-spec products. higher corrosion rates. temperature gage. keep rich loadings at or below recommended levels Action: Top Temperature For Conventional Condenser/Drum Overhead Systems Or Pumparound Type System Pumparound Draw Temperature • • • • Normal Range: Instrument: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: 190-230°F Field. tower internals malfunction Increased lean loadings leading to off-spec products Raise reboiler heat input. Reduce circulation. at alarm or upset Low Insufficient heat input. increase amine in reflux water by entrainment and/or vaporization. thermocouple/transmitter/recorder/alarm Field. increased energy consumption. once/shift(round). REGENERATOR – cont Consequence: Reduced throughput. loss of reflux or pumparound cooling media. Raise condenser cooling media temperature High Too high heat input. Clean rich amine flash drum bottom Add additional filtration upstream of regenerator Keep lean loadings minimal. Reduce reboiler duty. excess energy costs. reduced circulation leading to higher rich loadings. too cold reflux or pumparound return temperatures. too low loadings Overtax overhead system leading to excess water loss and poor downstream sulfur unit feed. board. increase corrosion rates throughout regenerator. accelerate amine degradation. excessive rich loadings. Raise reflux or pumparound return temperatures. board.9. reflux level or pumparound flow control valve failure.

10. but usual steel construction is preferred. REGENERATOR OH CONDENSER The Overhead Condenser may be either shell-and-tube or an aerial cooler. Tube materials have frequently been dictated by water quality. A single pass exchanger with water on the tube side is usually selected for shell-and-tube. 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 29 . Amine side design pressure should match the Regenerator and the Condenser is typically protected by the Regenerator safety valve.

pumparound temperature control problem Plugged overhead line with hydrates or NH3. The Reflux Drum is carbon steel. insufficient heat input. board. REFLUX DRUM The Reflux Drum collects condensate from the Overhead Condenser and allows acid gas to separate and flow to the SRU. board thermocouple/ transmitter/recorder/alarm Field. at alarm or upset Temperature reads below 90°F Too much cooling media. Acid Gas Product/Reflux Temperature • • • • Normal Range: Instrument: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: 90-130° F Field. It is designed for pressure such that it can be protected by the Regenerator safety relief valve. too cold cooling media.11. Confirm instrument readings Cut cooling media rate or raise its temperature Raise reboiler heat input Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 30 . temperature gage. reflux level control problem. It is sized to provide for vapor-liquid separation and for 5 minutes of Reflux Pump capacity holdup. once/shift(round). and does not require stress relieving.

Materials are steel with 400 or 300 series stainless steel impeller and internals or 300 series stainless steel case and internals. plugging. Reflux ratio varies from 1 to 3 moles of reflux water to mole acid gas product. once/shift(round). loss of feed. Casing pressure is designed for Regenerator pressure plus pump differential. liquid carryover to downstream sulfur units. plugging. Mechanical seals must contain hazardous materials. pump problems High lean loadings leading to off-spec product. loss of reboiler heating media. Field. upset of air to acid gas ratio in Claus unit Check controller. fouled or plugged overhead exchanger. leaks. REFLUX PUMP The Reflux Pump is a small ANSI or API pump. Check/repair controller Raise reboiler heat input Clear plugging in reflux system • • Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 31 .12. insure correct valve trim and metallurgy Determine if feed lost. excessive water to downstream sulfur unit. loss of levels reducing circulation and throughput. loss of cooling media. correct supply problem Determine if cooling media lost or restricted Reflux ratio too low Controller problems. Reflux Rate • • Normal range: Instrument: Dependent on tower heat balance. correct upstream unit Determine if heating media lost. insufficient reboiler heat input. Reflux rate controlled by reflux drum level in a conventional system. Controllers can be field or board mounted. board. at alarm or upset Loss of reflux Control failure. pump failure Increased amine strength leading to heat/mass transfer problems or pumping problems.

too low tower top temperature setting. once/shift(round). makeup water and purge water controls board or field mounted. shutdown and repair condenser. coolant side of exchanger fouled Excess water to downstream sulfur unit. erratic amine strengths Increase heat input to reboiler Increase lean circulation Restore cooling media flow Compute water balance and adjust purge/makeup Clean pumparound cooler Increase in pumparound flow Improper water balance. too large purge rates. increase in rich loadings. Flow Control reset by tower top temperature.12. Flowrate is also dependent on draw temperature. Internal reflux ratios similar to the external reflux ratio for conventional overhead systems are maintained. condenser leak Erratic amine strengths. plugged overhead lines Compute water balance and adjust purge/makeup rates Raise tower top temperature Analyze chloride level of amine. board. insufficient makeup water. draw tray level indicator/controller. at alarm or upset Decline or loss of pumparound flow Loss or decline in heat input. Flowrate is normally reset by tower overhead temperature. low/high level/flow/ temperature alarms Field. loss of cooling media. • Instrument: • • Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 32 . increase in pressure which raises temperatures which accelerates corrosion. REFLUX PUMP – cont Pumparound Rate (Special/Option) • Normal Range: Dependent on tower heat balance. leaking draw tray.

excessive ammonia to SRU not designed for ammonia destruction Purge reflux/pumparound Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 33 . conductometric titration Once/week to Once/month depending on system Ammonia exceeds 1. REFLUX PUMP – cont Ammonia Buildup • • • • Normal Range: Analytical Method: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: 0-1. reflux of H2S back to the stripping section of the regenerator.0 wt-% Low or no purge. overhead line plugging.12. high lean loadings leading to off-spec product.0 wt% Ion chromatography (IC). high ammonia levels in unwashed gases Accelerated overhead system corrosion. water wash systems upstream of contactors not operating or saturated.

13. LEAN AMINE PUMP Lean Amine Pumps are usually downstream of the Lean-Rich Exchanger to keep NPSH requirements low. In some systems. Accordingly. Mechanical seals. 2. Pressure protection level that defines casing rating. 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 34 . pumps may be ANSI or API and must consider: 1. in others they are lower pressure and supply booster pumps at individual Absorbers. these are high pressure pumps. Pump materials include steel or stainless steel case and chrome or chrome-nickel stainless internals.

stress relieving should be considered for all amines. an aerial cooler or a combination. In general. loss of heat to regenerator Condensation of hydrocarbons in absorbers Open cooler bypass Check regenerator bottoms temperature for deviation • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 35 . exchanger fouling. check cooling water supply. The recommended material in contact with the amine solution is steel. Welded elements in contact with the amine must be stress relieved for MEA service. calculate heat transfer coefficients and clean exchangers. LEAN AMINE COOLERS The Lean Amine Cooler may be a shell-and-tube exchanger. Temperature considerations as mentioned for the contactors may dictate lean amine cooler design or it may be dictated by coolant conditions.14. Some refiners have used plate-and-frame exchangers if pressures are not excessive. Low Cooler bypass closed. Hydrocarbon vaporization in liquid/liquid contactors Close cooler bypass. cooler amine (down to 80ºF) assures better performance. rapid loss of cooling may be an indication of mechanical problems. Outlet Temperature • • • Normal Range: Instrument: Status Check: 90-130°F (minimum 10°F hotter than sour fuel gas) Local temperature gauges. usually designed as a single pass with amine on the tube side. All other temperatures are checked weekly Heat transfer coefficients should be calculated monthly High Cooler bypass open. loss of cooling water Reduced H2S removal efficiency in downstream contactors. control board mounted on final lean amine temperature Lean amine temperature checked once per round or at alarm or upset.

5-10 psig typical Local pressure gauges Recorded as part of heat transfer monitoring. LEAN AMINE COOLERS – cont Pressure • • • • Normal Range: Instrument: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Design. or at capacity limitation High Fouling.14. reduced heat transfer Locate the point of high pressure drop 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 36 . equipment failure Reduced circulation or high lean amine temperature leading to off-spec product.

Isolate leak. Tubes are usually of 316 SS although steel tubes are used successfully in some units. Once through horizontal shell-and-tube. Once through vertical shell-and-tube. steam side design is fixed by the steam system. Compute tower heat balance. but tube wall temperature must be kept below some maximum for each amine. REBOILER The Regenerator Reboiler may be: a. Remove heat stable salts and anions. d. Conventional kettle. board. board. failure of reflux/ pumparound control leading to overcooling. d. Compute required heat requirement and compare to available heat. temperature gages. heat stable salt content. amine is on the tube side. Horizontal thermosiphon. f.15. Compute reboiler and lean/rich exchanger heat transfer coefficients to determine fouling. once/(round). b. loss of containment High lean loadings leading to off-spec product. Steam is normally used as heat medium. Clean exchangers if fouled. Remove amine degradation products (reclaim) Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 37 . b. c. amine type and concentration) Field. Once through kettle. For c and f. e. Vertical thermosiphon For a. emission of toxic gases to atmosphere Confirm initial and final state and flows of heating media and calculate duty to exchanger. Reboiler Temperatures (In/Out) • • • • Normal Range: Instrument: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: 230-260° F (dependent upon tower pressure. at alarm or upset Low Loss of reboiler heating media. steam is on the tube side. Design pressure on the amine side must at least match the Regenerator. Steel shells must be stress relieved. there are alternatives. tray loadings. fouling of reboiler or lean/rich exchangers due to excessive corrosion rates. thermocouple/transmitter/ recorder/alarm Field. and e.

hydrocarbon incursion causing higher pressures.5 lb stm/gal amine. improper design of reboiler. off-spec product Restore supply of heating media Lower condensate system pressure • • • Instrument: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequences: Action: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 38 . Clean reboiler and/or lean/rich exchangers Consequence: Action: Reboiler Heat Input • Normal Range: 540-1350 BTU/gal amine solution (0. corrosion damage leading to reboiler failure. stripping trays available. strength. acceleration of amine degradation Clear overhead line pressure restrictions Confirm temperature and pressure of heating media. rich loading. lean loading requirements. condensate system bottleneck Loss of treating capability. 50 psig stm). REBOILER – cont • Deviation: Cause: High Tower overhead or acid gas product line plugged or pressure control problem.15. adjust as needed Skim rich flash drum/reflux drum for hydrocarbons Decrease reboiler heat input Remove heat stable salt anions and sodium Remove amine degradation products (reclaim) Evaluate heat transfer equipment for coefficient and hydraulics. at alarm or upset Loss of heating media flow Controller failure. once/shift.65-1. board. improper circulation of amine through reboiler. high heat stable salt anion and sodium content. decreased throughput. ammonia and amine concentration in the reflux. high amine degradation product levels Increased corrosion rates leading to filter plugging and equipment fouling and plugging. ratio of H2S to CO2 in rich. field or board mounted. alarm Field. too hot heating media. Dependent on amine type. and overhead pressure Flow controller with indicator/recorder. heat to feed ratio controller. loss of supply. too high heat input.

failure of filter media or internals Contaminant buildup in the amine will lead to foaming. Pressure Drop • • • • Normal Range: Instrument: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Design start of run up to design change pressure drop d/p gauge and/or pressure gauges Once per round Low Low flow. It may be full flow or slip stream.16. bag. A 25% slipstream is the recommended minimum. poor H2S removal and corrosion. rich amine filtration is recommended. etc. Filter media can migrate to other parts of the unit causing pressure drop and poor performance. leading to foaming and fouling Change filter media. and designed to match the pressure of the absorbers or lean amine pump discharge conditions. and special care must be taken to assure that elements can be removed safely. AMINE FILTER An amine filter is always required. Check piping for filter line-up Block-in filter and inspect media and internals (exact response filter media dependent) High Buildup of contaminants on filter media or failure of filter media Reduced filtration rate. 20 micron is a reasonable maximum and 5 micron a reasonable minimum for filter element porosity. Most systems apply lean slipstream cartridge or bag filters. In some systems. look for root cause of corrosion Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 39 . Filter cases are of steel. precoat. sand. stress relieved as for other steel elements. on the lean or the rich side of the system and may be cartridge.

inspect if low Check filter outlet sample. particulate) Reduced rate to particulate filter Contamination of amine (dirty fuel gas) Corrosion Filter media spent. or process upset Increased costs Check absorbers for unstable operation Check flash drum for excessive hydrocarbons Test amine for corrosivity Test amine for contaminants 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 40 . if dirty charge media Verify/increase rate to filter Check amine at each contactor Test amine for corrosivity Consequence: Action: Length Of Run • • • • Normal Range: Instrument: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Site specific Log of filter changes When an unusual pattern develops Short period between changes Increased contamination or corrosion. bypassed or damaged Foaming Equipment fouling Equipment failure (corrosion) Check filter pressure drop.16. AMINE FILTER – cont Amine Appearance • • • • Normal Range: Analysis: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Clear (Pencil can be read across a pint jar) Visual inspection Once per shift Fail visual test (cloudy. change if high.

16. AMINE FILTER – cont Flow Rate • • • • Normal: Instrument: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Design rate Flow controller Monitor each round Low High filter pressure drop Filter bypassed Contaminated amine Verify filter line-up Change filter at high d/p 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 41 .

it must be immediately downstream of the lean Amine Filter. other testing may indicate end of useful life prior to pressure drop. Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Note: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 42 . slipstream of full flow. Pressure Drop • • • • Normal Range: Instrumentation: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Design start of run up to design change delta pressure Delta pressure gauge and/or pressure gauges This is monitored each day Pressure drop low Filter is being bypassed Failure of internals Contaminant buildup in the amine will lead to foaming Poor H2S removal and corrosion Carbon filter media can migrate to other parts of the unit causing pressure drop and poor performance Check piping for filter line-up Block-in filter and inspect media and internals High Buildup of contaminants on carbon Pressure drop will back out flow resulting in less treating Block in and change carbon Pressure drop is not a good indicator of spent carbon. in general. A 10-20% slipstream is usually sufficient.17. Steel construction with appropriate stress relieving is satisfactory. CARBON TREATER The Amine Carbon Treater is optional and may be rich or lean. It will. but not dissolved acids or salts. The Amine Carbon Treater will remove entrained hydrocarbons. or a dedicated filter. to be sure it does not become clogged with particulates. enhance amine quality and system performance. In general.

foam test Visually checked each shift. foam test weekly (simple hand shake of the sample will give some indication) Fail visual foam test Run a formal foam test Failure of foam test Amine contamination. CARBON TREATER .reduce Check contactors for hydrocarbon source Check rich amine flash drum Check particulate filter delta p Consequence: Action: Carbon Usage • • • • Normal: Instrument: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Action: Site specific Record of carbon addition When an unusual pattern develops Increased consumption Increased contamination Check contactors.cont Filter Outlet Amine Condition • • • • Normal Range: Analysis: Status Check: Deviation: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Outlet sample less foaming tendency than inlet sample Visual check. particularly organic Excess antifoam Carbon bed is exhausted Reduced rate to carbon filters Foaming in regenerator and contactors Fouling of equipment Foam test carbon bed in and out Fail replace carbon Pass verify/increase rate to carbon filter Check antifoam addition rate high . flash drums Test amine for contaminants 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 43 .17.

CARBON TREATER – cont Flow Rate • • • • Normal: Instrument: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Design rate Local flow meter Monitored each round Low High filter pressure drop. filter bypassed Contaminated amine Verify filter line-up Change carbon at high pressure drop 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 44 .17.

CARBON TREATER AFTER FILTER Recommended following the carbon treater. to prevent spread of carbon throughout the unit on failure of the carbon support structure. in particularly. or. Materials and design pressure are as for other filters. 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 45 . the Carbon Treater After Filter is a relatively course particulate filter to stop any carbon particles which break through.18.

AMINE SURGE TANK In primary amine systems. Level – Routine Gauging • • • • Normal Range: Instrumentation: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 20-80% Field level indicator Once per day or following transfer Loss of level High amine losses Increased operating cost Check for leaks. usually a vent to an incinerator or heater firebox is acceptable. Great care must be taken in venting such tanks. carryover from contactor or regenerator overhead Gain of level Possible amine dilution due to water leak Possible tank overflow Check amine strength – if low. The tank may need steam coils or circulation means to assure that the solution viscosity does not increase in cold weather.19. an Amine Surge Tank is required. look for water cooler leak or excessive water makeup. It is usually an API tank with fuel gas or nitrogen blanket. It may also be a pressure vessel. 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 46 .

foaming.19.cont Blanketing – Pressure • • • • Normal Range: Instrumentation: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence Action: 1-2 inches of water Split-range pressure controller on inert gas makeup with flow indicator Operator check of setting High Set point adjustment incorrect or malfunctioning controller. SRU upset Adjust set point or check pressure controller. light hydrocarbons in lean amine High usage of inert gas. causing increased generation of heat stable salts and degradation of amine Adjust set point or check pressure controller 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 47 . AMINE SURGE TANK . check for hydrocarbon carryover from flash drum or absorber Low Set point adjustment incorrect or malfunctioning controller Air contamination of amine.

20. DGA RECLAIMER

On primary amines (MEA, DGA) a Reclaimer is recommended to remove heat stable salts (HSS) and degradation products. It is usually a kettle with 316 SS tubes and provision for easy addition of caustic or soda ash. Reclaimers frequently contain spargers to pass steam directly through the residue sludge to assist in reacting caustic or soda ash. Steel shells must be stress relieved. Steam supply must be hot enough to vaporize the amine and is usually in the 150-250 psig range.

FEED RATE • • • • Normal range: Instrument: Status check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Water Rate • • • • Normal range: Instrument: Status check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: As necessary to maintain desired temperature Controller Once/round or at sign of upset Low Controller malfunction High temperature (due to over concentration of amine) Adjust rate As necessary to maintain level (1-3% of Regenator feed) Optional indicator/recorder Once/round or at sign of upset Low Low demand due to low vaporization rate caused by fouling or high process temperature Low reclaiming rate Clean reclaimer or dilute amine High Instrument malfunction resulting in liquid carryover Low temperature, inadequate reclaiming Adjust conditions as necessary to maintain proper level

05/23/07

Amine Best Practices Group

Page 48

20. DGA RECLAIMER – cont • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Steam Rate • • • • Normal range: Instrument: Status check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Temperature • • • Normal range: Instrument: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 360-380°F Continuous recorder/controller Low Low amine concentration Low reclaiming rate Increase steam rate High High amine concentration Low heat transfer rate, low reclaiming rate, degradation Dilute the inventory by adding condensate to the reclaimer Site specific Continuous recorder Once/round or at sign of upset Low Reduced heat transfer rate due to fouling or high process temperature Low reclaiming rate Clean reclaimer or dilute amine High Low process temperature due to dilute amine Low reclaiming rate Increase amine concentration by dehydration High Controller malfunction Low temperature (due to dilution) Adjust rate

05/23/07

Amine Best Practices Group

Page 49

20. DGA RECLAIMER – cont

Level • • • • Normal range: Instrument: Status check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 40-60% DGA flow controller Once/shift or at sign of upset Low Instrument malfunction Low reclaiming rate Adjust feed rate High Instrument malfunction Potential liquid carryover with salt entrainment Reduce feed rate

NaOH Addition • • • • Normal range: Analysis: Status check: Deviation: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Consequence: Action: Stoichiometric equivalent of heat stable salts Spot lab sample Weekly Below normal Potential corrosion, incomplete amine recovery Adjust addition rate as appropriate Above normal Potential caustic embrittlement Adjust addition rate as appropriate

05/23/07

Amine Best Practices Group

Page 50

while making up with lean MEA to hold levels. Low Improper setting. AMINE RECLAIMER Reclaimers are installed in MEA units to permit cleaning up amine contaminated with heat stable salts. Feed Rate • • • Normal Range: Instrument: Status Check: Controlled to maintain level in reclaimer. Bumping. The sludge in the reclaimer is dumped and the cycle can be repeated. or controller malfunction. They work by converting the amine salts to sodium salts. or controller malfunction. This continues until the temperature of the slowly concentrating salt solution in the reclaimer nears the thermal degradation temperature of the MEA. usually local Once per shift. Once per shift 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 51 . then reduce slightly.21. Increase steam flow until bumping or violent boiling is heard. extended reclaiming run. and boiling the amine away from the resulting salt solution. adding caustic or soda ash. High Improper setting. A batch consists of the following steps: filling the reclaimer with amine. inability to clean up MEA. Flow controller. Displacer level controller. Low boil up. adding steam to the bundle to boil off the water and volatile MEA. Steam Rate • • • • Normal Range: Instrument: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Varies with size and design of unit. without excessive bumping or carryover to regenerator. carryover of salts into regenerator. Sometimes live steam is injected into the reclaimer at the end of the run to strip out any remaining MEA. gauge glass on reclaimer. Decrease steam flow until bumping or violent boiling is no longer heard. Set to provide reasonable boil up rate.

Increase steam rate or pressure.cont • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: High level Improper set point or controller malfunction. Re-adjust level. slowly increasing during run as salt concentration in reclaimer increases. Exposed tubes may cause thermal degradation of amine on hot tube surface.21. End the batch run. Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 52 . Low level Improper set point or controller malfunction. Thermal degradation of MEA. many have recorder. or. Carryover of salts into regenerator. Low temperature Inadequate steam flow or pressure (below about 35 psig) or excessive amine flow. inability to clean up MEA. Inspect/replace demister and check level to reduce carryover. Local indicator. • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Temperature • • • • Normal Range: Instrument: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: 260-300°F. possible corrosion. AMINE RECLAIMER . stop steam flow. Reducing steam rate may help reduce carryover. pressure is problem reduce it as appropriate. If temperature fails to increase during the run it may indicate carryover of salts to the regenerator. if steam. Every four hours. Re-adjust level. end of run is when 300°F temperature is reached. poor amine quality. Slow or no reclaiming. High temperature High steam pressure (above about 90 psig) or salt concentration in reclaimer too high.

Circulating Water Rate • • • • Normal Range: Instrumentation: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 5-10 GPM/ft2 Flow controller with low flow alarm At alarm Low Possible plugging in scrubber Inadequate NH3 removal – SRU upset Cleanout NH3 Concentration Of Water • • • Normal Range: Instrumentation: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 0-1 wt% NH3 (high liquid velocities in your system may require lower NH3 concentration in order to keep corrosion rates down) Sample and lab analysis High Too low water makeup rate Inadequate NH3 removal resulting in SRU fouling. Water wash systems to remove ammonia prior to feeding sulfur plant is common for these conditions.22. NH3 SCRUBBER Acid gasses bearing excessive amounts of ammonia require special consideration to prevent line blockage and associated sulfur plant problems. NH4HS corrosion Increase makeup rate Low Too high water makeup rate High operating cost Decrease makeup rate 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 53 . Ammonia is removed with water purged from this unit and routed to the sour water stripper.

22. temperature indicator Once per round or at alarm High Increased NH3 to scrubber or not enough cooling Increased NH3 to SRU (plugging). NH3 SCRUBBER – cont Temperature • • • • Normal Range: Instrumentation: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 80-120°F Temperature controller on circulating water cooler. due to low ambient temperatures and long runs of acid gas lines Decrease water makeup rate or cut back coolant rate 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 54 . increased water to SRU (lower efficiency) Increase water makeup or coolant rate Low Too much cooling Possible plugging of acid gas line from hydrate.

treating requirements. Check for foaming in individual contactors and regenerators and add antifoam only as needed. selectivity requirements. leaks. sodium accumulation. corrosion rate acceleration Run duplicate to verify lab work Check system water balance and make-up requirements. acid gases removed. waste water emissions violations. cost to replace lost inventory. accumulation of heat stable salt anions. laboratory error Loss of capacity. automatic acid titration with potentiometric or conductometric readout (Caution: amines containing high amounts of sodium or organic acid anions will interfere with pH and color indicator titrations. Organic acid anions will titrate similarly to amines because they behave as weak bases at the endpoint of the amine titrations. upset or routine losses. • Analysis Method: • • Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 55 . Skim rich flash drum/reflux drum for hydrocarbons. heat stable salt anion accumulation.) Once/shift to once/week depending on water balance. reduced throughput.Amine Condition Condition and proper care of the solvent is as important to successful operations as equipment maintenance and performance. Amine should be near color free and void of particulate matter. and corrosion control parameters Acid titration using pH meter or color indicator. Ensure proper temperature for lean amine to each contactor. Active Amine • Normal Range: Dependent on amine type. Amine Strength. Remove heat stable salt anions. Change carbon filter if sample shows hydrocarbon layer or if cloudy. adjust water makeup Check for hydrocarbon incursion. or upset Low Dilution from excess make-up water.

loss of containment. additional filter costs. exchanger fouling. loss of capacity.Amine Condition – cont • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: High Lack of make-up water. Remove heat stable salt anions (“reclaim”). adjust water make-up. equipment failure. freeze up. laboratory error. Check system water balance and make-up requirements. use conductometric titration method. plugging. Purge contaminated amine and makeup with fresh. pumping problems. unit shutdown Water wash streams to be treated. automatic titration using potentiometric or conductometric method (Caution: errors in the titration will occur as the lean loading of the sample increases) Once/week to once/shift depending on heat stable salt anion accumulation Inactive amine exceeds 10 % of total amine concentration Insufficient heat input into regenerator causing high lean loadings. Adjust addition procedures Action: Amine Strength. reduction of heat and mass transfer capabilities. high organic acid anion content Loss of levels/level alarms. aggravation of foaming. over addition. heat stable salt anion accumulation caused by contaminants in streams being treated Corrosion rate acceleration. • • Status Check: Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 56 . high reboiler temperatures and amine decomposition Run duplicate sample to verify lab work.) Base titration using pH or color indicator. Inactive Amine • • Normal Range: Analysis Method: 0-10 % of the active amine concentration. (Caution: This guideline is only correct if no sodium is present. declining flow to regenerator.

IC Once/two weeks to once/quarter dependent on accumulation of heat stable salt anions and metal contamination • Analytical Method: • Status Check: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 57 . phosphates. Ion Selective Electrode(ISE). oxalic acid).g.8 wt% Contaminants in treated streams (e. Heat Stable Salt Anions • • • • Normal Range: Analysis Method: Status Check: Deviation: Cause: 0-0. contaminants in the make-up water (e. Ion Chromatography (IC). Metals Including Sodium • Normal Range: Sodium 0-0. Dissolved iron above 25 ppmw may be indicative of excessive corrosion.8 wt % of solution Ion Chromatography Once/two weeks to once/month dependent on accumulation Heat stable salt anions exceed 0. sulfates.Amine Condition – cont Amine Quality. Iron and others. all others below 100 ppm (except in metal passivation additive systems). chlorides. nitrates) See inactive amine strength high deviation section Water wash streams to be treated Remove heat stable salt anions Reclaim Purge contaminated amine and make up with fresh Consequence: Action: Amine Quality.g. acetic acid. Sodium. ICP. formic acid. HCl. Atomic Absorption(AA). HCN. O2. Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP). SO2.2 wt-%.

Chlorides • • Normal Range: Analytical Methods: 0-1000 ppmw Ion chromatography (Caution: some IC anion methods will not distinguish formates from chlorides).Amine Condition – cont • Deviation: Cause: Iron exceeds 25 ppmw Corrosion rate acceleration caused by high temperature. high velocity. high heat stable salt anion content. corrosion rate acceleration Remove heat stable salt anions and sodium Consequence: Action: • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Amine Quality. silver nitrate titration (inaccurate due to silver-amine complexes) Once/two weeks to once/month dependent on accumulation • Monitoring Frequency: 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 58 . and high H2S and/or CO2 concentrations See Inactive amine strength high deviation section Lower lean loadings by increasing reboiler heat input Reduce rich loadings by increasing circulation or amine strength Lower reboiler input to reduce velocity in reboiler piping and in overhead system Lower circulation to decrease rich amine velocities Purge ammonia from the regenerator reflux Remove heat stable salt anions and sodium Reduce pressure to lower regenerator temperatures Reduce lean amine temperatures to reduce corrosion in contactor bottoms Reclaim Purge contaminated amine and make up with fresh Charge equivalents of metals exceeds charge equivalents of heat stable salt anions Over-neutralization during caustic or soda ash addition High lean loadings leading to off-spec products.

05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 59 . heat stable salt anions. foaming Use correct carbon filter loading procedures. solution clear water-white to yellow to green Visual inspection. is turbid. Use harder carbon. pitting on reboiler tubes Remove heat stable salt anions Amine Quality. weight of filtered solids Visual check once/shift or day Solution is green or green with black particles. reduced throughput. Change particle filters. filtration. go to smaller filter pore size Reduce corrosion rates by reducing acid gas concentrations. The formation of the formamide takes up amine capacity by reacting the amine. The formate can be removed by heat stable salt anion removal techniques. cooling water leak. The only way known to break up the formamide is a catalytic process developed by Mobil Oil. and velocities Cause: Consequence: Action: Amine Quality. IR. GC-Mass Spec Not established None known The formamide comes from reaction of formate heat stable salt anions and the DEA.Amine Condition – cont • Deviation: Cause: Consequence: Action: Chloride level exceeds 1000 ppmw HCl from reformer hydrogen or crude gases. temperatures. solution is white to yellow with large black particles Break-up of carbon in carbon filter entering amine corrosion Plugging. particles settle out after standing for long periods of time. poor quality make-up water Chloride stress cracking. Suspended Solids • • • • Normal Range: Analysis Method: Status Check: Deviation: 0-100 ppmw. DEA Formamide • • • • Normal Range: Analytical Methods: Status Check: Deviation: Unknown NMR.

Union Carbide and Dow Chemical. “Effect of Heat Stable Salts on MDEA Solution Corrosivity”. contradictory corrosion studies within the past 10 years have resulted in controversy.” Liu/ Dean/Bosen (Union Carbide). Hydrocarbon Processing. unpublished studies suggest that caustic can effectively increase HSS levels by fixing the acid anions to the point of inhibiting their tendency to otherwise be regenerated in the regenerator. NACE International. 1995. “Neutralization Technology to Reduce Corrosion from Heat Stable Amine Salts. Corrosion/95. Mecum/Veatch/Cummings (MPR Services). The consensus of the ABPG is that caustic should not be added. Mar-96. However. In addition. The views of both camps are typified by the following articles (among others): • • • • “Why Caustic Addition is Bad for Amine Systems”. In addition. Hydrocarbon Processing. Cummings/Mecum (MPR Services). “Remove Heat Stable Salts for Better Amine Plant Performance”. and in fact is sometimes made worse. 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 60 . and Carbide went so far as to market an alternative to caustic called DHM. ConocoPhillips and MPR Services asserted that corrosivity of the HSS anions is not reduced by caustic. on the other hand. Oct-97.Caustic Neutralization “Neutralization” with caustic has long been practiced as an economical means of displacing bound amine from heat stable salts. Mar 26-31. Aug-98. Rooney/Bacon/DuPart (Dow Chemical). there was once a widely-held belief that it reduced corrosion by elevating the pH and suppressing ionization. Hydrocarbon Processing. continued to maintain that corrosivity is generally reduced by neutralization.

water should be avoided due to dissolved solids and treatment chemicals that can accumulate in the system to cause corrosion. 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 61 . Service. fouling and foaming. with determination of free amine strength at sufficient frequency to ensure operation within established limits. Makeup water should be condensate-quality. In the absence of a convenient source of condensate or demineralized water. and even boiler feed.Water Balance Water must be added to the amine system to replace that lost as vapor in the treated and acid gas streams. Makeup is usually accomplished by periodic manual adjustment basis inventory. steam can be injected into the regenerator. and via the reflux NH3 purge and miscellaneous physical losses.

Regenerator foaming is often caused by such HC buildup in the reflux. only surfactant HC components – aromatics and soaps. purging reflux is the first corrective action to try. resin filtration or D-Foam. Technically. as it tends to foul equipment. If occasional antifoam addition has been found necessary. thus reducing the carbon’s capacity to adsorb the organics typically responsible for foaming. usage should be minimized for two reasons: • Antifoam is itself a surfactant. flotation. without obvious tower instability. and excessive dosages can actually promote foaming. Technically. • Antifoam is adsorbed by carbon. however. Silicone antifoam is not advised. Surfactants may also cause HC emulsions. which are readily evidenced by a hazy or milky appearance. but they stabilize it. 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 62 . surfactant buildup is avoided by carbon filtration. More severe episodes can result in tray flooding. they do not cause foam. In the event of tower instability. Typical symptoms of the latter are: • Low/erratic tower levels and bottoms rates • Erratic offgas rates • Liquid carryover • Increased/erratic tower pressure differential Foaming is commonly attributed to HCs. Excessive iron sulfide particles are also associated with foaming.Foaming Minor foaming can adversely impact absorption and/or stripping efficiency. Inc. in particular – cause foaming. Ideally.

It will be stripped out in the regenerator. it will likely contain minor levels of NH3 which will be absorbed in the amine by virtue of its water solubility. as the NH3 and H2S concentration of the reflux approaches saturation. Also. Alternatively. it is easier to routinely monitor the H2S. Common industry practice is to periodically measure the NH3 content of the reflux and purge as necessary to maintain ~ 1 wt-%. H2S re-absorption in the reflux will increase in proportion to the NH3 buildup until levels are so high as to become corrosive. where 2 wt-% would be the corresponding target (neglecting CO2). potentially fouling the header with solid ammonium hydrosulfide (NH4HS). but then reabsorbed in the reflux. Often. the first indication is plugged instrument taps. Initially. 05/23/07 Amine Best Practices Group Page 63 . relative CO2/H2S levels should be determined to ensure that CO2 corrosion is being adequately mitigated. NH3 will start leaking through to the SRU.Ammonia Unless refinery contactor feed gas is effectively water washed. Excessive NH3 buildup also increases reboiler steam demand to a predictable degree.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful