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MAY 2011


HPI recovery underway MAINTENANCE AND Design exchangers

Biodegradable RELIABILITY for dirty service
polymers Advanced materials Improve design of
CAFE could boost US and programs protect closed-drain drums
auto profits critical assets

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MAY 2011 VOL. 90 NO. 5


41 Consider new developments in antifouling coatings

for rotating equipment
Cover Tray-Tec, Inc. craftsmen
installing a random packing hold-
down grid in a 46 diameter Vacuum
Innovative materials and applications protect critical centrifugal compressors tower for a major refining company
and steam turbines from erosion and corrosion in the Texas City area. Also in this
P. Dowson Vacuum tower Tray-Tec installed new
internals, including 13,000 cuft of
45 Deferred maintenance causes upsurge in pump failures
Not addressing the root cause of a failure puts resources and employees at risk
H. P. Bloch
random packing, grid packing and
performed variousvessel repairs,
including weld metal build-up in
thinned areas and replaced the
49 Avoid costly engineering faults, missteps and miscalculations
Experience does count, especially in achieving success in capital and revamp projects
K. Sanghavi
bottom boot section. During this
turnaround Tray-Tec also performed
repairs and maintenance on

55 Nickel recycle: Extending service life for reformer tubes

Case studies investigate methods to conserve high-nickel tubes for fertilizer facilities
S. B. Kunte
numerous towers, reactors and drums
including a 21 diameter Atmospheric
tower. Tray-Tec, Inc. is based in
Humble, Texas, and performs vessel

61 Consider new materials for ethylene furnace applications

An innovative metallurgy solves maintenance issues
G. Verdier and F. Carpentier
mechanical services for the refining,
chemical, and gas industries across
the United States. Photo courtesy of
Tray-Tec, Inc.

65 Testing and repair options for critical dry-gas seal: Updates

Do your research when sending compressor seals out for renovations
C. Carmody

71 How to justify root-cause failure analysis for pumps

New method uses annualized risk to determine RCFA analysis levels
R. X. Perez
75 Spiral heat exchanger in desalter service solves fouling issues
Technology offers problem-free operation along with considerable maintenance savings
C. Wajciechowski
17 HPI recovery
underway despite
79 Optimize reordering of critical raw materials and parts
New models evaluate the total costs in receiving and storing materials for a refinery
A. Goti, N. Zabaleta, A. Garcia, M. Ortega and J. Uradnicek
17 Small-scale chemistry
could improve
HEAT TRANSFER 19 US auto industry
could boost profits
83 Update on designing for high-fouling liquids
A critical analysis of shell and tube exchanger systems looks at
clean and dirty service performance
with higher mileage
J. M. Nesta and C. A. Coutinho

87 Is your antifoam compatible with the amine system?

Several options help minimize operation costs and mitigate unscheduled shutdowns
A. Atash Jameh, A. Z. Gharaghoosh, S. Mokhatab and A. G. Shazadeh
95 Sulfur 2011
Innovation will play a key role in managing sulfur compounds Consider water
washing for steam

107 Review unit-wide impacts on closed-drain drums

API 521 standard helps decipher the correct operating pressure for this system
R. Mukhopadhyay, Consultant, Bangkok, Thailand
Biofuels audience
warms to advocate
PROCESS DESIGN for third industrial
113 Design an efficient exchanger network
Advanced heat integration and pinch technology reduces energy consumption
F. Rikhtehgar The era of the
company has passed
117 Case 62: Useful shaft stress equations to remember
Committing several equations to memory can be useful
T. Sofronas
Legionellato test or
DEPARTMENTS not to test?

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Dow Global Technologies (DGT) has announced the invention and BASF foam
development of a new, high-molecular-weight brominated polymeric flame retardant
(PFR). The PFR is expected to be the next-generation industry-standard flame retar- insulating LNG
dant for use in both extruded polystyrene (XPS) and expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam-
insulation applications globally. The development of the new PFR is the result of Dows
pipes in Korea
continuing search for more sustainable products and, in this case, for a flame retardant
BASFs specialty foam Basotect is
that can replace hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD).
now, for the first time, being used to
DGT also announced its first license agreement with Chemtura Corp. This first insulate pipes in a liquefied natural gas
license agreement makes it possible for Great Lakes Solutions, a Chemtura business, to (LNG) tank terminal in Gwangyang,
produce and sell the newly developed PFR for use in XPS and EPS foam. Korea. The pipe cover with Basotect
provides energy-efficient thermal
A poll released in April shows that 90% of Americans believe the insulation, easy handling and flame
nations petroleum refineries and petrochemical manufacturing plants are among retardancy. LNG is natural gas that
Americas most important or important industries. NPRA, the National Petrochemical is temporarily liquefied at very low
temperatures, in order to transport
& Refiners Association, announced results of the poll conducted by Opinion Research.
or store it more easily. As the tem-
A total of 44% of Americans believe the refining and petrochemical sectors are perature of LNG must be kept below
among the countrys most important industries, while 46% consider the sector among 162C, efficient insulation for the
the countrys important industries, the poll found. Only 5% of those surveyed said the pipes is necessary.
refining and petrochemical sectors were not among the countrys important industries According to SKI Insulation, the sys-
and the remaining 5% said they did not know. tem supplier of the removable insula-
tion cover, the pipe cover made from
The board of directors of the Export-Import Bank of the US has Basotect is more energy-efficient as
it is 20% thinner than conventional
voted to grant preliminary approval for a $2.84 billion direct loan/loan guarantee to
foam insulation.
Colombias Refinera de Cartagena S.A. (Reficar). The financing, when finally approved, Basotect shows a high degree of
will support the purchases of equipment and services from over 150 large and small US stability at low temperatures. In labo-
engineering/design, equipment supply, contracting and process license firms, including ratory tests even at temperatures of
Chicago Bridge & Iron, Foster Wheeler, ExxonMobil and UOP. This is part of a $5.18 around 200C the material retains its
billion refinery and upgrade project in Cartagena, Colombia, supplying petroleum prod- properties. The high degree of elastic-
ucts to the domestic and export markets. ity and the thermal insulation capac-
ity of the foam remain unaffected, in
contrast to conventional foam insu-
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will require electronic lation, which becomes brittle when
submissions for new chemical notices under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). exposed to such extreme cold, said
Beginning last month, companies can no longer submit their new chemical notices and Dr. Peter Wolf, head of Global Business
support documents on paper for the EPAs review. Management Basotect at BASF.
On April 6, 2010, the EPA issued a final rule that put in place a two-year phaseout SKI Insulation discovered that the
of paper and optical-disc reporting for new chemical notices to the agency. The rule system material with the lightweight
included a one-year phaseout of paper reporting and a two-year phaseout of optical-disc and flexible BASF foam can be eas-
reporting. Under TSCA, companies are required to submit new chemical notices, includ- ily removed for regular inspection
of pipe integrity and later reused,
ing pre-manufacture notices (PMNs), to the EPA at least 90 days (in the case of PMNs)
unlike rigid conventional foams that
prior to the manufacture or import of the chemical. The EPA reviews the notice and can are hard to replace. This translates
set conditions to be placed on the use of a new chemical before it enters into commerce. into reduced maintenance costs.
Additionally, Basotect is a highly
Marking the one year anniversary of the tragic accident at the flame-retardant material, another key
Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Washington, the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) consideration for SKI Insulation, as
released a video safety message in which Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso urged refin- natural gas burns easily.
ery companies to make the investments necessary to ensure safe operations. Basotect is an open-cell foam and it
has a unique range of properties. The
The video highlighted the CSBs ongoing investigation into the April 2, 2010, acci-
base material makes it flame-retar-
dent that killed seven workers. At the time of the incident, a heat exchanger was being dant; it can be used at up to 240C
brought online when the nearly 40-year-old piece of equipment catastrophically failed, while retaining its properties over a
spewing highly flammable hydrogen and naphtha that ignited and exploded. wide temperature range. Because of
Tesoro disputes the findings of the CSB. Company spokesperson Mike Marcy said its open-cell foam structure, it is light
in a statement that, We disagree with the chairmans characterization of Tesoros opera- (9 g/l), sound-absorbing, flexible even
tions at Anacortes. The heat exchanger was maintained and inspected in accordance at low temperatures and thermally
with regulations and industry standards. We continue to cooperate with the CSB. HP insulating. HP


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Consider water washing for steam turbines

Occasions may arise when deposits form on the internal parts
Boiler stop T&T Recording
of steam turbines. The accumulation of these deposits may be valve valve thermometer
indicated by a gradual increase in stage pressures over time with valves
no evidence of vibration, rubbing or other distress. Such depos- Boiler
its have a marked detrimental effect on turbine efficiency and Turbine
capacity. When deposits cause extensive plugging, thrust-bearing machine
failure, wheel rubbing and other serious problems can result. Water-steam Exhaust
mixer steam to
Feedwater drain
Deposit types. Deposits are classified as water insoluble and
water soluble. The characteristics of these deposits should be Turbine speed held at
determined by analyzing samples, and corrective measures should approximate 500 rpm
by adjusting steam and
be taken to eliminate such deposits during future operation. water ow with these
When it has been determined that deposits have formed on the valves
internal parts of the turbine, three methods may be applied to FIG. 1 Flow diagram of low-speed water-wash system.
remove the deposits:
1. Turbine shutdown, casing opened and deposits removed
manually liberal clearances help minimize hazards associated with water
2. Turbine shutdown and allowed to cool; the deposits crack washing. Nevertheless, numerous reaction turbines have also been
off due to temperature changes successfully water washed.
3. Online water washing (while running), essentially removing Water injection is accomplished by a piping arrangement
water-soluble deposits. for atomization and injecting water into the steam supply , thus
Plant operating conditions will dictate which method is best ensuring a gradual and uniform reduction in temperature of the
in restoring the turbine to optimum performance. In a generator- turbine-inlet steam until it reaches 10F to 15F superheat. It is
drive service, shutting down the unit or water washing at low probably a safe rule that the temperature should not be reduced
speed and reduced load may create minimum plant upset. faster than 25F in 15 minutes or 100F/h. Fig. 1 shows suggested
piping arrangements for admission of water and steam, and a
Water washing. Turbine washing at full speed (onstream simple assembly of fabricated pipes to form a desuperheater can
cleaning) can be and has been successfully used on many mechan- be found in the text reference.
ical-drive steam turbines. Considerable hazards are possible with Failure of water injection pumps presents a great hazard, espe-
water-washing methods, and full-speed washing is more hazardous cially at maximum injection rates. To guard against pump failure,
than washing at reduced speed. But this can be accomplished, untreated boiler feedwater is used since these pumps are usually
provided great care and judgment are exercised. While we know the most reliable. If plant operating conditions allow, the vacuum
of no steam turbine manufacturer who would guarantee the safety on a condensing turbine should be reduced to 5 mmHg to 10
of turbines for any washing cycle, capable manufacturers recog- mmHg. For non-condensing turbines, the exhaust pressure should
nize that deposits do occur. They will, therefore, help operators be reduced to atmospheric pressure. Note: On any non-condens-
as much as possible in dealing with such problems until effective ing unit requiring full-speed washing, the manufacturer should be
prevention is established. consulted about minimum allowable exhaust pressures. Extraction
Saturated steam washing by water injection is the conven- turbines should be operated with the extraction line shutoff.
tional and well-tried method of removing water-soluble deposits A steam gauge and thermometer should be installed between
from turbines. The amount and rate of superheat to be removed the trip-throttle valve and governor-controlled valves. The ther-
and the steam flow required for operation determine the water- mometer should be a recording type and be very responsive to
injection rate. Injecting large quantities of liquid (such as may be small changes in temperature. Low-speed wash (see Fig. 1) repre-
required on process drivers) creates potential problems. sents a well-understood method for deposit removal. HP
The nature of a typical impulse turbine lends itself to full-
speed water washing. Axial clearances between first-stage buckets
The author is Hydrocarbon Processings Reliability/Equipment Editor. A prac-
and nozzles and between moving buckets and diaphragms will ticing consulting engineer with close to 50 years of applicable experience, he
range from 0.050 in. to 0.090 in. The typical NiResist labyrinth advises process plants worldwide on failure analysis, reliability improvement and
packing radial clearance when the unit is cold will be approxi- maintenance cost-avoidance topics. This excerpt is taken from Bloch, H. P. and Dr.
mately 0.007 in. The labyrinth will seal on the shaft only; the M. P. Singh, Steam Turbines: Design, Applications and Re-Rating, 2nd Ed., 2009,
McGraw-Hill, New York. The original material was contributed by Dresser-Rand Co.
moving blades will not require seals. With impulse turbines, these



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Biofuels audience warms to advocate

for third industrial revolution
Here is a thesis on energy thats being expounded at the heart Crisis in the making. Rifkin begins his keynote speech by
of European policy-making these days: Thirty years after peak outlining two crises. The first problem is peak oil per capita.
oil per capita and at the apex of peak globalization, the machines Were in an end game, he tells delegates, because our energy
and infrastructure of the oil age are on life support. Oil prices will reserves have not been measured against the benchmark of mas-
not edge over $150/bbl without turning off the engine of global sive population growth.
growth, as they did in 2008. But, there is an alternativea third When China and India made a bid at a 8%10% growth
industrial revolution. rate, he says, raking one third of the human race into the
So says the US author and polemicist, Jeremy Rifkin, who is game in 10 years, the aggregate output and demand against
something of a controversial figure back home in the US. Hes reserves pushed the price up and the global economy collapsed
been outspoken long, and loudly, enough to have his detractors. at $150/bbl. Our first major problem, he claims, is that our
I might hesitate to give space to him in this editorial here if his oil-driven engine of economic growth wont work at prices
ideas werent influential in reshaping European policy making. above that threshold.
The second problem is what he calls the entropy bill for the
A new herald. Rifkin, the president of a Washington, DC, first two industrial revolutions: This is not a metaphorits
think tank, and a fellow and lecturer at the Wharton School spent energy. Weve exhumed too much carbon and were not
of the University of Pennsylvania, spoke at the World Biofuels getting enough sunlight off the planet. So weve hit peak glo-
Markets conference in Rotterdam. He is a natural choice for balization with $147/bbl, and were now paying an entropy bill
this event. for 200 years of the industrial revolution and were also facing a
Rifkin professes optimism grounded in pessimism, one might mass extinction event because of global warming in this century,
say. According to Rifkin, oil has peaked; the atmosphere is in so what do we do?
big trouble; and nuclear is finished. No surprise then that a
speech with those premises would pep up the European biofuels Policy. Rifkin is credited with helping to form the European
industry. For added impact, the delivery is that of a big-screen energy strategy that he goes on to describe. One point is that
prosecutor pressing home his case in a courtroom drama. renewable energy will provide a third of European electricity
But starched collars and deftly handled statistics aside, production (20% of energy) by 2020. Approximately 191 million
Rifkins talk of an energy revolution has been influential. buildings will be partially repurposed to generate power, and a
Indeed, a version officially adopted by the European Parliament supergrid technology learned from distributive computing will
has been formative in policies that are even now powering the provide a nervous system to the new infrastructure. It will, in
biofuels industry, and a raft of other sustainability initiatives time, displace what he calls elite, centralized technologies like oil,
across Europe. gas and nuclear. He names 8 billion of investment into energy
It is striking that, at this well-attended event, there were more storage, largely using hydrogen, to provide base-load generation,
engineers, operators and vendors than attend Europes largest when the wind isnt blowing and the sun isnt shining.
oil refining conference. And they pay slightly more to do so as
well. After the plenary, during coffee, members of this industry Preparing for change. And as a young generation turns to
actually seem pepped up. Two years ago, the biofuels industry distributed and collaborative ways of solving energy problems,
was being blamed for food riots in Mexico and was seeing credit Rifkin draws parallels between the fossil fuel industry and other
evaporate during the financial rash. A year ago, biodiesel plants 20th century ones, which will need to adapt or end. The music
were by some accounts being driven out of business by US companies just didnt understand file sharing, he says. When
splash and dash exports of 99% biodiesel blends. millions of kids started file sharing music, they laughed. They
But the big reason that theyre in a more buoyant and confer- tried to legislate against it; then they went out of business, within
ence-going mood this year is because European policy-making five years. Encyclopedia Britannica didnt understand Wikipedia,
on renewables is really taking hold! When a recent initiative to now Wikipedia rules. HP
introduce a 10% blend of bio-ethanol into gasoline was bungled
in Germany this winter, it wasnt just a blow to ethanol pro-
ducers. The oil companies distributing transportation fuels in The author is HPs European Editor and is also a specialist in European distillate
Germany could face two or three hundred million euros in fines markets. He has been active as a reporter and conference chair in the European
if theyre found short of their blending obligations by the year downstream industry since 1997, before which he was a feature writer and
end. They can be fined 62 eurocents for each mandated liter that reporter for the UK broadsheet press and BBC radio. Mr. Wright lives in Sweden
and is the founder of a local climate and sustainability initiative.
goes unburned (US $3.33/US gal) in German vehicles this year.


I 11
Select 54 at

The era of the integrated oil company has passed

The National Petrochemical and EPA and GHGs. The NPRA supports be drilled the future. He wonders why
Refiners Association (NPRA) gathered in the Upton-Inhofe legislation which says Brazil is drilling deep wells now but the
San Antonio, Texas, for its 109th annual the EPA does not have the authority to US has stopped drilling completely.
meeting in March. Key points of conver- regulate greenhouse gases (GHGs) under Mr. Klesse also expressed concern
sation included the ongoing battle with the Clean Air Act. Another bill that is in about the EPAs regulation of GHGs under
the US Environmental Protection Agency Congress, penned by Senator Rockefeller the Clean Air Act. The way it appears the
(EPA) over greenhouse gas emissions (D-WV) would delay implementation agency would go about such regulation
(GHGs), possible discriminatory tax treat- of EPAs GHG regulation for two years. would mean that in order for Valero to
ment toward downstream oil companies While Mr. Drevna thinks two years is expand a refinery, it would take 1824
from the US federal government and the better than immediately, he wonders months just to get a permit. He thinks that
status of energy policy in the US. Keynote what happens two years from now? He would have a crippling effect on the US
speakers included former US Senator Alan thinks the GHG and climate change economy, on output of refined products
Simpson (R-WY), journalist Robert Bryce, debate wont change much two years domestically and most importantly, on
PBF Energy Chairman Tom OMalley and from now and that using the Rockefeller energy prices for the US consumer.
television personalities Joe Scarborough bill is more like a stay of execution than
and Mika Brzezinski. an actual solution. Strategic petroleum reserve.
With the price of oil on the rise recently,
US energy policy. The US current The future. Mr. Klesse looked to the some politicians and pundits have called
energy policy, or lack thereof, has been a future, taking the position that the world
hot topic of conversation in Washington is going to use more energy as the standard
among both industry types and environ- of living in places like India and China
mentalists. Bill Klesse, of Valero, who is continues to go up. He further acknowl-
serving as the NPRAs board chairman, and edged that, while the Macondo well explo-
NPRA President Charlie Drevna spoke sion in the Gulf of Mexico was a tragedy, it
about this and other subjects in a press should be remembered that the oil indus-
conference with reporters at the meeting. try had drilled 14,000 wells before that
We have an energy policy that is no without incident.
policy at all, Mr. Drevna said. The This line of thought led Mr. Klesse to
government manages from crisis to crisis comment that President Obama visited
rather than having a crisis management Brazil, a place where deepwater drilling is Tom OMalley meets with reporters after his
program. For instance, a town or city occurring and more deepwater wells will speech at the industry leadership breakfast.
doesnt wait until there is a fire to orga-
nize the fire department. We shouldnt
wait until the next crisis to develop a real
energy program.
While Mr. Drevna is keen for the US
to develop and implement a rational and
fair energy policy based on sound science
and pragmatic perspectives, he does not
see that happening anytime soon.
Long term, I dont see any grand
energy policy coming out of this Con-
gress, at least during the first session, Mr.
Drevna said. We do need an energy pol-
icy that makes sense but it is going to be
very difficult to get anything through this
Congress. Not because we have a Repub-
lican House and a Democratic Senate, but
because the deficit debate is going on and The NPRAs 109th annual meeting took place in San Antonio, Texas.
resolving that is front and center.


I 13
for tapping into the US strategic petro- integrated companies controlled only [two refineries] we bought from Valero
leum reserve (SPR). The NPRAs posi- 41% of capacity. is a heavy system and we believe that the
tion has always been that it should only This is an incredible drop, Mr. heavy/sour barrel discount is going to
be tapped into when there is a supply OMalley said. But it is clear the era of work out for us. The synergies between
shortage, which is not the case today. integration has passed. Integration was these two plants should allow us to work
Using the SPR as a price control mecha- developed when you couldnt sell all your very well.
nism is not good public policy and it crude. It came out of an era pre-1973
is something the NPRA does not sup- when crude was $2 a barrel and oil com- Whats going to happen? Accord-
port. Mr. Drevna pointed out that even panies needed to find a home for their ing to Mr. OMalley, the best summary
President Obama is against tapping into production. from an analytical point of view was a
the SPR. Mr. OMalley expects the trend of study by Turner Mason released at the
integrated companies exiting the refining beginning of 2011. In the next 15 years,
Over capacity. On the subject of the business to continue. the study said the world is going to con-
long term need to reduce overall refin- To some extent, refining has been sume another 20 million bpd of oil prod-
ing capacity in the US and the world, Mr. a lousy business, Mr. OMalley said. ucts. It further clarified that Europe and
Klesse offered a distinctive perspective. This trend will continue and we will the US are not a part of the growth fac-
I believe there is still excess refin- be below 25% integrated companies tor. There will be a tightening of capacity
ing capacity in Japan [despite the recent soon, as merchant refining will gravitate between now and 2020. It should also
disaster], North America and Western to non-integrated companies. This shift be noted that these projections were pre-
Europe, he said. You can tell by looking in manufacturing is just specialization; Japan earthquake/tsunami, which will
at operating rates. In the world, refining weve seen it in every other industry, so certainly enhance oil product consump-
capacity is going to continue to be built why not ours? tion worldwide.
and oil demand is going to continue to
increase. In 2020, this is going to be a Retail business. Mr. OMalley said Petrochemical Conference. The
95100 million bpd business. that integrated companies are also leaving week following its annual meeting, the
As an aside to Mr. Klesses remarks, it the retail business. Is refining and mar- NPRA hosted another conference in San
should be noted that EIA reported that keting within one company a good busi- Antonio. The International Petrochemical
72.2 million bpd was produced in 2009. ness strategy? When he was at Tosco, the Conference (IPC) was attended by nearly
On the subject of refining margins and company acquired Circle K and ran about 2,800 people working in the petrochemi-
refinery closures, Mr. Klesse noted that 2,500 retail sites and 2,500 branded sites. cal sector from over 45 nations.
Valero had shuttered a refinery recently The business at Circle K wasnt In the United States, prospects for
and sold it to another company. He about selling gasoline, it was about con- growth and development are strength-
pointed out that refineries have been shut venience, he said. The best stores were ened by the potential additional supply
down in the US, Canada and Europe. not operated by oil companies but rather of tremendous natural resources right in
When you look at the distribution by retailers. The retailers saw gasoline as our own back yard, Mr. Drevna said in a
in these markets, you see refineries that a necessary part of business, but not their statement from the IPC. The natural gas
over time cannot compete in this envi- reason for existence. reserves of the Marcellus Shale formation
ronment, he said. Rationalization will The central message is that specializa- in the northeastern US, the Texas Eagle
continue to occur. However, with a cold tion is the way to go. Mr. OMalley advises Ford reserves and the Rocky Mountain
winter and refinery upsets in many mar- that if a company is in refining it should formations could sustain and grow not
kets, margins have been better in regional not go into retail and vice versa. just the petrochemical industry, but man-
markets. But not all refineries are benefit- Weve morphed over the past few ufacturing in general and the American
ting in this environment. years from an integrated model to the dis- economy as a wholeif theyre developed
integrated model, he said. Specialization properly.
Integrated oil companies. During is the buy word for the future. NPRA Petrochemical Committee
an industry breakfast at the event, PBF Chairman Jeff Ramsey, who is senior
Energy Chairman Tom OMalley shared Rate of return. Investment banks have vice president for refining and chemicals
his belief that the era of the integrated oil tried to calculate rate of return on the HPI marketing at Flint Hills Resources, also
company has passed. for many years, Mr. OMalley said. His spoke at the opening session. Honn Tudor,
Mr. OMalley first entered the indus- research has revealed that the common senior manager commercial at Total Petro-
try in 1984 when he purchased Hill rate is 2% per year over the last 20 years, chemicals, presided over the conference.
Petroleum for $3 million. He noted which is not a reasonable investment. Outside speakers at the IPC included:
that, in 1984, the refining industry was Underscoring the difficulty of being Brian Habacivch, senior vice president of
dominated by integrated companies both a refiner in this era of razor thin mar- Fellon-McCord, an energy consulting and
upstream and downstream. For instance, gins, Mr. OMalley said, If you buy at management company; and Fox Business
in 1984, integrated companies controlled the right price and manage your business anchor John Stossel. The IPC featured dis-
about 84% of the refining capacity. What correctly, you can make money on some, cussions of key governmental, economic
is shocking about how much the industry but not all, of the assets in the market- and environmental issues affecting petro-
has changed is that, by the end of 2010, place. For instance, the Northeast system chemical manufacturing. HP

I MAY 2011


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Select 90 at
We help the environment and reneries grow together.
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Select 61 at

HPI recovery underway OECD countries as higher vehicle efficiency We basically developed a microreactor
despite uncertainty standards propagate through the fleet. How- that lets us monitor continuous polymer-
ever, gasoline demand will still continue to ization using enzymes, explained Kathryn
Purvin & Gertz recently released its grow in many developing countries. Beers, a NIST materials scientist. These
global petroleum market outlook for 2011. Residual fuel oils share of demand enzymes are an alternate green technol-
The study provides an analysis of global will decline over the next 10 years as com- ogy for making these types of polymers.
and regional markets for crude oil and petition with natural gas intensifies in some We looked at a polyester, but the processes
refined products within a framework of regions and bunker fuel specifications favor arent really industrially competitive yet.
world energy demand and economic activ- a shift to marine diesel by 2015. Data from the microreactor, a sort of
ity through 2030. The conclusion of the Despite the large refined product zig-zag channel about a millimeter deep
report is that a global economic recovery is demand increase seen in 2010, a significant crammed with hundreds of tiny beads,
well underway, but there are new areas of oversupply situation currently exists. The shows how the process could be made
uncertainty to consider. Political turmoil requirement to blend increasing volumes of much more efficient. The team believes it
in the Middle East and North Africa has ethanol and biodiesel into products is fur- to be the first example of the observation
appeared in the first few months of 2011 ther adding to the product oversupply situ- of polymerization with a solid-supported
and has caused some oil supply disruptions. ation in the Atlantic Basin. A few weaker enzyme in a microreactor.
A massive earthquake and tsunami devas- refineries have already shut down and more The group studied the synthesis of PCL,
tated northeastern Japan, inflicting painful closures are expected. However, the survi- a biodegradable polyester used in appli-
loss of life and serious damage to nuclear vors in some markets will have to operate cations ranging from medical devices to
power capacity and other energy infrastruc- at significantly lower rates until after 2015 disposable tableware. PCL, Ms. Beers said,
ture such as refineries and LNG receiving unless further capacity rationalization cor- is most commonly synthesized using an
terminals. These negative factors are coun- rects the capacity imbalance. organic tin-based catalyst to stitch the base
terbalanced somewhat by the return of Light/heavy price differentials and chemical rings together into the long poly-
economic growth in many of the worlds returns on capital investment declined mer chains. The catalyst is highly toxic,
economies and by accelerating crude oil rapidly in early 2009 as the global econ- however, and has to be disposed of.
supply in countries outside of OPEC. omy slowed. A modest recovery in conver- Modern biochemistry has found a
Key conclusions of this years analysis sion returns was experienced in 2010, but more environmentally friendly substitute
include: conversion returns are expected to weaken in an enzyme produced by the yeast strain
Refined product demand increased by because new capacity will continue to come Candida antartica, Ms. Beers said, but
2 million bpd in 2010 as most economies online in the next few years. standard batch processesin which the
emerged from the 2009 recession. Demand Worldwide refinery investments to raw material is dumped into a vat, along
growth was strongest in Asia, the Middle 2020 are expected to cost approximately with tiny beads that carry the enzyme, and
East and parts of Latin America. The $275 billion which represents 18% of 2010 stirredis too inefficient to be commer-
companys long-term forecast for refined replacement costs. Additional investments cially competitive. It also has problems
product-demand growth has been updated in the range of $145 billion are expected with enzyme residue contaminating and
to reflect the impact of higher long-term through 2030. degrading the product.
crude oil prices and more stringent con- By contrast, Ms. Beers said, the micro-
servation efforts. The challenge to supply Small-scale chemistry reactor is a continuous flow process. The
energy to a growing global population of feedstock chemical flows through the nar-
expanding financial means is huge. could improve row channel, around the enzyme-coated
Product demand in non-OECD biodegradable polymers beads, and polymerized out the other end.
countries will grow rapidly from the cur- Using a small block of aluminum with The arrangement allows precise control
rent level of 37.3 million bpd in 2010 to a tiny groove carved in it (Fig. 1), a team
59.6 million bpd in 2030. Of the expected of researchers from the National Institute
22.3 million-bpd increase, China alone of Standards and Technology (NIST) and
is expected to account for 43% of this the Polytechnic Institute of New York Uni-
increase. The combination of Brazil, India, versity is developing an improved green
Russia and the broader Middle East will chemistry method for making biodegrad-
account for almost 30% of the increase. able polymers. Their recently published
Diesel fuel will increase its share of work is a prime example of the value of
total demand as demand for other fuels microfluidics, a technology more com- FIG. 1 Typical NIST microreactor plate
grows at a slower pace. Gasolines share of monly associated with inkjet printers and for studying enzyme-catalyzed
demand has been relatively stable for the medical diagnostics, to process modeling polymerization. Photo courtesy of
last 20 years, but is expected to drop in the and development for industrial chemistry. Kundu, NIST.


I 17
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Engineering Solutions . . . Delivering Results

Select 87 at
of temperature and reaction time, so that shown that continuous flow really benefits While this study focused on a specific
detailed data on the chemical kinetics of these reactors. Not only does it dramati- type of enzyme-assisted polymer reac-
the process can be recorded to develop an cally accelerate the rate of reaction, but it tions, the authors observe, it is evident
accurate model to scale the process. improves your ability to recover the enzyme that similar microreactor-based platforms
The small-scale flow reactor allows and reduce contamination of the product. can readily be extended to other systems;
us to monitor polymerization and look at A forthcoming follow-up paper will for example, high-throughput screening of
the performance recyclability and recovery present a full kinetic model of the reaction new enzymes and to processes where con-
of these enzymes, Ms. Beers said. With that could serve as the basis for designing tinuous flow mode is preferred.
this process-engineering approach, weve an industrial scale process.
US auto industry could
boost profits with higher
mileage standards
Marginal cost per $/gallon saved

As the US ramps up vehicle fuel effi-
ciency standards, new reports from Citi
4 Investment Research, Ceres and longtime
independent industry experts conclude that
3 US automakers will be more profitable at a
2 fleet-wide 42 miles per gallon (mpg) average
2020 CAFE target at 6% in 2020 (the strictest standard now proposed
annual reduction in
1 greenhouse gas emissions. for that year and one seen as eminently
achievable) and that by 2015 more than
25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 one in 20 cars sold in the US will be hybrid,
CAFE fuel economy, mpg plug-in or full electric vehicles (EVs).
Source: Meszler Engineering Services The two new reports were produced
by Citi and Ceres Investor Network on
FIG. 2 Marginal fuel economy cost in 2020 by CAFE level.
Climate Risk in conjunction with the
University of Michigan Transportation

Select 152 at

I 19
Research Institute, Baum and Associates send their recommendations to the White further under strong standards and other
and Meszler Engineering Services. House as early as this month. government policies that will boost demand
Stronger mileage and GHG standards for electric and plug-in electric cars.
Fuel economy. The fuel economy will boost variable profits and sales in 2020 The 42-mpg standard by 2020 is con-
analysis evaluates the potential impact for the auto industry worldwide, with the sistent with a 6% annual mileage improve-
that changes to the US Corporate Aver- Detroit 3 (General Motors, Ford and Chrys- ment, starting in 2017, that would boost
age Fuel Economy (CAFE) and greenhouse ler) seeing the biggest financial benefits. The fleet mileage to 62 mpg by 2025 (Fig. 2).
gas (GHG) emissions standards may have Detroit 3s variable profit gains would gar- In addition to increasing profits, these goals
on the auto industry in 2020. Federal ner more than half of all increased profits. are eminently achievable technologically
and California state agencies tasked with The US electric vehicle industry is and cost-effective.
developing these standards are expected to already robust and viable, and will grow Our research indicates that increas-
ing industry average fuel economy to 42
miles per gallon by 2020 could raise indus-
try variable profit by $9.1 billion, or 8%,
said Walter McManus, an economist at
the University of Michigan Transportation
Research Institute and director of the Auto-
motive Analysis Group.

Savings. Dan Meszler of Meszler Engi-

neering Services provided estimates of
#1 in Bearing Isolators vehicle technology costs and fuel economy impacts for the CAFE study.
Technology exists to address a number
of continuing inefficiencies associated with
internal combustion engines, Mr. Meszler
said. Between now and 2020, much of
this technology is expected to mature, so
that a 2020 CAFE requirement of 42 mpg
should produce consumer savings starting
at gas prices of $2 per gallon. Since cur-
rent and expected future gasoline prices far
exceed that price, these technology-driven
fuel savings are extremely cost effective and
YOUR SAME-DAY SHIPMENT SPECIALISTS indicate that a 42-mpg CAFE program will
not only reduce petroleum imports, but
When your equipment is down, you need a partner
that ships a solution to you same-daynot some day. save consumers money.
At Inpro/Seal, we recognize the high cost of downtime In May 2010, President Obama directed
facing our customers; thats why weve designed our
operations to support quickturnaround of our
the US Environmental Protection Agency
customengineered bearing protection products. and the National Highway Transporta-
With manufacturing locations in North America and
tion Safety Administration to work with
the United Kingdom, were able to offer industry California to develop the next phase of
leading products with unparalleled response time the nationwide CAFE mileage standards
and service to customers around the globe.
The right technologyright when you need it. and GHG emissions limits for model years
20172025. The agencies are consider-
ing a range of standards representing an
annual decrease in carbon-dioxide (CO2)
emissions of 3%6%, which translates to a
range of 47 mpg to 62 mpg in 2025. The
agencies recommendation appear headed
for the White House sometime this month.
Tougher fuel economy standards will
have positive implications for sales units
and variable profits for the auto industry
in general, especially US automakers. The
report assumes an industry-wide standard
in 2020 of 42 mpg (a 6% improvement
per year). Under this scenario, the Detroit
3 could see variable profits jumping 8%
globally in 2020 globally. HP
Select 153 at
Global Leaders

The Place,
The Time...
IRPCASIA: The Conference
Refining and
On 1921 July 2011 Hydrocarbon Processing will host the 2nd Annual International Refining &
Petrochemical ConferenceAsia. Strategically located in the heart of Southeast Asias refining and petrochemical
industry, and with easy access from all major refining and petrochemical centers, Singapore is home to IRPC for 2011.
IRPCAsia will bring together many of the worlds leading experts in refining and petrochemical technologies. Like
Hydrocarbon Processing, the two-day, two-track conference and exhibition will focus on presenting leading-edge
technology, best practices and solutions for the global hydrocarbon processing industry.

PRELIMINARY PROGRAM (Subject to change)

8:15 8:30 OPENING REMARKS: John Royall, President & CEO, Gulf Publishing Company
10:00 11:30
ExxonMobil Transient Hazop Operations Process (TOH) Advanced Trends in Meeting Refinery Hydrogen NeedsAsian
ExxonMobil focusTechnip

Critical Proactive Considerations for Enhanced Safety of the Innovative Energy Efficient Way to Debottleneck Vacuum
Next Generation of Refineries and Gas Processing Complexes Units with Improved VGO YieldIndian Oil Corporation
Fluor Corporation
LCO processing solutions / Bottom of the Barrel Conversion
Flare Structure Revamp: A Case History StrategiesAxens
Reliance Industries Limited


13:00 14:30
Diversification of Feedstock Options for Petrochemicals: Process and Mechanical Design Optimization of Heat
Future Road Map Exchangers using a CFD Technique: Two Reference Cases
Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences Walter Tosto Spa

Design of Divided Wall Distillation Column Key Drivers and Trends for Retrofit of High Temperature
Engineers India Limited Reaction Furnaces and Fired HeatersKTI Corporation

Solutions for Purification of Refinery Sourced C3s Utilizing Advanced Simulation Software for Revamping Steam
Utilized as Feedstock to Petrochemical Processes Reformers for Hydrogen Production
UOP, LLC, A Honeywell Company Chem Development, Inc. / PFR Engineering System, Inc.


15:00 16:30


Renewable HydrocarbonsIndian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun

Refining Outlook: Capacity Expansion and RationalizationMuse Stancil (Asia)

Challenges and Opportunities in the Growing Asia Pacific Oils MarketWood MacKenzie


for the Global
Petrochemical Industry
Learn About New Technology and Proven Solutions; Meet Global Experts
Networking functions will facilitate exchange of ideas, and an environment for meeting peers from around the globe.
Lunches, receptions and coffee breaks will take place at the exhibition. IRPC is a high-level technical and operations
focused conference. The structure of the event makes for a productive and enjoyable two days with peers from around
the world.


8:30 8:45 WELCOMING REMARKS: Stephany Romanow, Editor, Hydrocarbon Processing
8:45 9:45


Refining / Petrochemical IntegrationA New ParadigmGTC Technology

Refining / Petrochemical IntegrationPanipat Complex of M/s Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.Indian Oil Corporation Limited


10:15 11:45
Impact of Carbon Capture on Oil Sands Development Projects Jatropha Oil Hydroconversion Kinetics Over Co-Mo / Al2O3
Worley Parsons, Canada CatalystIndian Institute of Petroleum

Comprehensive Energy Optimization in Low Budget Era Exceed your Hydrocracker Potential using the latest generation
Neste Jacobs Oy Max Diesel Flexible CatalystsShell Global Solutions

Adding a third eye towards energy efficiency in Process Advances in Rare Earth Free Catalysts Provide Cost Savings
IndustriesYokogawa Electric International Pte Ltd for RefinersGrace Davison Refining Technologies

11:45 12:45 LUNCH

12:45 13:45
Improving equipment efficiencies in operating plants A Case Study in FCC Gasoline Sulfur Reduction for Enhanced
Chevron & Rotating Machinery Consultant Operating Flexibility and a Cleaner Environment
CNOOC, Huizhou Refinery
Achieving Competitive Advantage from Refinery-Wide Business
Performance Optimization / Optimizing Refinery Hydrogen Supply, Economic conversion of Natural OilsGrace Davidson
Distribution, Consumption in Real TimeInvensys


14:15 15:15
Sweating the Plant Assets Refining and Petrochemical Integration Opportunities and
Jubail United Petrochemical Company, KSA ChallengesKBR

Intelligent severity optimization pays off in two months Refining and Petrochemical IntegrationAxens
Sinopec Yangzi Petrochemical Co. Limited


John Baric
Licensing Technology Manager
Shell Global Solutions International B.V.
Eric Benazzi
Marketing Director
Carlos Cabrera
President & CEO
Dr. Charles Cameron
Head of Research & Technology
BP plc
Antonio Di Pasquale
Vice President, Refining Product Line
Giacomo Fossataro
Technical and Operation Manager
Walter Tosto S.p.A.
Dr. Madhukar O. Garg
Indian Institute of Petroleum in Dehradun
Andrea Gragnani
Director, Refining Product Line For registration and lodging information, contact: Gwen Hood,
Technip Events Manager for Gulf Publishing Company at +1 (713) 520-4402 /
James Richardson
Director of Southeast Asia
Sd Chemie To register and find out more information, visit
Giacomo Rispoli
Senior Vice President, Research & Development
eniRefining & Marketing Division
Stephany Romanow
Hydrocarbon Processing
Michael Stockle
Chief EngineerRefining Technology
Foster Wheeler

For sponsorship and exhibit information, contact:

Bill Wageneck, Publisher
Phone: +1 (713) 529-4301
Fax: +1 (713) 520-4433


Phone: +61 (8) 9332-9839 BELGIUM, LUXEMBOURG, SWITZERLAND, Phone: +1 (972) 816-6745
Fax: +61 (8) 9313-6442 GERMANY, AUSTRIA, TURKEY Fax: +1 (972) 767-4442
E-mail: Catherine Watkins E-mail:
Tl.: +33 (0)1 30 47 92 51
CHINAHong Kong Fax: +33 (0)1 30 47 92 40 AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID,
Iris Yuen E-mail: IN, KS, KY, MI, MN, MS, MT, ND, NE, NM,
Phone: +86 13802701367 (China) NV, OR, SD, TN, TX, UT, WA, WI, WY,
Phone: +852 69185500 (Hong Kong) ITALY, EASTERN EUROPE WESTERN CANADA
E-mail: Fabio Potest Laura Kane
Mediapoint & Communications SRL Phone: +1 (713) 520-4449
INDIA Phone: +39 (010) 570-4948 Fax: +1 (713) 520-4459
Manav Kanwar Fax: +39 (010) 553-0088 Mobile: +1 (713) 412-2389
Phone: +91-22-2837 7070/71/72 E-mail:
Fax: +91-22-2822 2803 E-mail:
Mobile: +91-98673 67374 RUSSIA/FSU
E-mail: Lilia Fedotova OH, PA, RI, SC, VA, VT, WV,
Anik International & Co. Ltd. EASTERN CANADA
JAPANTokyo Phone: +7 (495) 628-10-333
Yoshinori Ikeda E-mail: Merrie Lynch
Pacific Business Inc. Phone: +1 (617) 357-8190
Phone: +81 (3) 3661-6138 UNITED KINGDOM/SCANDINAVIA, Fax: +1 (617) 357-8194
Fax: +81 (3) 3661-6139 NORTHERN BELGIUM, THE NETHERLANDS Mobile: +1 (617) 594-4943
E-mail: Michael Brown E-mail:
Phone: +44 161 440 0854 BRAZILSo Paulo
Mobile: +44 79866 34646
THAILAND E-mail: Alfred Bilyk
Peggy Thay Phone/Fax: 11 23 37 42 40
Ann Key Lee Mobile: 11 85 86 52 59
Publicitas Singapore Pte Ltd E-mail:
Phone: +65 6836-2272
Fax: +65 6634-5231

EYESIM Virtual Reality now this model to mobile devices allows unte- it can be used to train operators on new
available on iPhone and iPad thered access to procedures, processes and systems, as well as train new or younger
Following the successful launch of the operational statement of works without operators and engineers in a real-time,
innovative Virtual Reality training system having to be sitting at a terminal. immersive environment, helping proces-
EYESIM, Invensys Operations Manage- Mobile EYESIM is used for classroom sors and manufacturers retain and replen-
ment, a global provider of technology sys- training simulating plant experiences. By ish the specialized knowledge they need to
tems, software solutions and consulting using mobile EYESIM, instructors and improve their operations.
services to the process and manufacturing supervisors can monitor dynamically, John Gilmore, director of Global Indus-
industries, takes the next step in further and in real time, a trainees position and try Solutions Upstream Oil and Gas at
developing this technology. The launch of behavior in the virtual plant environment Invensys Operations Management says, It
the iPhone and iPad apps adds true mobil- through a client application running on is extremely costly to put a person into the
ity to the EYESIM system, allowing in an iPhone or iPad. All touch facilities plant for the purpose of training principally
the field access to first-principle simula- are available for a complete user experi- because of the plant size or location. If we
tion and augmented reality. The iPhone ence. Mobile EYESIM allows workers to could do 8090% of this training in a vir-
and iPad apps were demonstrated publicly more fully experience real-life situations tual environment, we can significantly cut
for the first time in Europe at the Gastech through an iPad or iPhone interface, on the down on cost and risk, avoiding the risk of
Conference and Exhibition in Amsterdam plant floor, away from the classroom. injury and making mistakes, such as spills
this past March. EYESIM Virtual Reality Training enables and the like due to inexperience. He also
EYESIM Immersive Virtual Reality is engineers and operators to navigate the highlighted the significance of such train-
a comprehensive solution linking control plant in a highly realistic and safe train- ing in hazardous or extreme environments.
room operators to field operators, main- ing environment on their iPhone or iPad The risk to an untrained or a partially
tenance operators and other critical team screens. This application provides a combi- trained person in environments such as the
members in their process by means of a nation of virtual-reality technologies with Arctic or a sour gas plant, where conditions
high-fidelity process simulation coupled high-fidelity process and control simulation, are extreme due to high pressures and tem-
with a virtual walkthrough plant envi- computer-based maintenance and docu- peratures, can be great; EYESIM provides
ronment. EYESIM provides a complete mentation management. Maurizio Rovaglio, an ideal solution in these cases.
plant crew training system, capturing best head of Innovation and Emerging Technolo- Select 1 at
practices, rarely used procedures and other gies at Invensys Operations Management,
operations, and makes them systems of describes the iPhone and iPad applica- XOS installs 1,000th analyzer
record for continuous use and refinement. tion as a mobile station that can be used XOS announced the installation of its
The introduction of mobile EYESIM in conjunction with the main application, 1,000th SINDIE 7039 sulfur analyzer. This
extends the usability of the system to enabling younger operators and engineers analyzer was installed at the Yanshan refin-
iPhone or iPad users, allowing these mobile to connect to the server and enjoy the same ery of the China Petroleum and Chemical
users to virtually be trained on systems, training experience as on the main system. Corp. (the Sinopec Corp.). With this mile-
operational procedures and plant environ- Instructors and supervisors can monitor, stone, SINDIE analyzers have been sold
ments. The apps are particularly suited to in real time the positions and behaviors to hundreds of customers in 33 countries
the gas exploration and production indus- of trainees within the plant environment and throughout the US. This announce-
try, where remote and unsafe locations are through a client application running on ment builds on XOSs steady growth in the
increasingly the norm. an iPhone or iPad being connected to an energy sector.
EYESIM addresses the real-life chal- EYESIM iPhone or iPad server. Instructors From the time that we launched pro-
lenges that face operators and maintenance and supervisors can interact with virtual duction of the first-generation SINDIE
staff daily, and it is of particular value in reality gas plant operations by opening or
the area of safety. EYESIM can be used to closing valves, changing weather conditions
rehearse safety procedures with standard- or introducing malfunctions, by using the As HP editors, we hear about
ized, documented processes; for operator touch-screen commands. new products, patents, software,
initiation training; updating health and Mr. Rovaglio says that, it is designed processes, services, etc., that are true
ensure appropriate responses occur to to provide complete plant crew training industry innovationsa cut above
the typical product offerings. This
infrequent but safety-critical events; and to improve skills that are safety-critical by
section enables us to highlight these
gaining consistency across operations cor- enabling operators to perform tasks in a
significant developments. For more
porate-wide. simulated environment, allowing them information from these companies,
EYESIM captures the inherent value in to react quickly and correctly, facilitating please go to our website at
customers workers knowledge base, inte- reactions in high-stress conditions, and
grating into a comprehensive training pro- instilling standards for team training and and select the reader service number.
gram that grows with their needs. Adopting communications. He went on to explain,
I 25
analyzer to the shipment of this 1,000th China. Sinopec executives responded to In a related development, Phase Ana-
unit, the SINDIE product line has earned the milestone by issuing the following lytical Solutions was given XOSs Asia Dis-
a reputation as an indispensable analyti- statement: We are very proud of becom- tributor of the Year Award in recognition of
cal instrument for todays energy compa- ing the 1,000th user of the monochro- Phases outstanding customer and technical
nies, said Berry Beumer, vice president matic wavelength x-ray fluorescence sulfur support in the China market.
of sales and marketing at XOS. This lat- analyzer made by XOS. The analyzer has Other features of XOSs SINDIE prod-
est milestone affirms XOSs commitment demonstrated significant performance uct line that make this milestone significant
to leading-edge technology solutions that advantages over other commonly used include:
address analytical challenges that support methods, such as coulometry, UV fluo- It serves diverse market segments
the success and productivity of the global rescence, and conventional x-ray fluo- such as petroleum production, refining,
energy sector. SINDIE analyzers help rescence. These advantages include high and distribution; petrochemicals; biofu-
XOSs customers accurately monitor sulfur detection precision, high analysis speed, els; enforcement; independent testing; and
content within such diverse fuels as crude, ease-of-use, high stability, and low main- power generation.
biofuels, gasoline and ultra-low-sulfur die- tenance. The analyzer has received wide End-users include refinery labs,
sel (ULSD). acclaim from operators and technical staff pipeline and marine terminal operators,
SINDIE offers a measurement tech- during the course of operation. In par- enforcement authorities, and third-party
nique based on monochromatic wavelength ticular, the refinery division of Sinopec test labs.
dispersive X-ray fluorescence (MWDXRF). Yanhua Co. recently received high-octane XOS spearheaded the ASTM D-7039
The practical application of this technology fuel components, that required high-anal- standard development covering the
in the SINDIE product line enables energy ysis precision and speed. The XOS sulfur SINDIE measurement method, and the
and transportation companies to meet analyzer demonstrated excellent perfor- company maintains the task group chair
clean-air mandates enforced by global reg- mance during the analysis process, and it for measuring sulfur in fuels.
ulators. In turn, this reduces sulfur-oxide made a heroic contribution in successfully Regulators worldwide recognized
exhaust emissions that are responsible for completing the factory quality assurance D-7039 for the purpose of certifying sul-
producing acid rain and causing adverse analysis. Please let us thank XOS and its fur in fuels.
health and environmental conditions. distributor in China, Phase Analytical A portable version of the SINDIE
Sinopec received recognition of this Solutions, for providing us with an ana- benchtop analyzerSINDIE On-The-Go
milestone at its refinery in Yanshan, lyzer of outstanding performance. (OTG)received Instrument Business

HOERBIGER valves are

the Engineer's best friend.
Over 100 years of engineering
know-how and expertise have led to
our latest innovation: the CP valve.
Select 154 at

I MAY 2011
Outlooks 2009 Industrial Design Award vide a cost-effective solution for the pro- technology, PipeGuard offers a unique
for portable instruments. active monitoring of pipelines to prevent solution for the protection of pipelines,
Select 2 at third-party damage. communication lines, prisons and even
Hagai Katz, senior vice president of bank vaults, from terrorism, theft and
R&D contract provides marketing and business development, inadvertent third party-damage. Multiple
protection against excavations Magal S3, commented: Historically, this PipeGuard sensor units are typically inter-
Magal Security Systems, Ltd., received system was designed to protect long-dis- connected through a wireless or cellular
a contract from a research organization, tance pipelines against terrorist and crimi- mesh network and alarms are displayed on
associated with a large US gas utility, to nal activity. Contractors all over the world a geospatial map.
enhance the capabilities of its PipeGuard are inadvertently digging or drilling into Select 3 at
systema sophisticated system (Fig. 1), gas pipes, disrupting service, risking lives
developed by Magal, that warns and pro- and also cause environmental catastrophes.
tects against excavations. Our distributed-system layout cov-
The research organization has evalu- ers dispersed risk areas and is the perfect
ated various technologies for mitigating solution for this challenge. This financed
and proactively alerting personnel when development agreement is an excellent
excavations are occurring in the vicinity opportunity to develop the product for
of buried gas pipes, to enable effective and this important application and make it
early response for prevention of potentially the preferred choice. This is an impor-
hazardous and catastrophic events. The rig- tant step in our corporate strategy to sup-
orous testing included the ability to distin- ply sophisticated sensors and solutions
guish between various types of excavation beyond our traditional security market; in
equipment in the proximity of pipelines, this case, it is to preserve outdoor safety
particularly in noisy environments such as and green ecology.
busy highways. PipeGuard is a sophisticated, patent-
The PipeGuard system has so far shown pending sub-surface intrusion detection
to be the most promising technology; with system for underground asset protec- FIG. 1 Magal S3 Pipe Guard system.
the contracted improvements it should pro- tion. Based on state-of-the-art geophone

The new CP valve for small pocket, high speed compression.


I 27
Flowmeter offers small McCrometers differential-pressure Saving energy in the removal of CO2.
foot print and reduced V-Cone flowmeter provides built-in flow Natural gas, an increasingly important
installation costs conditioning, which nearly eliminates the source of energy, often contains CO2 when
Process engineers responsible for crude upstream and downstream straight pipe it is extracted from the well. Most of this
oil production from wells that employ runs required by other flowmeter tech- CO2 is usually removed directly at the nat-
gas lift systems to increase oil production nologies, reducing typical straight pipe ural-gas source. The removal is achieved by
will find that the rugged, highly accurate run by 70% or more requiring only 03 means of an amine-based solvent devel-
V-Cone flowmeter (Fig. 2) from McCrom- straight pipe diameters upstream and 01 oped by BASF. The solvent temporarily
eter features a wide turndown, a small downstream for precise operation. absorbs the CO2 from the high-pressure
footprint and virtually no maintenance, Engineers in the oil/gas industry rely natural gas-stream. The solvent is then
reducing total installed costs and operating on the versatility of McCrometers V-Cone regenerated at low pressure and fed back to
life cycle costs while improving crude oil flowmeter available in line sizes from 0.5 the process, but this regeneration requires
production efficiency. in. to greater than 120 in. in materials and energy. Traditionally the CO2 released in
Gas lift systems employed for enhanced flanges compatible with any application. the regeneration process has been emitted
oil recovery (EOR) increase crude oil pro- The flowmeter operates over a wide flow to the environment.
duction by injecting gas into the well bore range of 10:1, which typically covers the Alternatively, the CO2 can be injected
casing, reducing the oil density being pro- entire flow range required for injection in underground for storage after separation
duced. The injected gas mixes with the oil gas-lift applications. from the natural gas. To do that the CO2
in the casing and the low reservoir pressure Select 4 at must first be compressed above its high
in the formation is then sufficient to allow pressure. This has, to date, required an
production without the need for pumps. CO2 removal technology additional high energy input, which the
Some oil wells produce natural gas that reduces compression cost new process can reduce significantly. The
is separated from the oil stream once it The Japanese companies JGC Corpora- process uses a solvent that is not affected
reaches the surface. The well operator then tion and INPEX Corporation, jointly with by high pressure levels and elevated
re-injects a portion of this byproduct gas, BASF SE, have successfully completed temperatures during regeneration, so it
thus maximizing production from the well. tests of a new technology for the removal remains stable and intact during the cap-
Carbon dioxide, nitrogen or engineered of carbon dioxide (CO2) from natural gas ture process. Thus, the new technology
chemical solutions can also be employed under high pressure. The performance of can be operated at a higher pressure. This
in gas-lift wells. this new gas treatment technology enables reduces the cost of compressing the CO2
McCrometers V-Cone flowmeters fea- a reduction of 25% to 35% in the cost of for underground re-injection. Moreover,
ture accuracy of 0.5% of rate and repeat- CO2 recovery and compression. the solvent, which has an excellent CO2
ability of 0.1%, ensuring accurate mea- The so-called High Pressure Acid- absorption capability compared to the
surement and control of the injected media. gas Capture Technology (HiPACT) was existing solvents, enables reduction of the
With its no-moving parts design, the developed by JGC and BASF. The tests solvent regeneration energy.
V-Cone flowmeter is proven to remain of the technology commenced in August Select 5 at
accurate in installations for 25 years or 2010, at INPEXs Koshijihara natural
more in the toughest of applications, all but gas plant in Nagaoka, Japan. We greatly New alliance in process
eliminating the need to shut down produc- appreciate the involvement of INPEX, analyzer industry
tion for calibrations, inspections, or regular allowing us to test the new technology in Metrohm, trusted for laboratory anal-
replacement of the primary element, saving a commercial natural gas plant. Target- ysis systems, and Applikon, revered for
not only through production up-time, but ing demand in the market, we successfully accurate and dependable process analyz-
also in parts and labor. demonstrated an excellent energy saving ers, have joined forces to bring the best
performance, said Mr. Yasuda, execu- of both brands to the process analytical
tive officer and senior general manager of industry.
the research and development Division This Metrohm-Applikon alliance unites
at JGC. process technology with the precision of
INPEX strives to reduce energy con- laboratory instrumentation to offer rugged
sumption as much as possible. This new systems that meet the demands of modern
technology offers a great opportunity process plants. At-line and online analyz-
to improve energy conservation. It also ers feature automated sample preparation
reduces our carbon footprint and helps and continuous monitoring technology
curb greenhouse gas emissions, added which are integrated seamlessly into any
Mr. Yamamoto, executive officer and process setup. In addition, each analyzer
vice president of the technical division. is customized to meet the exact needs of
This test was a critical milestone in the its environment. Metrohm-Applikon also
commercialization of a new technology complement each others support offering,
for which the market has been looking for and their alliance now brings full appli-
some time, said Dr. Northemann, head cation and product support to both the
FIG. 2 Gas-lift well. of the Gas Treatment Solutions business laboratory and process floor.
unit within BASFs Intermediates division. Select 6 at

I MAY 2011




Select 69 at

Select 52 at

North America installed in the Haynesville play. LO-CAT is Due to the hydrotreaters large capacity,
Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., LP, becoming recognized as the sulfur recovery the project will include two trains with four
is advancing a feasibility study to construct system of choice for the shale gas industry. hydrotreating reactors in total. They will
a world-scale ethane cracker and ethylene produce ultra-low-sulfur diesel containing
derivatives at one of its existing facilities in CB&I has been awarded a contract by less than 10 wt ppm of sulfur.
the US Gulf Coast region. The new facil- Imperial Oil Resources for engineering, The diesel hydrotreater is part of an opti-
ity would use the advantaged feed sources procurement and construction (EPC) work mization project in PDVSAs largest refin-
expected from development of shale-gas on the Kearl oil sands project in Alberta, ing complex in Paraguana, Falcon State.
reserves. According to Tim Taylor, COO for Canada. The value of CB&Is work scope Haldor Topse will supply an engineering
Chevron Phillips Chemical, the company is in excess of $900 million. This includes design package for the hydrotreaters. The
is finalizing its evaluation of potential sites $500 million of incremental work releases scope of supply includes design of the reac-
and advancing discussions with engineer- booked prior to 2011. CB&I will be tors, basic engineering and catalysts, and
ing, procurement and construction contrac- responsible for the EPC execution of the detailed design of the proprietary reactor
tors. The feasibility study is expected to be bitumen extraction plant and tank farms, as internals. Erection of the unit is expected to
complete by the end of 2011. well as the design, supply and construction commence in 2014, and PDVSA expects to
of additional storage vessels. Completion is begin production by the end of 2015.
Valero Energy Corp. plans to expand expected in the third quarter of 2012.
crude-unit capacity at its McKee, Texas, Europe
refinery by 25,000 bpd. The refinery will South America Uhde has begun construction of what
process West Texas Intermediate crude oil Braskem-Idesa, the joint venture is said to be its first-ever skid-mounted
from Midland, Texas, to feed the increased between Braskem and Idesa, has taken chlor-alkali electrolysis plant in Leuna,
charge rate. The expansion project, which another important step in developing its Germany. Leuna-Harze GmbH, one of
will take place over the next three years, will Ethylene XXI project in Mexico. The JV Europes leading producers of epoxy resin,
increase the amount of crude oil available has chosen Technip as the technology awarded Uhde the contract to build a turn-
to be processed at the McKee refinery to provider for its 1,050-kiloton/yr ethylene key membrane electrolysis plant with a pro-
195,000 bpd. cracker based on ethane. This is part of the duction capacity of 15,000 tpy of chlorine.
The expansion plans follow the previ- petrochemical complex to be built in Coat- Commissioning is planned for mid-2012.
ously announced Panhandle crude-gath- zacoalcos/Nanchital region, in the Mexican Uhdes scope of services includes the
ering system expansion project, which is state of Veracruz, and it is planned to be process licence, design and engineering,
nearing completion. That project involves ready for startup by the end of 2014. The procurement, construction work and com-
looping an existing pipeline from Valeros complex will also include one low-density missioning support. This, reportedly the
storage facility in Perryton, Texas, as well as polyethylene plant and two high-density worlds first skid-mounted chlor-alkali
building additional pump stations and stor- polyethylene plants. electrolysis plant, is to be successfully
age facilities to bring more locally produced Braskem-Idesa has also selected Technip implemented for the first time in Ger-
crude to the McKee refinery. as contractor for the front-end engineering
design (FEED) of the cracker and high-den- Trend analysis forecasting
Merichem Co. has entered into a licens- sity polyethylene plants. Technips operating
Hydrocarbon Processing maintains an
ing and equipment-supply agreement with a centers in Rome, Italy, and in Claremont, extensive database of historical HPI proj-
leading midstream energy-services provider California, will execute the ethylene plants ect information. The Boxscore Database is a
to install a LO-CAT hydrogen sulfide (H2S) FEED activities, while the activities related 35-year compilation of projects by type, oper-
treatment system at its shale gas-treating to the FEED for the high-density polyeth- ating company, licensor, engineering/construc-
tor, location, etc. Many companies use the his-
facility in Louisiana. The 6.93-metric-tpd ylene units will be executed by Technips
torical data for trending or sales forecasting.
LO-CAT unit, provided through the Meri- office in Lyon, France. The overall FEED The historical information is available in
chem Gas Technologies business unit, will activities are scheduled to be completed at comma-delimited or Excel and can be custom
be integrated into the overall processing the end of 2011. sorted to suit your needs. The cost depends on
facility, with a proposed startup date dur- the size and complexity of the sort requested.
You can focus on a narrow request, such as
ing the fourth quarter of 2011. Petrleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA)
the history of a particular type of project, or
The LO-CAT unit will be treating 34.6 and Haldor Topse have signed a contract you can obtain the entire 35-year Boxscore
million scfd of amine acid gas with an H2S for the Centro de Refinacin Paraguan proj- database or portions thereof. Simply send
removal efficiency of 99.9%, far exceed- ect. The contract includes an 85,000-bpsd a clear description of the data needed and
ing current environmental standards. This hydrotreating unit. This will reportedly be receive a prompt cost quotation.
will be the second LO-CAT system to be the biggest ever designed by Haldor Topse, Contact: Drew Combs
installed in the Haynesville Shale play for and the capacity will correspond to about P.O. Box 2608, Houston, Texas, 77252-2608
this client, and the third LO-CAT unit to be half of Denmarks daily consumption of oil.
I 31
Neste Oil celebrates the grand opening of its ISCC-certified
renewable diesel plant in Singapore
Neste Oil with Singapores Deputy Prime Minister and Min- Only two years ago, we were here to lay the cornerstone of
ister for Defence, Mr. Teo Chee Hean; Finnish Minister for our renewable diesel plan. The rather empty piece of land has
Ownership Steering, Mr. Jyri Hkmies; and some 200 guests since been turned into the worlds biggest renewable diesel plant.
celebrated the grand opening of its renewable diesel plant in As a location, Singapore has fulfilled all our expectations. It is
Singapore on March 8, 2011 (Fig. 1). The startup of the Sin- the worlds third-largest center of oil refining, and occupies a
gapore plant took place in November 2010, and production at central location in terms of product and feedstock flows, as well
the worlds largest renewable diesel plant has run smoothly ever as logistics. Talent pool in Singapore is absolutely first-class.
since. Neste Oils Singapore plant was completed on schedule The government of Singapore has played an important role in
and on budget, and marks a major step forward in Neste Oils promoting Neste Oils investment, and the Singapore Economic
cleaner traffic strategy. The plant produces premium-quality Development Board has assisted Neste Oil at every stage of the
NExBTL renewable diesel, which is the most advanced and project, said Matti Lievonen, president and CEO of Neste Oil.
cleanest diesel fuel on the market today. The plant has a capacity of 800,000 metric tpy, and cost
around 550 million to build. It uses a variety of renewable
feedstocks to produce NExBTL, including palm oil and side-
stream products of palm-oil production from Indonesia and
Malaysia, as well as waste animal fat from Australia and New
Zealand. The plant employs approximately 120 people, the
majority of which are from Singapore and the nearby coun-
tries. The construction project has required close to 14 million
man-hours of work from employees and contractors from 13
countries. At peak times, the number of workers at the con-
struction site reached almost 5,000. Before any work aboveg-
round started, over 300 km of piles were put into the ground
to prepare the site for heavy structures. Later on, more than 90
km of pipe work was installed. Furthermore, as calculated from
the start of the project, the total recordable injury frequency per
FIG. 1 Opening ceremony in which (from left) Managing million hours worked was less than one, clearly below the global
Director of Neste Oil Singapore Pte Ltd., Mr. Petri safety averages of the industry.
Jokinen; Finnish Minister for Ownership Steering, Mr.
Jyri Hkmies; Singapores Deputy Prime Minister and Neste Oil has a similar-sized facility under construction in
Minister for Defence, Mr. Teo Chee Hean; as well as Neste Rotterdam, The Netherlands, which is due to be commissioned
Oils President and CEO Mr. Matti Lievonen cut the ribbon in mid-2011. The company already operates two renewable
together. diesel plants that came onstream at Porvoo in Finland in 2007

I MAY 2011
and 2009 with a combined capacity of 380,000 metric tpy. After Highlights of the Singapore NExBTL project
the startup of Rotterdam plant, the production capacity of Neste Worlds largest renewable diesel plant; Neste Oils third
Oils renewable diesel plants totals approximately 2 million NExBTL renewable diesel plant
metric tons annually. The main markets for NExBTL diesel are Based on Neste Oils own proprietary NExBTL technology
Europe and North America. Located in an industrial area of Tuas, in the south-western
part of Singapore, approximately 40 km from the city center
Singapore refinery to receive ISCC certification. Annual production capacity of 800,000 metric tons (or 1
At the end of January 2011, Neste Oils Singapore refinery was billion liters) of NExBTL renewable diesel. This annual volume
International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) is enough for 10 million cars to run continuously with a 10%
certified. More specifically, the certificate confirms that NEx- NExBTL blend.
BTL renewable diesel produced at the Singapore refinery from Operational since November 2010; completed on budget
certified raw materials, such as from ISCC certified palm oil, and on schedule at a cost of approximately 550 million
meets the strict sustainability criteria based on the EUs renew- Employs approximately 120 persons; approximately 90%
able energy directive (RED) and is suitable for meeting bio- of employees are from Singapore or neighboring countries.
content mandates on the German market. The ISCC system, All feedstock used at the plant are fully sustainable and
specific to the German market, is approved by the German traceable: palm oil, stearin and palm fatty acid distillate (PFAD)
Federal Office of Agriculture and Food (BLE). Neste Oils from Southeast Asia, as well as animal fat from Australia and
Porvoo refinery in Finland has already been ISCC certified in New Zealand
November 2010. The main markets for NExBTL diesel are Europe and
Although the ISCC certification is specific to the German North America, later possibly also Asia.
market, it reinforces Neste Oils sustainability commitment Singapore refinery received ISCC certification on Jan. 20,
and offers third-party verification for the sustainability of 2011. The certificate confirms that NExBTL diesel produced
our production chain and our NExBTL renewable diesel, from certified raw materials is suitable for use in meeting man-
Lievonen added. dated bio-content on the German market. The ISCC system, spe-
cific to the German market, is the first standard for sustainability
Singapore plantthe worlds largest and most based on the EUs new renewable energy directive (RED). It is
advanced renewable diesel facility approved by the German Federal Office of Agriculture and Food
Neste Oils Singapore renewable diesel plant facility marks a (BLE). Also, Neste Oils Porvoo refinery has been ISCC certified.
major step forward for the companys clean-traffic-fuel strategy. Led by Managing Director Petri Jokinen. In addition to
Renewable fuels business is an important part of Neste Oils the NExBTL plant, Neste Oil also has a commercial office in
strategy; with the startup of the Singapore plant, Neste Oil is central Singapore.
regarded as the worlds leading producer of renewable diesel. Neste Oil has a similar-sized facility under construction
With its premium-quality product and increasing production in Rotterdam, which is due to be commissioned in mid-2011.
capacity, Neste Oil, as an industry pioneer, aims at meeting The company already operates two renewable diesel plants that
the worlds growing energy needs and demand for cleaner, came onstream at Porvoo, Finland, in 2007 and 2009, with a
bio-based fuels. combined capacity of 380,000 metric tpy. HP


I 33
many. The concept was developed by gas liquids (NGL) from the South Tambey address local design and authority approval
AkzoNobel, UHDENORA and Uhde. field on the Yamal Peninsula in Northern requirements. The FEED will provide a
Siberia, Russia. firm basis for the detailed engineering,
CB&I has been selected by Yamal LNG CB&Is project scope includes FEED procurement and construction phase, as
LLC to provide front-end engineering and development for the 16.5 million-tpy LNG well as project schedule and cost estimates
design (FEED) services for the Yamal LNG liquefaction plant, including LNG storage to enable Yamal LNG to secure the final
project. The work is scheduled for comple- and loading facilities. CB&Is FEED execu- investment decision. The value of the con-
tion in the first quarter of 2012. The Yamal tion plan is based on engaging its interna- tract was not disclosed.
LNG project consists of the production, tional partnersChiyoda and Saipem,
treatment, transportation, liquefaction as well as collaboration with the Russian Foster Wheeler AGs Global Engi-
and shipping of natural gas and natural Design Institute, NIPIgazpererabotka, to neering and Construction Group has
been awarded a contract by JSC Novo-
Ufimsky Refinery, a subsidiary of Russian
oil company Bashneft, for the engineer-
ing and material supply of a new Terrace
Wall steam reformer heater and air pre-
heating system for the Ufa refinery in the
Republic of Bashkortostan, Russia. The
steam reformer will be part of the 420-tpd
hydrogen production unit being built by
the JSC Novo-Ufimsky refinery and will
reportedly be one of the largest steam Ter-
race Wall reformers for hydrogen ever built
by Foster Wheeler.
The plant is based on Foster Wheelers
hydrogen technology and process-design
package. Foster Wheelers scope of work is
scheduled to be completed in mid-2012.
The balance of the hydrogen plant engi-
neering and construction will be under-
taken directly by the client.

Middle East
Neste Oil and Abu Dhabi National
Oil Co. (ADNOC) have a partnership
concerning very high-viscosity index
(VHVI) base oils. Along with the coop-
eration, 600,000 metric tpy of NEXBASE
base oil is expected to be brought onto the
market at the end of 2013. Takreer, a sub-
sidiary of ADNOC, will supply the feed-
stock, as well as operate and maintain the
plant, while Neste Oil will be responsible
for the sales and marketing of the base oil
on behalf of ADNOC. There will be no
This bench top analyzer tops all others in its price range for investment costs for Neste Oil related to
features and performance. Its equipped with an intuitive user this activity.
interface, full-color touch screen and on-board Windows XP The plant is based on ExxonMobil
computer. Ethernet electronics that permit remote access for Research and Engineerings hydroisomer-
calibration, diagnostics or service support. Plus, the Phoenix II ization technology and Neste Jacobs distil-
has a large sample compartment that accommodates spinners lation technology. It will have a capacity of
and special holders yet requires little or no sample preparation. 500,000 metric tpy of Group III base oil
It all adds up to the lowest cost of ownership, backed by to be used in blending top-tier lubricants,
AMETEKs reputation for reliability and world class customer as well as 100,000 metric tons of Group
support. Visit: II base oil. Commercial production is
expected to start at the end of 2013.

KBR has been awarded a contract by

Saudi Aramco Lubricating Oil Refining
Co. (Luberef ) to implement KBRs propri-
Select 155 at
2010 Costacurta S.p.A.-VICO

SINCE 1921...

For more than eighty years, we at Costacurta have

been constantly and resolutely committed to the
development and manufacture of special steel wire and
plate components used in many different industrial
processes. Every day at Costacurta, we work to
improve the quality of our products and services and the
safety of all our collaborators, paying ever-greater
attention to the protection of the environment.
Within the wide range of Costacurta products you will
also find some, described below, that are used specifically
in the oil, petrochemical and chemical industries:
For more information visit our website or contact the
division 'C' components for the oil, petrochemical
and chemical industries at
Gas-liquid and liquid-liquid separators

Costacurta S.p.A.-VICO Management systems
via Grazioli, 30 certified by LRQA:
20161 Milano, Italy ISO 9001:2008
tel. +39 ISO 14001:2004
fax: +39 OHSAS 18001:2007
Select 84 at
etary solvent deasphalting (SDA) technol- plant, to be built at the same site in Jubail. Asia-Pacific
ogy, ROSE, for Luberef s Yanbu Refinery This expansion is intended to increase the Fluor Offshore Solutions, a unit of
Expansion Project in Saudi Arabia. Under Jubail sites epoxy resins production capac- Fluor Corp., has been awarded a front-end
the contract, KBR will provide technology ity to 240 kiloton/yr. engineering and design (FEED) contract by
licensing and basic engineering services to Woodside for the Browse liquefied natural
revamp and almost double the capacity of Qatar Petroleum (QP) and Shell have gas (LNG) development. The Browse fields
Luberef s existing propane-deasphalting announced the first flow of dedicated are located in the Browse Basin about 425
(PDA) unit. The existing PDA unit, which offshore gas into the Pearl gas-to-liquids km north of Broome off the western coast
is based on conventional SDA technology, (GTL) plant located in Ras Laffan Indus- of Australia. Fluor will be responsible for
will be converted to KBRs ROSE tech- trial City in the State of Qatar. Shell, the the offshore central gas-processing facil-
nology. In addition to increasing produc- operator of the Pearl GTL plant, developed itys FEED services including the steel
tion volumes, the PDA revamp will allow under a production and sharing agreement jackets, a compression platform and a utili-
Luberef to increase brightstock and by- with QP, has opened natural gas wells off- ties accommodation platform. Fluor has
product production. shore, allowing the first sour gas to flow teamed with McDermott International,
through a subsea pipeline into the giant Inc., to design the steel jackets and float-
A subsidiary of Foster Wheeler AGs GTL plant onshore. Sections of the Pearl over installation.
Global Engineering and Construction GTL plant will be started up progressively Fluor will staff the FEED with more
Group, along with the subsidiarys consor- over the coming months. than 150 offshore experts from its Perth,
tium partners comprising A. Al-Saihati, A. Once fully operational, Pearl will Houston and Manila offices, and the FEED
Fattani and O. Al-Othman Consulting produce 1.6 Bcfd of gas from the North is expected to be completed in late 2011.
Engineering Co. (SOFCON) and Saudi Field, which will be processed to gener- The Browse joint venture is scheduled to
Consolidated Engineering Co.Khatib ate 120,000 bpd of condensate and natu- take a final investment in mid-2012.
& Alami (SCEC K&A) have signed a con- ral gas liquids and 140,000 bpd of GTL
tract with Saudi Aramco for the provision products. INVISTA plans to construct a manu-
of services associated with Saudi Aramcos facturing facility at the Shanghai Chemi-
GES+ initiative for a duration of five years, Egypt Japan Petrochemical Corp. cal Industry Park in China to meet the
with options available for extensions. S.A.E. (EJPC) and Davy Process Tech- regions demand for nylon 6,6 intermedi-
Under contract terms, Foster Wheeler nology Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of ates and polymer. The company is engaged
and its consortium partners will perform Johnson Matthey Plc (JM), have signed in project engineering, which will include
engineering and project-management ser- a methanol operating license agreement. an environmental impact assessment to be
vices including pre-front-end engineering EJPC is developing a world-scale com- completed by the end of 2011.
design (pre-FEED), FEED, detailed design bined methanol and ammonia project INVISTA expects to begin plant con-
and procurement services for onshore/off- comprising a 6,000-metric-tpd methanol struction in 2012 and commence produc-
shore oil and gas, refining, petrochemicals plant that will use Davys technology, and tion in phases beginning in 2014. When
and associated infrastructure projects in a 2,000-metric-tpd ammonia plant (the the new plant is complete, it will report-
Saudi Arabia. The work will be executed Project). edly be the most energy-efficient and tech-
from the consortiums offices located in The methanol plant, which will use nologically advanced nylon intermediates
the city of Al-Khobar in the Kingdom of steam reforming of natural gas in conjunc- plant in the world. Using INVISTAs lat-
Saudi Arabia. tion with the advanced methanol synthesis est advances in its proprietary butadiene-
process developed and licensed by Davy based technology, the state-of-the-art
Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has and JM, will reportedly be the largest plant will produce hexamethylene diamine
received an award from the Jubail Chemi- methanol plant in the world. The hydro- (HMD) and adiponitrile (ADN), along
cal Industrial Co., Ltd. (JANA) to pro- gen-rich purge gas from the methanol loop with various specialty chemicals and nylon
vide technical and project-management will be used in the integrated ammonia 6,6 polymer.
services for its existing epichlorohydrin plant. This project is a key component in
plant expansion and a new epichlorohy- the development of Carbon Holdings Bayer MaterialScience has inaugu-
drin plant at the Jubail, Saudi Arabia, site. petrochemicals business, with construction rated a manufacturing facility for poly-
JANA is a wholly owned subsidiary of scheduled to commence in 2012. isocyanates at Ankleshwar, in the state of
NAMA Chemicals. Gujarat, India. With the investment of
Under the agreement, Jacobs is provid- Alfa Laval has received an order approximately 20 million, the company
ing technical and project-management ser- for delivery of Alfa Laval Packinox heat wants to expand its business in India and to
vices for both inside battery limits (ISBL) exchangers to a refinery in Saudi Arabia. participate in the strong growth of this local
and outside battery limits (OSBL). The The order value is about SEK 75 million market for coatings and adhesives.
ISBL services involve debottlenecking of and delivery is scheduled for 2012. The The plant will produce Desmodur N
their existing epichlorohydrin plant to Packinox heat exchangers will be used in grades based on aliphatic hexamethylene
increase capacity, and the OSBL services a catalytic reforming unit for producing diisocyanate (HDI). The initial capacity
cover all utilities and the tankage area. gasoline. Last year, half of Alfa Lavals big amounts to 15,000 tpy. It will be increased
Jacobs scope also includes cost-estimate orders came from refineries and the vast in stages in the coming years in accordance
preparation and project-management majority of these included Alfa Laval Pack- with the predicted growth for polyurethane
support for JANAs new epichlorohydrin inox heat exchangers. coatings and adhesives.
I MAY 2011
KBR has been awarded a contract Basic engineering of the unit, which neering design (FEED) for the expansion of
by Inner Mongolia Connell Chemical will include the UOP Pacol, UOP DeFine Huntsmans Isocyanates facility at Caojing,
Industry Co., Ltd. (Connell) to provide and UOP Detergent Alkylation processes, in Shanghai, Peoples Republic of China.
licensing, basic engineering and related is underway, and the project is expected Foster Wheelers scope will include front-
training and field services for its grassroots to come onstream in the second quarter end engineering, technology licensor man-
aniline plant in TongLiao, Inner Mongolia of 2012. agement and development of the project
Province, China. schedule and cost estimates. The projects
The aniline technology is offered by Foster Wheeler AGs Global Engineer- FEED phase is scheduled for completion in
KBR through a licensing alliance with ing and Construction Group has received the third quarter of 2011, with the overall
DuPont. KBR will license the leading pro- a contract from Huntsman (Europe) project scheduled for mechanical comple-
cess for Connells 360,000-metric-tpy ani- BVBA to undertake the front-end engi- tion by the fourth quarter of 2013. HP
line plant. This follows an award of the ani-
line technology to KBR earlier in 2010 by
Connell for its 150,000-metric-tpy plant in
Jilin City, China.

BASF and PETRONAS will com-

mence a feasibility study for a new plant
for superabsorbent polymers. The compa-
nies are also looking into the expansion of
the existing production capacities of their
joint venture BASF PETRONAS Chemi-
cals Sdn Bhd.
The new investment will be part of
BASF PETRONAS Chemicals Sdn Bhd,
founded by BASF and PETRONAS in
1997. The company operates an integrated
complex situated at the Gebeng Industrial
Zone, Pahang. The companys share of
capital is 60% held by BASF and 40% by
PETRONAS with a total investment of
about RM3.4 billion for production facili-
ties for acrylic monomers, oxo products
and butanediol.

Siemens Energy has received an order

for the supply of up to 10 compressor
trains to Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG)
in Queensland, Australia. APLNG is a
joint venture between Origin Energy
and ConocoPhillips. The APLNG proj-
ect will involve developing coal-seam gas
fields in south-central Queensland over
a 30-year period and includes construc-
tion of upstream gas-gathering and pro-
cessing facilities, together with a 450-km
main transmission pipeline from the gas
fields to the liquefied natural gas (LNG)
facility being built on Curtis Island near

The technology of UOP LLC, a Hon-

eywell company, has been selected by
Great Orient Chemical for a new pet-
rochemicals complex in China that will
produce key ingredient for biodegradable
household laundry detergents. Great Ori-
ent Chemical expects the new complex to
produce up to 100,000 metric tpy of linear
alkylbenzene (LAB).
Select 156 at
Company City Plant Site Project Capacity Unit Cost Status Yr Cmpl Licensor Engineering Constructor
Algeria Sonatrach Tiaret Tiaret Refinery 300 bpd 6000 F 2014 Technip|CB&I|Saipem|Chiyoda|Sinopec
Egypt Egyptian Methanex Damietta Damietta Methanol 6000 m-tpd P 2012 Davy Process|JM Techint Techint
Morocco SAMIR Mohammedia Mohammedia Treater, Kerosine 600 t/a E 2012 UOP Tecnicas Reunidas Tecnicas Reunidas
Tunisia Qatar Petroleum Skhira Skhira Refinery 150 bbl 6300 A
China Chang Zhou Cheml Co Chongqing Chongqing MDI 400Mm-tpy 1212 P 2014 BASF
China UPC Technology Corp Liaoyang Liaoyang Butanediol TO 40Mtpy 30 P 2013
China Risun Chemical Co Tangshan Tangshan Epichlorohydrin 100000m-tpy E 2012 Conser Hualu Hualu
China UPC Technology Corp Zhuhai Zhuhai Malic Acid BY 30Mtpy 15 U 2011
India Nagarjuna Oil Corp Ltd Cuddalore Cuddalore Sulfur Recovery Unit RE 60t/a U 2012 Lurgi
India Mangalore Rfg & Petrochemicals Mangalore Mangalore Treater, Tail Gas (1) 185t/a U 2012 Siirtec Nigi Siirtec Nigi
Indonesia Lotte Daesan Petrochemical Banten Baten Petrochemical Complex None 5000 S 2017
Malaysia BASF Petronas Chemicals Kuantan Kuantan Polymers None S
South Korea Samsung Eng Yeosu Yeosu BTX EX 10 MMtpy 90 E 2013
Taiwan CPC Corp Talin Talin Cracker, FCC-Resid 80 Mbpsd 1219 U 2012 Shaw S&W CTCI CTCI
Finland Neste Oil Naantali Naantali Maintenance Turnaround None P 2012
Greece Hellenic Petroleum SA Elefsina Elefsina Hydrocracker, LP 14 bpsd U 2011 KTI Tecnicas Reunidas
Kazakhstan AGIP KCO Kashagan Kashagan Field Sulfur Recovery (1) 3800 m-tpd U 2012 WorleyParsons Petrofac|Siirtec Nigi|Black & Veatch
Netherlands Neste Oil Rotterdam Rotterdam Renewable Diesel 800 kty 945 U 2011 Neste Oil Technip Technip
Russian Federation Yamal LNG LLC Yamal Yamal LNG Storage None F 2012 CB&I
Spain Petronor Muskiz Muskiz Sulfur (2) 110 m-tpd 1081 U 2011 Centry Sener
Argentina Repsol YPF La Plata La Plata Desalter, Crude RE 5840 MMm2/y U 2011 Petreco
Mexico Pemex Minatitlan Minatitlan Sulfur Recovery (4) EX 150 tpd U 2011 Lurgi Tecnicas Reunidas Constr N. Odebrecht|Rio San Juan
Venezuela PDVSA Paraguana Paraguana Hydrotreater, Diesel 85 bpd P 2015 Haldor Topse
Bahrain Neste Oil Sitra Sitra VHVI (Very High Viscosity Index) 400 kty 430 U 2011
Iraq SCOP Baghdad Baghdad Crude oil pumping station RE 2.5 Mtpy E 2012 APS Eng Co Roma
Qatar Qatar Petroleum Mesaieed Al Shaheen Scrubber None H 2012 Belco
Saudi Arabia Saudi Aramco\ConocoPhillips Yanbu Yanbu Refinery 400 Mbpd 1300 E 2014 KBR Aramco Services Co|KBR
UAE Borouge III Ruwais Ruwais Polyethylene, LD 350 Mtpy 722 E 2013 Tecnimont Samsung Eng
California Alon/Fina Oil & Chemical Bakersfield Kern Refinery Refinery RE None F FW
Colorado Red Cedar Gathering Durango Durango Amine Unit 120 MMscfd 18 U 2011 Thomas Russell Co.
Mississippi Chevron Chemical Co Pascagoula Pascagoula Desalter, Crude RE 50 Mbpd E 2012 Petreco |Cameron Bechtel Cameron
New Mexico Western Refining Gallup Gallup Scrubber 11 Mbpd A Belco Belco
North Dakota Tesoro Corp Mandan Mandan Refinery EX 78 bpd 35 U 2012
Ohio Sunoco Inc Toledo Toledo Refinery 170 bpd 400 C 2011
Oklahoma Holly Corp Tulsa Tulsa Benzene Reduction 25 Mbpd E 2011 GTC, Inc KP Engineering, LP KP Engineering, LP
Texas Samsung Eng Houston Houston Chlorine 250 MMtpy 816 E 2013
West Virginia MarkWest Hydrocarbon PL Logansport Logansport Cryogenic Gas Plant 120 MMscfd 16 U 2011 Thomas Russell Co. Thomas Russell Co.


For more than 50 years, Hydrocarbon Processing
magazine remains the only source that collects and
maintains data specically for the HPI community,
publishing up-to-the-minute construction projects
from around the globe with our online product,
Boxscore Database. Updated weekly, our database
helps engineers, contractors and marketing personnel
identify active HPI construction projects around the
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Select 157 at

Select 98 at
Efuent Wa
Water Quality

Before After

solve processing
problems with
heavy crudes.
well share
our experience.

Joe Nguyen, Research Scientist

Solving problems when you process heavy crudes means having a

partner with the right knowledge.
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amount of desalter oil carryunder, we had the solutionBaker Petrolite
of experience, knowledge, and the new
XERIC 7000 heavy oil demulsier.
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signicantly reduced oil losses by more than 70% while maintaining
processing performance.
desalter operational stability and the desired salt, water, and solids
removal performance.
2011 Baker Hughes Incorporated. All Rights Reserved. 31714

Select 67 at

Consider new developments in

antifouling coatings for rotating equipment
Innovative materials and applications protect critical centrifugal
compressors and steam turbines from erosion and corrosion
coatings have superior anti-foulant characteristics for resistance in
Phillip Dowson is the general manager,
aggressive environments. Also, multi-componentpolytetrafluo-
materials engineering, for Elliott Group in
Jeannette, Pennsylvania. He has 40 years of
roethylene [PTFE (also referred to as teflon)]sprayed coatings
experience in the turbomachinery industry. have been designed for foulant and corrosion resistance.
Mr. Dowson is responsible for the metallur-
gical and welding engineering for the vari- Fouling issue. Fouling is a common problem in compressors
ous Elliott rotating equipment lines. He is the and, to some extent, steam turbines. Fouling refers to the buildup
author/coauthor of a number of technical of solids, usually polymeric materials, on the internal aerody-
articles, related to topics such as abradable namic surfaces of the machine. While it does not usually lead to
seals, high temperature corrosion, fracture mechanics, and welding/
a catastrophic failure, it does gradually reduce the efficiency of
brazing of impellers. Mr. Dowson graduated from Newcastle Polytech-
nic, now Northumbria University, with a degree in metallurgy and did
the machine by increasing the mass of the rotor, thus altering the
his postgraduate work (MS degree) in welding engineering. He is a aerodynamics and blocking flow paths. If left unchecked, fouling
member of ASM, NACE, ASTM and TWI. can block the flow path to the extent that production is stopped
or it can cause imbalances that can damage the machine.
Depending on the service, fouling substances may come from
Over the past fifteen years, a great deal of progress has been outside of the machine or can be generated internally. Exter-
made with respect to materials science and related processes applied nal foulants may come from airborne salt, submicron dirt, and
to various components of centrifugal compressors and industrial organic or inorganic pollutants in the process gas. A well-main-
steam turbines. Due to the very competitive market, material tained filtration system usually minimizes this external fouling.
selection has moved beyond simply finding the material with the In petrochemical compressors, the situation is much more com-
most ideal properties. Material cost and delivery has become one plicated, as the foulants can be generated internally. For example,
of the most important factors in the overall cost of the component. in ethylene cracked-gas compression, fouling results from the
Most original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are con- polymerization reactions intrinsic to the compression process.
tinuously reviewing new ways, whether by material or process Fouling imposes significant costs on petrochemical production.
changes, to reduce cost or delivery to remain competitive. Also, as
energy costs increase, the importance of process and equipment Solutions on fouling. To resist fouling, the material or coat-
efficiency increases. To be more competitive, OEMs are looking ing must have excellent release properties. Materials with a com-
for new ways to enhance the components to perform more effi- bination of a low coefficient of friction and chemical inertness are
ciently. At the same time, process environments are increasing in usually used in aggressive environments. A common and widely
severity, leading to the need for more specialized materials. Since known coating material for centrifugal compressors is PTFE
specialized materials can be more costly and generally have long
lead times, other materials such as coatings that are resistant to
aggressive environments, are being developed. In some cases, 100
coatings can even enhance equipment performance.
Coating technology. Coatings can be applied to rotating
Foulant remaining, %

and stationary components of centrifugal compressors and steam Bare steel

turbines to enhance performance in several areas, including: 60 Proprietary
Increase resistance to corrosive environments Cr-TiN
Minimize the rate of solid particle erosion 40
Minimize the rate of liquid droplet erosion
Improve the foulant releaseability of the component
Prevent/minimize fretting between two components.
A number of improved coatings and application processes for
enhancing the performance of turbomachinery components in 0
0 250 500 750 1,000 1,250 1,500 1,750 2,000
aggressive environments have been developed. One of the major Scrub cycles
developments has been the application of an anti-foulant type
coating, in which amorphous nickel (Ni) is applied to complete FIG. 1 Comparison of foulant release performance of bare steel
assembled centrifugal compressor and steam turbine rotors. These against proprietary coating and Cr-TiN coated samples.


I 41
75 Coated


Stress, ksi


FIG. 2 Centrifugal compressor rotor coated with a PTFE-type
coating. 50
1e5 1e6 1e7 1e8 1e9
Cycles to failure
FIG. 4 Results of R. R. Moore fatigue testing.
20 Bare AISI 403 SS
deposits have formed, they can be difficult to remove. Buildup of
Mass loss, mg

15 these deposits may be a root cause for a decrease in efficiency and

possibly an increase in vibration. A smooth clean steam path will
not collect deposits so easily as a dirty, previously contaminated
surface. Consequently, a previously contaminated turbine will
accumulate deposits more rapidly than a clean one. Therefore, it
5 is desirable to prevent further deposit buildup and to remove the
problems associated with deposits by cleaning the turbine.
0 Water washing of steam turbines (Watson, et al., 1995) can be
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 an effective way to remove deposits. The effectiveness of water-
Scrub cycles removal procedures mainly depends on the adherence of the
FIG. 3 Comparison of bare AISI 403 stainless steel against deposits to the substrate.
proprietary and Cr-TiN coated samples after 10 hours of A second route is to coat the surface with a material that has
modified ASTM G32 testing. superior antifouling or anti-stick/corrosion characteristics. This,
in turn, is beneficial to the turbine blades by reducing the ten-
(Teflon). PTFE coatings are multi-component, sprayed coatings dency for contaminants to stick to the blades and increasing the
designed for fouling and corrosion resistance. A dramatic decrease effectiveness of the water washing. Titanium nitride coatings with
in time required to release an applied foulant on samples coated a chromium undercoat (Cr-TiN) have also been used by steam
with two PTFE type coatings vs. bare steel samples was observed turbine OEMs to coat turbine blades.
and shown in Fig. 1.1 Fig. 2 shows an example of a compressor Cr-TiN coatings provide corrosion protection and can be used
rotor with PTFE coated impellers. on all stages of a steam turbine rotor. However, Cr-TiN coatings
Unfortunately, PTFE coatings can be removed by erosive liquids provide limited anti-foulant benefits. A recently developed, pro-
(i.e., water washing) or solids. Electroless nickel (EN) has also been prietary corrosion resistant, anti-foulant coating designed for the
shown by Dowson (2007) to exhibit excellent release properties, later stages of the turbine rotor where the deposit buildup is most
while remaining adherent in erosive conditions. In fact, the release severe, provides significant improvement in foulant releaseability,
properties are as good as or better than results from PTFE. EN is as well as excellent corrosion and erosion protectionpasses over
applied by submerging the component into a Ni and phosphorus 1,000 hours of ASTM B117 corrosion testing under a 5% salt
(P) containing solution where an autocatalytic process plates the solution, (Fig. 3) while having little effect on the fatigue proper-
part with a well bonded, amorphous Ni-P alloy. The P in the alloy ties of the blades (Fig.4). HP
is believed to be responsible for the release properties, while the
amorphous nature of the coating aids in corrosion resistance. LITERATURE CITED
1 Wang, W., P. Dowson and A. Baha, Development of antifouling and
corrosion resistant coatings for petrochemical compressors, Proceedings of
Corrosion issues. Fouling and corrosion can also be a prob- the 32 Turbomachinery Symposium, Turbomachinery Laboratory, Texas
lem in steam turbines, not only causing material damage but also A&M University, College Station, Texas, pp. 9197, 2003.
reducing turbine efficiency over time. Industrial turbines, whether
condensing or noncondensing, can encounter problems with BIBLIOGRAPHY
deposit buildup on the turbine airfoils. In a turbine, hydroscopic Guinee, M. J. and E. W. Lamza, Cost-effective methods to maintain gas
salts, such as sodium hydroxide (NaOH), can absorb moisture production by the reduction of fouling in centrifugal compressors,
SPE30400, pp. 341350, 1995.
when superheated steam becomes saturated and condenses in Meher-Homji, C. B., A. B. Focke and M. B. Wooldridge, Fouling of axial
the latter stages of the turbine/Wilson line. Wet NaOH has a flow compressorscauses, effects, detection, and control, Proceedings of the
tendency to adhere to turbine metal surfaces and can entrap other 18th Turbomachinery Symposium, Turbomachinery Laboratory, Texas
impurities such as silica, metal oxides and phosphates. Once these A&M University, College Station, Texas, pp. 5576, 1989.

I MAY 2011
Select 94 at
We put tested rening technologies
and processes to work in your
world. From hydroprocessing to
uid catalytic cracking and
Veba Combi-Cracking to resid processing, we offer
proven know-how. So you can improve productivity and
lives. KBR Technology licenses deliver for greeneld
and existing reneries of virtually every type and size.
See HOW we can help you meet mission-critical goals.


2011 KBR
All Rights Reserved
K11063 5/11

Select 60 at

Deferred maintenance causes

upsurge in pump failures
Not addressing the root cause of a failure
puts resources and employees at risk
H. P. Bloch, HP Staff

f your facility has recently seen an upsurge in bearing fail- approaching shutoff. The resulting pressure rise from operating
ures on boiler feedwater (BFW) pumps in the 200 kW2,000 point to shutoff is then either insufficient or non-existent (Fig. 1).
kW range, it will not be the only one with this costly experi- As one or more pumps are operating too close to shutoff, shafts
ence. Failure causes are elusive, which is why plants have so many deflect and bearings are overloaded. The oil film that must sepa-
unresolved repeat failures. As we take note of them, we realize rate bearing rolling elements from stationary elements becomes
that these frequent failures are very often related to economic both too thin and too hota vicious cycle. High load, a thin oil
downturns. During economic downturns, maintenance outlays film and high metal temperature combine and bearings fail pre-
and, of course, training funds are among the first to be curtailed. maturely. Depending on bearing cage type, these failures range
Maintenance managers then decide to authorize only those repairs from gradual and detectable to sudden, difficult-to-detect-in-
that they deem absolutely necessary. In effect, these decisions advance, and plain catastrophic.
often encourage treating the symptoms and discourage looking Deferring repairs or limiting repairs only to the parts that are
for the true root causes of failures. Ultimately, higher maintenance labeled broken (i.e., the bearings) overlooks the fact that impeller
expenditures and more outage events are incurred. This article erosion and loss of internal clearances will have occurred as well.
explains how the underlying causes of these and other process Fear of failure often goads operating departments into parallel
pump failures must be addressed and avoided. operation of more pumps than necessary. Running fewer pumps
in parallel would result in each pump operating closer to its best
Why bearings go first. Interestingly, and of late, fewer efficiency point (BEP).
bearings seem to be reaching their design life. Also, and in spite In contrast, operating too many pumps often causes one or
of using better lubricants and installing bearing protector seals, more of them to operate in the prohibited low-flow range, espe-
pump bearings tend to be the parts that fail first. Seeking to cially if their respective H/Q curves are not identical. Internal
avert bearing distress, many facilities place greater emphasis on recirculation and progressive wear increase the difficulty of suc-
vibration monitoring programs, and these pursuits allow their
owner-operators to initiate pump shutdown a short time before
disaster would strike. Having shut down just in time, people then 40
congratulate themselves for accomplishing what management has NPSH 20 90
decreed, i.e., repairs were deferred until absolutely necessary and BEP
only the glaringly defective parts are getting replaced. 800 EFF. 0 80
Head vs Flow
Deferring a full repair does not address the real root cause, 750 70
and repeat failures put both physical and human resources at
Total head, feet

risk. While the failed part is the weakest link in the component 700 60
Efciency, %

chain and needs to be replaced, something else is pushing the 650 50

weakest link toward premature failure. It should also be real-
ized that repeat failures are the precursor to far more serious 600 40
events. More failed pumps per time period thus reduces the 550
mean-times-between repairs (MTBR). This is most noteworthy Flow at BEP
because statistics that indicate a serious fire occurs for every 500
1,000 pump failures.1

Operating unsuitable pumps in parallel. Worried 0 400 800 1,200 1,600 2,000 2,400
about unexpected pump outages, some facilities decide to oper- Shutoff Gallons per minute
ate two or more BFW pumps in parallel. However, for reasons
of gaining power efficiency, the performance curves for many of FIG. 1 Typical flat pump performance curve with undesirable
these pumps were originally designed to be relatively flat at flows low-flow characteristics.


I 45

cessfully operating pumps in parallel. Mechanical parts distress wear ring and throat-bushing material. Rebuilding all pumps to
and seemingly small deviations from the least-risk geometry of original equipment manufacturers (OEM) specifications can be
best available designs now converge, and the BFW pump will entrusted to either the OEM or a competent pump rebuilder.
become involved in a string of seemingly random failures. As is so often the case, there are pump rebuilders whose entire
Pump operators and reliability professionals need to stand back focus is on keeping cost low. These parties are often unable to
and understand every one of the various risk factors. Pump own- provide the engineered solutions needed for best efficiency and
ers must accept that, as several risk factors are added, one single longest equipment life. Performing both an up-to-date compe-
additional and in itself seemingly small deviation could bring tency and experience check, together with a thorough life-cycle
down the entire plant. Therefore, it should be a priority to exam- cost analysis, will steer the owner-operator to a rebuilder who
ine all probable causes and factors that have recently combined or can prove a solid combination of planning and work execution
contributed to costly repeat failures of BFW pumps at a number expertise. The rebuilder of choice must perform and report to
of facilities in the US. the owner-operator a large number of critical measurements. Also,
Simply put, operating in the low-flow range forces BFW the rebuilder must have a proven track record, and the owner-
pumps to run in the flat portion of the head vs. flow (H/Q) operator of the BFW must spend the time and effort necessary
curve. By the time pressure sensors signal a small pressure differ- to establish the list of deliverables, the adequacy of the rebuilders
ence in the flat portion of the curve (Fig. 1) and control action detailed procedures, and whether or not the rebuilder has just lost
is initiated, large differences in throughput will have occurred. four of its five most qualified workers.
Flow control and load sharing are difficult in the flat portion
of a pump-performance curve and long-term satisfactory pump Lubrication compromises must be addressed. Many
operation is simply not possible in the forbidden low-flow range. process pumps are supplied with slinger rings supplying oil to
the bearings. To perform well, these oil rings (slinger rings) must
Rebuilding and upgrading are urgently needed. One be concentric within 0.002 in. (0.05 mm) and have a bore finish
of several important points of this discussion is that an inflexible reasonably close to 32 RMS.2 Oil rings will not survive long if the
edict to fix only what is broken is likely to lead to repeat fail- shaft system is not truly horizontal, or if the depth of immersion
ures. Internal wear and operation at low flow cause cavitation. The in the oil is either too much or too little. While an ISO grade 32
impeller geometries and wear-ring leakage flow in regions subjected lubricant is required on pumps equipped with sleeve bearings,
to a given pressure will vary with progressive wear. Prevailing pres- mineral oils with this viscosity grade are seldom satisfactory for
sures multiplied by effective impeller areas will, of course, generate BFW pumps with rolling element bearings. In theory, rolling ele-
a thrust force. An increase in this thrust force can greatly contribute ment bearings will benefit from ISO grade 68 mineral oils. This
to bearing failures since bearing life varies inversely and exponen- thicker ISO grade is required for rolling element bearings and
tially with load. Moreover, on BFW pumps with sleeve bearings and major bearing suppliers recommend ISO grade 68 mineral oils
associated shaft-driven worm-gear lube supply pumps, excessive up to 176F.3 Yet, using the thicker ISO grade 68 mineral oil will
thrust often leads to worm wheel damage and loss of lubrication. slow down the oil slinger rings and will, furthermore, risk depriv-
As mentioned previously, bearing distress is generally a symp- ing sleeve bearings of the oil wedge on which the shaft must ride.
tom and rarely the root cause of pump problems. The root cause Special issues and potential problems will arise if, in any pump,
of the BFW failure incidents described here is the decision, made both sleeve type and rolling element bearings share the same bear-
by a person, to operate unsuitable pumps in parallel. The best ing housing. In essence, viscosity is of greatest importance, and each
possible remedial action is to rebuild and upgrade all BFW pumps bearing type fails if there is prolonged metal-to-metal contact. To
and to then use controlsautomated or manual and operator- prevent this contact, the oil film has to be thicker than the asperities
training relatedthat ensure pump operation in the steep region, (the surface roughness) in the bearing and journal surfaces. The oil
or close to BEP. Such rebuilding affords an opportunity to upgrade film must also be thicker than an occasional dirt particle traveling in
older BFW pumps by using a high-performance polymer as the the oil. Most importantly, the oil needs to be properly applied and
must form a suitable film on the surfaces where such a film is most
needed. To make a long story short, a lubricant with all required
performance attributes, including film strength and film thickness,
must, at the same time, allow slinger rings to function properly.
Only well-proven synthetic ISO grade 32 lubricants will satisfy
all of these requirements. A preferred supplier usually formulates
such lubricants from a PAO/dibasic ester synthetic base oil to
which an ionic bonding agent has been added. The oil will have
to be viscosity grade 32 and the particular synthetic ISO grade 32
formulation must give users the protection and film thickness/film
strength properties of ISO grade 68 mineral oils. While these prop-
erties may not be needed elsewhere in ones facility, they will make
lots of technical sense in many BFW pumps that have recently and
unexpectedly proven so vulnerable and repair-intensive.
While troubleshooting lubrication issues on existing pumps,
one will often find sludge in pump-bearing housings. It should
be realized that water acts as a catalyst that promotes sludge for-
FIG. 2 Comparing a new slinger ring (left) with an abraded mation. Sludge is often the result of water and atmospheric dirt,
version (right). in addition to oil ring (slinger ring) debris. Exposure to airborne

I MAY 2011

particulates is unavoidable in some environments, and water designs. Pump users must use rigorous checklists that lead to bet-
intrusion is possible in other environments. Another possible ter installation procedures, verification of adequacy before startup,
source of water is from cracked water jackets. There is some irony and adequacy while running and while doing root cause failure
in that observation, sinceon rolling element bearingscooling analysis. Thousands of repeat failures occur in industry every day.
water may not be needed in the first place. They are irrefutable testimony to the fact that things are far from
Also, the troubleshooter should become familiar with the inad- acceptable and that striving for improvement is a shared obliga-
visability of mixing two virtually identical oils from different tion that cannot be disregarded by any of the parties.
suppliers. There is ample evidence that, to keep costs low, some Systematic upgrading is practiced by best-of-class companies on
oil suppliers skimp on the amount and/or quality of additives. The every pump that enters their repair shops. The causes of black oil
lowest-cost-supplier games played by a supplier are often encour- are then traced to one of only two causes: overheated oil or contam-
aged by users. It stands to reason that engaging in these ill-advised inated oil. The source or sources of either of these root causes is not
procurement practices will lead to not attracting, grooming and/ difficult to find and upgrade as well as failure avoidance measures
or retaining top talent. If the user plays along with the low-price are outlined in many relevant texts.1 Retrofitting process pumps
strategy, suppliers are encouraged to provide a commodity prod- with only the very best constant level lubricators is part of these
uct and commodity lubrication products may not serve those efforts. Reliability-driven facilities would use pressure-balanced
of us who go beyond paying lip service to the term reliability. models that typically cost $30$50 more than the traditional non-
balanced models one still finds on the majority of process pumps.1,4
Systematic component upgrades recommended. In essence, the intrinsic value of systematically upgrading
During a recent plant visit to a facility in the Southern US, an important utility and process pumps can be envisioned by some-
oil-slinger ring that had been removed from a BFW after one what arbitrarily assuming that each deviation from best practice
more pump failure was measured. Instead of staying within the reduces pump mean-time-between-failures (MTBF) by approxi-
allowable eccentricity of 0.002 in., this ring was about 0.06 in. mately 10%. Once five seemingly minor deviations combine,
eccentric30 times the allowable value. The ring was abraded on pump MTBF will be cut in half. If the negative impact of oper-
one side; it also showed very serious discolorationsimilar to Fig. ating pumps in the flat region of the performance curve is fac-
2 (taken from Ref. 4). If one must use slinger rings, they should tored in, as well, one has all the data needed to explain the very
never be the cheap ones. Good ones will have gone through an significant differences in pump reliability among different pump
annealing step before finish-machining. Again, be certain to sub- owner-operators. HP
ject slinger rings to rigorous specifications and quality control.
On pumps furnished with rolling element bearings, the pur- 1 Bloch, H. P., and A. Budris, Pump Users Handbook: Life Extension, 3rd
chaser may be able to avoid slinger rings by insisting on bearing Edition, Fairmont Press, Lilburn, Georgia, 2010.
housings configured to accept solid flinger discs. If nothing else, 2 Wilcock and Booser, Bearing Design and Application, McGraw-Hill,
specifying a lube application method other than slinger rings will New York, New York, 1957.
3 Bearings in Centrifugal Pumps, SKF Publication 100955, pp. 20; also Ref. 1
start a discourse with the pump manufacturer. It should also be 4 Bloch, H. P., Practical Lubrication for Industrial Facilities, 2nd Edition,
realized that slinger rings can become dislodged as the equipment Fairmont Press, Lilburn, Georgia, 2009.
is transported from a factory or shop to an installation site. These
slinger rings are later found caught between the shaft and ring
locator pin or some other housing component.
The point of the story is that truly reliability-focused pur- Heinz P. Bloch is Hydrocarbon Processings Reliability/Equip-
ment Editor. A practicing consulting engineer with close to 50 years
chasers have highly justified concerns with certain traditional of applicable experience, he advises process plants worldwide on
and all too often failure-prone means of lube delivery. Pump failure analysis, reliability improvement and maintenance cost-
manufacturers must be shown the vulnerabilities of certain pump avoidance topics.

Select 158 at
2009 Swagelok Company

Contrary to what you may think, were much more than a tube tting company.
And we have our obsession with Customer Focus to thank for that. Yes, were
In addition to tube ttings, known throughout the world for our tube ttings. And yes, weve been at it for over
60 years. But when companies are looking harder than ever for greater value, its
we also make valves, our broad range of products, including orbital welders, modular systems, and a
regulators, lters, complete line of hose, that helps us offer more than you expect. See for yourself
and happier customers.

Select 63 at

Avoid costly engineering faults,

missteps and miscalculations
Experience does count, especially in achieving
success in capital and revamp projects
K. SANGHAVI, Alon USA, Big Spring, Texas

n the past two decades, technical manpower and average experi- hydrogen heater provides primary preheat for the feed to reactor
ence levels within the oil industry and its affiliated engineering, No. 2. The reactors, the heart of a hydrotreater operation, can
contractors and technology companies declined as the need directly impact plant profitability through any compromised
for lower operating costs drove most decisions. Senior experi- design or reliability. A semi-regenerative reformer is the refinerys
enced staff members took early retirement or were displaced with sole hydrogen source.
younger professionals. Supported by new state-of-the-art techno-
logical tools, but lacking adequate training and mentoring, these New thinking for design. In this project, new thinking
younger workers are expected to deliver more and faster. At times, changed old, established reactor design practices for increased
designers and engineers are working under rush deadlines and lean operational flexibility and economic advantage. A common indus-
supervision, which can lead to frequent accidental engineering try practice is to design the units reactor and heat transfer equip-
missteps, faults and miscalculations. This article illuminates the ment, including the heater(s), based on:
current industry situation and the need for proper training and a) Both reactors being at the start-of-run (SOR) and/or both
mentoring, and a broader and deeper experience base. Several reactors being at the end-of-run (EOR), in tandem, based on a
examples illustrate poor design and engineering encountered four-year run length and
during a recent refinery project. b) Average hydrogen purity, a value of 80.2% for BSR.
But, for enhanced operational flexibility, the RPC asked that
Case history. The following examples illuminate the present other scenarios be taken into the design of the equipment to
condition with the energy industry. These incidents were encoun- cover a) staggered reactor operation, with reactor No. 1 being
tered during outside engineering work on
just a single project at Alons Big Spring
Refinery (BSR). Fortunately for BSR, Product
the refinerys core project team of three
membersa project/mechanical engineer,
PC Splitter
a refinery process consultant (RPC) and Feed Heat Liquid phase
a process control/electrical engineerall exchange up ow
reactor No. 1
supervising this project are experienced
and versatile enough to quickly catch and
correct all the problems. The RPC also
interjected new thinking, and the refinerys Makeup H2
team was able to achieve a very successful
project outcome. Hydrogen
Fig. 1 shows an overview of the recent heater contactor
hydrotreater project at BSR. The unit Hot
feedrate was being increased by more than Purge Offgas
25%, while product specifications were
stringently tighter. The new equipment Vapor phase
Heat Efuent Production
down ow Stripper
included a liquid-phase upflow reactor No. exchange cooler separator
reactor No. 2
1, a splitter, stripper product pumps and Pumps Reboiler
associated new heat exchange train and pip- New Revamp
ing. Additionally, the existing vapor-phase equipment equipment Product
downflow reactor, compressor, hydrogen
heater, stripper reboiler, and airfin cool- FIG. 1 Project overview for new hydrotreater at BSR.
ers and piping were being revamped. The


I 49

prematurely at SOR while reactor No. 2 continues to run its and iron sulfide that can cause increased reactor pressure drop
course and vice versa, and b) the expected 74%88.6% range for and thereby shorten the run length. The RPC and the refinery
hydrogen purity. technical service engineer requested use of wedges and pins,
The revised basis increased the sizes of a reactor and heat instead of traditional nuts and bolts, to facilitate handling of the
exchange equipment, as well as the sizes of the hydrogen heater reactor internals and reduce reactor downtime.
and reactor effluent air fin condenser, as listed in Table 1. The post-startup audit has revealed that this unit will not
Also, the RPC further enhanced operational reliability by constrain refinery operations, and it will be in a position to pro-
insisting that a layer of macroporous trap/media layer be added vide the refinery economic advantage and leverage. Also, an out-
above the planned catalyst grading system to capture particulates side review has revealed that this unit has the best performance
amongst other similar functional units in the industry.
TABLE 1. Unit equipment size with various operating
scenarios Experience and practical knowledge results in savings.
Base case Alternative cases Using practical knowledge, the BSR team found opportunities to
Purity case average Low High reduce and increase plant reliability:
Makeup H2 purity, % 80.2 74.0 88.6 Tower trays. After initial work and consultation with tray
vendors, the detailed engineering contractor (EC) recommended:
Recycle gas, MW 8.4 10.56 3.07
20 new trays for an existing amine contactor when the RPC
Reciprocating compressor, acfm 1,320 1,320
had expected only minor tray changes
H2 flow, lb/hr 17,758 22,257 6,678 30 new trays for the stripper when the RPC had expected
Reactor No. 2 volume, ft3 1,173 1,675 no change at all.
Reactor No. 1 steam preheater, ft2 260 603 So, the RPC worked directly with the tray vendors with correct
Reactor No. 2 air cooler, MMBtu/hr 22 42.3 information and, as a result, it helped eliminate the need for new
H2 heater, MMBtu/hr 10.7 13.34
trays in both towers and determined that the amine contactor
required only a change-out of bolted outlet weirs. This resulted
in considerable cost savings and less mechanical work during
Misdirected fractionation tower feed distributor. Due to
increased loads, the stripper tower feed distributor hole area
needed to be increased from 18 in.2 to 30 in.2. The tower has
single pass trays, and the discharge from the existing feed distribu-
45 45 45 erosion tor impinges on a downcomers sacrificial wear plate. The EC
Wear plate designer decided to retain the existing six slots as is and install
Feed tray a second row of slots on the opposite end of the distributor, as
shown in Fig. 2.
With such an arrangement, depending on the new slots angle,
the feed stream from the newer slots could impinge on the tray
deck below, discharge into the downcomer or impinge on the
tower shell. All these scenarios are unacceptable. This design
Existing EC Plan
would have led to poor operations and product loss. Typically,
FIG. 2 Before and after designs on the fractionation tower feed sacrificial wear plates and feed diffuser plates are typically installed
distributor. to break stream momentum. The RPC simply requested that the
width of the existing slots be increased from
0.75 in. to 1.25 in., to provide the required
Horiz. ells 2-45
additional area; the feed would continue to
18-in. x
16-in. impinge on existing downcomer wear plate.
18-in. x 15-in. 14 ft 18-in. x Control valve. An inexperienced pro-


cess engineer would size control valves
17 ft
18-in. 18-in. 18-in. x just for a single case of design rate. In real-
45 14-in. ity, truly seasoned engineers know that a
18-in. Reb Reb
oile H oile 18-in. x detailed study based on hydraulic mod-

22 ft

E-0 18-in. 14-in. els of the piping circuits and associated

12-in. 21 <45 Min.
12-in. 12-in. P E-0 pump or compressor curves is required to
establish control-valve conditions, at not
18-in. 12-in. only the design rate, but also at a maxi-
12-in. 12-in.
mum flow, say at 110% design rate and at
a minimum flow say, at 40% design rate.
Total ttings = 14 Total ttings = 10 Then the control valve would have differ-
Total length = 127 ft Total length = 78 ft
ent pressure drops at these three flows, as
Before After
opposed to original data sheets prepared
FIG. 3 Before and after view of design of the reboilers circulation unit. by the EC, which showed constant pres-
sure drops.

I MAY 2011

Sulzer Chemtech

Tower Technical Bulletin

4 Simple Ways to Convert Turnarounds Into Protable Tower Upgrade Opportunities

Background efciency of 25% or less. By making a simple change to the

With planned outages commonly occurring at intervals of 2-5 design reducing the open area on the lower trays appropriate
years, a renery turnaround is a prime opportunity to replace to the predicted vapor rate, the rener can see a large impact
column and separator internals with the newest available tech- on stripping efciency or can take advantage of the improved
nology. Planning for an outage with a replacement-in-kind stripping by reducing energy / steam usage.
strategy will address lost performance from renery equipment
due to normal wear and tear. However, most column internals #3 Upgrade Separator Internals
can be upgraded for higher capacity, more exibility, or greater Separators, accumulators, receivers, and knockouts are often
efciency at close to the same cost as an in-kind equipment the forgotten vessels that can consume downstream capac-
replacement. ity when operating with poor performance. Since entrainment
generation is typically exponential, a small shortfall in separator
#1 Upgrade Performance of Existing Packing or Trays capacity can result in a very large increase in liquid losses. Up-
Adding column capacity to debottleneck existing operations or grading an existing standard mesh or demister pad with a high-
to create room for future capacity creep can often be accom- er capacity Sulzer KnitMesh Mist Eliminator or Mellachevron
plished with a simple modication to the existing design. High can reduce carryover of liquid or free water to downstream pro-
performance tray decks, like Sulzer MVGTM trays, can achieve cesses from existing separators that are forced to operate with
up to a 15% capacity increase in entrainment-limited applica- a higher supercial velocity.
tions. MVG trays can t within existing column weld-ins and
ring supports for a similar cost to replacement-in-kind move- #4 Improve Tray Fouling Resistance
able valve trays. If increased liquid handling is required, the Adding anti-fouling features to a replacement tray can be a sim-
use of Z-bars can adapt the existing weld-ins for larger down- ple x to increase run length between cleanings or turnarounds
comers without the need for costly welding to the vessel wall. in heavy fouling services. Adjusting downcomer design and
Similarly, standard structured packing can easily be replaced incorporating push valves on the active decks can improve the
with high performance packings such as MellapakPlusTM and washing effect of the tray liquid trafc to prevent fouling build-
MellagridTM, providing capacity increases of up to 40% at a cost up. These features can typically be incorporated into the trays
that is comparable to the existing equipment without requiring without the need to weld on the column wall.
other column modications.
Other Considerations
Making tower and vessel upgrades rather than in-kind replace-
ments takes some extra planning and strategy but the payout is
often extremely high. You have to start early so you have time
to evaluate, not only the tower internals in question, but also the
feeds, draws, nozzles, and auxiliary equipment as well. Sulzers
process applications team can help evaluate all your possible

The Sulzer Chemtech Applications Group

Sulzer Chemtech has over 50 years of providing equipment
and services for optimal turnarounds. Our goal is to meet your
requirements and challenges while providing the most cost
#2 Optimize Stripping Tray Open Area effective solutions with the least amount of downtime, in any
Column bottom, side column, or Hydrotreater Product stripping situation.
trays are often of a single design in order to simplify equipment
layout and production. In operation, however, the bottom tray Sulzer Chemtech, USA, Inc.
has a far lower vapor rate than the top tray due to the stripping 8505 E. North Belt Drive | Humble, TX 77396
effect. Since the design will have to accommodate the highest Phone: (281) 604-4100 | Fax: (281) 540-2777
loads, the bottom trays performance will likely suffer due to
weeping. Because of this, stripping trays can often have an

Legal Notice: The information contained in this publication is believed to be accurate and reliable, but is not to be construed as implying any warranty or guarantee of performance.
Sulzer Chemtech waives any liability and indemnity for effects resulting from its application.

Select 68 at

Multiple improper pipe routings.

8-in. Product Product Pipes are the arteries in a process unit and
pumps 8-in.
pumps must be properly designed for trouble-free
8-in. 8-in. operation. Process piping that can expe-
rience slug flow and/or have pockets and
10-in. 10-in. traps are in a class of critical piping that


2.5 ft. Existing 8-in.
can cause serious operational and reliability
Existing 8-in. 1.6 ft.
(pocket) problems and must be properly designed.

10-in. Slug flow creates unstable operation and/
8-in. 10-in. x 8-in. or destructively damaged fittings and vessel
10-in. x 8-in. inlets and walls from a hammering effect.
8-in. x 6-in. 8-in. 8-in. x 6-in. Slug-flow potential can be managed by:
8-in. x 6-in.
Reboiler 8-in. x 6-in.
1) Using a pipe with a smaller diameter,
pumps pumps if possible
New 8-in., L = 60 ft. New 8-in., L = 53 ft.
Before After
2) Providing dual risers that can be
turned off or on, depending on the flowrates
FIG. 4 Before and after view new product pump layout. 3) Installing an impingement tee at the
end of the risers, where possible.
In low-pressure drop piping, pockets can
1) cause flow restrictions and thus loss of capacity, especially in
pump suction piping, and 2) induce slug flow in two phase flow
12 in. Splitter 12 ft pipe ~ 9 ft
8 ft pipe ~ 483 ft piping. Streamlined piping with shorter pipe runs and fewer fit-
12 in.
45 tings, and piping that has strictly downturns past the first starting
El HCR 3 ft
197 ft 8-in. point riser can reduce operational risk substantially.
15 ft Traps
12 ft x 8 ft 8 ft Two phase Examples from three key piping categories are quoted here

to illustrate the critical importance of piping and equipment


3 ft ow El
4 ft 3 ft 188 ft reviews to guard against problems from slug flows and pockets

No. of 8-in.
ttings = 7 3 ft that can affect plant reliability. In each case, initial CAD drawings
8 ft x 6 ft El incorporated improper piping routings and/or convoluted heart
8 ft x 6 ft 113 ft
No. 1 stopping designs.
Splitter feed linebefore Overly complex reboiler circulation. Initially, a very convo-
12-in. luted arrangement was proposed as shown in Fig.3-Before view.
12-in. Splitter 12 ft pipe ~ 11 ft This arrangement would have resulted in a very poor reboiler
1 ft El 8 ft pipe ~ 431 ft operation, potentially leading to upsets and downtime for repairs.
El 122 ft
197 ft
The RPC improved reliability of operation by streamlining pip-
3 ft No traps
ing layout, minimizing slug flow potential and, at the same time,
94 ft

12 ft x
8 ft
reduced large bore piping length from 127 ft. to 76 ft. and fittings
28 ft

8-in. Two phase 45 vert.

3 ft ow 188 ft from 14 to 10 as shown in Fig. 3-After view.
No. of
Restriction in pump suction piping. The project required
13 ft

ttings = 2 3 ft 8-in.
the addition of two new stripper-product pumps next to the
El 125 ft Reactor
existing reboiler circulation pumps with the extension of the
103 ft No. 1 existing reboiler pump suction header. New piping is shown
Splitter feed lineafter with solid lines and existing piping is shown with dashed lines
in Fig. 4.
FIG. 5 Before and after design of tower feed piping. Initially, the proposed arrangement simply violated the good
engineering practice by introducing a vapor pocket in the new
suction line shown in the before view. The after view illus-
Accordingly, the RPC reworked all control-valve data sheets trates the design subsequently drawn up by the RPC to improve
using proper hydraulic models and found that, out of the 39 operational reliability while reducing the new piping length from
control valves that were sized, approximately 16 were undersized 60 ft to 53 ft.
(of which six were grossly undersized) and 10 were oversized (of Problematic tower feed piping. Fig. 5 shows the initial
which two were grossly oversized). Such improper sizing would arrangement proposed by EC and also the final arrangement rec-
have led to control problems and/or would have reduced unit ommended by the RPC for improved reliability for a two-phase
capacity. In the past, the RPC has also seen that an improperly flow service and also lower costs. These benefits were achieved
specified control valve can experience severe valve-body erosion, through streamlining piping with fewer fittings downstream of
especially for those control valves experiencing cavitation, result- a pressure control valve, eliminating liquid traps and reducing
ing in unplanned plant downtimes. total pipe length from 472 ft to 442 ft.

Technological tools. Computer aided designs (CADs) are Flexible view on the design issue. Flexible eyes for both
most effective only if backed with proper training and field the big picture and smaller details help identify missteps and
experience. opportunities for greater reliability. Missteps to watch for are:

I MAY 2011

Selas Fluids Revamp Group builds on our history of proven results

serving the rening, petrochemical, and chemical industries.
A world class designer and supplier of red process plant equipment for over 60 years,
Selas Fluid also delivers cost effective solutions to optimize your existing plant assets -
from concept to reality.
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Engineering and design support
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Material supply for upgrades, repairs, and operational spare parts
Shutdown demolition and installation
Heater and burner repairs and maintenance
3 4 N
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Equipment design, engineering and supply BO LIAB NF ,
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Select 82 at

Incorrect condensate handling, routing and placement.

4 in. 175 lb
steam 200 ft The initial proposal, as shown in Fig. 6-before view, demonstrates
E-0 multiple engineering missteps:
21 4 in 1) Incorrect design of condensate pots and inlet piping
. co
4 in nde 2) Poor layout of critical condensate piping downstream of
Demister . co nse
nde r2 the pot level control valves, as this piping can be subject to slug
nse 00
r2 ft
Vortex 00
flow and
Brkr. 3) Wrong placement of the final condensate flash drum, D-02.
19 Demister Condensate pots require bottom inlets and do not require
demister pads or anti-vortex baffles.
D-021 If the pot design and piping installations had been built per
Vortex D-018 initial proposal, it would have affected unit throughput and reli-
Before Brkr. 8-in. ability. The arrangement then proposed by the RPC is shown
in Fig. 6-after view. The RPC also captured the opportunity to
place the final flash drum in the corner of the pipe rack leaving

condenser the units and thus saved BSR the cost of a total of 400 ft on
4-in. Demister insulated-traced pipes.
Wrap-up. Fortunately, the early faulty designs introduced in

2-in. this project by some inexperienced outside engineers were cor-

condenser rected in time to avoid costly rework and unscheduled plant
downtimes. There were a number of other equally troublesome
4-in. 1-in. missteps in other categories, such as splitter design, heat exchang-
ers and pumps, that were fixed by the RPC. Although only process
examples are quoted in this article, the other two members of
After the refinerys project team supporting the mechanical side and
instrument, and electrical had similar experiences requiring cor-
FIG. 6 Before and after design for condensate handling, routing rective actions.
and flash drum.
All of the cited examples illuminate current concerns for the
oil industry leaders and provide warning signs. A frustrated past
colleague who now works for another major US refiner recently
said, I have seen some engineering lately that I think a smart 8th
grader could do better. In these times, the industry will need to
protect itself against such design and engineering faults, missteps
and miscalculations that could curtail production, cause unsched-
uled downtimes and/or escalate project cost into overruns.
The writer went out to speak to three outside engineering
directors for feedback on this article. Their input and perspectives
and recommendations have been incorporated in the article and
its conclusion:
The largest single safeguard for the oil industry and affili-
ated engineering and technology companies is the retention of a
talented team of experienced and versatile in-house engineers who
are capable of managing daunting challenges in major projects
while capable of new thinking and willing to make appropriate
800-231-0077 changes to any of the outdated design methods and practices.
Decisions made strictly on the basis of pricing can turn out
to be costlier over the longer term, and due diligence is warranted
ACS Industries can set you free. to achieve a proper balance.
Experienced, multi-talented refinery engineers would need
to reside and work together with younger staff members and
engineering contractors in a truly joint- team fashion and thus
successfully meet the projects goals for quality, cost and timeliness
UNHAPPY with long lead times for response and product delivery? YOU ARE FREE to choose the highest and to ultimately capture a savings of 15%30% on engineering
Dont trap yourself into thinking only one source is able to handle your quality and best price, delivery, and
engineering support. Call ACS Industries
costs by eliminating reworks. HP
requirements. ACS can replace almost any existing tray, regardless of
original manufacturer. With 70 years experience, for all your trays and internals.
we use advanced 3-D modeling and CAD/CAM to Kirit Sanghavi is a senior refinery process engineering consultant at Alon USAs
design and make a wide variety of trays and internals.
Big Spring Refinery. He has been with BSR for the past 18 years, responsible for the
largest capital projects at the refinery. Previously, he worked at Esso Chemical and
Imperial Oil in Canada for 15 years. Mr. Sanghavi has also worked for four interna-
tional engineering companies in the US, the UK and Canada during his career. He
earned a bachelors degree in chemical engineering from London University.
Select 159 at

Nickel recycle: Extending

service life for reformer tubes
Case studies investigate methods to conserve
high-nickel tubes for fertilizer facilities
S. B . KUNTE, Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers Ltd., Chembur, Mumbai, India

his case study deals with the conservation of centrifu- Thermal shocks due to reformer tripping
gally cast reformer tubes in the fertilizer industry. A fertil- Localized overheating from damaged catalyst
izer plant investigated how to extend the service life of High-thermal gradient along the length of the tubes
reformer tubes beyond design limits. The study describes two Non-uniform firing of the burners
cases: one case focused on HK-40 tubes and the other with HP Restrictions in the free expansion and contraction of the
micro-alloyed tubes. In both cases, reworking the tubes proved to tubes
lengthen the service life for the reformer tubes. The recovery and Bowing of the tubes
reinstallation procedures were successful. Such actions not only Inadequate induced draft in the furnace.
resulted in huge savings on the reformer-tube inventories but also Since accidental failure of a reformer tube is a very expensive
in conserving expensive raw materials, such as nickel. affair in terms of fire hazard and production loss, the reformer
tubes are normally replaced after extracting 90% of the design
Metal shortages. There is a fear that the rising demand for life, depending on the maintenance practices being followed. This
nickel (Ni) will cause shortages and increase the price for this metal. again means a hike in Ni demand beyond projection.
Industry must find ways to conserve Ni and recycle this metal.
Reformer tubes used in the fertilizer and petrochemical industries Manufacture and service conditions. As per the exist-
are an area in which large quantities of Ni are applied. This article ing global norms, reformer tubes are constructed from fresh raw
details the advantages gained in recycling used reformer tubes. materials and no scrap material is allowed. The author, being a
metallurgical engineer, had initial hands-on experience in quality
Changes in materials of construction. The fertilizer control and assurance steps in the manufacture of centrifugally
industry has seen the material of reformer tubes change from cast reformer tubes and other heat-resistant castings in a major
HK40 to IN519 and now to HP-micro alloyed. The wall thick- foundry. The work involved planning and executing quality-
ness of the reformer tubes reduced from about 17 mm to about control steps followed by quality-assurance steps for each tube.
10 mm without losing strength and other high-temperature prop- This included testing from spectrographic analysis of molten
erties. This is a major advantage with respect to heat transfer, charge ready for pouring to the hydraulic-pressure test of the
increase in volume and also with respect to the total weight of the finished reformer tubes, and assembly to the complete satisfaction
tubes which provides more benefits. of the third-party inspection agency as per specified concerned
But, in the process, Ni consumption has increased from 20% international standards.
in the old HK40 tubes to 35% in the present HP- micro alloyed This initial experience of the quality aspects for centrifugal
tubes. Table 1 shows the nominal chemical composition of HK40, castings has been of great help. His present responsibility, span-
IN519 and HP micro-alloyed tubes, with the corresponding ning a period of about 30 years of monitoring the plant health in
sound-wall thickness used. Note: There is a substantial increase Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers Ltd. (RCF), which is a huge fer-
in the Ni content. tilizer manufacturing complex, where hundreds of reformer tubes
This table reflects the situation for reformer tubes. But in are in service. The responsibility of plant health service includes,
general, the demand for Ni is increasing globally. With the cur-
rent rate of consumption, we may run out of Ni by the end of TABLE 1. Nominal composition of reformer tube alloys
this century.
Common C, Cr, Ni, Nb, Mn, Si, Tube wall
name % % % % % % Other thickness, mm
Design life of reformer tubes. Reformer tubes are nor-
HK40 0.4 25 20 2 Max 2 Max 17
mally designed for a service life of 100,000 operating hours under
ideal conditions. The service life is generally limited by creep fail- IN519 0.4 25 25 1 1.5 1.5 15
ures. In practice, there are several factors contributing to the loss HP Micro- 0.4 25 35 1 1 1.4 Micro alloy 10
of creep properties, thus making it difficult to run the tubes up to alloyed additions
the full design life of 100,000 hours. These factors are: Ti, Zr, W, Cs


among others, monitoring the behavior/performance of reformer tube failures recorded above the bottom one-third region due to
tubes and analyzing their routine and unusual challenging failures localized overheating. Not a single failure was recorded in the
over the entire service life of the tubes. top one-third portion.
The author had the opportunity to conduct an entire third- As the tubes get older, they start losing their high-temperature
party inspection activity for 90 HP micro alloyed reformer tubes strength; the rate loss depends mainly upon their skin tempera-
being manufactured for RCF in a well reputed foundry. The ture. Only the outer surface of the tubes is available for carrying
author witnessed the gradual transition of reformer tubes met- out all non-destructive testing (NDT) like microstructure, ultra-
allurgy from HK40 through IN 519 to the present HP-micro sonic flaw detection, dye penetrant, magnetic permeability, OD
alloyed, which occurred gradually over the last three decades. measurement, radiography, soap-bubble test, etc.
The reaction in the reformer tubes is endothermic. The Out of these methods, the tests that tell the true inside story
reformer furnaces in RCF are side fired. The reaction peaks in are mainly done on the weld seams. The general feeling is that the
the top portion, and it slows down toward the bottom side of weld seam is the weakest portion, and cracks in the tubes originate
the tubes. The tubes remain cooler at the top and become hotter from welds. However, many times it has been observed that the
toward the bottom. If the tubes are designed to operate at the tubes crack in the parent metal away from the weld. So, the weld
tube skin temperature (TST) of 870C and if the bottom portion seam does not need to be treated as a part of the tube susceptible
of any given tube is at 890C, the top portion of the same tube for cracking. Besides, reformer tubes with only one joint and those
could be at 820C or 830C or even less. Under ideal conditions, without using filler wire are already in use within the industry.
the thermal gradient from top to bottom of the tubes should It is not a very common practice to do radiography testing on
be at minimum level. But in practice, reformers are operated reformer tubes to assess the health condition and residual life.
sometimes with this gradient as 100C or even more. For all Even if radiography is done, it is only applied to the weld seams.
practical purposes, a gradient of 20C to 30C can be considered Ultrasonic-flaw detection and magnetic permeability tests are very
as very good. commonly carried out for the entire length of the tubes. It is very
tricky and difficult to co-relate the results of these tests with the
Common failure pattern and its assessment. Due residual life of the tubes.
to continuous high TST, the reformer tubes are more prone The microstructure is studied only on the outer surface of
to failure in the bottom one-third portion. Over the last 30 the tubes, and it cannot tell the story on the inside surface. It
years at RCF, more than 90% of the reformer tube failures were may not be advisable to correlate the deterioration observed
recorded in the bottom one-third portion only. Very rarely were in the micro structure on the outer surface of the tubes with
the residual life of the tubes as it may not be leading to sudden
failure. The dye penetrant test is done only on the weld seams,
and it tells about the damage that has already occurred. The
soap-bubble test can be done for the entire tube but it also tells
about the defects that already exist.

TABLE 2. Summary of measurement for OD in 90

reformer tubes in a methanol reformer
Initial OD, in Min. and max Min. and max Min. and max
mm 1997 OD, 2005, mm OD, 2006, mm OD, 2007, mm Remarks
129.4 to 130.5 and 131 and 131 and Tubes with
130.2 132.2 134.6 134.6 more than
FIG. 1 Tubes are being tested for straightness. 133 mm OD
were replaced

FIG. 2 Welding in progress. FIG. 3 Dye-penetrating testing tubes.

I MAY 2011
Not Mozart, Yet a
Classical Genius
Gradual aging of the tubes and its monitoring. The
inside surface of the tubes has a machined finish, but the outer
surface of the cast tubes has a rough shiny granular finish. As the
tubes grow older, the outer surface of the tubes becomes smooth
and gradually loses its shine. Anyone closely associated with the
reformer tubes for a long time can tell the approximate age of the
tubes just by examining their surface finish.
The present generation of reformer tubes has a good resistance
to creep, but with aging, as they start yielding and gradually
bulging, the surface finish starts changing. The tubes estimated
as young as five years can be taken out of service if they exhibit
bulging during this period. This largely depends on the operating
The TST of the tubes has the maximum impact on their aging
process. The design of the present reformer furnaces is generally
spacious, and the possibility of the tubes receiving undesired heat
flux from the neighboring tubes and from the furnace walls is
minimized. Some tubes that run below the design TST exhibit
very less increase in the outer diameter even at the end of their
life, whereas some tubes running at higher TST show excessive
sudden bulging even at a young age. For a particular design oper-
ating pressure and temperature, the manufacturer of the reformer
tubes specifies the maximum allowable bulging and advises not to
use the tubes beyond this bulging, which is normally 2% for the
HP- micro alloyed tubes.
So, the warning on the tubes could be best realized before 100,000
running hours or 2% bulging, whichever is earlier. As the reformer
tubes run hottest in the bottom one-third portion, the bulging of
the tubes occurs predominately in this region, and so do are the
failures. The bulging of each individual tube is monitored during
every possible opportunity. Experience shows that the bulging of
the tubes in top one-third portions is insignificant. For assessing
the residual life, the bulging of the tubes in the bottom one-third
portion needs to be monitored very closely. Table 2 is a summary
of measurements for the OD in the bottom one third portion in
methanol reformer at RCF.

Replacement and repurpose strategies. The tubes

showing sudden excessive bulging are more likely to fail than the Just like Mozarts compositions
tubes bulged to the same value steadily over a long period. The SAMSONs Series 240 Valves are
tubes will bulge steadily to the maximum allowable limit over a world renowned and appreciated.
prolonged period, which is substantially less than the design life. Tuned like organ pipes, the Series 240
Similarly, the tubes, which have bulged less than 1% but have suits all pressures and ows, from ada-
almost lived their designed life can also give more service. In the gio to allegro. Yet, the valves denitely
case of the methanol reformer at RCF, a service life of 110,000 work piano so nobody will be roused
running hours has been extracted from few HK40 tubes, as their by a sudden beat of the drum. And, just
bulging was less than 1% throughout their life. like in an orchestra, the number of in-
In reality, no one wants to take any chances on reformer tubes. struments is your choice. With position-
They are replaced in time. Slightly unhealthy and failed tubes ers, solenoid valves and limit switches,
are replaced immediately, and when life of majority of the tubes further virtuoso performers are waiting
comes to an end, all the tubes are replaced together. No one pre- to come in.
fers to run the reformer with a combination of fresh and old tubes.
Everything ultimately leads greater demand for Ni. We supply the instruments,
you be the conductor.
Case No. 1: Repurpose of used HK40 tubes. More than
15 years ago, the reformer in the methanol plant at RCF had 90
tubes made from HK40 tubes. The reformer used an old design,
and all the outlet pigtails and headers were inside the furnace.
During a shutdown, about 35 aged tubes were replaced with
Weismllerstrae 3
new HK40 tubes as part of the planned activity. Due to such
60314 Frankfurt am Main x Germany
unavoidable partial replacements, the reformer always ran with Phone: +49 69 4009-0 x Fax: +49 69 4009-1507
Select 160 at E-mail: x

a combination of some very old tubes and some fresh tubes. The life. There had been accidental failures of the reformer tubes, and
removed 35 tubes had only a scrap value, and procurement of new the reformer was operated with a combination of old and new
tubes was not planned immediately. tubes. During April 2007 turnaround, 25 damaged tubes were
The failed/aged/scrapped 35 tubes were inspected thoroughly. replaced with new ones. The reformer ran for a long time with the
Bulging measurements and micro-structure analysis were done undesired combination of some old tubes and some fresh tubes.
on each tube. The bottom half portion of all these tubes was dis- It was decided to replace the entire reformer, with the project to
carded, regardless of its condition. The top one-third portion and be completed by October 2009. Until then, the reformer was to
about a meter extra (depending on the position of the first weld be operated with many old tubes, which were installed in 1997,
seam) of the discarded tubes was found useful from a metallurgi- because it is very difficult and expensive to buy reformer tubes in
cal point of view. The good portions of the scrapped tubes were smaller quantities.
salvaged, and 10 new tubes were fabricated from these portions All of the scrapped 25 tubes were, therefore, inspected thor-
in-house. The bottom reducers and grid plates were salvaged from oughly. Eight tubes that had developed cracks and operated in
the discarded tubes only. blanked condition for some time were discarded. The bottom
These tubes were put into service, and they worked satisfac- half of the remaining 17 tubes along with pigtails were discarded
torily for almost 30,000 hours (four years) until all the 90 HK without any testing. It was planned to fabricate at least four good
40 tubes were replaced with HP-micro alloyed tubes. This has tubes from the 17 top halves of the scrapped tubes. Eight good
resulted in considerable cost savings and better utilization of the reducers and grid plates were salvaged from the scrapped tubes.
reformer tube inventory kept in stores. The 17 top halves were subjected to these tests:
1. Straightness and dimensions. The lengths were matched in
Significance of Case No. 1. This activity, never attempted such a way that the coldest end, i.e., the topmost portion of the
before in the reformer tube application industry, was initially tubes becomes the bottom most portion of the new tube.
felt only as a salvaging operation for emergency use. The impor- 2. Bulging throughout the length
tance associated with the Ni crisis and all other expensive natu- 3. Microstructure study of the tubes selected at random
ral resources was not seriously considered those days as they 4. Tensile strength testing of random samples
are today. 5. Macro structure study of sample rings selected at random.
The excessively bent portions and most portions of the tubes
Case No. 2: Recovery of used HP- micro alloyed below the first weld seam were discarded. The macro structure
tubes. By 2007 in the same reformer, many of the same HP- did not reveal the original proportion of equiaxed and dendritic
micro alloyed tubes had almost reached the end of their design columnar grains. Some failed tubes exhibited a good amount of

FIG. 4 Final tubes are ready for hydrotesting.

FIG. 5 Old tubes being cut down in sizes.

Select 161 at


equiaxed grains, but the older tubes mostly showed columnar

grains. No macro fissures were observed. The microstructure
analysis and tensile strength values did not show any abnormal
deterioration and, accordingly, the bulging of these portions was
within 0.6%.
Desired lengths were measured and marked for making four
tubes. The inspection and testing norms were set just like making
new tubes. The machined surface was checked with dye penetrant
testing before welding, and no porosity was tolerated. Welding of
the selected pieces was done with the same WPS used for making
fresh tubes. Root-dye penetrant test, final-pass dye penetrant test
and 100% radiography were carried out. There was not much
rejection in carrying out welding of the old used tubes, and the
weldability of the material was found well within acceptable lim-
its. Brand new pigtails were welded to the reducers, and four new
tubes were made ready for hydrotesting. The hydrotest was done
at the same pressure for new tubes. The pressure was held for a
much longer time than the time specified for new tubes. There
was no leakage observed.
All the fabrication, inspection, testing and witnessing were
done in-house as seen in Figs 15. Making tubes this way does
not mean recycling Ni. All the four tubes reborn from scrap were
put into service. They were subjected to real acid tests as they are
installed in the corners where the tubes receive maximum heat
from side walls. The tubes remained in service at 920C for 14
months, i.e., about 10,000 hours until April 2010 when the entire
reformer was replaced as a part of project activity. The tubes have
contributed about 2,400 tons of methanol production worth
approximately Rs. 4 crores, i.e. about $ 900,000 during their
second life.

Comments. Ni does not die in the reformer. More service life

is still left in the cold end of the reformer tubes. The cold end,
i.e., the top portion of the tubes, does not get exposed to high
temperatures as does the bottom portion, and thus, it retains its
original properties to a considerable extent. The cost for making
one good tube from three used tubes is less than 10% of the cost
of new tube, and the service life expected from this tube could
be 30,000 to 40,000 operating hours or four years to five years.
The extravagant usage of Ni (or, for that matter, all resources)
may deprive our future generations of fresh Ni too early. Salvag-
ing reformer tubes may postpone fresh Ni stock outages, and we
may escape abuses and curses from our own grandchildren and
great-grandchildren for our extravagancy. HP

The author is highly thankful to the RCF management for giving freedom to
carry out the unique exercise of salvaging used reformer tubes and putting them
back into service, which was never attempted before in the reformer tube industry.
The author is also thankful to Dr. Ellaya Perumal, Corrosion and Metallurgical
Consultancy, Bangalore, for his valuable input to this technical article.

Satish B. Kunte is the chief engineer in the technical services

department for Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers Ltd., Chembur,
Mumbai, India. He began his career with Nitin Castings at Thane
and was employed by JAMS Engineering from 1979 to 1980. Mr.
Kunte joined RCF in 1980 as a corrosion and inspection engineer
and has held many responsible positions. He holds a BE degree in metallurgy from
the College of Engineering in Pune and is a research council member for the Central
Electrochemical Research Institute at Karaikudi, India.

Select 162 at

Select 97 at

Consider new materials for

ethylene furnace applications
An innovative metallurgy solves maintenance issues
G. Verdier and F. Carpentier, Manoir Industries, Pitres, France

thylene furnaces, cracking liquid or and thermal shock resistance properties, are New developments. To enhance
gas hydrocarbon molecules in the altered to the point that the tube material carburization resistance of tube materials,
presence of steam, operate at high becomes very brittle. The tube can fail at new alloys now contain aluminum (Al),
temperatures. While the cracking operation the first thermal shock. in a limited enough quantities to prevent
induces coke formation that deposit along- Because of the mentioned issues, radi- the formation of low-melting point com-
side the radiant coils tube walls, the tube- ant coil outlet materials have evolved from pounds. However, in a sufficient amount, it
skin temperatures increase up to what is the what was originally a 25Cr/35Ni mate- also decreases creep resistance properties. To
material operating limit, or until the pres- rial to a higher Cr-content alloy, typically restore those creep properties back to where
sure drop due to the constriction of surface 35Cr/45Ni material. they were originally, tantalum (Ta) is added
is too small. Then the furnace is shut down as carbide former, as shown in Table 2.
and a mix of steam and air is sent through Mechanical properties. It is always
the coils for decoking purposes. difficult to balance material properties. TABLE 1. Alloy material resistance
Coil suppliers have researched on find- When some developments are achieved on in ethylene operations
ing construction materials for ethylene fur- one hand, some drawbacks unfortunately Carburization Creep
naces that can withstand higher operating occur on the other hand. While a 25/35 resistance resistance
conditions. Several years ago, a family of material has superior creep properties, its
Cr25/Ni35 alloy1 Average Very good
alloys was developed that can successfully carburization resistance is affected due to
operate under the extreme environment of its lower Cr content as compared to 35/45. Cr35/Ni45 alloy2 Very good Average
an ethylene furnace. This article describes
new achievements in the metallurgy of eth- TABLE 2. Make-up of new alloy for ethylene tubes
ylene furnace applications. Element C Ni Cr Mn Al Ta Ti Si
% mini 0.35 38.0 28.0 0.5 add 0.53
Background. As mentioned before, high
temperatures and pressures are used to % maxi 0.6 42.0 32.0 1.50 3.0 add add 2.004
crack liquid hydrocarbons and natural gas
into olefins. Several processing conditions
challenge furnace design and construction
materials for the furnace.
Operating temperatures. Ethylene fur- HK40
naces usually consist of a multi-pass config-
uration-type coils. Because of the cracking t"EE/JDLFMUPJODSFBTFDSFFQQSPQFSUJFT
reaction, and coke deposit that takes place t$S/J
as the feedstock is processed through the
coils, the outlet tubes of the radiant coils  SFTJTUBODF $S  DSFFQSFTJTUBODF
operate under a higher temperature. Coke /J )1/C t$S/J/C
acts as a thermal barrier. It imposes on the /C
furnace operator and increases the tube skin  DSFFQSFTJTUBODFGVSUIFS $S  SFTJTUBODFGVSUIFS
temperature. This allows the cracking tem- t$S/J/CNJDSPBMMPZT /J
Carburization resistance. Because the t"EE5BUPSFTUPSFDSFFQQSPQFSUJFT /J .JDSP  $S/J"M5B
"M5B "M5B
carbon diffusion is thermally activated, car-
bon from the coke, with high temperatures,
diffuses into the metal of the tubes. The FIG. 1 Historical summary with features.
mechanical properties, mostly the creep


I 61

In Europe, a specific pressure vessels surface and delays formation of the cata- tance to carburization. Additional process
directive called PED is required. For a spe- lytic coke inherent to gas cracking. The benefits occur with tube metal tempera-
cific material such as a heat-resisting alloy furnace run lengths are longer. tures having been modified to take full
to be qualified and recognized for its use advantage of the alloy in comparison with
in a pressure vessel, the manufacturer of Examples. The new generation of alloy 35Cr-45Ni-type material.
the alloy must obtain a particular material can help both maintenance (carburization Case 3. An ethylene operator in Asia
appraisal (PMA). The PMA is provided by resistance, extended tube life) and process opted to change out 35/45 material to
a notified body upon review of the raw data (longer run lengths). The section criteria the Al-based alloy in two full furnaces at
regarding mechanical properties supplied for alloy materials for ethylene tubes highly two different gas crackers. After several
by the manufacturer. depends on the problem to be solved at the decoking cycles, the run lengths of the
For the new Al-based alloy, the Dutch furnace level. two furnaces increased by 20%. The alloy
Stoomwezen was selected as the notified Case 1. Sabic NL is a major user of the manufacturer is monitoring furnace opera-
body to provide the PMA. Stoomwezen Al-based alloy; six complete furnaces have tions on a permanent basis for this ethyl-
rule requires creep data reaching 1/3 of been converted to the new MzAl tubes, ene producer.
the design life, in this case 33,000 hours with the oldest furnace operating six years. Case 4. Another European ethylene
of creep tests or more. Users in Europe who This furnace has not shown signs of car- producer is in the process of converting
have therefore positively decided to select burization or creep elongation. Decision one complete ethane cracker. Both process
this alloy had their case backed up with criteria for the new installation were driven and maintenance benefits are anticipated
approximately four years of creep tests. by maintenance. to occur.
Case 2. This European-based ethylene Case 5. Two complete naphtha cracking
New alloy in service. The Al-based operator has three complete furnaces furnaces were purchased by an European
alloy has now been installed in service for using the Al-based alloy tube material. The ethylene producer. The alloy selection was
over six years. Besides the material related oldest installation has been operating for to overcome excessive creeping of 35/45
features such as carburization resistance four years. Only two tubes were recently material and address creep elongation and
and creep properties, application of this removed from the furnace of investigation tube life.
material in service showed a lower coking and in-depth study for the Al-diffusion Case 6. This North American producer
rate compared to other alloys when natural pattern. Tubing adjacent to the Al-based operates gas crackers in furnaces using very
gas is used as the feedstock. material, after four years, were easily weld- small diameter tubes, which are sourced as
Indeed, Al plays an inerting role of the able, thus proving the new alloys resis- the problems for run length issues. A full
Ta-based alloy furnace was delivered and
Asset Longevity is in the process of being installed to assess
process benefits and lower coking rates.
Plant & Pipeline Performance
Options in tube materials. In six
years, new alloy materials for ethylene tubes
have been developed and are being installed
by ethylene producers globally. While
maintenance related issues such as extensive
creeping, or heavy carburization leading to
tube change are overcome to extend tube
life by approximately two years, the process
benefits alone with gas cracking users make
Quest Integrity Group is a dynamic company built on a founda- this alloy the optimum selection. HP
tion of leading edge science and technology that has innovated
and shaped industries for nearly 40 years.
Al Aluminum C Carbon
Cr Chromium Mn Magnesium
Our asset integrity and reliability management solutions are Ni Nickel Si Silicon
comprised of technology-enabled advanced inspection and Ta Tantalum Ti Titanium
engineering assessment services and products that help com-
panies in the rening and chemical, pipeline, syngas and power 1 Manaurite XM
industries increase protability, reduce operational and safety 2 Manaurite XTM
3 Manaurite XO
risks and improve operational planning.
4 Manaurite 40XO

(888) 557-3363
Gilles Verdier is the director of Metallurgy, and
(888) 893-7030 Frederic Carpentier is a senior Metallurgist.
Together they have 55 years of experience in metallurgy in
general, and half of this in heat-resisting alloys. Both hold
PhDs in their discipline. Manoir Industries is one of the leaders in supplying high-temperature alloys for the petro-
chemical industry. Manoir Industries operates four plants
in its petrochemical division serving the global industry.

Select 163 at

Through predictive algorithms, diagnostics and information sharing,
Flowserve can increase critical asset uptime and reliability.

Experience In Motion

Select 83 at
Opportunities in
Petrochemical Industry

SAUDI BASIC INDUSTRIES CORPORATION (SABIC) represents Saudi Arabia's industrial image, a world-class manufacturer of basic chemicals,
fertilizers, polymers and metals. SABIC was established in 1976 and ranks today among the worlds top ve petrochemical companies. It has more
than 45 manufacturing sites world wide, of which 20 are in Saudi Arabia. SABIC has operations in more than 40 countries, besides marketing and
investment divisions based at its headquarters in Riyadh. It has the strength of more than 31,000 highly skilled and satised employees. For more
information about SABIC, please visit
The following long-term opportunities are available in the Rotating Equipment Domain of Manufacturing Center of Excellence/Competence
Center at corporate head ofce located in Al-Jubail Industrial City, Saudi Arabia.
The Domain provide expertise and consultative services to manufacturing sites scattered worldwide to improve and sustain reliability of Rotating Equipment.


For all the above positions, candidates should have BS/ MS Degree with minimum of 10 years proven experience with strong
professional credentials.

501 & 502, B/P-47, Healthcare City, National Bank of Abu Dhabi Building Next to Grand Hyatt, CITI Bank, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Tel: +97 1 4 4298462, Fax: +971 4 4298461
Select 62 at

Testing and repair options for

critical dry-gas seal: Updates
Do your research when sending compressor seals out for renovations
C. CARMODY, AESSEAL plc, Rotherham, UK

pgrading from traditional com- Test facilities are key to repairs. Each of the two test rigs contains a
pressor seals to advanced dry-gas The first phase of providing a global DGS state-of-the-art inverter drive enabling
seals (DGSs) is entirely feasible and repair service required upgrading the cus- precise speed control of the 106 kW-rated
has been pursued for approximately two tomary repair and inspection facilities motors up to a maximum speed of 7,000
decades. Over the last five years, DGS pro- to unparalleled standards of excellence. rpm. Each motor provides the input to a
duction for new compressors has increased Since the repair and testing program of a planetary gearbox with three output mod-
as well as well-planned implementation UK manufacturer was aimed at any type, ules that can be interchanged to provide
of dry-seal retrofit options. However, configuration or specification of DGS, the output speeds up to 45,000 rpm. The
primary emphasis on the manufacture of new facility had to be devised with utmost power and speed capacity of each test cell
new DGSs has resulted in service issues versatility in mind. will allow the dynamic testing of large-
related to product engineering. As with all To accommodate the repair of large- diameter, high-speed seals under full oper-
industries where demand for new products diameter and high-speed seals, it was first ational conditions.
outstrips capacity to support existing prod- necessary to provide a suitable power Testing is feasible with either 350 bar
ucts, both pricing structure and lead time supply for dynamic test purposes. In the (5,000 psi) air or 230 bar (3,300 psi) nitro-
for component repairs have come under autumn of 2005, the seal manufacturer gen. Air is supplied by a 45 kW multistage
scrutiny. This author discusses the issues commissioned a new electrical substation reciprocating compressor that delivers
related to the repair and testing of DGSs. dedicated to reliably supplying power to 130 m3/hr at a 350 bar capability. Irre-
the companys Rotherham (UK) DGS spective of the gas type used in testing, it
Advanced seal designs. Utilization of Test Facility. This 500 kVA substation is is passed through a coalescing filtration
centrifugal compressors for gas transporta- now able to serve both of the two DGS system that removes particles above two
tion has increased over the past decades. In test rig motors as well as the other services microns in size. To enable testing a wider
these presumed clean gas services, most necessary to conduct dynamic tests on range of DGS operating conditions, it was
modern gas movers are now fitted with these seals. also necessary to provide additional heat-
DGSs in preference over much older con-
ventional wet and labyrinth seal configura-
tions. Simply put, DGSs operate by creating Process gas supply
and maintaining a very thin fluid film (< 5
m) between two mating surfaces. Main-
Inert buffer
taining this fluid film under all operating gas supply
conditions is essential to ensure reliable seal
operation. The fluid film is so small that the
most efficient method of demonstrating its
existence is to perform a dynamic test. For
this reason, all DGSs are dynamically tested
at the time of manufacture and after repair.
Fig. 1 shows a schematic representing such
a seal and its associated controls.
DGSs contribute to significantly
improved overall machine reliability. Ad-
vanced seal designs reduce overall mainte- Seal leakage
nance requirements; they also save power monitoring
and gas consumption and thus contribute
to sizeable operating cost savings in gas FIG. 1 A typical DGS arrangement with a control system.
transmission services.


I 65

ing or cooling. Cooling of the gas and test The first element of the repair process is order materials beyond those needed for a
equipment is achieved via a 76 kW capacity usually an initial price quotation that can particular repair. The resulting buildup
chiller, whereas additional heating can be also be based upon electronically trans- of DGS parts stock will unquestionably
introduced via a 60 kW heat exchanger. ferred images or historical repair knowl- advance the speed of responding to future
Control of test activities is achieved edge of the seals condition. This allows the repair requests.
through specially designed test panels and seal manufacturer/repair group to quickly
software. The test panels control all gas flow respond to customer demands for reason- Replacement and rebuilding.
in and out of the test cell and are designed able estimates of cost and time-to-repair. Replacement of damaged faces is an impor-
to enable any part of seals under test to The estimate may well leave the office tant facet of the repair process. Premium-
be individually pressurized or vented, as before a defective seal arrives at the testing/ grade corrosion-resistant tungsten carbide,
appropriate. Test speed and temperature repair UK facility. reaction bonded and sintered silicon car-
are controlled from an integrated software Once a seal arrives at the DGS service bide and silicon nitride seat replacements
program. This software also controls the facility, it is disassembled and mapped for are offered. Stationary faces can be supplied
data logging or capture of speed, pressure, damage assessment. The damage is then in blister-resistant carbons and diamond-
gas consumption and temperature taken documented in a concise examination like carbon (DLC) coated silicon carbide
from critical locations around the seal and report that provides the full scope of work where additional PTFE (Teflon) coatings
test cell throughout the dynamic test. needed to restore the seal to its original as- are also applied to seal faces. Steel com-
designed condition. Firm price and delivery ponents can be repaired and recoated as
DGS repair process. The ability to test are rapidly offered together with details of required and where replacement parts are
DGSs to high standards is only one aspect the dynamic test protocol, one normally necessary, full material certification require-
of a full-repair service. The seal manufac- conducted in accordance with API 617. ments can be met.
turer has drawn upon many years of experi- Already, at this stage of the repair initial In all repairs offered by the seal manu-
ence in the conventional seal industry and design work is conducted. This design work facturer/repair group, replacing consum-
transferred the same service-based culture typically covers equipment and fixtures able items is standard. Such replacement
into a first-class DGS repair program. such as spin test and balance mandrels includes all springs and fasteners; also
needed later in the repair process. Because included are secondary seals, where all
the facility is geared toward different seal and O-rings fitted to DGS repairs are explosive
compressor designs, fixtures must purpose decompression-resistant grades. Whenever
designed for a particular repair. They will polymer upgrading is feasible, the original
later be needed to verify the integrity of rotat- selections are replaced with spring-ener-
ing face materials and, if required, to effect gized PTFE-equivalent sealing devices.
dynamic balancing to ISO Standard 1940. Since most DGSs are supplied with
A complete material assessment is done, external barrier devices, these components
whereby all materials of construction are can also be repaired along with the seals.
fully certified. Providing both rapid repair Labyrinth components and both contact-
response and all requisite documentation is ing and non-contacting segmented seals are
FIG. 2 One of the seal manufacturer/ facilitated by close links to premium sup- often supplied as part of the repair program.
repair groups two dynamic test
rigs. pliers of raw materials. The seal manufac- Once all of the replacement parts have
turer/repair group has made it a practice to been produced, re-assembly and testing
can proceed. A full-spin test is conducted
at 23% over the maximum speed rating
of the seal. The component itself is sub-
jected to twice its normal rotational stress.
Also, whenever applicable, full dynamic
balancing is done on all rotating assem-
blies. Similarly, all stationary assemblies
are subjected to force-displacement tests
that exercise the face assembly and serve
to identify seal hang-up. Only then are the
various assemblies finally fitted into the
test equipment, as shown in Fig. 2.
Customers are invited to observe DGS
testing at the companys main facility. Even if
unable to attend, customers can still partici-
pate anywhere in the world and view the test
progress in real time via a WebEx Internet
link. A second remote surveillance option
involves a 3G mobile phone link, whereby
the test is being filmed with a 3G camera.
FIG. 3 A typical graph relating to the logged data taken during a typical DGS dynamic test This option is available in the form of live
where pressure and speed are varied to suit future operating conditions. video streaming to any mobile phone with

I MAY 2011

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suitable 3G features. Irrespective of whether

customers choose to witness the tests, each
test is fully recorded and a CD of the full
test event is produced for each individual MERICHEM COMPANY
seal. The CD is normally supplied with the
information pack that is placed inside the
shipping cartons for the repaired seals.
Although tests are normally conducted
in accordance with API 617, the seal man-
ufacturer/repair group often accepts and
carries out additional customer testing
requirements. Dynamically testing each
seal typically takes three or four hours, Problem: High acid number
which includes second-by-second data
logging (Fig. 3). Once the dynamic test is
complete, the seal is dismantled, inspected
jet fuel/kerosene/diesel
and subjected to a further static pressure
test following re-assembly. Opportunity: More profit from
The company provides an information
packet for each repaired seal; the data packet processing cheaper crudes
normally includes the pre-repair inspec-
tion report, a post-test condition inspection
report, full details of the dynamic test itself,
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The repaired seal is shipped in a heavy-duty FIBER FILM patented technology
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is particularly useful when seal assemblies lower capital costs and a smaller
were produced at locations remote from plant footprint, can make more
the compressor factory, but the compres- money for you using less
sors were shipped without the best available expensive crudes.
DGS assembly tools.
Clearly, compressor owner-operators
Finding the right treating solution to remove impurities
now have unprecedented and solidly verifi-
able options. They can decide to continue from hydrocarbon streams is challenging for any refiner.
working with the OEM, or can trust the But Merichems decades of experience and commitment
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How to justify root-cause

failure analysis for pumps
New method uses annualized risk to determine RCFA analysis levels
R. X. PEREZ, Pumpcalcs, San Antonio, Texas

e have all read about and acknowledged the merits of The bearing manufacturer investigated the application condi-
root-cause failure-analysis methods. But not everyone tions and the failed cylindrical roller bearings. Changing from a
agrees on when and how these methods should be used. belt-drive to a direct-drive arrangement had drastically reduced
In times past, the author worked for a while within an organiza- the radial load on the existing bearing. In turn, this had led to
tion so enamored with failure analyses that the formal reports were rollers slipping on the inner raceway. The solution was simple: the
to be written by a machinery engineer for each and every plant original bearing was readily replaced by a deep-groove ball bearing.
machinery failure. This seemed unusual and even a bit extreme. In essence, the bearing manufacturer determined that a light
Yet, the issue begs an important question: When is formal fail- load on the cylindrical roller bearing was the cause of bearing
ure analysis justified? Before answering and explaining, we need distress. The latent root cause was the transition from belt-drive
to briefly agree on the customary definition of a root cause failure system to a direct-drive arrangement. The solution to this issue
analysis. A root-cause failure analysis (RCFA) is a formal analysis was to select the proper bearing for the new load conditions.
of an equipment or system failure with the intent of uncovering
all latent causal factor(s) and contributing factors, so that similar Time is money. The RCFA method is one of the most pow-
future failures may be prevented. erful tools of a reliability program, but it is also one of the most
time-consuming and, thus, costly endeavors. Since time is money,
Latent causal factors are unseen or hidden causes hiding RCFAs must be administered judiciously.
just below the surface of the wreckage. Whenever a repeat failure Like all decisions made in a competitive environment, the deci-
occurs, we must realize that the hidden causes are still at play and sion of when to conduct an RCFA must be based on economics.
that future failures are likely. It certainly makes it imperative that Since not all failures are created equal, not all failures warrant the
during the failure-analysis process, the analyst (or analysts) will same level of analysis. The decision to conduct an RCFA should
look beyond the physical evidence and uncover the true latent be based on the answers to two questions:
causes for the failure. Here are a few quick examples of latent 1. What is the consequence of the failure? Obviously as the fail-
causal factors in process pumps: ure consequence rises, the need for analysis becomes more critical.
Parallel operation of pumps drives a pump off its allowable 2. What is the failure frequency? The higher the failure rate the
flow range, which then causes internal recirculation and high more attention the piece of equipment should get.
bearing loads
Low-flow pump operation due to process changes results in
frequent seal failures
Oil supply is inconsistent because of inherent issues with an
inexpensive oil delivery choices (oil ring degradation)
Design weaknesses in certain bearing protector seals can
result in oil contamination
Oil contamination is caused by poor lubricant storage prac-
Oil consolidation efforts often lead to unwise oil replace-
ment choices, and ultimately causes bearing failures
Bearings selected in accordance with the generalized recom-
mendations of prominent industry standards are not always the
best choice.

Root-cause failure analysis: A case history. A petro-

chemical plant and oil refinery was experiencing recurring failures
of a cylindrical roller bearing in a critical centrifugal pump (Fig.
1). Transition from belt-drive to direct-drive configuration of the FIG. 1 Recurring failure of cylindrical roller bearing in critical
pump led to unexplained bearing failures and costly downtime. centrifugal pump. Photo credit: NSK Bearings Europe.


I 71

TABLE 1. Consequence vs. failure frequency

Annual failure frequency
0.01 0.1 1 10 100
$10,000,000 $100,000 $1,000,000 $10,000,000 $100,000,000 $1,000,000,000
Consequence per event

$1,000,000 $10,000 $100,000 $1,000,000 $10,000,000 $100,000,000

$100,000 $1,000 $10,000 $100,000 $1,000,000 $10,000,000
$10,000 $100 $1,000 $10,000 $100,000 $1,000,000
$1,000 $10 $100 $1,000 $10,000 $100,000
$100 $1 $10 $100 $1,000 $10,000
$10 $0 $1 $10 $100 $1,000

TABLE 2. Typical risk matrix Notice as risk levels (i.e., consequence times frequency) exceed
High consequence A A A $1 million/yr, they are highlighted in a rose color. Risk levels of
$100,000/yr are highlighted in yellow, and risk levels of $10,000/
Medium consequence B B A
yr are highlighted in green. Risk levels of $1,000 and below are
Low consequence C C B
shown in gray. They are assumed to warrant little or no concern.
Low failure Medium failure High failure In general, we can say that high-risk issues are in the upper right-
frequency frequency frequency
hand corner of risk maps and low-risk issues are in the lower left-
hand corner of risk maps (Table 1).
If we denote the consequence as C and the rate of failure, F, One can consider these annualized risk levels to be potential
we can define the risk, R, of failure as the product of consequence revenue that can be recovered if the root cause of an issue falling
and the failure rate: in one of these cells is found, and the required remedial steps are
Risk (R) = C F implemented. With that being said, we should view all RCFA
So, if a pump that costs $20,000 to repair fails four times a pursuits as potential projectsand, as on any projects, we must
year, this represents an annualized risk of $80,000/yr, i.e., $20,000 assess their cost-to-benefit ratio.
4. Next, we will construct a risk matrix based on a broad range Suppose we have an event that is occurring 10 times a year
of consequences and failure frequencies (see Table 1). with a consequence of $10,000. This represents an annualized


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I MAY 2011

risk of $100,000. If the total cost of remedial action and RCFA is Level C issues. Failure events falling in the C region of
$20,000, the project will have a payback of about 73 days. On the the risk matrix can be considered bread and butter investiga-
other hand, if there is a $100,000 consequence that occurs once tions. Even though they are termed low-consequence events,
every 100 years, this only represents a risk of $1,000/yr. It would they typically represent the largest number of RCFAs. Based on
not make much sense to assign a multi-disciplinary analysis team their sheer numbers, they can represent the greatest cost-saving
to investigate this failure. potential for a plant. Level C RCFAs are often conducted by
The take-away here is that annualized risk is a better means of mechanics using the 5 Why or similar methods. A systematic
determining the level of analysis justifiednot the consequence use of Level C RCFAs can lead to a dramatic and rapid reduction
level. However, it is possible to also set a maximum allowable loss of repeat failures.
trigger for a failure investigation. For example, a site may choose
to investigate all events resulting in losses of $1 million or more, Proceeding to analyze. The root cause failure analysis effort
regardless of their frequency. Together, the risk map and the maxi- should be considered one of the main pillars of machinery reliabil-
mum allowable loss methods can provide clear RCFA guidance. ity. We have all seen formal failure investigations solve the most
Most production companies take this basic risk-based approach perplexing and costly problems. But to ensure success, partici-
and develop their own risk matrix, as shown in Table 2. pants must be given the proper training and the time to uncover
Each organization must define what high-, medium- and latent-root causes.
low-consequence events are, along with low-, medium- and The payoff is well worth the price. Consistent administration
high-failure frequencies. For example, a company might choose of these methods can empower an organization to whittle down
to define high-, medium- and low-consequence events as early and frequent machinery failures until only predictable end-
those resulting in losses of more than $250,000, $100,000 to of-life failures are experienced. HP
$249,999, $25,000 to $99,999 respectively. High-, medium-
and low-failure frequencies could be defined as more than two
failures/yr, more than one failure every two years, or less than Robert Perez is the author of Operators Guide to Centrifugal
one failure every two years, respectively. So, a $150,000 failure Pumps and co-creator and editor of the website.
occurring every year would fall in the B risk level category, but He has more than 30 years of rotating equipment experience in
the petrochemical industry and has numerous machinery reliability
a $150,000 failure occurring twice or more a year would fall in articles to his credit. Mr. Perez holds a BS degree in mechanical
the A risk level category. engineering from Texas A&M University at College Station and an MS degree in
Non-monetary events, such as environmental releases and mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Mr. Perez holds a
safety events, may also be included in a risk matrix. An example Texas PE license. He can be reached at
of a high-attention environmental event could be a release of 10
barrels or more of any hazardous fluid from the process. A high-
risk safety event could be any lost time accident.
Notice in the risk map (Table 2) that even high-consequence
events occurring at lower frequencies are considered A risk
levels. This is because this risk map incorporates a maximum
allowable loss trigger regardless of event frequency for high-con-
sequence events. It serves as managements way of conveying that
all major events are unacceptable regardless of frequency.

RCFA levels. Having defined A, B and C risk level events, we

need to determine the extent to which analysis is warranted at
each of these levels. Here are some general guidelines as to when
and whom to assign to the analysis of A, B and C level events:

Level A issues. Failure events falling in the A region of the

risk matrix justify the highest level of analysis. This usually means
that a multidisciplinary team should be used to mine the data
and procure the physical evidence in order to determine the most
probable cause or causes of the failure. Typically, this requires
a team consisting of three to five technical specialistsoften
composed of a machinery engineer or technician, vibration tech,
process engineer, operators, etc.should be formed to leave no
stone unturned during the investigation. The team may take a
few days or weeks to finalize their findings and recommendations.

Level B issues. Failure events falling in the B region of the

risk matrix are considered costly but do not justify a full-blown
team approach. Level B analyses are typically conducted by an
engineer or highly skilled machinery technician working with
process support. This type of analysis rarely takes more than one
week for an individual to finalize.
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Spiral heat exchanger in desalter

service solves fouling issues
Technology offers problem-free operation along with
considerable maintenance savings
C. WAJCIECHOWSKI, Alfa Laval, Richmond, Virginia

major US refinery was experienc- so rapidly that it damages the wastewater plugging while the fully counter-current
ing severe fouling and plugging treatment system. The consequences of flow paths allow for effective heat recovery
problems in two shell-and-tube the damage include unplanned downtime in a compact space.1 SHE is the only tech-
(S&T) heat exchangers installed to cool and environmental penalties for non- nology that copes easily with the solids in
desalter effluent using cooling water. compliance. Fortunately, there is a solu- the stream and can handle process upsets
In 2008, the refinery replaced the two tion to this widespread problem of desalter with high solid concentrations. Due to
S&Ts with a fouling-resistant spiral heat effluent fouling with the SHE. These facts the design efficiency, it was possible to
exchanger (SHE). The SHE gives continu- are very evident in a specific US refinery install just one SHE. This only had 50%
ous problem-free operation, higher process that has operated a SHE in desalter service of the surface area of the S&Ts, yet it still
reliability and more consistent wastewater since 2008. outperformed them in the long term.
treatment temperatures than the S&Ts. The process of cooling the effluent
Best of all, there has been no plugging water has caused fouling headaches in Problem-free operation. Shortly
and, based on savings in maintenance and refineries for years, as was the case with the after the SHE startup, the refinery had sat-
cleaning costs alone, the payback time was major refinery covered in this article. Due isfactorily noticed that the pressure drop
less than 18 months. to continuous, costly fouling and plug- through the unit remained stable. Increas-
In the desalting process, crude oil ging problems, it was necessary to shut ing pressure drop had frequently been one
is contacted with hot water to remove down the S&Ts cooling the desalter efflu- of the reasons the refinery needed to shut
impurities such as chloride salts and par- ent water once a month on average. The the S&Ts down for cleaning. The SHE
ticulate matter before continuing through unplanned downtime caused problems for continued to provide trouble-free opera-
the crude preheat train into the refinery. the wastewater treatment plant, since the tion and, over an extended period, only
The solids and salts collect in the process effluent temperature was poorly regulated a moderate reduction in thermal perfor-
and must be flushed out with the effluent and frequently out of specification. mance was measured.
water. In a process called mudwashing,
solids are mixed with the effluent water SHE recommended. SHEs have a Cleaned once since startup. In June
and removed. The effluent waternow well-proven technology for fouling appli- 2009, after 14 months of operation, the
contaminated with oil, suspended solids cations. Its single-channel design resists refinery opened the SHE for the first time
and dissolved solidsneeds to be cooled
before traveling downstream to wastewater Desalted
treatment. Crude oil crude oil
START Desalter
As shown in Fig. 1, Refineries typically
use two stages of cooling before wastewa- Desalted water
ter treatment: 1) effluent cooling by pre- Feed water
heating feed water, and 2) effluent cooling Feed water
with cooling water. The first application
is a heat recovery service; so maximiz- Cooling water
ing the efficiency of this heat exchanger
is important. The second heat exchanger Desalted water
to treatment
is a trim cooler and is designed to pro-
tect the wastewater treatment plant from
excessively hot effluent. Unfortunately,
Cooling water
due to severe fouling in both applications,
refiners will bypass the heat-recovery ser- FIG. 1 Simplified desalter system configuration.
vice and foul the cooling-water exchanger
I 75

TABLE 1. Cost savings when using SHE

Cleaning frequency Cost per Total cleaning
Unit Service (amount/year) cleaning* costs/year
2 shell-and-tubes Desalter effluent cooling 12 $6,000 $72,000
1 spiral heat exchanger Desalter effluent cooling 0.86 $3,250 $2,786
* S and T cleaning costs calulated as $2,500 (disassembly/assembly tube side, two units) and $2,500 (cleaning rig: day one and $1,000
cleaning rig: day two). Spiral cleaning costs calculated as $1,250 (disassembly/assembly one unit) and $2,000 (cleaning rig: 5.5 hrs).

ing water side. With the S&T exchangers, Fouling problems in refinery desalter
they witnessed many plugged tubes after effluent services can be greatly reduced or
only one month. The spiral was mechani- eliminated.
cally hydroblasted and placed back in The single-channel design and robust
service the next day. By December 2010, construction make the spiral an ideal prod-
it was noted that the SHE had only been uct for this challenging refinery service
cleaned once since startup and was still (Fig. 2).
operating efficiently. An onsite engineer Often, the capital cost of the spiral
stated that its doing well and there have equipment can be justified with the savings
been no complaints. in maintenance/cleaning costs alone, not to
mention the added reliability of the process
FIG. 2 Single-channel geometry resists Savings. The cost to clean the tube side and more consistent wastewater treatment
plugging while counter current of the two S&T exchangers was estimated temperatures. HP
flow efficiently recovers heat. by the refinery in Table 1. Given the fre-
quency of cleaning, the investment cost for 1 Anderson, E., Minimizing refinery costs using
to check for foulingan operation made the SHE was returned in less than 1.5 years spiral heat exchangers, PTQ Q2 2008.
easy by the option of integral davits on on savings in maintenance alone (Table 1).
each cover. To their surprise, the engineers
found only a thin greasy coating on the Summary. The SHE technology includes
effluent side and minor scale on the cool- these benefits: Chris Wajciechowski is cur-
rently a business development man-
ager in the process technology divi-
sion of Alfa Laval. Mr. Wajciechowski
is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a


BS degree in chemical engineering. Prior to his current
role, he held several positions in the refining and petro-
chemical industry for Alfa Laval. Mr. Wajciechowski has
been with Alfa Laval for 12 years.
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Optimize reordering of critical

raw materials and parts
New models evaluate the total costs in receiving
and storing materials for a refinery
A. GOTI and N. ZABALETA, University of Mondragon, Spain;
A. GARCIA and M. ORTEGA, Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain;
J. URADNICEK, Slovak University of Technology, Bratislava, Slovakia

ptimizing the reordering of raw materials and main- The problem. The optimization problem studied here con-
tenance spare parts is a problem extensively studied siders several input variables, constant variables, assumptions
in the academic field, but poorly solved. This project and output objectives. Fig. 1 shows the overall context of the
focuses on the problem of reordering points and batch sizes via problem. The inventory problem deals with two input variables:
a commercial discrete-event simulation software. A product for Reordering point when a new purchasing order, RP, is
reordering points was developed and tested. It was successfully launched
used to optimize the reordering points and batch sizes of several Maximum amount of elements that the warehouse already
critical spare parts for a refinery. The satisfactory results enabled has ordered and is en route to the warehouse, Qmax .
reducing the total ordering, storage and backorder costs. In the case of Petronor, each time we are below the reor-
dering point, a purchasing order is sent to fill the space of
Inventory management principles. Most companies the reference up to Q max . Thus, the reordering quantity of
are implementing lean production principles. These are related any instant in time, Qi(t), will have to take into account how
to minimize waste from unneeded and inefficient operations, much is Qmax ; how many units are in the warehouse at that
such as excessive buffering operations to serve the client or back- moment, Q(t), and if any previous order sentQi-1(t), Qi-2(t),
orders.1 These two inefficiency types can be resolved by defining etc.have not arrived yet; and how many units are on their
a proper reordering pointas too low reordering points may way to the warehouse.
worsen service rates, whereas excessively high reordering points The behavior of the remaining elements of the tool developed
increase storage costs. An adequate definition of batch size to is equal to what was defined by Goti,3 and is summarized here.
reorder can improve total purchasing efforts plus management Concerning the constant values and assumptions to be modeled,
costs for products to be stored. Additionally, it is a parameter it is assumed that:
that definitively influences overall storing plus backorder costs The logistic lead-time, LT, the time taken from when a
for the facility. purchase order is submitted to the arrival of the products related
Several authors and companies offer
their safety stock and/or reordering point
calculators.2,3 Nevertheless, literature infor- Input data Input data
mation is very scarce when dealing with Reordering point 20 No. orders 2 Ordering cost 250.00
joint optimization of reordering points and Lot size 50 Average stock x time 20 Holding cost 233.62
batch sizes. Considering this background Lead time 2.56 Non-met demand 41 Back order cost 410.00
Demand D 12 Total cost 893.62
and context conditions, this research proj-
ect is based on the work presented by Goti3 Supplier Reception and production of Wroclaw plant
where a reordering point optimizer tool the received purchased orders
was developed and tested along with a joint 0
reordering point plus batch size optimizer. buffer
The tool has been successfully applied to 0 30 0
several critical spare parts for Petroleos del Truck
Norte S.A. (Petronor) refinery at Muskiz, Reference
Spain. The results were obtained through Q, LT An order is launched if available stock
simulations using the tool presented, and is lower than the reordering point
they coincide with what the purchasing
department wanted, and significant sav- FIG. 1 Graphical description of the problem to be solved.
ings were obtained.


I 79

to that order, is a variable but known. Historical data is available Cbt = nb  Cb (1)
so that information can be fitted to a known distribution. Cet = ne  Ce (2)
Customer demand rate of client, TT, is the speed in which While calculating for Cst is performed taking into account Cs
the client consumes buffered products; it is known. Historical and the amount of time each of the m products is stored in the
data is available, so that information can be fitted to a known buffer, ts , as it is shown in Eq. 3:
The buffer containing the arriving products has an infinite (3)
Each batch of products jointly bought has a fixed purchasing
order cost, Ce. Scope of the problem. Optimizing for Qmax and RP vari-
Each product has a fixed cost per unit of time for being ables while considering Cbt , Cst and Cet criteria, can be formulated
stored in a buffer, Cs. as a single-objective problem (SOP) or a multi-objective optimi-
A fixed backorder cost, Cb, is assigned each time a client zation problem (MOP). A SOP could be presented by summing
needs a product from the buffer and does not find any products all purchasing, buffering and backorder costs, while MOP would
in inventory. be formulated to optimize a vector of functions:
Finally, the outcomes to be optimized may consider the joint
f = (f1, f2, ..., fn ) (4)
optimization of these costs:
Minimizing the total cost spent on submitting purchase where f represents functions that depend on the decision variables,
orders and intake at the warehouse, Cet . Q and RP.
Minimizing the total holding cost for elements in the buf- The optimization proposed here considers the total costs as
fer, Cst . described in Eq. 5 as a SOP problem:
Minimizing the total cost of not serving the client because
f (Qmax, RP) = Cst  Cet  Cbt (5)
the buffer is empty, Cbt .
Each one of these costs will be calculated by multiplying the
times an event related to the listed costs happens. So, being ne and Modeling and optimization techniques. The discrete
nb, respectively, the amount of purchasing orders submitted and event simulation (DES) was used as a modeling technique for this
the amount of non-served products in the studied period, Cbt and problem. The main advantages of DES are two:57
Cet are calculated as: Standard DES-based tools provide capabilities of modeling
or modifying complex system models.
DES is closely related to stochastic systems, so they are
appropriate when simulating real-world phenomena, since there
are few situations where the actions within the system can be
completely predicted in advance.
To generate stochastic events, simulation packages generate
pseudo-random numbers to select a particular value for a given
distribution. Thus, using pseudo-random numbers, it is possible
Let Tray-Tec assist you with your next to implement the stochastic nature of actual spare part and con-
installation of process equipment in your towers, sumable consumption in DES models.
reactors and drums. Specifically, the development of the model was done using an
educational version of commercial software. This was collabora-
From refineries, chemical plants to ethanol, gas tion between the authors and Petronor. Both parties could experi-
and fabrication shops, Tray-Tec is ready and ence the potential benefits of a DES approach for addressing real-
able to work safely in your facility. world situations, which are quite different from those that can be

Results of the optimization process

Total cost,


40,000 12

0 8 Reorder point,
15 units
20 6
Qmax, units 25
FIG. 2 Optimization results

Select 168 at


found in text books. The study focused on some references using TABLE 1. Economic data of the optimization case
the data available at that time. Indeed, Petronor was very satisfied
with the proposed approach and stated that values obtained from Reference Consumption, units/month LT, days, normal distr.
the study were very reliable and would be implemented. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Average Deviation
The authors are very confident that Petronor will rely in the Oxygen bottle 4 5 1 2 1 3 1 0 1 2 0 1 75 1
future on DES approaches for both this type of analysis and for
others. As to reordering point studies, they may consider acquir- TABLE 2. Logistic data of the optimization case
ing some software to recalculate values (as data change overtime).
Parameter Unit Value or distribution
Optimization algorithms and brute force. Depend- Ce $/order 7
ing on the complexity and the characteristics of the optimiza- Cs $/(product.year) 37.5
tion problem, different techniques can be used. For instance, if Cb $/(unit not served in time.hour) 180
the problem is faced as a MOP, a multi-objective evolutionary
algorithm (MOEA)i.e. the non-dominated sorting genetic ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
algorithm NSGA-II9can be used. In case a SOP (minimizing The authors thank the collaboration of Jose Luis Arredondo, Javier Lucas
total cost as the unique objective) is presented, single objective Fernandez and Iaki Orbe from the purchasing department of Petronor, along
optimization algorithms may be enough to solve the problem. In with the help and support provided by Lanner, developer of Witness, and OptTek,
this case, the scatter search utility of an optimization set of tools developer of OptQuest. This project has been funded by the following funding
was used to develop the optimization tool.10 This software was programs:
Demagile Tools: Development of decision-making tools for the implementa-
chosen due to two main reasons. First, in terms of its usability, it tion of principles related to the Leagile production. Project funded by the Basque
provided a convenient environment that allows the user to easily Government (Basic and Applied Research Project, PI2009-24 code).
tune the optimum seeking procedure.10 Second, in terms of effi- Servistock: Development of a tool for the joint optimization of logistic
ciency and effectiveness, it performed very satisfactorily for this safety stock levels and transportation types (European transnational project
study, and the authors highly recommend its use.10 MANUNET-2008-BC-001).
Availafacturing: Development of a tool for the management of technical
assistance service networks for the availability maximization of manufactur-
Implementation case. As it was previously stated, the set of ing equipment and/or products (European transnational project MANUNET-
modeling plus optimization techniques was applied to optimize 2009-BC-006).
the reordering points of several references for Petronors Muskiz
refinery. To have an idea of the size of this refinery, it can be LITERATURE CITED
mentioned that spending for parts exceeds 42,000 (Fig. 2). Complete literature cited is available online at
In this case, there were some special interest elements to be
optimized because they have generated several backorders in the
past. One of these elements, an almost pure oxygen bottle, is used
in the laboratory for testing samples of petroleum-derived prod- Aitor Goti Elordi, PhD., is a member of the Spanish reliability
ucts that reach the refinery. It is worth remarking that although committee, focuses his research activities are the areas of optimi-
it is not very expensive, a backorder for this bottle may stop the zation and simulation in maintenance, production and logistics.
laboratory tests needed to homologate the material samples ana-
lyzed. To avoid this hugely expensive circumstance, these samples
are urgently sent to other laboratories located all over Spain when
this backorder occurs. Thus, the backorder cost represented in lvaro Garca is a profesor at the Univesidad Politcnica de
this case comprises the cost of having to send samples to other Madrid and mainly focuses his research activities within the field of
laboratories. Data shown in Tables 1 and 2 reflect the economic optimization and simulation in production and logistics.
and logistic data for this problem, respectively.
It is worth noting that the client plant work is scheduled on
three shifts. The optimization problem, as shown in Eq. 6 will be
faced, where RP can acquire any positive integer value. Finally, the Dr. Miguel Ortega teaches at the Universidad Politcnica de
warmup period and simulation period values are five and 229 days Madrid and researches and works with companies in optimization
respectively, and have been calculated considering the suggestions and simulation fields.

provided by the theory of the simulation, compiled by Goti.11

Results. The results obtained after the optimization process

using the previously shown values are ranked in Fig. 2. Noemi Zabaleta received her PhD in industrial engineering
The optimization software indicated that the RP and Qmax from Mondragon University, Basque Country (Nothern Spain). Her
research is focused on technology transfer and project manage-
values corresponded respectively to 10 and 14, when the values ment.
used before were respectively 8 and 16. Thus, it is worth remark-
ing two aspects:
For this case, the optimization results proposed a roughly
equal average stock level of the reference within the plant. Juraj radnek received his PhD in mechanical engineering
But using the new reordering policy (with a higher reorder- from Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava. He has published
papers in the field of mathematical modeling of mechanical sys-
ing point but with a more tense logistic flux), the overall logistic tems, simulation and optimization.
cost achieves a significantly lower value. HP
I 81
Oil Refinery | Marcelo Senatore | Technical Marketing | Germany

If eight shutdowns could be

reduced to one, what would
that do for your productivity?

When a German oil renery experienced corrosion problems in its crude oil
distillation column, it turned to Sandvik for the solution. Since pitting and under
deposit corrosion were the reasons behind the short heat exchanger lifetime,
Sandvik suggested replacing the previously used carbon steel tubes with next
generation duplex stainless steel grade Sandvik SAF 2707 HD.

The new tube material was installed in 2006. Inspection after 4 years showed only
slight erosion corrosion. After cleaning, eddy current testing and hydro testing, the
bundle was reinstalled to run for another 4 years.

Reducing the number of shutdowns from 8 to 1 over a 4 year period has increased
plant safety and resulted in big savings in terms of material replacement, manpower
and lost production.


w w w. s m t . s a n d v i k . c o m / o i l re fi n e r y
Select 100 at

Update on designing for

high-fouling liquids
A critical analysis of shell and tube exchanger systems looks
at clean and dirty service performance
J. M. NESTA, Fluor Canada Ltd., Calgary, Alberta, Canada;
and C. A. COUTINHO, Heat Transfer Research, Inc., College Station, Texas

eat exchanger design for high-foul- was regularly used as a proxy. Recent ver- flash points and other parameters that
ing liquid hydrocarbons requires sions of the design software produced by serve to optimize operating and pumping
careful consideration to minimize Heat Transfer Research, Inc. (HTRI) can costs. However, it must be recognized that
the frequency of costly shutdowns. In an provide shear stress as an output value for severe fouling operations require a critical
earlier article, an alternative methodology both tube-side and shell-side flow. This single-phase shear stress to provide ade-
was presented that aimed at achieving a enables engineers to establish an appropri- quate performance. Thus, implicit expenses
critical velocity made possible by a reduced ate relationship between the shear stress for maintenance and loss of performance
amount of excess surface area.1 This was and fouling tendency of particular flu- (for example, increased fired-heater fuel
recommended in lieu of typical fouling ids. The shell-side shear stress estimation cost) must be included in the evaluation
resistances that result in large excess sur- has more uncertainty than the tube-side for the optimum allowable pressure drop.
face areas with lower velocities for the same method. However, it still provides reason- These added maintenance expenses, due to
pressure drop. Here we discuss: able results for baffle cuts of 20%25% poor designs that allow low pressure drops,
Importance of shear stress by control- and baffle spacings of 30%60% of the may completely overwhelm the theoretical
ling the fluid velocity shell diameter.2 savings that can be attained with reduced
Role of allowable pressure drop In the absence of prior testing or field pumping costs.
Fouled performance of low-foul evaluation, the critical shear stress value When designing shell-and-tube heat
designs compared to conventional designs. that mitigates fouling is unknown. Towards exchangers for heavy fouling services, it
Note: The designs outlined involve the this end, an appropriate rule of thumb for is the fouled pressure drop that must be
development of a low-foul exchanger crude oil exchangers is a shear stress of 15 considered. While the pressure drop for the
(as opposed to no-foul). This avoids the Pa20 Pa on both the shell side and tube clean case is easily computed, the fouled
perception that fouling can be completely side. This cutoff value has been chosen pressure drop is often a guess. One way of
eliminated using high-shear stress methods. from experience. Engineers may want to tackling this problem is to use a high-shear
Rather, it is advisable to provide an overde- use the higher value for the most severe ser- stress design that minimizes the difference
sign should fouling occur or accommodate vices, such as the hot end of crude preheat between clean and fouled performance.
future increases in capacity. trains. For shell-side evaluation, only the This reduces the margin of error of the
crossflow shear stress is used. It is recog- pressure drop fouling allowance. Examples
Role of shear stress. Wall shear has nized that shear stress for axial flow over show that fouled pressure drop can be 2 to
now been established as an important the baffle tips will be low, and some foul- 3 times higher than clean pressure drop
parameter to gauge the fouling propensity ing can be expected in this region. Note: for conventional designs. Thus, the task of
of a fluid. Calculating the shear stress at Tube-side value of density times velocity estimating a proper allowance with con-
the inner surface of a tube with fully devel- squared for both liquids and gases should ventional designs for high-fouling services
oped single-phase flow is straightforward. not exceed 8,928 Pa (v2 8,928 Pa) to is quite difficult. The examples also dis-
However, the determination of shear stress prevent erosion at the tube ends unless fer- credit a popular misconception that low-
on the shell side is more uncertain. The rules are used.3 In all designs discussed in foul designs require more pressure drop
flow direction with conventional baffles this article, the value of v2 was maintained than conventional designs. As shown in
varies from cross flow to axial flow, includ- below 8,928 Pa. There is no limit on maxi- Table 1, low-foul designs typically have a
ing a transition region between the two. mum shear for the shell side. lower pressure drop than fouled conven-
At high Reynolds numbers, some of the tional designs.
crossflow pressure drop does not result Role of allowable pressure drop.
from shear stress but from drag. For these Plant designers have reference tables to cal- Different design performance.
reasons, shear-stress calculations in the culate the allowable pressure drop across In general, the fouled performance of
past were cumbersome, and fluid velocity a preheat train based on liquid viscosity, different designs may be simulated if 1)
I 83

TABLE 1. Comparison of lowfoul and conventional designs for clean and fouled cases
Lowfoul based Lowfoul based Conventional with
Evaluation parameter on 15 Pa shear on velocity flow Conventional 10% overdesign
Area, m2 808 811 1,286 1,427
Cost, US$ $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,359,000 $1,474,000
Clean case % Excess () area for fouling 19 19 61 66
Shell side P, kPa 240 175 149 126
v, m/s 0.87 0.60 0.47 0.40
, Pa 1517 1314 910 8
Tube side P, kPa 199 171 146 127
v, m/s 2.43 2.24 1.80 1.61
, Pa 1517 1314 910 8
Fouled case % Excess () area for fouling +3 30 33 40
Shell side P, kPa 240 287 388 412
v, m/s 0.87 0.82 0.84 0.83
, Pa 1517 1415 1416 1416
Tube side P, kPa 239 241 299 311
v, m/s 2.55 2.55 2.51 2.49
, Pa 20 20 20 1921

TABLE 2. Geometry specifications of conventional and low-foul designs dict fouled performance with any sort of
accuracy, but rather to investigate the rela-
Low-foul based Low-foul based Conventional with tive performance of different designs for a
Evaluation parameter on 15 Pa shear on velocity flow Conventional 10% over design given set of assumptions. While the fouling
Area, m2 808 811 1,286 1,427 layer is not likely to evenly coat the tubes,
Number of shells, par series 24 24 24 24 the assumption is adequate for a relative
Shell diameter, mm 650/660* 760 840 880 comparison of fouled performance. The
TEMA type BES BET BET BET four designs evaluated include:
Design 1: A low-foul design based on
Tube length, m 5.2 4.9 6.1 6.1
a critical shear stress of 15 Pa
Tubes/shell 251/255* 274 341 379
Design 2: A low-foul design based
Tube passes 2 2 2 2 on velocity
Tube pitch, mm 31.75 31.75 31.75 31.75 Design 3: A conventional design
Tube angle, deg 90 45 45 45 based on fouling factors and typical allow-
Baffle spacing, mm 190/210/235/235* 200 210 219 able pressure drop
*A variable baffle spacing, shell size and tube count were used for Design 1 (from hot shell to cold shell).
Design 4: A conventional design as
per Design 3, plus a 1.1 multiplier on flow
and duty.
Clean Fouled
The geometries of all designs are avail-
able in Table 2. Design 2 (low-foul based
Shear based v = 2.4 m/s v = 2.6 m/s t = 0.3 mm on velocity) is an actual exchanger in ser-
low-foul design = 16 Pa = 20 Pa
vice and is the low-foul example for the
original article.1 Anecdotal reports indicate
Rf = 0.0004 m2 C W-1 that this exchanger has a run time of three
to four months between cleaning. This is
design with 1.1 v = 1.6 m/s v = 2.5 m/s
t = 2.1 mm a significant improvement in comparison
= 8 Pa = 20 Pa to a conventional design in similar service,
safety factor
which required cleaning every three to four
Rf = 0.0030 m2 C W-1 weeks! When clean, this design has a shear
FIG. 1 Tube side parameters for designs 1 and 4. stress of 7 Pa12 Pa on the shell side and 13
Pa14 Pa on the tube side. Because the field
reports suggest that these shear stresses fall
the fouling is assumed to be asymptotic assuming an asymptotic shear stress and short of that required to eliminate cleaning,
or nearly asymptotic and 2) each design fouling layer thermal conductivity value. A it is assumed that this design had an asymp-
achieves approximately the same shear design is checked for fouled performance totic shear stress of 15 Pa on the tube side
stress at asymptotic conditions. Thus, the by specifying the fouling layer thickness by and 20 Pa on the shell side. A higher rate
fouled performance of various exchangers trial and error until the asymptotic shear was used on the tube side to be direction-
can be simulated using new software by rate is achieved. The intent is not to pre- ally consistent with the conventional foul-
I MAY 2011

ing factor which is higher on the tube side.

Because the conventional design geome-
try is unavailable, two hypothetical designs
are developed for evaluation purposes.
One design (Design 3) uses conventional
fouling factors and an allowable pressure
drop of 150 kPa for each side. The other
conventional design (Design 4) contains
a 10% overdesign. In all simulations, the
smooth-tube friction factor was used for
the clean-design pressure drop, and the
commercial tube friction factor was used
for the fouled-pressure drop. The fouling
layer thermal conductivity was assumed
to be that of asphalt on the hot shell side.
On the cold side, a slightly higher thermal
conductivity was used to account for a cok-
ing type chemical reaction that generally
occurs at the base of the fouling layer. Table
3 summarizes all relevant process data.
Note: Even though the shear stress is
increased from Design 1 to Design 2, the
surface area is nominally similar. This can
be attributed to a change in tube pitch from
45 to 90. The 90-degree layout helped
to increase the shear stress but simultane-
ously decreased the heat transfer coefficient
for a viscous fluid. This anomaly occurs THE SERVOTOUGH LASER 2900
in viscous flow where the shear stress and
heat transfer coefficient diverge for differ- MAXIMISE YOUR COMBUSTION
ent pitch angles and it will be the subject of PROCESS AVAILABILITY WITH THE
future investigation.
Table 1 lists a comparison of the LASER EXPERTS
designs. It is interesting to note that the
fouled performance is inversely propor-
tional to surface area and equipment cost. HIGHLY RELIABLE GAS MEASUREMENTS IN
The fouled heat transfer and pressure drop DEMANDING CONDITIONS THAN SERVOMEX.
worsen as the surface area increases. Con-
With over 50 years experience of gas analysis, we are
ventional designs with extra surface area the rst company to realise the TRUE benets and
do not provide additional safety, but are challenges of using lasers in combustion gas analysis.
worse than the low-foul designs in terms of
heat transfer and cleaning intervals. Merely
increasing the size of an exchanger, without
also increasing the allowable pressure drop COMBUSTION CONTROL: FLUE GAS O2 AND CO
will lower the starting shear stress, and con- PROCESS SAFETY: FLUE GAS CO AND CH4
sequently, increase the fouling layer thick- DENOX SYSTEMS: AMMONIA SLIP NH3
ness at the fouled end of run. This is illus-
trated in Fig. 1, which compares designs
1 and 4. Thus, the surface area dedicated BACKED BY EXPERT SERVICE AND FIELD SUPPORT,
to a fouling and/or safety margin tends to ITS NO WONDER WERE THE NO.1 CHOICE
create a fouling resistance that can render COMPANIES AROUND THE WORLD.
a design inadequate for the fouled case.
Extra surface area hinders a good design FOR MORE INFORMATION, TALK TO THE EXPERTS:
if the excess area comes at the expense of a WWW.COMBUSTION-EXPERT.COM
reasonable shear rate.
These examples point to the allow-
able pressure drop as a vital parameter for
good design in high-fouling applications.
Although the pressure drop for low-foul
designs may be higher than typical values
previously used in the industry, the sce-
Select 169 at

narios shown demonstrate that the design low-foul Design 2 is only marginally better self-fulfilling prophecy, it is advisable to
consideration should be the fouled pres- than the conventional design with respect design exchangers for the pressure drop that
sure drop and not the clean design pressure to duty, there is a greater discrepancy in inevitably arises during fouling services.
drop. As shown in Table 1, the fouled pres- pressure drop from the start-to-end of ser- Lastly, problematic fouling services
sure drop in conventional designs increases vice. This comparison also illustrates that have a dynamic fouling resistance that
rapidly due to fouling, thereby resulting in even though the right critical shear stress (as strongly depends on the starting shear
premature cleaning and loss of duty. in Design 2) is unknown, a low-foul design stress. One must design for service-specific
Fouling. Ultimately, fouling can based on high-shear stress will likely out- shear stresses with a general safety factor to
account for over 60% of the thermal resis- perform a conventional exchanger designed account for accuracy of heat transfer cor-
tance in conventional designs. While the for a low-shear stress. Because fouling is a relations and physical properties. For non-
problematic fouling services, heat exchang-
TABLE 3. Process data sheet ers are typically designed using additive
Shell side Tube side fouling resistances from a table published
Inlet Outlet Inlet Outlet by TEMA. Caution: When using TEMA
Density, kg/m3 859 911 834 810 fouling factors, these values have remained
Thermal conductivity, W/m C 0.064 0.071 0.072 0.068 unchanged since their first publication in
Specific heat, kJ/kg C 2.783 2.495 2.491 2.599
1941. Work is currently underway through
HTRIs Exchanger Design Margin Task
Viscosity, cP 2.996 10.797 2.5 1.704
Force to produce a practical supplement
Surface tension, dyne/cm 18.5 24.1 18.4 16 to the TEMA fouling factors known as the
Operating temperature, C 363 269 235 268 resistance factor method. This method
Fluid RHC residue stripper bottoms Preflashed bitumen aims to combine fluid design based margins
Total flow, kg/h 210,636 615,636 with good design practice.4 It is intended
Operating pressure, kPa 2,800 2,500 to be an ever improving source of infor-
mation, regularly adjusted to garner the
Velocity, m/s 0.6 2.2
knowledge and methods available. HP
*Fouling resistance, m2 C /W 0.00052 0.00120
Film coefficient, W/m2 C 629 1,241
*Designed with no fouling factors and additional ~22% extra surface area. 1 Nesta, J. M. and C. A. Bennett, Reduce
fouling in shell-and-tube heat exchangers,
Hydrocarbon Processing, July 2004, pp. 7782.
2 Bennett, C. A., Tubeside and shellside shear stress for
single-phase flow, F-17, Heat Transfer Research,
Inc., College Station, Texas, 2008.
3 Standards of the Tubular Exchanger Manufacturers
Association, 9th Ed., TEMA, New York, 2007.
4 Kistler, R. S. and R. L. Shilling, Heat Transfer
Research Incorporated, correspondence with
authors, June 7, 2010.

Variable Description
 Fluid density, kg/m3
v Velocity, m/s
 Shear stress, Pa
P Pressure drop, Pa
Rf Fouling resistance, m2 C W1
t Fouling layer thickness, mm

John M. Nesta is a technical director specializing in

heat transfer equipment at Fluor Canada, Ltd. He holds
a BS degree in chemical engineering from the University
of Southern California. His practical experience includes
over 30 years of designing, evaluating and procuring
heat exchangers used in the process industries. Mr.
Nesta is a member of the American Petroleum Institute
committees for heat transfer equipment: Standards
660, 661 and 662.

Cecil A. Coutinho is the fouling researcher at

Heat Transfer Research, Inc. He earned his BS degree in
chemical engineering from the University of Nebraska-
Lincoln and a PhD in chemical engineering from the
University of South Florida. His research focuses on
crude oil fouling and mitigation. He is a member of
the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the
Materials Research Society.

Select 170 at


Is your antifoam compatible

with the amine system?
Several options help minimize operation costs
and mitigate unscheduled shutdowns
Sarkhoon and Qeshm Gas Treating Company, Bandar Abbas, Iran

he specific behavior of antifoam use was studied in a particu- The antifoam injected, chosen with a particular amine solvent, is
lar plant. The goal was to find a solution for applying the dependent on the solvent type, sour-gas composition and hydrocar-
new antifoam for the best compatibility with amine systems. bon condensate level that will be contained in the plant feed.
A gas sweetening unit was installed to remove hydrogen sulfide In normal gas-treating plants recirculation solution circuits,
(H2S) contained in a high-pressure (HP) natural gas stream. The antifoaming additives are intended to act as both antifoams and
solvent used for the H2S removal from the gaseous stream was a 34 defoamers. Antifoam may be added to the solution prior to foaming
wt% diethanolamine (DEA) solution, and the designed plant treat- symptoms, but an inspection will need to determine the response.
ing capacity was 250 million standard cubic feet per day (MMscfd) The injected antifoam eventually disburses throughout the plants
of HP sour gas. Due to bad filtration and an improper antifoam solution inventory to prevent foam generation since the solution
selection, an upset occurred that created foaming at the contactor becomes agitated in the stripping and absorber columns.
tower. Six months after the unit startup, the deferential pressure Fine particulates, such as iron sulfide, play a different role.
of the lean/rich (L/R) exchanger was increased to 4 bar (allowed Iron sulfide tends to form a quasi-polymeric layer in the film
limitation was 0.7 bar). An unplanned shutdown of the sweetening around a bubble. This increases surface viscosity and prevents
plant occurred since cleaning was needed for the L/R amine heat
exchangers. It took maintenance 12 hours to do the turnaround. Plastic lm breaks
The study indicated that the high amount of incompatible
antifoam injection to the system created this problem. Also, a
reaction between the antifoam and sour gas produced a solid- Low surface
like agglomeration particle. At lower amine flowrates, the heat viscosity
exchanger incurred particular sedimentation formed in the heat
exchanger, which caused resistance in the amine flow, thus increas- Gravity
ing the deferential pressure. A glycolic antifoam was substituted for
a silicon-based antifoam and the antifoam injection concentration
Capillary tension
was reduced from 80 wt% to 10 wt%. This solved the sedimenta-
tion issue. The amount of antifoam inhibitor remained about 5
FIG. 1 Unstable foam in uncontaminated liquids.1
ppm in the amine-solution cycle, saving the plant $100,000.

Foaming a major problem. Foaming is caused by changes

in surface chemistry. Chemical contaminants that lower treating Elastic lm encapsulates
solution surface tensions enhance foaming tendency and aerosol
formation. When the surface tension is low, the solution can cre-
ate a very thin film that is elastic in nature and capable of encap-
sulating a gas bubble or forming tiny liquid droplets (aerosols).
When the surface tension is high, the solution cannot form a thin High surface
Gelatinous viscosity
film and will not readily encapsulate a gas bubble or form an aero- layers
sol (Figs. 1 and 2). Antifoams are chemicals designed to prevent
foam formation. The antifoam chosen for a gas plant is generally
done during the engineering-phase. A basic understanding of gas
composition and solvent type to remove acid gas is needed.
Coulombic forces
It is obvious if the selected antifoam is not compatible with the
solvent in applications with a sour-gas treating plant. Typically, there FIG. 2 Stable foam in contaminated liquids.1
will be some unscheduled shutdowns due to an unsuitable selection.
I 87

liquid migration from the bubble wall into the intersection of the synergistic mixtures of hydrophobic liquids and solids. Examples
bubbles. In short, iron sulfide simply retards drainage and thus classified by major constituents include:
stabilizes the foam. A clean amine solution will not form stable Nonpolar oilsminerals and silicones
foam. Contaminants in the feed gas, amine-degradation products, Polar oils, such as fatty alcohols, fatty acids, alkyl amines
fine particulates, and chemical additives that reduce surface ten- and alkyl amides
sion and raise surface viscosity can dramatically enhance foaming Hydrophobic solidstreated silica, aluminum oxide and
tendency and foam stability. polypropylene.
Anything that has destabilizing effects on foam is antifoam. These compounds usually contain additional surfactants to
Efficiency is dependent upon the bulk-solution chemistry, oper- enhance other properties required in the finished blend, sur-
ating conditions and surface active agents (surfactants) creating face wetting, emulsification, particle dispersion or detergency.
the foam. The most productive antifoams have traditionally been A confusing aspect of surfactant applications is that a chemical
compound may have antifoaming properties in one application
but may be used as an emulsion breaker in another.

Complex chemistry problem. The vast formulation library

reflects the complexity of interfacial physical chemistry, and wide-
spread need to control foams. Antifoam recipes are normally
proprietary and are seldom published in detail. Even if the recipes
were published, its extremely difficult, given the state of the art,
to distinguish which components were actually causing the anti-
foaming action at any given time in any particular application.
Result: A trial-and-error application is required.
In many ways, the art of breaking or preventing foam is as
complex as its formation. Certainly, it is a subject that has been
undergoing intense study. There are no hard and fast rules gov-
erning the efficiency of a given antifoam formulation in any
particular application. Each application is based on empirical
FIG. 3 Silicone antifoam.
data, usually bench-level trials. However, there are some physical
and chemical factors consistent among observations made while
studying antifoams, along with their functionalities under differ-
ent conditions. Factors that affect antifoam performance include:
Solubility. Most antifoams exhibit extremely low solubility
in aqueous solutions. For instance, antifoam based on glycolic
acid was provided from another gas plant to replace the current
antifoam. Since the antifoam must be heated before injection, it
was not being dispersed in the amine solvent since there was no
heating system. This resulted in changing the antifoam type.
Droplet size. The entry force required to allow the antifoam
droplet to enter the bubble wall generally increases as antifoam
droplets become smaller.
Presence of hydrophobic solids. Liquid/solid mixtures are
usually more effective than either component used alone.

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E-Mail:, Internet: FIG. 4 Polar antifoam.

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Environmental shear. Some antifoams are inactivated by Repeated exposure to foaming. Repeated exposure to foam-
too much shear. This is usually due to solid/liquid separation and ing eventually exhausts the antifoams ability to inhibit formation.
antifoam droplets being too small to bridge the bubble lamellae. This is probably due to the separation of hydrophobic solids and/
Shear also plays a major role in the differences between dynamic or reduced droplet size. Multiple-shake test experiments have
and equilibrium surface tensions. If the interfacial area increases shown that some antifoams gradually lose their antifoaming ability.
faster than the surfactant molecules can occupy it, the dynamic Competing chemical constituents. Other surface-active
surface tension is higher. Equilibrium surface tension represents chemical constituents have been found to occupy interfacial areas
the fully saturated surfactant film along the interfacial area. The and to reduce the effects of antifoams. This is one reason why
same dynamic affects apply to the antifoaming surfactants ability some antifoams work better in high-shear environments where
to occupy the interfacial area. gas-to-liquid interfaces are constantly being formed, and not so
well when added to exiting foams. Antifoam co-surfactant pres-
ence may also cause inhibition.
Surfactant concentration. Higher surfactant concentrations
tend to reduce antifoam effectiveness by increasing the entry force
necessary to bridge the interfacial film.
Dissolved salt species and concentration. The presence of
high-valance metal ions reduces antifoam effectiveness. Counter-
ions surround the polar ends of the surfactant molecules, reducing
their electrostatic interaction with other surfactant molecules in
the film.
Two antifoam types recommended by gas processing plant
personnel are: silicones, which are mixtures of nonpolar siloxane
oils and hydrophobic silica solids; and glycols or high-molecular
weight alcohols, which are mixtures of polar oils and other high-
molecular-weight surfactants.

FIG. 5 Excess antifoam absorbs iron sulfides formed as a result of Silicone antifoams and excess injection. The most
increasing HSS, which consequently precipitates on an L/R prevalent antifoams in the gas-processing industry are silicones.
amine exchanger.
The majority of these antifoams are composed of siloxane oils
mixed with silica particles in varying concentrations; although
some do not contain silica. Chemically, siloxane oils have long,
hydrophobic R-hydrocarbon groups attached to silicon atoms
that render them insoluble in aqueous solutions. Most silicone
antifoams contain silica particles that are treated to become hydro-
carbons so they remain suspended, preferentially, in silicone oils.
The photomicrograph in Fig. 3 shows a silicone-oil droplet with
suspended silica particles. The droplet appears granular.2
The synergism between the silicone oil and the hydrophobic
silica particles is described as acting like pins, breaking the
surfactant film surface and subsequently reducing the antifoam
droplets entry force requirement.
While the silicone antifoam family has unquestionable anti-
foaming ability, there have been serious concerns with their use
in gas-processing systems. These concerns include tendencies
to exhaust in service and their potential impact on heat transfer
and corrosion inhibitor function due to their surface wetting or
coating tendencies. Premature fouling of mechanical filters and
activated carbon due to surface coating and insolubility have long
been associated with silicone usage in antifoams. Most recently,
mass transfer inhibition has proven to be a concern as well. Sili-
cone antifoams will exhaust in service when the silica particles
separate from the oil fraction. Interestingly, simply adding more
siloxane oil revives the antifoaming ability, and it is not more
costly than simply adding new antifoam.
Overdosing silicone antifoam has gained the reputation of cre-
ating foam. But, in fact, studies show that these antifoams reach
a critical concentration where foaming is not caused; but rather,
they simply fail to inhibit it. At elevated concentrations, the anti-
foam gets tied up in micelle structures in the bulk solution. Once
tied up in micelles, it can no longer spread on the interface, form
lenses and be incorporated in the foams structure.
Select 172 at

Polar oil antifoams. The polar oil family of antifoams com- are formed when the amine reacts with oxygen in the feed gas.
bines electrochemically neutral hydrophilic moieties with long The reaction proceeds at varying rates, depending on concentra-
hydrophobic hydrocarbon groups. These antifoams are formu- tion, temperature and pressure. Primary and secondary amines
lated from, and usually named some variant of polyglycol copoly- are easily oxidized. It takes less organic acid to cause problems in
mer, polypropylene or ethylene block polymer, polyoxyethylene/ a tertiary amine solution because tertiary amines have inherently
oxypropylene esters of C8C30 fatty acids, oxy/ethoxyprpylene lower surface tension.
alcohols, and other non-ionic surfactants. As with silicone oil Organic acids also reduce the effective acid-gas absorption
formulations, insolubility in aqueous solutions is the key prop- capacity of the treating solution by forming heat-stable salts
erty of these antifoams. They are most effective above their cloud (HSSs). These salts are soluble reaction products of organic acids
points. Below their cloud points, some non-ionic surfactants have and functional amine. A buildup of HSS may lead to problems.
caused surfactant films, becoming thicker and more stable due to If left unchecked, the same organic acids that form HSS with
long-range electrostatic repulsion between the monomers. Above the amine solvent can polymerize and form longer-chain organic
their cloud points, they produce insoluble droplets that are incor- acids that cause foaming. Since hydrocarbons are present in feed
porated into the interfacial films similar to other insoluble oils. gas, operators injected more antifoam. Over time, the antifoam
Non-ionic surfactants offer several other properties not found in accumulates in the amine solvent. The excess antifoam is altered
silicone antifoams; the most obvious is the lack of a synergistic solid to an adhesive polymer that contributes to clogging the L/R amine
component. In Fig. 4, the micrograph shows droplets of polyglycol exchanger (Fig. 5).
antifoam in an MDEA solution and the lack of droplet granularity. Fig. 6 shows the antifoam absorbing suspended iron sulfide
This solid fraction eliminates in-situ exhaustion due to separation. particles and foaming large agglomerates in an amine solution
that was sampled from the gas plant. This clearly shows how
Case study. Amine foaming is a complex problem caused by a antifoam droplets can prematurely plug activated carbon beds
combination of chemical contaminants, stabilized by fine particu- and the mechanical filter even if the droplets can pass through
lates, and dependent on physical parameters and process condi- without being absorbed.
tions. To prevent foaming from disrupting gas-plant operations, Since the applied antifoam was not a compatible solution
the causes and the symptoms must be known. Questions to ask with plant operation and to overcome a foaming upset, operators
include: What role does computer simulation play in solving the injected more than the expected amount of antifoam. Data in Table
problem? What role should additives, antifoamants, corrosion 1 illustrates how much antifoam was accumulated in the cycle since
inhibitors and formulated solvents play? How does the selection
and operation of filtration equipment promote or reduce foaming?
A parameter that causes foam is an amine degradation product.
Acidic amine degradation products can be very troublesome. They

TABLE 1. Effect of glycolic antifoam on foaming

of amine contactors
Year Number of foaming occurrences Total injection, liters
2004 382 4,015
2005 250 2,912
2006 95 450

FIG. 7 Accumulated gelatin formation if incorrect antifoam is


250 14
Foam tendency, ml
Foam stability, s 12
Foaming tendency, ml

Foaming stability, s

150 8

100 6

0 0
0.00 1.05 1.22 3.46 4.66 4.95 5.20
HSS, wt %

FIG. 6 Excess antifoam in the amine solvent created an adhesive FIG. 8 HSS vs. foaming tendency and stability.


I 91

the plants commissioning in 2003. Foam formation could have Iron carbonate and iron sulfide are more soluble on the lean
been avoided along with the promotion of foam formation in the side. HSS and/or degradation products will cause iron carbonate
contactor. As a consequence, buildup of glycolic antifoam in the and iron sulfide to become soluble in the lean side of the system.
cycle caused a reaction with oxygen (sometimes accompanied with When the amine is circulated back to the contactor and picks
deionized water). It was necessary to inject the amine solution to up carbon dioxide (CO2) and H2S, the iron carbonate and iron
control the concentration; thus, a fatic acid formation occurred. sulfide will precipitate, leaving the HSS and/or degradation prod-
This increased the HSS amount also causing the number of foam- uct free. This free-complex former is circulated back to the lean
ing occurrences to increase. Unknown impurities such as gelatins side where it picks up more iron. This cycle can repeat over and
can also form due to improper antifoam injection selection (Fig. 7). may cause severe corrosion on the lean side of the amine treating
As HSS concentration increases, more iron sulfides are pro- system. The precipitated iron carbonate and iron sulfide can plug
duced that cause amine foaming. Data collection from the plant trays in the contactor, or form on the plate and frame of the heat
justified this claim, as illustrated in Fig. 8. HSS that causes foam- exchanger, impacting operation as shown in Fig. 9.
ing when the HSS and amino acids enter with the gas or are
produced. Amino acids are well known in making complex com- Foaming effects in an amine contactor. Chemical
pounds with iron. The complexes are formed by the reaction: additives, such as antifoamers and corrosion inhibitors, have a
place in amine plant operation, but they should only be used with
Fe (H 2 O) 6 + 2 + n (anion)  Fe (anion) n (2 - n) + (6 - n) H2 O a thorough understanding of the applied chemistry. Most anti-
where n = 1 to 6. foams are either silicone-based or long-chain alcohols. Corrosion
The reaction shifts toward complexation by increasing the inhibitors can be either inorganic metals or film-forming organic
anion concentration or by increasing the hexaquo-iron ion in compounds. Formulated solvents are based on combinations of
solution. Anions such as thiocyanate, formate and acetatecom- amines or amines with the addition of corrosion inhibitors and/
mon amines in HSS anionsreadily form iron complexes. These or antifoaming agents. A system already full of silicone from lube
complexes cause the dissolution of iron sulfide to shift to the right, oil or an amine formulation usually does not respond well to
providing more irons for complexation. additional silicone.
The antifoam injected into the gas plants amine solvent was
a glycolic-base, a common antifoam that is a long-chain alcohol.
Extreme caution should be exercised with its use. As a result,
incompatibility with the process occurred and operators had to
inject more antifoam than expected to eliminate the foam symp-
toms in the contactor. The antifoam readily undergoes oxidation to
form a long-chain fatty acid. A feed gas containing oxygen can pro-
vide the reactant to oxidize it to a fatty acid. Long-chain alcohols
should be avoided when oxygen is present. Parts per million (ppm)
levels of oxygen can react with the amine to form carboxylic acids.
Carboxylic acids react with functional amine and basic amine
degradation products to form very soluble long-chain organic acids

TABLE 2. Foaming test on glycolic types

Foam tendency, Foam stability,
Antifoam type ml at 69C S at 69C
FIG. 9 Iron sulfide buildup in a heat exchanger caused by excess Type A glycolic antifoam 80 2
Type B glycolic antifoam 330 12
Lean amine DEA as a blank 180 8
Dissolved oxygen in demineralized water
Dissolved oxygen in deionized water, ppm

16 1.6
Dissolved oxygen in amine solution, ppm

TK-301 T-101
14 1.4
12 1.2
10 1.0
8 0.8
6 0.6
4 0.4
2 0.2
0 0.0


FIG. 10 Dissolved oxygen in amine (T-101) and deionized water FIG. 11 Foaming tendency and foam stability test.


or fatty acids. Fatty acids increase liquid hydrocarbon solubility in not reveal composition, thereby making it virtually impossible to
amine solution and also cause severe foaming problems. make informed decisions regarding supplemental additives. Even
During this study, different tests were carried out for measur- mixed amines can be a problem. If the mixture contains MEA
ing the amount of dissolved oxygen in an amine. Treated water and DEA, and the feed gas containing oxygen and organic acids
was used to dilute the amine solution. The results show that the will form readily. If the bulk of the formulation is MDEA, which
source of oxygen reacted with the amine, and that the antifoam is sensitive to small concentrations of organic acids, the solution
was water deionized at about 20 ppm dissolved oxygen based on will likely have a severe foaming problem.
ASTM measurements (Fig. 10). This was also used to wash the Lost-treating capacity is often the net effect of foaming in the
treated gas in the contactor. The oxygen level contained in the feed contactor. The height of the foam increases and the void volume
gas was not measured. inside the vessel decreases. Reduced void volume increases pressure
Corrosion inhibits for the most part and is created by organic drop in the system. As the vapor liquid contact area is reduced
film-forming chemicals. As such, they are surface active and are (filled with foam), the effective mass-transfer zone is reduced and
readily removed by activated carbon until the carbon becomes
saturated. When this happens, the carbon begins to unload and
can rapidly increase the concentration, causing a foaming problem. Different antifoam with different effect

No. of occurring foaming in contactor

1.2 500
Formulated solvents pose a new challenge for the gas-plant No. of foaming occurrence 450
each day

Antifoam injection, cc/hr

operator. The formulations are typically proprietary. Suppliers do 1.0 400
Antifoam injection(cc/hr)
TABLE 3. Laboratory test of different types 0.8
of antifoams 0.6 250
Solvent Foaming height, ml Foaming stability, s 0.4 150
Amine solution at plant 573 15 100
Injection of Type A glycolic antifoam 50
to amine solution 250 11 0.0 0
Antifoam alcoholic Antifoam alcoholic Antifoam silicon
Injection of Type B glycolic antifoam
Type A Type B base
to amine solution 490 > 60
Injection of silicon antifoam FIG. 12 Characteristics of different antifoams on contactor
to amine solution 180 10 operations.

polimeri europa

Select 173 at

M_0495_180x125_Hydrocarbon_Polimeri_Ing.indd 1 HYDROCARBON PROCESSING MAY 201110:36
24/03/11 93

During this step, a sample solution of the amine cycle was

14 taken and the effects of three antifoams on foaming symptoms
No of occurring foaming were evaluated. The parameters, such as foaming stability and
No of foaming in contactor per day

foaming tendency, were recorded and the results are shown in

Injection of
10 antifoam glycolic Table 4. Silicon-based antifoam has a higher efficiency than gly-
type B colic types. The laboratory test confirmed that a silicon-type
8 antifoam is more appropriate for an amine solution; the decision
was to apply it into solvent at the plant. Data gathered from the
6 of antifoam plant proved that, since a silicon base was applied, numbers of
glycolic foam occurrences were drastically reduced, as shown in Tables 3
4 type A
and 4 and Fig. 13.
Injection Using a silicon-based antifoam not only had a higher perfor-
2 of antifoam mance over a glycolic antifoam, but it also could provide the same
silicon base
efficiency with little injection into solution.
The study indicated that a high amount of antifoam injection
into the system created process problems like clogging the L/R
amine exchanger, increasing the number of foaming occurrences in
the contactor, gas-treating instabilities and increased unscheduled
FIG. 13 Trend showing decrease in foam that occurred in the plant shutdowns. It was shown that the reaction between antifoam
contactor. and sour gas, preferentially with oxygen of deionized water, pro-
duced a particle solid-like agglomeration. If the heat exchanger had
TABLE 4. Different types of antifoams field tests a decrease in the amine flowrate due to particular sedimentation,
an increase in deferential pressure also occurred. With a decrease
Number of Time for in the concentration of antifoam injection from 80 wt% to 10
Antifoam foaming Injection at overcoming wt%, this problem along with the amount of antifoam inhibitor
type Test occurrences each step, cc foaming, min
remained about 5 ppm in the amine solution cycle. Selecting a
Glycolic base, Run 1 12 400 15
new antifoam must encompass a deep study for compatibility.
Type A Run 2 10 30 13
Choosing the right antifoam saved the plant about $100,000. HP
Glycolic base, Run 1 8 200 11
Type B Run 2 5 200 10 ACKNOWLEDGMENT
Silicon base Run 1 1 300 5 The authors thank Mr. Saifi and Mr. Nori in their cooperation with field and
Run 2 3 650 8 laboratory testing.
1 Paul, C. R., Gas ConditioningFace the Facts about Amine Foaming,
Chemical Engineering Progress, July 1991.
less acid gas is absorbed. When foaming occurs in the flash tank, it 2 von Phul, S. A. and L. Stern, Antifoam: What is it? How does it work? Why
reduces the surface area from which the gas evolves. Reduced surface do they say to limit its use? Laurence Reid Gas Conditioning Conference,
area prevents the solution from achieving the desired semi-rich load- Norman, Oklahoma, 2001.
ing. Foam prevents gas from immigrating out of the solution. If the
reboiler is at full rate, it may not be possible to achieve specification.
Abolfazl Atash Jameh is the head of process engineering,
a division of engineering and technical services, at the Sarkhoon
Tests and methodology. For this study, a determination and Qeshm Gas Treating Company in Iran. He joined the National
of foaming tendency and resultant foam stability of pure liquid Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) in 1999 and has 10 years of experi-
and mixtures was used in the following procedure. Air is sparged ence in process engineering, modeling and optimization, as well
as troubleshooting gas processing units. Mr. Atash Jameh received an MS degree
through a measured amount of solution at a specified rate for a in chemical engineering from the Sharif University of Technology in 1998 and a
specific period (Fig. 11). The difference between initial and final BS degree in chemical engineering from the Petroleum University of Technology
foam height is measured. When the air stopped, the time required in 1995. He has authored and coauthored more than seven papers in national and
for the foam to collapse was recorded. international conferences.

For measuring the HSS, two methods were used. The first
one used titration, which is a traditional method and would be
Ahmad Zamani Gharaghoosh is the head of technical
efficient to judge the amine behavior. The second method was inspection department at the Sarkhoon & Qeshm Gas Treating
using ion chromatographic, an application that should be taken. Company (SQGC). He joined National Iranian Gas Company ( NIGC)
In 1997.Mr. Zamani Gharaghoosh has more than 11 years of expe-
Appropriate antifoaming effects on amine solvent. rience in gas refinery processes, static equipment inspection, and
risk-based inspection, and is a corrosion specialist at the gas refinery.
Since injecting more glycolic didnt have a suitable effect on the
foaming upset, another glycolic antifoam was applied. This anti-
foam, unfortunately cannot completely disperse in solution. As Saeid Mokhatab is an internationally recognized expert in
shown in Fig. 9, when a Type B glycolic antifoam was used, it the field of natural gas engineering with a particular emphasis
inhibited foaming. However, it needs more time to overcome the on gas transmission, LNG and processing. He has been involved
foaming symptoms as compared to the Type A glycolic antifoam as a technical consultant in several international gas-engineering
projects and published over 150 academic and industry-oriented
that was applied and mostly agglomerated, as shown in Table 2 papers. Mr. Mokhatab is a member of the editorial board for most professional oil and
and Fig. 12. gas engineering journals, and serves on various SPE and ASME technical committees.

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The ultimate path to H2S-free gas

Z. LIU, GTC Technology US, LLC, Houston, Texas; and B. CHIA, GTC Technology, Singapore

Advanced technologies offer Sour gas from either rich amine regeneration or injection, entrained gas in the liquid sulfur is removed
competitive advantages over sour water stripping, or both, is sent to the sulfur- through a degassing pump and then sent to the offgas
traditional methods producing burner after entrained liquid removal. In this incinerator. Liquid sulfur, after gas removal, is sent to
With the desire to maintain a clean environment, burner, based on required oxygen for the reaction, the a sulfur shaping machine by a liquid sulfur transfer
there is an increasing pressure by worldwide environ- air quantity supplied by a blower is strictly controlled. pump, and then sent to autopacking and to a stack-
mental regulatory agencies, as well as petrochemical After burning, all of the organics in the acid gas are ing machine for weighing and packing. Specifications
and refining industries to continue meeting more strin- oxidized. About 65% of H2S from the feed is trans- of solid sulfur obtainable in the new SR process are
gent standards for sulfur emissions from processing formed into sulfur through a thermal Claus reaction. shown in Table 1.
facilities. It is important to understand the various About one-third of the remaining H2S is transformed The Claus tail gas is heated by flue gas from the
sulfur-recovery (SR) methods available and to imple- into SO2 to meet the stoichiometric amount of SO2 offgas incinerator to 300C and sent to the hydro-
ment advanced, reliable and cost-effective technolo- required in the Claus reaction. A small portion of high- genation reactor after mixing with hydrogen. SO2,
gies for SR to ensure continuous and smooth plant temperature process gas from the sulfur-producing S2, COS and CS2 are converted to H2S by reduction
operation. Following are highlights of some of the burner is used to adjust the inlet temperature of the and hydrolysis reaction. The process gas from the
advanced technologies for SR as well as their competi- 1st stage converter via a high-temperature mixing hydrogenation reaction is sent to a steam generator
tive advantages over traditional methods. valve. The majority of high-temperature process gas to generate 0.4 MPaG steam. The temperature of the
is sent to a waste-heat boilerTwo line caption
to produce 1.1 MPaG, tail gas is decreased to 170C and sent to a quench
Traditional SR units. In the refinery pro- 250C superheated steam. The temperature of the column. The tail gas interacts with quench water and
cesses, sulfur is converted to hydrogen sulfide (H2S), process gas is decreased to 350C and then cooled is cooled to 40C. The sour water generated is sent to
which is recovered primarily in amine absorbers to to 160C in the first-stage condenser. Liquid sulfur the sour water stripper.
minimize sulfur emissions to the atmosphere. The rich is separated from the process gas and sent to the The cooled tail gas is sent to the amine absorber.
amine solution is regenerated in an amine regenera- sulfur drum. Lean amine solvent is sent to the top of the amine
tion unit, producing a H2S-rich gas stream that is then Process gas from the first-stage condenser is then absorber to reduce H2S, and rich solvent is sent to the
fed to the SR unit (SRU)the Claus processwhere reheated to 258C by high-temperature process gas solvent stripper for solvent recovery. Offgas from the
the H2S is converted to elemental sulfur. and sent to the first-stage converter to undergo cata- top of the amine absorber is sent to the offgas incin-
The Claus reaction is reversible, with sulfur lytic Claus reaction. Due to exothermic reaction heat, erator. Flue gas is vented at 296C after superheating
vapor and water vapor always present. This prevents process gas from the first-stage converter increases to the inside battery limits (ISBL) generated steam and
H2S conversion from reaching 100%, and thus the 308C and is used to heat up low-temperature process preheating the Claus tail-gas feed before hydroge-
byproductscarbon disulfide (CS2) and carbonyl gas from an outlet of the second-stage condenser. Pro- nation. Acid gas stripped off from the rich solvent is
sulfide (COS)cannot be 100% hydrolyzed. From a cess gas is further cooled to 160C and liquid sulfur is recycled to the sulfur manufacturing burner.
thermodynamic standpoint, lower temperature is more separated and sent to a sulfur drum. Process gas from
favorable to equilibrium conversion. However, this is the second-stage condenser is heated up to 220C
TABLE 1. Solid sulfur specification
restrained by the dew point of sulfur vapors. Due to and sent to the second-stage converter. Process gas
the limitation of chemical equilibrium and reaction from the second-stage converter is sent to the third- Property Unit Specification
temperature, the highest SR in a Claus unit is lower stage condenser. Liquid sulfur is separated and sent
Purity wt % 99.9 (on dry basis)
than 98%. Without further treatment, the remain- to the sulfur drum. The Claus tail-gas is sent to a tail As wt % 0.01
ing H2S in the feed is combusted and emitted to the gas treating section after entrained liquid knockout. Ash wt % 0.03
atmosphere as sulfur dioxide (SO2). This was the case Waste heat from the first, second, and third-stage Acidity (as of H2SO4) wt % 0.003
until 1970, when the first commercial unit was built condensers is recovered to generate 0.4 MPaG satu- Water wt % 2.0
to treat Claus tail gas (TG). rated steam. Liquid sulfur from the sulfur drum flows Organics wt % 0.03
Since then, a number of different TG cleanup to a liquid sulfur pool. After quinoline and nitrogen Fe wt % 0.005
processes have been developed to overcome the
thermodynamic equilibrium of the Claus reaction and
thus, increase the overall SR. Environmental emission
Saturated steam Superheated steam
regulations are becoming tighter and there is increas- Sour gas from amine
ing demand to achieve even higher sulfur removal regeneration and/or
and recovery. sour water stripper
Tail-gas H2S-free gas
Boiler-feed water treating
Integrated Claus and TG treating.
In view of this need, an optimized and integrated flow
scheme combining Claus and tail-gas treating (TGT) Sulfur Sour gas recycle
has been introduced. This new SR process offers lower
capital and operating costs, higher reliability and oper- FIG. 1. Block flow diagram for new SR process.
ability, and a 99.9+% SR efficiency.1


I S-97

10% Turndown in normal operation may be as low

5% as 15%
Hig Amine/Claus/TGT Hydrogen source flexibility within most refiner-
O 10 ies and petrochemical complexes.
2 an 0t
du pd
1% nc su
on lfu
H4S concentration

ven r SR application. SR from high-pressure sour

5,000 ppm tio
na natural gas streams with medium amounts of sul-
Non-aqueous solution ap fur has historically been a challenge for the industry.
p lic
25 ati Conventional treatment using the amine/Claus/TGT
1,000 ppm (all applications) t pd on
su methods is capital intensive and mostly favored for
500 ppm lfu
5t r large units. Other systems, on the other hand, were
0.1 1t pd
tpd pd su primarily developed for low-pressure applications.
su su lfu
Scavenging lfu lfu r A non-aqueous process has been developed spe-
100 ppm r r
cifically for the treatment of high-pressure sour natural
gas in medium-sized sulfur applications, with produced
1,000 5,000 10,000 50,000 100,000 1,000,000
Gas owrate, m3/hr sulfur in the range of 0.1 tpd to 30 tpd.2 Fig. 2 indicates
the application range of this non-aqueous technology.
FIG. 2. Application range of non-aqueous technology.
The non-aqueous solution has a high solubility for
elemental sulfur. Because the elemental sulfur stays
dissolved in the solution, there are no solids in the
Sweet gas liquid circulated to the absorber. By design, the solu-
tion avoids the problems that make the aqueous sulfur
Lean solution recovery systems unsuitable for direct treatment of
high-pressure gas.
Absorber Flash gas
With this process, H2S is removed from the sour
Heated SO2 gas in a conventional absorber tower. The H2S reacts
Sour gas Flash Slurry surge tank with dissolved SO2 to produce elemental sulfur, which
vessel tank
remains in solution. HP

Extended version avaiable online at

Sulfur lter
system NOTES
1 GTC Technology in alliance with Shandong
Scraped surface
crystallizer Sulfur
SunwaySulfur Recovery Technology
2 GTC Technology, in alliance with CrystaTech
FIG. 3. Non-aqueous solution technology flow scheme. CrystaSulf technology

In the new SR process, there is only the sulfur species. The internal-cooling mixing valve controls the
Zhepeng Liu is project manager
manufacturing burner and offgas incinerator consum- surface temperature under the critical temperature in the technology department at GTC
ing fuel gas. The inline burner to generate reducing gas of corrosion. This equipment has been used for more Technology US, LLC, in Houston,
for Claus tail-gas hydrogenation is eliminated. This than six years of continuous operations, demonstrating Texas. He has over 15 years experi-
ence in the refining and petrochemi-
results in less equipment and fewer controlling loops proven reliability for long-term operation.
cal industry and is a specialist in aromatics and deriva-
than those of similar processes. The process not only The sulfur manufacturing combustion chamber tives production processes. Mr. Lius background covers
maintains a high SR rate, but also avoids high costs for is another key piece of equipment in this process. It the fields of catalyst/process development, process engi-
energy consumption, investment and operation. The is constructed with corundum-mullite bricks, which neering design, commissioning/startup, operation/opti-
mization, technical services and project management.
amount of emission vent gas is also reduced. Some have been used in continuous operation for more than
Before joining GTC in 2004, he worked for Sinopec
similar processes use steam or electricity to heat up 10 years without major maintenance. For catalysts, SRIPT, UOP and Shanghai SECCO.
process gas as a means to reduce emissions. How- the process uses a self-developed high-performance
ever, outside battery limits (OSBL) cost on steam and catalysts for both catalytic Claus and tail-gas hydro-
electricity generation cannot be omitted by doing this. genation applications. In addition, the process has Beitian Shermaine Chia
Through flow scheme optimization and inside battery demonstrated the several competitive advantages is a technical sales engineer at
limits (ISBL) heat integration, this process consumes over the similarities: GTC Technologys Singapore office.
the least energy compared with similar processes, thus H2S concentration in acid-gas feed may range She joined GTC in June 2008 and
making it the most environmentally friendly method. from 30% to 97% is actively involved in commercial
In terms of equipment, it utilizes a high-temper- Ammonia over H2S ratio in feed gas may vary activities involving licensing support and proposal
ature mixing valve, which is critical to this process. At up to 0.42 preparation. Ms. Chia graduated from the Nanyang
temperatures above 1,200C and in a strong reducing Single-train capability from 4 tons to 340 tons Technological University with a BS degree in engineer-
environment, any metal will be corroded by sulfur of sulfur ing (chemical and biomolecular engineering).


SilcoTek coatings improve system

SilcoTeks coating technology allows customers to improve the performance of
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sulfur and H2S sampling. For nearly 25 years the Scientists, Engineers and Techni- A corrosion resistant coating that increases the lifetime of system components
cians at SilcoTek have been offering innovative coating solutions to petrochemical, by improving corrosion resistance by 10x or more.
refinery, oil and gas customers. SilcoTeks CVD technology bonds an inert silicon
layer into the surface of stainless steel and other alloys, preventing active com-
pounds like H2S, mercaptan, ammonia, sulfur and mercury species from interacting A non-stick coating designed to reduce the onset of carbon coking and fouling
with fluid pathways or components. SilcoTeks inert coatings have revolutionized on stainless steel by 8x.
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SilcoTeks patented coating technologies include: vacuum systems.
SilcoTek is dedicated to offering upstream and downstream oil and gas cus-
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I S-99
UV/Vis and
ess engine
seeks high er
spectropho ce
tometer fo
long-term r
Must be co nt.
mpact, rug
and measu ge
re multiple d
ts simultan

Put AMETEKs new IPS-4 on the job.

High performance, low maintenance
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up to eight at once. With an IP-65-compliant housing and a 2-year-life
lamp, the IPS-4 needs no annual maintenance. So its perfect for outdoors,
next to inaccessible areas along your process.
Just 31 inches wide, the IPS-4 is packed with features including 22-key keypad, analog
signal output, 3 digital signal ports, high-speed Ethernet port, plug-and-play/web-based
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AMETEKs entire family of spectrophotometer-based analyzers is proven in applications
from chemicals and petrochemicals to pharmaceuticals, food and metals processing.
To learn more call 412-828-9040 or visit our web site.
Select 56 at

AMETEK offers extended capabilities

for sulfur measurement and analysis
For decades AMETEK has provided hydrocarbon processors and sulfur recovery
operators with a broad line of instruments specifically designed for process mea-
surement and analysis. The recent addition of Asoma Instruments to its Process
Instruments group has extended the companys capabilities even further, especially
in the realm of helping processors meet emerging ultra-low sulfur content regula-
tions. AMETEKs line now includes instruments for:
feed gas process control
residual H2S measurement
continuous SO2 emissions monitoring
tail gas and pit gas measurement and analysis
tail gas treating unit analysis
H2S, H2 and HC in natural gas
ultra-low-S measurement in fuels
S and Cl in diesel, gasoline, crude oil, bunker fuel,
other petroleum distillates
S in high-temperature, high-pressure, viscous fluids
like residual and crude oils.
Designed to measure viscous hydrocarbon in crude lines, pipelines, terminals,
Single- and Multi-Gas Analyzers. AMETEK makes a range of and blending operations, the Asoma 682T-HP can help meet emerging lower-sulfur-
gas analyzers capable of measuring SO2, H2S, and other species with high accu- content regulations. Its faster, more sensitive and more compact than previous
racy. The Model 880-NSL tail gas analyzer has become an industry standard for models, and it provides continuous, reliable detection of sulfur at pressures up
online analysis of tail gas in SRUs. The robust Model 920 allows multi-range SO2 to 800 psig. It can operate as a stand-alone analyzer or be tied to plant-wide
analysis, with virtually no H2O or CO2 interference, while the Model 932 multigas automation systems to provide real-time strategic measurements. Analysis range
H2S analyzer uses a sophisticated UV-VIS photometer to measure up to five gas for sulfur is 0.04%6.0%.
species in applications ranging from feed gas analysis and reaction rate monitoring
to impurity detection and quality assurance monitoring. Experience Makes the Difference. An installed base of more
than 2,000 analyzers and 45 years of quality performance make AMETEK the first
Benchtop ED-XRF Analyzer. The Phoenix II, a polarized Energy choice for hydrocarbon processing and sulfur recovery professionals. Serving the
Dispersive-X-Ray Fluorescent (ED-XRF) benchtop analyzer, offers extreme simplicity industry with solutions that lastthats AMETEK Process Instruments.
of operation in a low-cost, compact design. Ideal for elemental analysis of liquids, Ask us about operator training, too.
solids, pastes, slurries and powders, this ED-XRF spectrometer can operate in the
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its advanced enough for even the most experienced user, with a Low S version
capable of detecting less than 1 ppm sulfur in fuels. Predefined, factory-calibrated
application packages conform to industry, national and international standards; no
need for time-consuming onsite method creation and calibration.

682T-HP. The Model 682T-HP is designed for analysis of sulfur in highly viscous Contact information
hydrocarbons such as residual and crude oils. This highly sensitive unit easily handles Phone: 412/828-9040
high-sample pressures and situations where fouling of flow-cell windows with E-mail:
paraffin or similar substances can occur. Web-site:


I S-101
Foster Wheeler Acquires
Sulfur Recovery Technology
This addition to our technology portfolio enhances our ability to help you
reach peak operating and environmental performance.

Find out more at

Select 75 at

Peak operating, environmental performance

with Sulfur Recovery Technology
Sulfur Recovery Technology
Foster Wheelers newly acquired sulfur recovery technology brings clear advan-
tages to our refinery customers. The technology provides a smaller footprint, as
well as cost-effective designs with enhanced operability features. Included in the
proprietary technology is a Claus unit burner that is capable of destroying ammonia
up to 25 mole % in the SRU feed, and providing low level oxygen enrichment up
to 28 mole %. The units typically deliver overall sulfur recovery efficiencies rang-
ing from 96% to 99.95% and higher, whereas efficiencies of other sulfur removal
technology, for Claus type units, trend a bit lower.

Our Expertise
Our personnel employed at the new Foster Wheeler Salt Lake City office are
knowledgeable in the design of SRU units, including Claus units, tail gas treating
units and tail gas incinerators. Our sulfur expertise also includes sulfur storage, sul-
fur degassing, sulfur pit vent disposition, sour liquid or gas amine absorbers, amine 3 Catalytic Reactor Beds 200LTPD Sulfur Recovery Unit
regenerators, sour water strippers, sulfur condensers, and waste heat boilers. Other
areas of proficiency include hazardous waste incineration, natural gas processing,
and general refinery units.

Our Scope of Work

Coupled with the small footprint, our design offers reduced piping runs that
are completely free draining. Lower corrosion and reduced pressure drop are clear
benefits from the reduced pipe routing, which also results in lower Capex and
enhanced operability and maintenance.
Furthermore, all sulfur condenser passesexcept the final passare typically
routed through a single shell, based on unit capacity. We have also successfully
designed units in which the thermal reactor waste heat boiler was also included
with the sulfur condenser, in a single shell. The mechanical expertise required for
reliable and safe design of the waste heat boiler and sulfur condenser tubesheets,
as well as the partitioning of the condenser passes in the boiler plenums, has been Tail Gas Catalytic Reactor 200LTPD Tail Gas Treating Unit
developed through many years of experience. Steam pressures ranging from 50 psig
to 600 psig are available, and each plant is designed to be self-sustaining in steam
usage during normal operation. These proven, innovative designs help to set our
technology apart from the rest.

Global Reach
Our sulfur technology is currently operating all over the world, including North Contact information
America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Currently, we are performing basic Foster Wheeler USA
engineering of sulfur recovery units for four refineries in South America, each with 10876 S River Front Parkway, Suite 250
an MDEA amine tail gas treating unit followed by tail gas incineration. South Jordan, UT 84095
In addition to our sulfur recovery technology, Foster Wheeler also has heavy Phone: 801 382 6900
oil conversion technologies including delayed coking, and full EPC capabilities. We Fax: 801 382 6901
are also known in the chemicals, petrochemicals and polymers market. From con- Email:
sultancy and small process unit revamps to large integrated grass root complexes,
we deliver comprehensive solutions that meet your requirements.
We are truly a global engineering and construction contractor, and power 585 N. Dairy Ashford
equipment supplier adding value with technically advanced services, reliable facili- Houston, Texas 77079
ties and equipment. Phone: (713) 929-5500
Fax: (713) 929-5170
Reach your peak operating and environmental Email:
performance with Foster Wheeler Sulfur Recovery


I S-103
Worlds Leader in Sulphur Technologies & Gas
Processing With Advanced Sulphur Management
We are committed to creating value for our customers. With over
60 years of experience in advanced technolgies, we can provide
cost effective solutions through all phases of a project.

Sulphur Technologies
Conventional Claus
Ammonia & Contaminant Destruction Claus
Selectox/Recycle Selectox Lean Acid Gases
Oxygen Enrichment Technology
Sulphur Degassing Internal & External Technologies
Sub Dew Point Process - Up to 99.5% Recovery
Beavon Sulphur Removal (BSR)
New Technologies

t Concept Development t Construction
t Feasibility Studies t Construction Management
t Front-End Engineering t Start-up
t Site Selection t Training
t Detailed Design t Operations Support
t Engineering t Optimization &
t Procurement Maintenance
t Program Management

tail gas treaters
sulphur recovery
gas plants with 250
units BSCFD of gas processed

For more information, contact Select 72 at

Unrivalled experience in
total sulphur management
WorleyParsons is a leading global provider of professional services to the
resources & energy sectors and complex process industries. Our services cover the
full asset spectrum both in size and life cyclefrom the creation of new assets to
services that sustain and enhance operation assets.
Across our comprehensive global network of 32,900 employees in over 41
countries, our four customer sector groupsHydrocarbons, Power, Mineral & Met-
als, Infrastructure and Environmentuse their extensive expertise to deliver small
studies through to mega-projects.

Total Sulphur Management. WorleyParsons has the unrivalled

ability to address all sulphur removal and handling issues across all industry sectors.
In whichever industry sector you operateoil, gas, upstream, downstream, minerals
and metals or power generationand whatever your sulphur related problem
environmental protection, sulphur removal, smelter offgas cleaning, sulphuric acid
production, safe sulphur handling and storageWorleyParsons has the answer. Consolidated sulphur terminal at Vancouver Wharves. Receiving,
storage and ship loading (160,000 tonne storage).
Sulphur removal and management have long been core services in which
WorleyParsons is recognized as a world leader, servicing the resources and energy
sectors on large and small projects. Our expertise has been built up over many years sulphur is carried out by reacting a reducing gas with recycled sulphur to produce
and covers all major aspects of sulphur management, providing a unique total sul- a stream containing hydrogen sulfide that may be reacted with the gas stream that
phur management capability. In the early stages of development, our Select team contains sulphur dioxide. Gas streams with a molar concentration of sulphur dioxide
assists asset owners to identify the critical steps and decision points that maximize from 1% to 100% may be processed to achieve nearly 100% recovery efficiency,
the value of their sulphur management project. and at a significantly reduced operating cost.
WorleyParsons understands what it takes to create and implement a successful RCTI (Rameshni Catalytic Tail Gas Incineration): RCTI is a new
development and our team of global sulphur experts provide quality expertise in Claus Tail gas process that replaces conventional BSR/amine type (patent pending,
environmental assessment, technology selection, infrastructure requirements, and Feb. 2008). It uses TGU low temperature catalyst and a selective direct oxidation
safety considerations. Total Sulphur Management project opportunities can be catalyst. The gas leaving RCTI can go to the incinerator or other units for process-
developed using EcoNomics, which assists our customers in adopting a broader ing SO2. This process eliminates NG consumption from conventional RGG by using
view of the impacts of their operations and incorporates financial, social and an indirect heater and reducing fuel gas consumption in the incinerator.
environmental risk into their project decisions to deliver optimized and profitable RSC-D (Rameshni Sulphur Collection-Degassing): RSC-D is a
solutions. This initiative delivers projects that are future-proofed with improved risk method for collection of liquid sulphur by using a liquid jet pump or eductor and
management for our customers. by pumping the sulphur to a storage vessel and using a portion of liquid sulphur as
a jet or eductor motive fluid compromising the new invention. The new invention
Sulphur Recovery Technology. WorleyParsons is a world leader in eliminates the gravity flow constrains and plugging problems. In addition, the new
sulphur recovery technology, with a track record extending over 60 years. We have invention provides entrainment and enough agitation in the liquid sulphur where
designed and built more than 550 sulphur plants, more than 120 BSR tail gas units, simultaneously degassing occurs in the new method of sulphur collection system.
and more than 66 sulphur plants to oxygen enrichment accounting for more than Ammonia Burning in Tail Gas Treating Unit RAC (Rameshni
60% of the world sulphur production. Our sulphur recovery experience includes Ammonia Combustion): The RAC process consists of ammonia destruction in
projects from the North Slope of Alaska, Asia, Africa, the Americas, and deserts of the a Claus Tail gas treating unit, providing less demand on selling ammonia and limited
Middle East. We have also designed and constructed over 400 gas processing plants capacity to burn in sulphur plants. This has been developed to process additional
throughout the world that correspond to a total capacity of over 300 billion SCFD. ammonia beyond sulphur capability and replace natural gas consumption in the
We offer unrivalled experience in the design, engineering, commissioning and Claus Tail Gas Treating Unit to support GHGs and reduce CO2 emission.
support of sulphur recovery plants. WorleyParsons currently offers more than ten
sulphur recovery processes itself and in conjunction with its partners, such as Linde/
BOC. These technologies include standard and oxygen-enriched Claus technology,
tail gas treating technology, and sulphur degassing and are able to meet the most
stringent environmental standards. WorleyParsons expertise has been maintained
and developed by building plants throughout the world using our leading-edge Contact information
designs and know how. Mahin Rameshni
Vice President and Global Manager, Sulphur Technology and Gas Processing
Advanced New Technologies and Greenhouse Gases Phone: +1 626-803-9058
Greenhouse Gases and Sulphur Technology RSR (Rameshni SO2
Production): Reduction of the gas stream containing sulphur dioxide to elemental


I S-105
Select 88 at

Review unit-wide impacts

on closed-drain drums
API 521 standard helps decipher the correct
operating pressure for this system
R. MUKHOPADHYAY, Consultant, Bangkok, Thailand

losed-drain drums are generally sibility in the drum, there may be another TOTALS GS-EP-SAF-228 (liquid
intended to receive hydrocarbon- source of over-pressure as well. drainage) states: The design pressure of
drained liquids from various Since these drums handle hydrocarbon the closed-drain drum shall be 3.5 barg or
upstream sources. These drains may be liquid/vapor mixture and are operating at more, in line with API RP 521, to provide
maintenance drains, continuous-process pressure slightly above atmosphere, there minimum resistance to an internal explo-
drains and open-hazardous drains from is a chance of air ingress to the drum in sion. All facilities connected to a closed
drip pans. The vent line of this vessel type some circumstances (shutdown or other drain drum shall be designed at no less
is normally routed to the low-pressure (LP) instances of inbreathing/pump-out, etc.), than the design pressure of the closed-drain
cold vent headerultimately culminating potentially inducing an explosion inside drum. This is an open-ended statement,
into a LP cold vent tip. Liquid from the the drum. Vessels need to be strong enough stating 3.5 barg or more. How much more
drum is removed periodically. The drum to withstand such overpressure from the pressure is not concluded. What is the
inbreathes during pumping out and out internal explosion. Note, in many cases, method used to arrive at this pressure?
breathes during liquid inflow through the the LP vent header is not generally purged
vent line on top. to prevent air ingress. Reasons are to mini- Shells DEP (pressure
mize waste of hydrocarbon/nitrogen and relief, flare and vent system design), Sec-
Design pressure. The question is what green house gas emissions. Hence, the tion - states: The knockout drum
should the design pressure be without any designer may need to rethink the vessels shall be designed as an ASME pressure ves-
liquid seal at the vapor outlet to prevent design pressure. The explosion overpres- sel with a design pressure of at least 3.5 bar
air ingress? To a process designer, a sim- sure from such a potential internal explo- (ga) (50 psig). If no seal vessel is used, the
ple design is very straight forward. The sion (deflagration) becomes a key point in design pressure shall be at least 7 bar (ga)
process designer will consider gas blow- correctly assigning the design pressure of (100 psig). The minimum design pressure
by scenarios from upstream contributory such drums. of 7 bar (ga) (100 psig) is specified for flare
inlet streams and design the vent line of In the past, simulations of explosion knockout vessels so that the vessel will
the closed-drain drum, sufficiently large to scenarios using sophisticated software for safely withstand the overpressures from an
cater for the largest inflow rate either from limited volume (30-m cloud) had been internal deflagration (i.e., flashback).
non-continuous maintenance drains or the done (Fig. 1). These calculations used
liquid rate from continuous drains com- unconfined-explosion models. Maximum BP RP-44-1 also mentions a minimum
ing through restriction orifices (provided over-pressure generated in unconfined design pressure of 7 barg.
for preventing blow-by scenarios). This explosions is 2.53.0 barg or 40 psi.
would prevent the overpressure genera- This result is extended to arrive at the API-521, Section, states:
tion by allowing adequate out breathing extent of over-pressure, suitable for the Most knockout drums and seal drums
facility in case of large inlet flow to the lower bound of the entire range. Instead of are operating at relatively low pressures.
drum. Based on this simplistic concept, the using any arbitrary number in the hydro- To ensure sound construction, a minimum
design pressure of an open-to-atmosphere carbon processing industry, the number design gauge pressure of 345 kPa (50 psi)
drum system is set at 3.5 barg = 50 psig, as tends to fit the minimum design pressure is suggested for knockout drums in sub-
per standard practice. of such low-pressure atmospheric vessels sonic flare or other low-pressure applica-
However, most process designers may (non-purged, non-sealed on vapor side) tions. A vessel with a design gauge pressure
not be able to explain why a 50-psig design at a minimum 3.5 barg. This is based on of 345 kPa (50 psi) should not rupture
pressure was chosen. Why not another the results predicted from mathematical if a deflagration occurs. Stoichiometric
number? To find an answer to why 50 modeling/simulation from an explosion hydrocarbon-air mixtures can produce
psig was chosen, you have to remember scenario. Following are specific company peak explosion pressures on the order of
that, apart from inlet streams coming from standard requirements regarding design seven to eight times the absolute operating
upstream and creating overpressure pos- pressure of closed-drain drums: pressure. Most subsonic-flare seal drums
I 107

operate in the range of gauge pressure that the vessel would not rupture under These higher design pressure range
from 0 kPa to 34 kPa (0 psi to 50 psi). deflagrations. However, based on the drum values can be justified by the API 521 inter-
Seven to eight times the absolute work- operating pressure, the explosion overpres- pretation, from a mechanical design point
ing pressure gives the range of explosion sure can go up to 137.9 psi (9.5 barg) in of view of carbon steel, which is the most
overpressure in such drums as: (0+14.7)* 7 commonly known cases. Hence, you cant commonly used material for such vessels.
psi to (5+14.7) *7; i.e., 102.9 psi 137.9 always stick to a single design pressure value Lets look at API 69 (latest edition) clauses
psi or 7 barg 9.5 barg for most of the of 50 psig (3.5 barg) for all atmospheric to find a relationship. NFPA 69 has taken
subsonic flare seal drums/vent knock-out drums. Along with a design pressure arrived it a step further to define two different
drums (KODs)unpurged/unsealed at based on purely process considerations, acceptability criteria with respect to vessel
atmospheric closed drain drums. Analyzing an internal explosion overpressure might deformation/failure that is: 1) Design pres-
the API 521 standard, starting from a mini- become significant if the possibility of such sure for a scenario where explosion causes
mum 50 psi design gauge pressure, it states deflagration exists. vessel deformation, but no rupture occurs
and 2) Design pressure for a scenario where
explosion causes no vessel deformation.
Obviously, vessels designed for the
second scenario will require higher design
pressure (may be higher plate thickness).
Some clients prefer design 1, but others
prefer design 2. Once the design criteria is
established and in line with the NFPA
the design matches harmoniously with
the API-521 interpretation of two design
pressure ranges: minimum 3.5 barg and
the higher side up to 9.5 bar. This depends
on the drums observed operating pressure.
ASME has a method of calculating defla-
gration containment design pressure for
vessels as per Section VIII, Division 1, of
the Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code.
ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code
defines two terms to explain the previously
mentioned no rupture and no defor-
mation concepts. It defines the ratio of
ultimate stress and enclosure material
allowable stress as a dimensionless entity
symbolized by Fu. It also defines the ratio
of yield stress and enclosure material
allowable stress as another dimensionless
entity symbolized by Fy . Fu corresponds to
the no rupture but deformation concept,
whereas Fy corresponds to the no deforma-
tion concept.
Fu = 60,000/20,000 = 3.00; carbon steel
plate; SA-516 60 K02100; Temperature <
Fy = 32,000/20,000 = 1.6; carbon steel
p; SA-516 60 K02100; Temperature <
The following excerpt illustrated in
Table 1 from ASME Section II, Part D,
to justify the values mentioned previously.
Line 22 values from Table 1 are relevant for
this case of Fu and Fy (60,000, 32,000 and
20,000). Using the concepts of NFPA 69s
standing and following mentioned clauses,
the intended range of deflagration design
pressures of 3.5 barg to 9.5 barg can be
established and verified. Relevant clauses
from NFPA 69 are defined:
13.3.4* Given an initial pressure and
dimensionless pressure ratio for the poten-
Select 174 at

TABLE 1. Allowable stress (ksi), ASME Section II, Part D, USC Units
Alloy Min. tensile Min. yield External Max.
Line Nominal Product Spec. Type/ design/Units P- Group strength, strength, pressure use
no. composition form No. grade No. No. No. ksi ksi chart No. temp. Notes < 100F < 150F < 200F < 250F
21 Carbon steel Plate SA-515 60 K02401 1 1 60 32 CS-2 1,000 G13,T3 21.3 20 19.5 19.2
22 Carbon steel Plate SA-516 60 K02100 1 1 60 32 CS-2 1,000 G13,T3 21.3 20 19.5 19.2
23 Carbon steel Plate SA-283 D K02702 1 1 60 33 CS-2 700 22.0 20.7 20.2 19.8

tial deflagration, Pmawp shall be selected 4.0 0.40

based on the following conditions as
3.5 0.35 50

Explosion overpressure, MPa

defined by Eqs. 1 and 2:

Explosion overpressure, bar

Explosion overpressure, psi

Permanent deformation, but not rup- 3.0 0.30 30-m cloudCFD Simulation A
ture, of the enclosure can be accepted. 30-m cloudCFD Simulation B
2.5 0.25 Design pressuretime curve No. 3
Pmawp [R(Pi =14.7)-14.7]/(23 Fu ) (1) 2.0 0.20 30
Permanent deformation of the enclosure
cannot be accepted. 1.5 0.15 20
Pmawp [R(Pi =14.7) -14.7]/(23 Fy ) (2) 1.0 0.10
where: 10
0.5 0.5
Pmawp = enclosure design pressure (psig) 0.0 0.00 0
according to ASME Boiler and Pressure Ves- 0.00 0.10 0.20 0.30 0.40 0.50 0.60 0.70 0.80 0.90 1.00
sel Code Time, seconds
R = dimensionless pressure ratio FIG. 1 345-kPa (50-psig) design pressure-time curve and typical model calculations.
Pi = maximum initial pressure at which
combustible atmosphere exists (psig)
Fu = ratio of ultimate stress of the enclo- 13.3.5 The presence of any pressure Using the previously stated concepts of
sure to the allowable stress of the enclosure relief device on the system shall not cause permanent deformation acceptable and
according to ASME Boiler and Pressure Ves- the design pressure calculated by the meth- permanent deformation not acceptable
sel Code. ods of 13.3.4 to be reduced. and the concepts of ultimate tensile stress,
Fy = ratio of the yield stress of the enclo- 13.3.6* The maximum initial pressure for yield stress and allowable stress of the mate-
sure to the allowable stress of the materials positive pressure systems shall be as follows: rial of construction (usually carbon steel
of construction of the enclosure according For positive pressure systems that material) with the proper number crunch-
to ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code. handle gases and liquids, the maximum ing, the following calculation support is:* The dimensionless ratio, R, initial pressure, Pi, shall be the maximum Permanent deformation acceptable.
is the ratio of the maximum deflagration initial pressure at which a combustible R = 9 per NFPA 69 for most gas and
pressure, in absolute pressure units, to the atmosphere is able to exist, but a pressure air mixtures
maximum initial pressure, in consistent not higher than the setting of the pressure Pi = 0.0 psig (Assuming Atmospheric
absolute pressure units. relief device plus its accumulation. conditions) For use as a practical design For positive pressure systems that Fu = 60,000/20,000 = 3.00 for carbon
basis (since optimum conditions seldom exist handle dusts, the maximum initial pres- steel plate SA-516 60 K02100 temperature
in industrial equipment), the value of R is: sure shall be the greater of the following < 150F
For most gas and air mixtures, the two pressure values: Pmawp [9 * (14.7 + 0.0) 14.7] / [(2/3)
value of R shall be 9 Maximum possible discharge pres- * (60,000/20,000)]
For St-1 and St-2 dustair mixtures, sure of the compressor or blower that is Pmawp 58.8 psig for vessel operating @
the value of R shall be 11 suspending or transporting the material 0.0 psig (59.25 for 0.1 psig)
For St-3 dustair mixtures, the value Setting of the pressure-relief device Matches perfectly with NIOSHs design
of R shall be 13 on the vessel being protected plus its accu- pressure vs. time curve (Fig. 1). A value for R other than the mulation Pmawp 283.8 psig for vessel operating
values specified in shall be permit- For gravity discharge of dusts, the @ 50 psig
ted to be used if such value can be substan- maximum initial pressure shall be the atmo- Pmawp 81.3 psig for vessel operating
tiated by test data or calculations. spheric gauge pressure (0.0 bar or 0.0 psi). @ 5 psig. For operating temperatures 13.3.7 For systems operating under The hydrocarbon processing industry
below 25C (77F), the value of R shall be vacuum, the maximum initial pressure shall appears to have accepted 50 psig as the
calculated for use in Eqs. 1 and 2: not be less than atmospheric gauge pressure design pressure for vessels operating at or
R = R [298 / (273+Ti )] (3) (0.0 bar or 0.0 psi). near atmospheric pressure. The case valid
where: 13.3.8 Auxiliary equipment such as for permanent deformation accepted but
R = deflagration ratio adjusted for vent systems, man ways, fittings and other no rupture, in case of internal explosion. R
operating temperature openings into the enclosure, which could = 9 given in NFPA for HC. A value of R
R = maximum deflagration ratio for the also experience deflagration pressures, shall = 7.8 would give Pmawp= 50 psig. The value
mixture measured at 25C (77F) be designed to ensure integrity of the total of R = 7.8 is in perfect agreement with the
Ti = operating temperature (C) system and shall be inspected periodically. statement in API 521 that stoichiometric
I 109

hydrocarbon-air mixture can produce < 150F permanent deformation cannot be accepted
peak explosion overpressure on the order Pmawp [9 * (14.7+0.1) 14.7] / [(2/3) in case of internal explosion.
of seven to eight times the absolute operat- * (32,000/20,000)] Usually, after an event like an internal
ing pressure. Pmawp 110.25 psig for vessel operating explosion, the vessel integrity would be in
Permanent deformation not accept- @ 0.0 psig (111.1 for 0.1 psig) question and calls for replacement. How-
able (preferred by some clients): Pmawp 532.13 psig for vessel operating ever, some clients prefer to have design
R = 9 per NFPA 69 for most gas and @ 50 psig pressure like this. Hence, for the design
air mixtures Pmawp 153.4 psig (10.6 barg) for vessel concept of the permanent deformation
Pi = 0.0 psig (assuming atmospheric operating @ 5.0 psig; R = 9.0 not acceptable case, the design pressure
conditions) Pmawp 131.4 psig (9.0 barg) for vessel of closed-drain drum can be in the range
Fy = 32,000/20,000 = 1.6 for carbon operating @ 5.0 psig; R = 7.8 of 9-9.5 barg, in line with the API 521
steel plate SA-516 60 K02100 temperature Conclusion: This is an unusual case, if (h) clause and the values mentioned
in Shell DEP, TOTALs GS-EP, BP-RP and
other reputed company standards.
New Directions
WHO SHOULD CURRICULUM: Mechanical design view point. A
ATTEND: vessel designed for DP = 100 psig will show
Global Best Practices permanent deformation, but no rupture up
OPERATIONS Safety Personnel + to 300 psig (simple ratio of design. Stress
Process Asset Protection vs. rupture stress or UTS).
Superintendent A vessel designed for DP = 100 psig will
Operations/Unit Trends+Methodologies not show permanent deformation up to
Engineer 160 psig (simple ratio of design stress vs.
Plant Manager Planning + Logistics
yield stress).
in Process Unit Decontamination

Waste Water Manager Chemistries A carbon-steel vessel designed for

Operations Manager/ Efuent Management MAOP= 50 psig and a thickness of 14 in.
Supervisor can be as big as 12 ft diameter. So, do not
Economic Benets
bother till the vessel diameter exceeds 12
MAINTENANCE ft. If the diameter exceeds 12 ft, consider
increasing the length, keeping the diameter
Maintenance at 12 ft.
Design pressure of atmospheric vessels
Turn Around
like closed drain drums (not purged), con-
sidering internal explosion case:
Turn Around
Planner/Coordinator Min. 50 psig (would not rupture as per
Asset Manager
API 521
Max. = in the range of 131153.4 psi
ENGINEERS (910.6 barg), considering a variation of R
Tech Service from 7.09.0.
Engineer It is established with calculation sup-
Process Engineer ports and references that 50 psig153.4 psig
Construction is the range of design pressure of the closed-
Manager drain drum type atmospheric low-pressure
Utility Manager vessels, handling hydrocarbon vapor/liquid,
with no liquid seal for the LP vent from the
ENVIRONMENTAL vessel; the usual operating pressure of the
& SAFETY vessel varies from 05 psig. This is on the
PROFESSIONALS basis of deflagration (internal explosion)
over-pressure, mentioned in many operat-
ing company standards and API 521. HP
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Optimizing CO2 Capture, Dehydration and Compression Facilities
The removal of CO2 by liquid absorbents is widely implemented formulated solvent without implementing any split ow congurations. This is
in the eld of gas processing, chemical production, and coal gasication. much less than the reported steam usage for the MEA solvent.
Many power plants are looking at post-combustion CO2 recovery to meet The design of a facility to capture 90% of the CO2 from the ue
environmental regulations and to produce CO2 for enhanced oil recovery gas of a coal red power plant is based on the specied ue gas conditions,
applications. The gure below illustrates actual data of fuel consumption in CO2 product specications, and constraints. Using the ProMax process
2005 and an estimate of energy demand for various fuels from 2010 to 2030. simulation software from Bryan Research & Engineering, CO2 capture units
The world energy demand will likely increase at rates of 1015% every 10 can be designed and optimized for the required CO2 recovery using a variety
years. This increase could raise the CO2 emissions by about 50% by 2030 of amine solvents. The following gure represents a simplied process ow
as compared with the current level of CO2 emissions. The industrial countries diagram for the proposed CO2 Capture Plant.
(North America, Western Europe and OECD Pacic) contribute to this jump in
emissions by 70% compared to the rest of the world, and more than 60% of
these emissions will come from power generation and industrial sectors.

Despite the strong recommendations from certain governments, The table below presents the main ndings for CO2 capture from the
there are very few actual investments in CO2 capture facilities geared toward coal red power plant and the NGCC power plant, each designed to produce
reducing greenhouse gas emissions mainly because of the high cost of CO2 about 3307 ton per day (3,000 TPD metric). To produce the same capacity of
recovery from ue gas. CO2 capture costs can be minimized, however, by CO2, only one train with smaller column diameters is required in the case of
designing an energy efcient gas absorption process. Based on the ndings the coal power plant and two trains with larger column diameters are required
of recent conceptual engineering studies, HTC Purenergy estimated the in the NGCC Power Plant case. This is mainly due to processing a larger
production cost to be US$ 49/ton CO2 (US$ 54/ tonne CO2) for 90% CO2 ue gas with lower CO2 content in the NGCC power plant. Consequently, a
recovery of 4 mole% CO2 content in the ue gas of NGCC power plants. A substantial reduction in the capital and production cost was reported for the
separate study showed the cost for 90% CO2 recovery of 12 mole% CO2 from coal red power plant CO2 recovery facility.
a coal red power plant to be US$ 30/ton CO2 (US$ 33/tonne CO2). The cost
of CO2 recovery from coal power plant ue gas is substantially less than that
of NGCC power plant ue gas due to the higher CO2 content in the feed.
The energy efciency of a CO2 capture plant depends primarily on
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gas plant designs, MEA was the primary solvent and was limited to 20 wt% to
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and degradation has allowed an increase in the solvent concentration to
about 30 wt% thus decreasing the required circulation and subsequent steam
demand. A recent DOE study shows the steam consumption for an existing
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lb of CO2 for amine regeneration. A modern process that uses 30 wt% MEA
is expected to use 1.67 lb of steam per lb of CO2 for amine regeneration. The
HTC formulated solvent is a proprietary blend of amines and has a lower
steam usage than the conventional MEA solvent. Based on the material and
energy balances for the plant designed in the recent study, the reboiler steam For more information about this study, see the full article at
consumption is estimated at about 1.47 lb steam/lb CO2 using the proposed

Bryan Research & Engineering, Inc.

P.O. Box 4747 Bryan, Texas USA 77805
Select 113 at

Design an efficient
exchanger network
Advanced heat integration and pinch technology reduces energy
F. RIKHTEHGAR, KBS Co., Tehran, Iran

nergy use in chemical plants, such as refineries and petro- (HENs)generating savings in processes and total sites. Wherever
chemical facilities is complex and interrelated. Identifying heating and cooling process materials take place, there is a poten-
where and how energy use can be improved is best pursed tial opportunity to save energy.
using a system approach that inherently takes these complexities
and interactions into account. This article will demonstrate the Composite curve. HEN analysis first identifies hot and cold
basic principles and capabilities of pinch technology; how its stream sources (source and sink) from the material and energy
energy targeting capability is used to determine the scope for balance. For instance, the current typical flowsheet of a specialty
reducing energy consumption and costs; and the design meth- chemical process is considered (Fig. 1). For heat exchange, there
ods used to improve heat-recovery networks and process-utility are only three streams (reactor feed, reactor product and column
systems for olefin plants. The intent is to illustrate the potential product). The supply and target temperature and enthalpy change
for energy recovery in each chemical process, how much heating/ of four streams are given in Table 1.
cooling is actually required for the process, and how we can design
a process that achieves the energy target.
The term pinch technology was introduced by Linnhoff to rep-
resent a thermodynamically based methodology that guarantees
minimum energy levels in the design of heat exchanger networks
Temperature, C

Hot composite
TABLE 1. Stream data
Stream Stream Supply temp., Target temp., H, CP, 100
no. type C C KW W/C Cold composite
Tmin = 10C
1 Hot 180 80 2,000 20 50 curve
2 Hot 130 40 3,600 40
3 Cold 60 100 3,200 80 H
4 Cold 30 120 3,240 36
FIG. 2 Current case composite curve.

60 QHmin = 960
3,200 Condenser
heat 200
100 72
Temperature, C

30 H 120
3,240 Reboiler
R1 R2
H 40 100
cool Tmin = 10C
180 H 80
2,000 QCmin = 120

FIG. 1 Flowsheet of a case study. FIG. 3 Composite curve of targeting case.


I 113

Fig. 2 shows Tmin = 10C, and, for

QHmin this flowsheet, the hot and cold utility
recovery is 960 and 120 units respectively.
The importance of Tmin is that it sets
the relative location of the hot and cold
streams, and therefore the heat recovery

amount (Fig. 4).

The heat-recovery pinch. To achieve
Tmin a small Tmin, the types of heat exchanger
and fluid regime are important. We con-
Capital sider counter-current flow for that and
QCmin operating with a T min less than 10C
Tmin H should be avoided. In Table 2, minimum
approach temperature for some industries
FIG. 4 Balanced composite curve. has been shown. The correct setting of
composite curves is defined by an economic
trade-off between energy and capital cost,
according to selecting Tmin. Fig. 4 illus-
QHmin QHmin
trates the total system cost as the relative
position of composite curves is changed
over a range of Tmin. There is a trade-off

between energy and capital cost and an eco-


nomic amount of energy recovery, thus this

trade-off can be carried out using energy
and capital cost targets.
Pinch principles include:
QCmin QCmin Do not recover process heat across
H H H pinch
Composite curves Shifted composites Grand composite Do not use cold utility above pinch
FIG. 5 Grand composite curve of a case study. Do not use hot utility below pinch
CP rule: CPOUT >= CPIN for feasi-
During pinch analysis, threshold problems may occur when
the composite curves are closer together. In this case, one of the
hot/cold utilities will be zero while the utility consumption is
constant. Finally, the cost graph will be shown according to this
constraint. A better method to calculate the energy targets is the
problem table algorithm. By shifting the composite curves (CCs),
6 Tmin /2, you can do the heat balance across the shifted CC and
shifted temperature intervals. In each shifted temperature interval,
the calculated energy balance is:

Hi = [ CPC-CPH ] Ti (1)
Utility selection. Part of heat recovery is calculated by using
3 external utilities. The remaining maximum heat recovery of HEN
should be calculated with utilities after the heat recovery of pro-

( )
2 7 1 qstream cess-process heat exchangers. The common hot utility is steam in
Network area: Amin = several levels; flue gas or hot oil are designated as high-temperature
1 interval DTLM H
utilities. Cooling water, air cooling, air preheater and some steam
generation are designated as cold utilities. In pinch analysis, the
H grand composite curve (GCC) is an appropriate tool to show the
FIG. 7 Area integrity of HEN.
interface between the process and utility system (Fig. 5).
With the GCC method, the premise is to use the specified utility
at the appropriate levels. For hot utility, use at the lowest tempera-
ture and generate at the highest temperature. For a cold utility, use
Consider steam at 200C and cooling water (CW) at 20C for at the highest temperature and generate at the lowest temperature.
heating and cooling utilities. It is preferable to try to recover the
heat between process streams. The scope for heat recovery can Grid diagram. The energy recovery analysis considers two
be determined by plotting all streams on T-H diagram (Fig. 2). separated regions as below and above the pinch to achieve energy
I MAY 2011

targets during the HEN design. For instance, if there is a chemi- this study, the cracking furnace and super-heater were excluded
cal plant flowsheet, it is complicated to show the pinch point, due to acceptable heat integration and the reaction that was done.
streams and the overall required diagram. Thus, another tool to A Tmin value of 10C was chosen to mention future potential
represent pinch design is needed. The grid diagram is used when savings. The extracted stream data is shown in Table 3 (Editors
the designer focuses on streams that need heating/cooling and
removal of all unit operations except heat exchangers, heaters and
coolers. In the grid diagram, all the hot/cold streams are clear and
the related heat-exchange region should be clarified (Fig. 6Edi- economics
tors note: Fig. 6 is available online at HydrocarbonProcessing.
com). Good
Dont discard
Heat-exchanger area target. It is possible to predict the existing area
required area for the entire problem by using the vertical enthalpy Ideal scenario
intervals; the area calculated with this model is only minimal

when all the stream heat-transfer coefficients are equal. For each Grassroots Existing
optimum network
enthalpy interval, we can predict the area requirement from the
composite curves. The duty and heat-transfer coefficient are
obtained from the stream data, and the log-mean temperature trade-off curve
difference (TLM) is derived from the composite curves (Fig. 7).

Retrofiting exchanger networks. Most industry own-

ers are interested to do it by considering the minimum required
energy consumption. Revamping the heat-exchanger network Energy
will be the key factor within these projects. Pinch studies for FIG. 8 Area/Energy trade-off.
revamp projects are more common. The technique used in this
technology is retrofit. The need to retrofit
might arise from a desire to reduce the
utility consumption of the existing net-
work. If the need to increase throughput 800 Hot composite
Cold composite
is required, modify the feed to the process 700
or apply a modification to the product
Temperature, C

specification. Naphtha furnace

A typical capital/energy trade-off dur- 500 product
ing a revamp project is explained using the 400 Ethane furnace
grassroots trade-off curve as a basis, (Fig. 8). product
Any existing design or revamped design will
lie above the grassroots curve. The shaded 200 Quench oil Dilution steam
area is infeasible for any revamp design. Quench water heat recovery
100 Column reboilers
However, in a revamp situation, the 0 Liquid feed
objective is to make the best use of the 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700
existing area. In an ideal scenario, one Enthalpy, GJ/h
would like to proceed horizontally, as FIG. 9 Composite curves for ethylene hot section.
shown (maintaining the same area but
reducing energy). A realistic revamp project
will follow a curve that represents increased 900
area requirements and reduced energy
800 Process GCC
requirements (Fig. 8). A curve with better Utility GCC
economics is closer to the grassroots curve. 700 Naphtha furnace product

600 Ethane furnace product

Temperature, C

Olefin plant pinch analysis. For a

more detailed study, in this step consider 500
a case study of pinch analysis on an olefin 400
plant, located south of Iran (BIPC). The 300 U: HP steam (gen) U: MP steam
plants capacity is 411,000 metric tons/yr
200 Pygas rec cooler
of ethylene product. Process data was taken U: PS steam
Quench water heat recovery
from the design process flow diagrams and 100 Dilution Liquid feed U: cooling water
discussions with operating engineers. The steam
olefins unit was separated for the pinch 0 100 200 300 400
Enthalpy, GJ/h
analysis into cold and hot sections. This is
due to the significant differences in tem- FIG. 10 GCC for ethylene hot section.
peratures and operation economics. During
I 115

TABLE 2. Industrial recommended Tmin Table 4 illustrates that the total potential savings is 194.8 GJ/hr.
The majority of the savings should be achieved through reducing
Industrial sector Experience Tmin value, C steam use and increasing high-pressure steam generation. Fig. 10
Oil refineries 2040 shows the grand composite curve for the utility data.
Petrochemicals 10-20 According to GCC, it recommends that MPS should be used to
Chemical plants 1020 increase high-pressure steam generation since it is a higher level and
Low temperature processes 35 more beneficial for the plant. The other case is using a cross pinch,
but it causes some energy penalties within the HEN and using the
retrofit project can optimize these problems for energy targeting.
TABLE 4. Energy targets and gaps
Heating Target, Gj/hr Now, Gj/hr To save, Gj/hr Conclusion. The best design for an energy-efficient HEN
MPS 68.2 133.9 65.7
results in a trade-off between the equipment and operating cost.
This is dependent on the choice of the Tmin for the process.
PS 19.1 50.8 31.7
Pinch technology can help guide the choice of process modifica-
Total hot 87.3 184.7 97.4 tion. It can be applied to generate financial savings by improving
Cooling Target, Gj/hr Now, Gj/hr To save, Gj/hr heat recovery and reducing utility loads. Pinch analysis begins
PS (Gen) 0 62.1 62.1 with the heat and material balance, and certain parameters should
CW 114.2 321.1 206.9 be chosen. It is very important to extract the required data for tak-
ing into account when a new design or a retrofit study is prepared.
HPS (Gen) 148.7 135.1 13.6
It consists of the key targeting steps: heat recovery improvement,
Sea Water 151.5 0 151.5
utility selection and process changes. HP
C3, 20C 6.46 0 6.46
Total cold 420.9 518.3 97.4
Complete literature cited is available online at
Total energy 508.2 703 194.8

note: Table 3 is available online at Farbod Rikhtehgar is a process engineer at KBS Co., spe-
cializing in modeling and simulation studies of refineries and pet-
Fig. 9 illustrates the composite curves for the process. rochemical plants. He has a BS degree in chemical engineering
The energy targets and the pinch temperatures obtained by the from Iran University of Science and Technology and an MS degree,
pinch analysis are shown in the Table 4. specializing in energy from Tehran University.

Buzau - ROMANIA phone: +40 238 725 500

Select 176 at

I MAY 2011

Case 62: Useful shaft stress

equations to remember
Committing several equations to memory can be useful
T. SOFRONAS, Consulting Engineer, Houston, Texas

emembering complex equations is rosion, poor surface finish and other irreg-
not required for reasonable on-the- ularities could reduce this value by 50%
spot answers. Neither are sophis- or more. In the case of a welded shaft the
ticated computer studies when a quick cyclic stresses at even a good weld should Motor
screening study will be satisfactory. This case be less than approximately 2,000 lb/in2 to
history shows simple equations1 that have avoid risking fatigue type failures.
been useful for making quick decisions. Combined stresses. When shear stresses
Failed solid circular shafts. Too much (S s ) and bending stresses (S b) are both
shaft torque can cause failures; so its good present at the same section of the shaft at
to remember this torque equation: the same time, the two combine into an
Torque due to horsepower (HP): T =
equivalent stress Se , which should then be M
compared to the yield stress:
63,000  HP / rpm in-lb
Se = ( Sb2 + 3Ss2 ) lb/in2

Torsional shear stress failure solid cir-

cular shaft is: Equations on a vertical centrifugal
Ss = 16  K  Tin-lb/ (  Din 3) lb/in2 pump. Consider a 1-in. broken shaft, as
shown in Fig. 1. This is a 75-hp pump oper-
K is the stress magnifier caused by sharp ating at 3,560 prm. The shaft broke near
corners such as keyways and steps (shoul- a steady bushing and the moment at that
ders). K = 2 can be used for both torsion point was M. Using the previous equations:
and bending. FIG. 1 Vertical pump shaft failure.
T = 1,327 in-lb and Ss = 13,520 lb/in2
Assuming no material data were avail- is much less than the 25,000 lb/in2 yield.
able for more accurate decisions, calcula-
tions showing stress Ss greater than 25,000 The shaft should not have failed in tor- torsional failure might suggest binding.
lb/in2 for mild steels would be cause for sion unless the material yield properties Fatigue might suggest cavitation, or vibra-
concern. were lower or there was a torque 2 times or tory activity due to misalignment or unbal-
Bending failure solid circular shaft. more above design. Lower material proper- ance. Low-material strength properties due
There is usually a bending moment M (in- ties might be possible due to corrosion or a to corrosion damage or inadequate material
lb) acting on the shaft. material substitution made at a repair. selection may have led to failure because
Since M is unknown, so is Sb ; we will low-strength materials simply cannot carry
Sb = 32K  Min-lb / (  Din3 ) lb/in2
thus determine what M would have to be the imposed load. HP
Calculating Sb greater than 50,000 lb/ to cause the shaft to fail at the location
in2 would be a concern for mild steels with- observed: LITERATURE CITED
1 Sofronas, A., Analytical Troubleshooting of
out materials data. 50,000 =[{ 32  2  M / (  13)}2 + Process Machinery and Pressure Vessels: Including
Fatigue failures shafting. Cyclic torque 3  13,5202 ]
Real-World Case Studies, John Wiley & Sons, p. 6.
or bending on shafting can result in fatigue
cracking at stresses much lower than the M = 2,170 in-lbf
yield strength. This is a significant bending moment for
When fluctuating loads are calculated a shaft that should not have such a moment
using the above equations, they need to at this location. Yet, there was a failure. Dr. Tony Sofronas , PE, was
be compared to the endurance limit of the It would be logical to now request a worldwide lead mechanical engineer
steel. The uncorrected endurance limit is metallurgical examination of the fracture for ExxonMobil before his retirement.
Information on his books, seminars
approximately half the ultimate strength of surface, and the outcome of such an exami- and consulting, as well as com-
the steel. Uncorrected means a perfectly nation will be valuable. A bending-torsion ments to this article, are available at http://mechanical
smooth shaft with no imperfections. Cor- failure might suggest misalignment. A pure


I 117

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I APRIL 2011
FREE Product and Service InformationMAY 2011
HOW TO USE THE INDEX: The FIRST NUMBER after the company name is the page on which an This information must be pro-
advertisement appears. The SECOND NUMBER, appearing in parentheses, after the company vided to process your request:
name, is the READER SERVICE NUMBER. There are several ways readers can obtain information: PRIMARY DIVISION OF INDUSTRY
1. The quickest way to request information from an advertiser or about an editorial item is to go to www. (check one only): If you follow the instructions on the screen your request will be forwarded for A -Refining Company
immediate action. B -Petrochemical Co.
C -Gas Processing Co.
2. Go online to the advertiser's Website listed below. F -Equipment Manufacturer
G -Supply Company
3. Circle the Reader Service Number below and fax this page to +1 (416) 620-9790. Include your name, company, complete
H -Service Company
address, phone number, fax number and e-mail address, and check the box on the right for your division of industry and
J -Chemical Co.
job title.
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Name ________________________________________________________ Company ________________________________________________________ JOB FUNCTION
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B -Company Official, Manager
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This Advertisers Index and procedure for securing additional information is provided as a service to Hydrocarbon I -Chemist
Processing advertisers and a convenience to our readers. Gulf Publishing Co. is not responsible for omissions or errors. J -Purchasing Agt.


Company Page RS# Company Page RS# Company Page RS#
Website Website Website

ABV Energy S.p.A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 (156) Eralytics GmbH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 (161) Paharpur Cooling Towers, Ltd. . . . . . . 39 (98)
ACS Industries Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 (159) Flexitallic LP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 (93) PARCOL SpA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 (162)
Altair Strickland. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 (97) Flottweg AG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 (152)
Quest Integrity Group LLC . . . . . . . . . 62 (163)
Ametek Process Instruments . . . . . . . 34 (155) Flowserve Pumps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 (83) Rentech Boiler Services . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 (58)
GEA Wiegand GmbH . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 (171)
Ariel Corporation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 (76) Samson GmbH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 (160)
Asco Valve Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 (64) GE Power and Water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 (86) Sandvik Steel AB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 (100)
Axens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124 (53) Gulf Publishing Company Circulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120 Saudi Basic Ind Corp . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 (62)
Baker Hughes Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 (67) Construction Boxscore . . . . . . . . . . . 38 (157)
Selas Fluid Processing Corp . . . . . . . . 53 (82)
Baldor Electric Company . . . . . . . . . . 74 (57) EventIRPC Asia . . . . . . . . . . . 2124 HPI Maketplace . . . . . . . . . . . 118119
Servomex Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 (169)
Bently Pressurized Bearing Co . . . . . . 86 (170) Hermetic Pumpen GmbH . . . . . . . . . . 72 (165)
Hoerbiger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26-27 154 Shin Nippon Machinery Co., Ltd. . . . 108 (174)
Beta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 (176)
Bryan Research & Engineering . . . . . 112 (113) Idrojet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 (166) Spraying Systems Co . . . . . . . . . . . . 123 (66)
Burndy Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 (151) Inpro / Seal Company . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 (153) Sulzer Chemtech, USA Inc.. . . . . . . . . 51 (68)
CB&I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 (87) Johnson Screens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 (90) Swagelok Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 (63)
KBC Advanced Technologies Inc . . . . 111 (99)
Costacurta SpA Vico . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 (84) Total Safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 (73)
KBR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 (60)
Delta Valve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 (54) Trachte USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 (172)
Linde Process Plants . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 (81)
Eidos Sap SRL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 (94) Tray-Tec Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 (168)
Lurgi GmbH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 (61)
Elliott Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 (52) Weir Minerals - Lewis Pumps . . . . . . . 70 (92)
Merichem Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 (78)
Emerson Process Management
(Fisher Controls) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 (69) Wood Group Surface Pumps . . . . . . . 47 (158)
Merichem Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 (164)
Emirates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 (80) Microtherm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 (167) Zyme-Flow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 (71)
ENI S.p.A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 (173) Nace International. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 (96) Zyme-Flow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110 (175)

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I 121

Legionellato test or not to test?

Legionella pneumophila (legionella) dard does not currently provide any options
bacteria cause Legionellosis, a pneumonia- for alternative legionella test methods.
like illness that infects persons with com- However, there are technologies available:
promised immune systems and can be polymer-chain reaction (PCR) and immu-
fatal. These bacteria are common in natural noassay. The qualitative PCR method,
waters and thrive in warm waters found Q-PCR, amplifies a synthetic DNA primer
in cooling towers. Cooling towers that molecule known as a probe labeled with a
have high concentrations of water droplets fluorescent dye that binds to the Legionella
(aerosols) entrained in the vapor plume can pneumophila bacteria3 with sensitivity simi-
broadcast aerosols several miles before the lar to the standard culture method.
droplets reach the ground. If water from The KWR study showed that three
these cooling towers has high populations Q-PCR methods detected the same num-
of legionella bacteria, vulnerable persons ber of positive results as the standard culture
who inhale the aerosols have a high risk for method. The immunoassay method showed
potential infection. a positive correlation to the culture method.
FIG. 1 Legionella pneumophila bacteria.
Designing the optimal strategy to The immunoassay test uses antibodies to
minimize the risk of legionella infections detect the legionella bacteria. One of the
in populations downwind of the cooling commercially available immunoassay tests
tower requires a combination of mechani- is the Fastpath.4 Q-PCR tests are available tine control method. Newer technologies
cal, chemical and operational solutions. within 24 hours while immunoassay results for legionella testing, such as Q-PCR and
One of the most controversial aspects of are available in less than an hour. immunoassay-lack sufficient correlation to
managing the risk of Legionellosis from the culture method and/or sensitivity to be
cooling towers is the bacteria test protocol Bacteria testing. Industry has docu- accepted as a standard method at this time.
and the decision to test or not to test for mented that the likelihood of detect- The most common control method is a
legionella bacteria. ing legionella bacteria in cooling water culture of aerobic bacteria. However, many
Most European countries have legal increases as the aerobic bacteria population plants are using supplemental methods
requirements to conduct routine testing increases. The preferred control method is such as ATP or BART. All microbiologi-
for legionella bacteria in cooling towers.1 to monitor aerobic bacteria population. cal methods have limitations in the non-
There are no legal or regulatory require- The most common test for aerobic bacte- culturable species of bacteria and/or in
ments to conduct legionella testing in the ria is a culture method on an agar media. the correlation to population of legionella
US. However, the Cooling Technology Operators examine the test results on a bacteria. Plant personnel should carefully
Institute (CTI) is creating a standard2 for daily basis and use the preliminary results consider the role of validation and controls
cooling towers that requires legionella test- to adjust the biocide feedrate. protocols in managing the risk of legionella
ing (culture method) for validation of the Alternatively, operators may use other in their cooling towers. HP
bacteria control program and bacteria test- tests as a control method: adenosine tri-
ing for control. phosphate (ATP) or biological activity LITERATURE CITED
1 Spain, United Kingdom, Holland, Singapore:
reaction test (BART). ATP methods use
Quarterly testing as a minimum.
Validation methods. Validation bio-luminescence to measure the rela- 2 Draft Standard: CTI STD-159: Legionellosis
requires that the cooling tower owner tive amount of live cells that may or may Related Practices for Evaporative Cooling Water
conduct successive legionella tests during not correlate to the results of the culture Systems, Cooling Technology Institute.
3 Oesterholt, F., D. van der Linde, B. Wullings,
a specified time period and obtain non- method, depending on the species of bac-
and H. Veenendaal, A new method of screening
detectable legionella bacteria for all test teria and accuracy of the test method. The cooling water and process water for Legionella
results. The validation process assumes BART methods use a nutrient media that pneumophila, KWR 2008.
that the bacteria control program will be is specific to a category of bacteria (e.g., 4 Fastpathtrademark of Nalco Co.,
effective in controlling the population of heterotrophic aerobic, slime-forming, fluo-
legionella bacteria for the remainder of the rescent Psuedomonads, etc.) The author is president of MarTech Systems, Inc.,
an engineering consulting firm that provides techni-
validation period. cal services to optimize water-related utility systems
At present, the draft standard requires Conclusions. The legionella culture in refineries and petrochemical plants. She holds a
the legionella culture testa test that method is the definitive measure of the BS degree in chemical engineering and is a licensed
requires a certified laboratory to conduct bacteria, but the delay in obtaining results professional engineer in New Jersey and Maryland.
She can be reached at:
the approximate 10-day test. The draft stan- makes this method inappropriate as a rou-

I MAY 2011
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