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2010

HYDRAULIC STUDY OF ULE


FRACTIONATION PLANT DISTILLATION
COLUMNS (GLP-2) UNDER OPERATIONAL
OCC SCENARIO
With the commissioning of the Occidente Cryogenic
Complex (OCC), the Ul Fractionation Plant (GLP-2) will
receive from the extraction train of this complex, NGL at
different conditions of composition (Lean, Average and
Rich NGL), which generates the necessity of defining
the highest NGL feed flow rate that plant can handle.

From this point of view, it is required a hydraulic capacity


study of each column in order to avoid operational
problems such as flooding or weeping, and thereby
ensure optimal operation of fractionation columns, meet
quality product requirements demanded by the client
and ensure the operational availability of fractionation
towers.

Feed flowrates for each of the evaluated scenarios are


27.5 MBPD of Lean NGL, 42.8 MBPD of Average NGL
and 34.55 MBPD of Rich NGL.

Autor: MSc. Roberto Paz


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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

RESUMEN
Ul fractionation plant is located on Intercomunal Avenue, Sector La Vaca,
Simn Bolvar Municipality in Zulia State. Its function is to split the NGL coming
from Tia Juana 2 and 3 plants in propane, butanes mixture (n-butane and ibutane) and natural gasoline (C5 +).
With the commissioning of the Occidente Cryogenic Complex (OCC), the Ul
Fractionation Plant (GLP-2) will receive from the extraction train of this complex,
NGL at different conditions of composition (Lean, Average and Rich NGL),
which generates the necessity of defining the highest NGL feed flow rate that
plant can handle.
That is why, it is required a hydraulic capacity study of each column in order to
avoid operational problems such as flooding or weeping, and thereby ensure
optimal operation of fractionation columns, meet quality product requirements
demanded by the client and ensure the operational availability of fractionation
towers.
To achieve this objective, there were applied several assessments or
sensitivities at different feed rates to GLP-2 by using Aspen Hysys 2006
process simulator to find the maximum power of fractionation columns, under
different scenarios of OCC feed.
From sensitivities results, it was obtained that the maximum feed flow rates for
each of the evaluated scenarios for GLP-2 towers (under different OCC feeding
scenarios) are 27.5 MBPD of Lean NGL, 42.8 MBPD of Average NGL and
34.55 MBPD of Rich NGL, without occurring hydraulic problems in fractionating
columns.

INTRODUCCION
Ul Fractionation Plant is comprised by plants GLP-1, 2 and 3. It is currently
operating the GLP-2 plant with a capacity by design of 46.0 MBPD of NGL from
Tia Juana 2 and 3 plants, producing: propane, butanes mixture and natural
gasoline. At present, GLP-2 processes about 16.0 MBPD as average.

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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

GLP-2 train consists of a depropanizer column (D8-504 or T5-B), a debutanizer


column (D8-506 or T6-B), propane and butane condensers (D6-501 and D6-502
respectively), two feed drums (D8-501 A / B), two reflux drums (D8-505 and D8507) and two reboilers (D2-504 and D2-506).
The propane production of the ULE facility is intended to meet local demand
using up to 85% for that purpose, moreover, 12% of the propane production is
sent back to the Tia Juana II and III to be used in the Mechanical Refrigeration
System and the remaining production is exported to international markets.
Due to future changes in the feeding of natural gas liquids (NGL) coming from
Occidente Cryogenic Complex (OCC) to LPG Ul in terms of its composition
and feed flow, it is required a hydraulic capacity study of each column in order
to avoid operational problems such as flooding or weeping, and thereby ensure
optimal operation of fractionation columns, meet quality product requirements
demanded by the client and ensure the operational availability of fractionation
towers, after OCC commissioning.

PROBLEM STATEMENT
On April 29, 1958, Ul Fractionation Plant started operations with Creole
Petroleum Corporation Company. After the nationalization period in 1975, Ul
became as part of the assets of the Venezuelan oil industry and began its
operations with the company LAGOVEN S.A. After the unification of the
Venezuelan oil subsidiary in 1997, the Ul Fractionation Plant is transferred to
PDVSA Gas, as part of the Western Gas Processing Management.
With the commissioning of Western Cryogenic Complex, the extraction process
will have the capacity to process 950 MMSCFD of gas which will produce 58.88
MBPD of natural gas liquids (Average NGL).
The OCC inlet gas to be processed (extraction process), comes from various
production blocks or zones in the region, resulting in different compositions,
which are mentioned hereunder:
Lean Gas (2.2 GPM).

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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

Average Gas (2.6 GPM).


Rich Gas (3.26 GPM).
From these compositions, it will be obtained different qualities of the liquids
extracted in the CCO that are classified as Lean NGL, Average NGL and Rich
NGL, depending on the composition of the gas fed.
The liquids extracted from gas will be distributed on the normal OCC operating
scenario (two trains for extraction process and one train for fractionation
process) to the different fractionation trains of the West division as follows:
35.0 MBPD for the new OCC fractionation train.
18.0 MBPD for Ul Fractionation Plant.
5.88 MBPD for Bajo Grande fractionation Plant and additionally 3.42
MBPD of stabilized condensates.
Since the NGL composition that will be fed to the Ul Fractionation Plant with
the OCC commissioning varies regarding the design composition of GLP-2
Plant, and to define the distribution scenario of the NGL production from the
OCC extraction train in case of maintenance in the fractionation train of this
complex, and that production would be distributed to the Ul and Bajo Grande
fractionation plants, it is necessary to evaluate the hydraulic behaviour of each
fractionation tower internals in order to identify the maximum volumes that can
be processed, which will allow to avoid operational issues such as flooding or
weeping, guarantying the continuous and optimum plant operation, meet quality
product requirements and ensure the operational availability of fractionation
train, after OCC commissioning.

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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

OBJETIVES
MAIN OBJECTIVE
To evaluate the process hydraulic capacity of U Fractionation Plant under the
scenario of future feeding from Occidente Cryogenic Complex, in order to meet
the quality requirements of fractionated products and ensure operational
continuity of fractionation towers with the OCC commissioning.

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

To evaluate the hydraulic capacity of depropanizer and debutanizer


towers (D8-504 and D8-506) of GLP-2 under OCC feed scenario.

To find the maximum flow feed rate to GLP-2 fractionation towers under
different OCC feeding scenarios.

BASES AND ASSUMPTIONS


The bases and assumptions used during the study development are:

To obtain the stream process physical - chemical parameters were used


process simulator Aspen Hysys 2006.

The hydraulic evaluation of each GLP-2 fractionation towers was


performed using Aspen Hysys 2006 simulation software, through the
Tray sizing tool.

The considered NGL feed flows (minimum and maximum) for GLP-2
fractionation towers hydraulic evaluation were ranged from 10.0 to 42.0
MBPD.

The different NGL compositions (Lean, Average and Rich) from OCC
Extraction Plant used for the sensitivities or hydraulic evaluations are as
follow. (Source: Doc. 8922Y-000-PP-202 Rev. 0, Bases de Diseo
Bloque I y II FEED 98% (OCC Project):

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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

Lean NGL

Average NGL

Rich NGL

(% Molar)

(% Molar)

(% Molar)

Ethane

0.53

0.58

0.59

Propane

52.97

58.37

58.63

i-Butane

10.16

9.00

9.77

n-Butane

17.36

16.18

17.97

i-Pentane

5.69

5.40

5.18

n-Pentane

5.49

5.47

5.06

n-Hexane

4.49

3.29

2.17

n-Heptane

2.70

1.23

0.47

n-Octane

0.62

0.28

0.06

n-Nonane

0.0

0.16

0.04

n-Decane

0.0

0.03

-0.06

n-Undecane

0.0

0.0

0.06

Components

Table 1: NGL Molar Percentage from OCC

According to SIALAB reports, quality specifications that fractionated


products such as propane and butane mixture must comply, are:

Propane Product (Depropanizer Column Top)


Component

% Molar

Methane

Max. 0.5

Ethane

Max. 5.1

Propane

Min. 90.0

i-Butane

Max. 1.82

n-Butane

Max. 0.28

Table 2: Maximum and minimum quality values for Depropanizer Column Top

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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

Butane Mixture (Debutanizer Column Top)


Component

% Molar

Propane

Mx. 2.5

i-Pentane

Mx. 1.4

n-Pentane

Mx. 0.35

Table 3: Maximum and minimum quality values for Debutanizer Column Top

The natural gasoline must comply with a maximum Reid Vapor Pressure
(RVP) of 15.0 psia.

The technical specifications of the internal fractionation GLP-2 columns


were taken from the manual CREOLE PETROLEUM CORPORATION
LPG

EXPANSION

PROJECT

ULE

FRACTIONATION

PLANT

PROCESS DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS.

The behaviour of a distillation column is efficient in a range of 40 to 90%


of flooding, according to Process Design PDVSA Manual, PDVSA MDP04-CF-14 (Tray efficiency).

The downcomer inlet velocity should be limited to a maximum of 0.15


m/s (0.5 ft/s). For foaming systems, lower inlet velocities should be used
(in the order of 0.06 m/s (0.2 ft/s)). The maximum outlet velocity for
sloped or stepped downcomers should be twice the inlet velocity or 0.6
ft/s (0.18 m/s), whichever is less, according to the PDVSA Process
Design Manual, PDVSA MDP-04-CF-12 (Valve Tray Type).

The final dry tray pressure drop will generally fall in the range of 1 to 4 in.
(25 to 100 mm) of hot liquid, according to PDVSA Design Manual,
PDVSA MDP-04-CF-12 (Valve Tray Type).

The following tables show some hydraulic parameters for fractionation


towers, to take into account according to PDVSA Design Manual,
PDVSA MDP-04-CF-12 (Valve Tray Type).
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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

In the next chart it can see the recommended residence time in the
downcomers, depending on the hydrocarbon molecular weight. (Applied
Process Design for Chemical and Petrochemical Plants, E.
Ludwing).

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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

METHODOLOGY
This research was done according with the following steps:

S T AR T

S IMUL AT IO N
V AL ID AT IO N

- NGL FEED
- PROCESS DATA
- HYSYS SIMULATOR

S IMUL AT IO NO F C C O
O P E R AT IO NAL C O ND IT IO NS

L O WE R ING NG L
F L O WF E E D
R AT E

- PRESSURE DROP
- FLOODING FACTOR %
- DOWNCOMER VELOCITY
- RESIDENCE TIME

NO

C O NV E R G E ?

- OPERATIONAL PARAMETER ANALYSIS


- SYSTEM MODIFICATION PROPOSAL

NO

E ND

YES

E ND

YES

- QUALITY PLAN
C O MP L Y ?
MAX IMUMF E E D
F L O WR AT E

RESULTS AND ANALYSIS


Feed Flow of 42.0 MBPD to GLP-2 (Lean, Average and Rich NGL).
Regarding to the GLP-2 fractionation columns hydraulic evaluation at a feed
rate of 42.0 MBPD under the NGL schemes from OCC, it can be observed the
following:
Dry Tray Pressure Drop.
Figure 1 shows the dry tray pressure drop for the depropanizer column (D8504), for the scenario that processes 42.0 MBPD of NGL, under various
schemes of composition from OCC (Lean, Average and Rich NGL).
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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

10

1,8500
Lean NGL
Average NGL

Dry Liquid Pressure Drop (in)

1,8000

Rich NGL

1,7500
1,7000
1,6500
1,6000
1,5500
1,5000
0

10

15

20

25

30

35

40

Tray Number

Figure 1: Pressure Drop in Tray Section of D8-504

In Figure 1, the pressure drop in the internal section of the depropanizer tower
(D8-504) is within the PDVSA established range in its standard MDP-04-CF-12
(valve trays type), from 1.0 to 4.0 inches of hot liquid. The range of pressure
drops varies from 1.5 to 1.83 inches.
For the debutanizer tower D8-506, Figure 2 shows the variation of dry tray
pressure drop for 42.0 MBPD of Lean, Average and Rich NGL.

7,0000
Lean NGL

6,0000

Average NGL
Rich NGL

Dry Liquid Pressure Drop (in)

5,0000
4,0000
3,0000
2,0000
1,0000
0,0000
0

10

15

20

25

30

Tray Number

Figure 2: Pressure Drop in Tray Section of D8-506

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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

For the debutanizer tower (D8-506), the pressure drop along the internal
section, Figure 2 shows that only the scenario with Average NGL feed is within
the limits described in the PDVSA standard, these values are in a range of 1.3
to 3.0 inches.
While the other two feeding schemes (Lean and Rich NGL) exceed the values
of pressure drop in trays sections from the top and bottom in the column, in the
case of Lean NGL for example, only the first two internal (trays) are among the
values described by the standard (3.71 - 3.94 inches of liquid) and the middle
part of trays below the feed tray (tray 19).
The top column internal values range from 4.0 to 6.0 inches of liquid. The Rich
NGL ranges between 2.5 and 4.5 inches of liquid, so it neither complies with the
PDVSA standard MDP-04-CF-12 (valve tray type).
Flooding Factor.
Figures 3 and 4 show the flooding factors of GLP-2 fractionation columns for the
different scenarios evaluated in this study.

70,00

65,00

60,00

Flooding Factor %

55,00
50,00

Lean NGL
45,00

Average NGL
Rich NGL

40,00
35,00
0

10

15

20

25

30

35

40

Tray Number

Figure 3: Flooding Factor for Column D8-504

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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

120,00

110,00
100,00

90,00

Flooding Factor %

80,00
70,00
60,00

Lean NGL

50,00

40,00

30,00

Average NGL
Rich NGL
0

10

15

20

25

30

Tray Num ber

Figure 4: Flooding Factor for Column D8-506

On Figure 3 it is shown that the flooding factor of the depropanizer column for
the evaluated scenarios has an efficient behavior, according to the standards
PDVSA MDP-04-CF-14 (Tray Efficiency) and PDVSA MDP-04-CF-12 (Valve
Tray), which states that a flooding factor range between 40% and 90% is an
efficient behavior for a column. The reported values are between 43% and 63%
for Rich, Lean and Average NGL.
Regarding the debutanizer columns, Figure 4 shows that only the Average NGL
scenario complies with the standards having a range of 53% to 73% of flooding,
the rest of the feed scenarios show a flooding factor that exceeds the standard
all along column internals. For the Rich NGL scenario the section of the column
below the feed tray has flooding factor ranging from 80% to 74%, whereas the
section above ranges from 90% to 82%. For the Lean NGL case, the whole
column is flooded 95% to 113%.
Downcomer velocity.
Figures 5 and 6 show the downcomer velocities for the GLP-2 fractionation
columns for the different composition scenarios evaluated in this study.

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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

13

0,8000
Lean NGL

Downcomer Velocity (ft/s)

Average NGL

0,7000

Rich NGL

0,6000

0,5000

0,4000

0,3000

0,2000

10

15

20

25

30

35

40

Tray Number

Figure 5: Downcomer Velocities for Column D8-504

0,6500
0,6000

Downcomer Velocity (ft/s)

0,5500
0,5000
0,4500
0,4000
0,3500

Lean NGL

0,3000

Average NGL
Rich NGL

0,2500
0,2000
0

10

15

20

25

30

Tray Num ber

Figure 6: Downcomer Velocities for Column D8-506

In figure 5, it can be seen that downcomer velocity ranges from 0.21 to 0.67 ft/s
which indicates that velocities in the bottom section would be exceeded in the
bottom section of the depropanizer (D8-504) for the three feed scenarios of the
CCO.

According to the standard PDVSA MDP-04-CF-12 (Valve Trays) the

downcomer entrance velocity should be limited to 0.15 m/s (0.5 ft/s) maximum.
The top section of the column complies with the standard (0.41 ft/s).

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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

14

In the debutanizer column (D8-506), downcomer velocites, Figure 6, displays


velocities ranging from 0.63 to 0.25 ft/s. These high velocities are found in the
bottom of the column, being the case of the Lean NGL scenario for which they
were found. According to the results, downcomer velocities only comply for the
Rich and Average scenarios.
Residence Time.
Figures 7 and 8 show the residence time of the tray sections of the
depropanizer column (D8-504), in the case where 42.0 MBPD of NGL are
processed for the different compositions scenarios from the CCO (Lean,
Average and Rich NGL) and for the debutanizer column D8-506.
4,0000
3,5000
Lean NGL
Residence Time (s)

Average NGL

3,0000

Rich NGL
2,5000
2,0000
1,5000
1,0000
0

10

15

20

25

30

35

40

Tray Number

Figure 7: Residence Time on Tray for Section for Column D8-504


2,9000

Residence Time (s)

2,7000
Lean NGL
2,5000

Average NGL
Rich NGL

2,3000
2,1000
1,9000
1,7000
0

10

15

20

25

30

Tray Number

Figure 7: Residence Time on Tray for Section for Column D8-504

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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

Assuming that hydrocarbon fractionating in the GLP-2 columns has a medium


molecular weight at the bottom and light at the top, in figure 7 can be seen that
the residence time on the internals of the depropanizer column is in the range of
1.13-1.26 seconds in the bottom section, this lowering of the residence time is
due to multiple Flow Paths (4). Regarding the top section it can be mentioned
that the residence time is 3.2 3.6 seconds.
According to recommendations from Applied Process Design for Chemical and
Petrochemical Plants (E. Ludwig), the residence time in the downcomer of a
column should be approximately 4 seconds for medium molecular weight
hydrocarbons and 3 seconds for light molecular weight hydrocarbons. In Figure
9, the debutanizer column has a residence time oscillating between top and
bottom from 1.9 to 2.8 seconds.
Maximum Allowable Feed Flow Rate to the GLP-2 columns under different
CCO Feed Scenarios.
Dry Liquid Pressure Drop.
In Figures 9 and 10 show the dry liquid pressure drop in the tray section for the
depropanizer (D8-504) and debutanizer (D8-506) columns; for the case where
NGL feeds are processed depending of the maximum allowed capacity of the
distillation columns, considering the different composition schemes for the CCO
(Lean, Average and Rich NGL).
Hydraulic evaluation to find the maximum feed rate to the fractionation columns
of GLP-2 under the different CCO Feed scenarios without hydraulic problems
occurring in the fractionation columns, it is found that for each evaluated
scenario are 27.5 MBPD for the Lean NGL Case, 42.8 MBPD for the Average
NGL Case and 34.55 MBPD for the Rich NGL Case.

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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

16

1,8500

Dry Liquid Pressure Drop (in)

Lean NGL 27,5 MBPD

1,8000

Average NGL 42,8 MBPD


Rich NGL 34,55 MBPD

1,7500
1,7000
1,6500
1,6000
1,5500
1,5000
1,4500

1,4000

10

15

20

25

30

35

40

Tray Number

Figure 9: Pressure Drop on Tray Section D8-504

On Figure 9 can be seen the pressure drop on the internals of the depropanizer
column (D8-504) for different flow rates and feed compositions, each of the
scenarios is under the ranges established on the standard PDVSA MDP-04-CF12

(Valve Trays).

The highest range of pressure drop was found for the

Average NGL scenario since is the one with the highest feed rate. In this case,
the pressure drop is 1.68 to 1.8 in.

3,0000

Dry Liquid Pressure Drop (in)

Lean NGL 27,5 MBPD


Average NGL 42,8 MBPD

2,5000

Rich NGL 34,55


2,0000

1,5000

1,0000
0

10

15

20

25

30

Tray Number

Figure 10: Pressure Drop on Tray Section D8-506

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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

17

On Figure 10 are shown the debutanizer (D8-506) pressure drop for each of the
flow rate and composition scenarios, the highest pressure drops on the internals
of the debutanizer column were found for the Rich NGL case since it has the
greatest amount heavy ends on the feed stream. The range of the pressure
drops found was 1.79 to 3.02 in
Flooding Factor.
Figures 11 and 12 show the flooding factors of the GLP-2 columns for the
different feed scenarios evaluated in the study.

Lean NGL 27,5 MBPD

65,00

Average NGL 42,8 MBPD


Rich NGL 34,55 MBPD

60,00

Flooding Factor

55,00
50,00
45,00
40,00
35,00
30,00
25,00
0

10

15

20

25

30

35

40

Tray Number

Figure 11: Flooding Factor of Column D8-506


80,00

Lean NGL 27,5 MBPD


Average NGL 42,8 MBPD

75,00

Flooding Factor (%)

Rich NGL 34,55 MBPD


70,00

65,00

60,00

55,00

50,00
0

10

15

20

25

30

Tray Num ber

Figure 12: Flooding Factor of Column D8-506

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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

Figure 11 shows the Flooding Factors for the evaluated scenarios for the
depropanizer column. The highest flooding factor is found for the Average NGL
composition in a range of 57 to 62%, in this case the behavior is considered
efficient, according to the standards PDVSA MDP-04-CF-14 (Tray Efficiency)
and PDVSA MDP-04-CF-12 (Valve Trays), which indicates that a range form 40
to 90% of flooding factors is considered efficient for a column.
While the Lean NGL feed case shows an inefficient behavior with a range from
35.7 to 39.4% in the bottom sections and part of the top sections of the column,
due to the low contents of heavy ends in the column feed. Although other
authors recommend an efficiency range for a fractionation column between 10
to 90% (A Working Guide to Process Equipment, N. Lieberman), the
authors of this work consider that low efficiency during operation of a
fractionation column could lead to weeping and flooding.
On Figure 12, it can be seen that the scenario that presents the highest flooding
factor is the Rich NGL case, and thus having the highest efficiency value, which
were found in the range of 65.9 to 76.2%.
Downcomer Velocity.
Figures 13 and 14 show the estimated downcomer velocities for the GLP2
fractionation columns.
On Figure 13, it can be seen that downcomer velocity for the different evaluated
cases are in a range from 0.65 to 0.24 ft/s for a Average NGL feed, which
indicates that velocity values in the bottom section of the depropanizer column
(D8-504), would exceed the recommended values of the standard PDVSA
MDP-04-CF-12 (Valve Trays) which states a maximum of 0.5 ft/s.

The

velocities in the top sections were found to be according to the standard.

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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

19

0,8000
Lean NGL 27,5 MBPD
Average NGL 42,8 MBPD

Downcomer Velocity (ft/s)

0,7000

Rich NGL 34,55 MBPD

0,6000
0,5000
0,4000
0,3000
0,2000
0,1000
0

10

15

20

25

30

35

40

Tray Number

Figure 13: Downcomer Velocity Column D8-504


0,4300
0,4100

Downcomer Velocity (ft/s)

0,3900
0,3700
0,3500
0,3300
0,3100
Lean NGL 27,5 MBPD

0,2900

Average NGL 42,8 MBPD

0,2700

Rich NGL 34,55 MBPD

0,2500
0,2300
0

10

15

20

25

30

Tray Num ber

Figure 14: Downcomer Velocity Column D8-506

Regarding downcomer velocities on the debutanizer column (D8-506), Figure


14 shows that the highest velocities were reached under the Rich OCC feed
scenario ranging from 0.40 to 0.23 ft/s. These high downcomer velocities could
lead to liquid carryover and tray flooding.

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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

Residence Time.
Figures 15 and 16 show the residence time for each tray on the evaluated
columns.
5,0000
4,5000

Residence Time (s)

4,0000
Lean NGL 27,5 MBPD

3,5000

Average NGL 42,8 MBPD


3,0000

Rich NGL 34,55 MBPD

2,5000
2,0000
1,5000

1,0000
0

10

15

20

25

30

35

40

Tray Number

Figure 15: Residence Time on Trays Section Column D8-504

2,9000
2,8000

2,7000

Residence Time (s)

2,6000

Lean NGL 27,5 MBPD

2,5000

Average NGL 42,8 MBPD

2,4000

Rich NGL 34,55 MBPD

2,3000
2,2000
2,1000
2,0000
1,9000
0

10

15

20

25

30

Tray Number

Figure 16: Residence Time on Trays Section Column D8-506

On Figure 15 can be seen that the residence time on the internals of the
depropanizer column for the different evaluated scenarios. The residence time
ranges from 1.4 to 1.7 seconds in the bottom section, while in the top section it
ranges from 4.55 to 4.3 seconds. From the three evaluated scenarios, the
highest residence time values were found for Lean Feed case. On Figure 16, it
Gerencia de Procesamiento de Gas Occidente

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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

can be seen that the debutanizer column has residence time oscillating from
bottom to top section 1.9 to 2.8 seconds for the Average NGL Feed case.
Top Product Quality of the Depropanizer Column (D8-504).
On table 4 are presented the product qualities of the column D8-504
(depropanizer) of GLP-2, for each of the cases studied (Lean, Average and
Rich NGL):
ANALYZED STREAMS
Component
Ethane (%
Molar)

Quality Plan

Lean NGL

Average NGL

Rich NGL

Mx. 5.1

0.98

0.77

0.98

Propane
(%Molar)

Min. 90

97.46

97.64

97.44

i-Butane
(%Molar)

Mx. 1.82

1.43

1.43

1.43

n-Butane
(%Molar)

Mx. 0.28
0.13
0.15
Table 4: D8-504 Propane Product Molar Porcentages

0.15

Topa and Bottom Product Quality of the Debutanizer Column (D8-506). On


tables 5 and 6 are shown the qualities of the top and bottom products of the
column D8-506 (debutanizer) of GLP-2, it can also be seen that the Reid Vapor
Pressure (RVP) of the non-stabilized of the Gasoline Stream.
ANALYZED STREAMS
Component
Propane (%
Molar)
i-Butane
(%Molar)
n-Butane
(%Molar)
i-Pentane (%
Molar)
n-Pentane
(%Molar)

Quality Plan

Lean NGL

Average NGL

Rich NGL

Mx. 2.5

0.34

0.33

0.29

Min. 10

34.34

33.12

32.61

Min. 30

63.28

65.41

65.42

Mx. 1.4

1.9

0.99

1.53

Mx. 0.35
0.15
0.15
Table 5: D8-506 Butane Mixture Molar Percentages

0.15

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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

ANALYZED STREAMS
Property
RVP (psia)

Quality Plan

Lean NGL

Average
NGL

Rich NGL

Mx. 15.0

11.72

13.32

14.8

Table 6: D8-506 Non-stabilized Gasoline Reid Vapor Pressure

When comparing the maximum and minimum values of the molar percentages
of the contaminant components of the top of the depropanizer (ethane, i-butane
and n-butane) and the debutanizer (propane, i-pentane and n-pentane) columns
of GLP-2 (D8-504 and D8-506) to the values found on the different CCO feed
simulations, the Propane Product Stream (top of D8-504) is within plant design
specifications

regarding methane content (0.0% molar Lean, Average, and

Rich NGL), ethane (0.98 0.77 0.98% molar Lean, Average and Rich NGL), ibutane (1.43% molar for the three scenarios) and n-butane (0.13 0.15
0.15% molar Lean, Average and Rich NGL).
Regarding top product quality for the debutanizer column (D8-506), the butane
mixture also complies with plant design specifications, propane (0.34 0.33
0.29% molar Lean, Average and Rich NGL), n-pentane (0.15% for the three
scenarios). It must be noted that i-pentane content in the butane mixture has a
molar concentration of 1.9 0.99 and 1.53%, that complies with quality
specifications of the Lean NGL GLP-2 feed scenario.

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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

CONCLUSIONS

Top and bottom product quality of the depropanizer (D8-504) and


debutanizer (D8-506) columns of GLP-2 comply with SIALAB specifications
for the evaluated NGL compositions.

For the 42.0 MBPD NGL form the CCO scenario (Lean, Average and Rich),
the depropanizer column (D8-504) complies with recommendations of the
standard PDVSA MDP-04-CF-12 (Valve Trays), regarding tray pressure
drop of 1.0 to 4.0 in of liquid.

Accordingly, for the feed scenario of 42.0 MBPD of OCC NGL, the
debutanizer column (D8-506), the pressure drop along column internals are
only standard allowable values for the Average NGL case, these values
ranged from 1.3 to 3.0 in

It was observed that the flooding factors of the depropanizer column (D8504) for the evaluated scenarios display an efficient behavior according the
standards PDVSA MDP-04-CF-14 (Tray Efficiency) and PDVSA MDP-04CF-12 (Valve Trays), which indicates that a range of 40 to 90% of flooding
for a column is considered efficient column behavior (42.0 MBPD of NGL
fractionation scenario).

For the debutanizer column (D8-506), only the Average NGL scenario
complies with the standards having a flooding factor ranging from 53 to 73%
(42.0 MBPD of NGL fractionation scenario).

Downcomer velocities were found to range from 0.21 to 0.67 ft/s, this
indicates that velocities on the bottom section of the depropanizer column
(D8-504)

for

the

three

feed

scenarios

would

exceed

standards

recommendations. According to standard PDVSA MDP-04-CF-12 (Valve


Trays) the downcomer entrance velocity should be limited to maximum of
0.15 m/s (0.5 ft/s). The top section of the column was found to comply to
standard (42.0 MBPD of NGL fractionation scenario).

Downcomer velocities on the debutanizer columna (D8-506) were found to


range from 0.63 to 0.25 ft/s.

These high velocities were found on the

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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

bottom section of the column for the Lean NGL case (42.0 MBPD of NGL
fractionation scenario).

Residence time of the internals of the depropanizer column (D8-504)


ranged from 1.13 to 1.26 seconds on the bottom sections, this residence
time distribution is due to presence of multiple Flow Paths (4). The top
section of the column has a residence time ranging from 3.2 to 3.6 seconds
(42.0 MBPD of NGL fractionation scenario).

The debutanizer column (D8-506) has a residence time oscillation on the


bottom and top sections from 1.9 to 2.8 seconds (42.0 MBPD of NGL
fractionation scenario).

The maximum feed rate to the GLP-2 fractionation columns for the different
CCO feed scenarios without having column hydraulic problems were found
to be 27.5 MBPD for the Lean NGL case, 42.8 MBPD for the Average NGL
case and 34.55 MBPD for the Rich NGL Case.

Pressure drop on the internals of the depropanizer column (D8-504) for the
different feed rates and compositions evaluated comply with the standard
PDVSA MDP-04-CF-12 (Valve Trays). The highest pressure drop range
was found for the Average NGL feed scenario since it has the highest feed
rate. The values found for the pressure drop ranged from 1.68 to 1.8 in.

For the debutanizer column (D8-506), the pressure drop was evaluated for
the different scenarios of flowrate and feed composition and the highest
were found for the Rich NGL case since it has the greates amount of heavyends content on the feed. The found pressure drop ranged from 1.79 to
3.02 in.

The highest flooding factors of the depropanizer column (D8-504) ranged


from 57 to 62% for the Average NGL case. For the Lean NGL case, the
flooding factor as an inefficient behavior having a range from 35.7 to 39.4%
all along the bottom section and part of the top section of the column.

For the debutanizer column, D8-506, the highest flooding factors were
found for the Rich NGL case. This case was the one with highest efficiency
on which the flooding factor were found to range from 65.9 to 76.2%.
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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

Downcomer velocities for the different cases evaluated ranged from 0.65 to
0.24 ft/s for an Average NGL feed composition; this indicates that
downcomer velocities on the bottom section of the depropanizer column
(D8-504) would exceed recommended values.

The top section of the

column velocity values comply with the standards.

For the debutanizer column (D8-506) the downcomer velocities were found
to reach a maximum for the Rich NGL scenario, on which the velocities
ranged from 0.40 to 0.23 ft/s.

Residence time of the internals of the depropanizer column (D8-504)


ranged from 1.4 to 1.7 seconds for the bottom section. For the top section,
this parameter was found to range from 4.55 to 4.3 seconds. From the
three evaluated scenarios the highest reported values were found of the
Lean NGL feed.

The debutanizer column (D8-506) has a residence time oscillating from top
to bottom section 1.9 to 2.8 seconds for the Average LGN feed.

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Hydraulic Study Of Ule Fractionation Plant Distillation Columns (Glp-2)


Under Operational Occ Scenario

REFERENCES

CREOLE PETROLEUM CORPORATION LPG EXPANSION PROJECT


ULE FRACTIONATION PLANT PROCESS DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS.

MANUAL DE DISEO DE PROCESOS DE PDVSA, PDVSA MDP-04-CF14 (EFICIENCIA DE PLATOS).

MANUAL DE DISEO DE PROCESOS DE PDVSA, PDVSA MDP-04-CF12 (PLATOS TIPO VLVULA).

APPLIED PROCESS DESIGN FOR CHEMICAL AND PETROCHEMICAL


PLANTS, E. LUDWING.

A WORKING GUIDE TO PROCESS EQUIPMENT, N. LIEBERMAN.

Gerencia de Procesamiento de Gas Occidente