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RENTECH breaks new trails in the

boiler industry with its focus on custom
engineering and design.
There’s no “on the shelf” inventory at RENTECH because we design and build each and every
boiler to operate at peak efficiency in its own unique conditions. As an industry leader, RENTECH
provides solutions to your most demanding specifications for safe, reliable boilers. From design and
manufacture to installation and service, we are breaking new trails.
Select 52 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com
OCTOBER 2011
HPIMPACT SPECIALREPORT TECHNOLOGY
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PROCESS CONTROL AND
INFORMATION SYSTEMS
Automation systems
improve process
control and increase
profits
Refinery safety
in Europe
Libya at a glance
Full review on flowmeter
systems sizing
Design for heavy oil
and products
Farris Total Pressure
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www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com
OCTOBER 2011 • VOL. 90 NO. 10
SPECIAL REPORT: PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS
39
Intelligent severity optimization project pays off in two months
Major olefin producer uses new process control to fine-tune energy consumption
H. Wang, Z. Wang, W. Du, D. Wang, F. Qian and Z. Tang
45
Fine-tune diesel hydrotreating operations
This refinery used a simulator to train operators effectively
A. T. AlDaiel, M. M. AlMulla, M. A. AlNajrani,
K. Chaitanya, A. Deshpande and V. Harismiadis
51
Process gas chromatography:
Avoid the iceberg of hidden expenses
Total cost of ownership can quickly add up for field analytical equipment
M. Gaura, Emerson Process Management, Houston, Texas
57
Find benefits in automating boiler systems
Dynamic models unravel potential problems in high-pressure
steam production and consumption
A. Bourji, D. Ballow and M. Choroszy
65
Consider model-based inferential properties for reformers
A European refiner opts to apply embedded multivariable predictive
controllers as part of an advanced process control system
S. Birdi, A. Autuori, S. Lodolo and C. Beautyman
Cover Operators in a state-of-the-
art control room use Emerson’s
DeltaV operator interface to monitor
and control a refinery process.
The interface uses a standard PC
mouse and keyboard and Microsoft
Windows display graphics. The
system architecture is designed to be
scalable, economical for small unit
operations and capable of handling
refinery wide applications.
HPIMPACT
17 European refiners’
safety performance
in 2010
19 Libya at a glance
21 EU Parliament seeks
stricter greenhouse
gas rules
COLUMNS
9 HPIN RELIABILITY
Suction specific
speed choices have
consequences
11 HPIN EUROPE
Europe warily
prepares to enter
a newly globalized
age of biofuels
15 HPINTEGRATION
STRATEGIES
Automation-related
lessons learned from
March 11 disasters in
Japan
90 HPIN CONTROL
Reshaping process
control: A corporate
prerogative
DEPARTMENTS
7 HPIN BRIEF • 23 HPIN INNOVATIONS • 29 HPIN CONSTRUCTION
36 HPI CONSTRUCTION BOXSCORE UPDATE
86 HPI MARKETPLACE • 89 ADVERTISER INDEX
REFINING DEVELOPMENTS

71
Refinery configurations: Designs for heavy oil
Conceptualization and economic evaluations considered all possible scenarios to process clean
gasoline and diesel from domestic feedstock
S. Kumar, S. M. Nanoti, Y. K. Sharma and M. O. Garg
INSTRUMENTATION AND MEASUREMENT

77
Improve material balance by using proper flowmeter corrections
Here are guidelines to increase accuracy for flow measurements
S. Peramanu and J. C. Wah
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Engineering advanced
© 2011 Chemstations, Inc. All rights reserved. | CMS-322-1 9/11
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HPIN BRIEF
BILLY THINNES, TECHNICAL EDITOR
BT@HydrocarbonProcessing.com
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

I

7

The real-time process optimization
and training (RPO) market is expect-
ed to grow at a compound annual
growth rate (CAGR) of over 9% a year
over the next five years, according to a
new study from ARC Advisory Group.
The market was slightly more than $1
billion in 2008, but dropped during
the global recession to slightly over
$950 million in 2010, the study says.
The market is expected to reach more
than $1.5 billion in 2015. The RPO
market has rebounded from the lows
of 2009, and is expected to return to
pre-2008 growth as the global process
industries’ need for safer, more effi-
cient operations continues.
“The global economy has still not
returned to its pre-2008 optimism,”
said Dick Hill, a co-author of the study.
“The economic slowdown adversely
affected growth but the market will
rebound as many of the issues fac-
ing manufacturers, like reducing costs,
still require solutions such as those
offered by RPO suppliers.”
The RPO market consists of
three unique types of applications:
advanced process control, online opti-
mization, and training simulation and
control validation software. Advanced
process control includes model-based
software to direct and control process
operations. Online optimization con-
tinually monitors the state of the pro-
cess and through a reference model
predicts an optimum operation path.
Meanwhile, training simulation and
control system validation are real-time
dynamic simulators designed to train
process operators and verify control
system functionality.
The recession that began in 2008
affected all corners of the globe and
is still the single biggest influencing
factor on growth of the RPO market.
Much of the industrial world was
forced to curtail capital project expen-
ditures and RPO investments in the
short-term.
However, cautious optimism is
now returning. Global growth in the
industry is being driven by developing
regions of the world. HP
Sunoco plans to exit the refining business and has begun a process
to sell its refineries located in Philadelphia and Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania. Sunoco also
announced that it is conducting a company-wide comprehensive strategic review. Suisse
Securities (USA) LLC has been retained to assist in the review process. Sunoco will pur-
sue all options to sell its refineries, but if a suitable transaction cannot be implemented,
the company intends to idle the main processing units at the facilities in July 2012.
“We have made progress in increasing the efficiency of our refineries over the last
several years, but, given the unacceptable financial performance of these assets, it is
clear that it is in the best interests of shareholders to exit this business and focus on our
profitable retail and logistics businesses which have higher returns, growth potential
and provide steady, ratable cash flow,” said Lynn L. Elsenhans, Sunoco’s chairman.
Together with the separation of SunCoke Energy and the sale of the chemicals busi-
ness, Sunoco’s decision to exit refining marks a fundamental shift away from manufac-
turing that will reposition the company.
BASF has formed a new startup business with Alberta, Canada-based
manufacturing technology firm Quantiam Technologies, seeking to commercialize
advanced catalytic surface coatings for steam-cracker furnace tubes. The business is
named BASF Qtech. Quantiam had previously developed the coatings for use in the
global petrochemical industry. Manufacturing, R&D and technical services support for
the new business entity will be provided by the Quantiam team in Edmonton, while
marketing and sales support will be led by BASF’s catalysts division, headquartered in
Iselin, New Jersey. The catalytic surface coatings developed by Quantiam are applied on
the internal surfaces of steam-cracker furnace tubes and coils, enabling the catalytically-
assisted manufacture of olefins. The coatings are designed to improve operational profit-
ability of petrochemical furnaces by reducing carbon formation, increasing online pro-
duction time and cutting maintenance times, energy expenditures and CO
2
emissions.
Shell has agreed to sell its interests in natural gas transport
infrastructure joint venture Gassled to Infragas Norge for about $730 million, based
on current exchange rates. Gassled is Norway’s integrated gas transportation system
and processing facility which transports most of the gas production on the Norwegian
Continental Shelf to consumers on the European continent and in the United
Kingdom. The agreement with Infragas Norge AS relates to Shell’s 5.0% interest in
Gassled JV and associated interests of 3.3% in the Dunkerque terminal and 2.5% in
the Zeepipe terminal. Gassled is a joint venture established in 2003. It provides trans-
portation services on an open access basis to producers on the Norwegian Continental
Shelf. The parties’ intention is to close in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Murphy Oil has agreed to sell its 125,000-bpd refinery and related
assets in Meraux, Louisiana, to Valero for $325 million in cash plus the value of its
hydrocarbon inventory, putting the overall sale value near $625 million. The hydrocar-
bon inventory will be valued based on market prices at closing. Currently, that invento-
ry is valued at around $300 million. The sale is subject to customary regulatory approv-
als and conditions and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2011. Following the
sale, Murphy plans to focus on completing the sale of its assets in the UK.
BP has completed its acquisition of a 30% stake in 21 oil and gas
production sharing contracts (PSCs) that Reliance Industries operates in India. This
significant step will commence the planned alliance which will operate across the gas
value chain in India, from exploration and production to distribution and marketing,
the companies said. This should accelerate the creation of infrastructure for receiving,
transporting and marketing natural gas in India. BP will pay Reliance an aggregate
consideration of $7.2 billion. HP
■ Process
optimization to
grow 9%
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Select 85 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
HEINZ P. BLOCH, RELIABILITY/EQUIPMENT EDITOR
HPIN RELIABILITY
HB@HydrocarbonProcessing.com
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

I

9
A refinery engineer was in a quandary over requests from a
project group. High volume/pressure/temperature pumps in
hydrocarbon service were involved and the refinery’s standards
had, in 2007, been changed so as to avoid purchasing pumps
that might not operate well in the lower flow region. The engi-
neer asked if it was really practical to insist on accepting only
pumps with an N
sss
(meaning “suction specific speed”) below
9,000, although decades ago his company had allowed pumps
with N
sss
values up to 12,000. But first, a greatly simplified
introduction to N
sss
and its importance.
Note: The pump suction specific speed (N
ss
or N
sss
) differs
from the pump specific speed parameter, N
s
. Suction specific
speed is calculated by the straightforward mathematical expression:
(1)

N
ss
=
(r/min)[(gal/min)/eye]
1
2
(NPSH
r
)
3
4
In Eq. 1, both the flowrate and net positive suction head
required (NPSH
r
) pertain to conditions observed at 100% of
design flow—at the best efficiency point (BEP)—on the maxi-
mum available impeller diameter for that particular pump.
The higher the design suction specific speed or N
sss
, the
closer the point for troublesome internal flow recirculation
to BEP. Similarly, the closer the internal recirculation capac-
ity is to BEP, the higher the hydraulic efficiency. Pump sys-
tem designers are tempted to aim for highest possible effi-
ciency—thus, high suction specific speed. However, such
designs might result in systems with restricted pump operat-
ing range. If operated inside the restricted (high recirculation)
range, then disappointing reliability and frequent failures will
be experienced.
Although more precise calculations are available, trend
curves for probable NPSH
r
for minimum recirculation and zero
cavitation-erosion in water (Fig. 1) are sufficiently accurate to
warrant our attention.
1
The NPSH
r
needed for zero damage to
impellers and other pump components may be many times that
published in the manufacturer’s literature. The manufacturer’s
NPSH
r
plot (lowermost curve in Fig. 1) is based on observing
a 3% drop in discharge head or pressure; at Q=100%, we note
NPSH
r
= 100% of the manufacturer’s claims. Unfortunately,
whenever this 3% fluctuation occurs, some damage may already
be in progress. Assume the true NPSH
r
is as shown in Fig. 1 and
aim to provide a net positive suction head available (NPSH
a
)
in excess of this true NPSH
r
.
1
Irving Taylor compiled his general observations and alerted
pump specialists to this fact.
1
Taylor cautioned against con-
sidering his curves as totally accurate and mentioned that
the demarcation line between low- and high-suction specific
speeds was somewhere between 8,000 and 12,000. Many data
points were taken after 1980 and point to 8,500 or 9,000 as
numbers for concern. If pumps with N
ss
numbers higher than
9,000 are being operated at flows much higher or lower than
the BEP, then their life expectancy or repair-free operating
time will be reduced.
In the decades after Taylor’s presentation, controlled testing
was done in many industrialized countries. The various findings
have been reduced to relatively accurate calculations that were
later published by the Hydraulic Institute.
2
Relevant summaries
can also be found in Ref. 3. Calculations based on Refs. 2 and
3 determine minimum allowable flow as a percentage of BEP.
Note: Again, recirculation differs from cavitation—a term
that describes vapor bubbles that collapse. Cavitation damage
is often caused by low NPSH
a
. Such cavitation-related damage
starts on the low-pressure side and proceeds to the high-pressure
side. An impeller requires a certain NPSH; this NPSH
r
is simply
the pressure needed at the impeller inlet (or eye) for relatively
vapor-free flow.
Suction specific speed choices have consequences
0
0 20 40 60
Q, %
Trend of probable NPSH
r
for zero cavitation-erosion
Various pumps (high head) = 650 ft (~200 m), first stage
High head high suct. specific speed
High head low SSS
Low-moderate head high SSS
Low-moderate head low SSS
NPSH
r
for 3% head drop
H
,

%
N
P
S
H
r
,

%
80 100 120
25
50
75
100
0
100
200
300
400
H-Q
Pump manufacturers usually plot only the NPSH
r
trend
associated with the lower most curve. At that time, a head
drop or pressure fluctuation of 3% exists and cavitation
damage is often experienced.
FIG. 1
HPIn Reliability continued on page 88
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A
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Select 56 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
TIM LLOYD WRIGHT, EUROPEAN EDITOR
HPIN EUROPE
tim.wright@gulfpub.com
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

I

11
Biofuels are growing up in Europe. From an exotic outlet for
European Union (EU) agricultural product in the 1990s, to a
boutique fuel for the green consumer in the 2000s, now today’s
industry has filled out and bulked up. In 2011, biofuels are a
globally traded business; this industry has transformed some
of its pioneering suppliers into household names. But many
more European startups lie bloodied by the wayside or limping
along the sidewalk.
Manufacturers, suppliers, consumers, some non-govern-
mental organizations (NGOs) and even pure-play fossil fuels
suppliers have had their share of growing pains during the rapid
rise of the market. Many biodiesel and bioethanol manufactur-
ers in Europe have exited the industry or have gone bankrupt.
Growing pains. Now, the European industry stands at a
milestone, warily eyeing billion-dollar investments in equatorial
regions, while nursing the bruises of a less competitive domestic
industry. “The industry suffers from over-investment,” says
Andrew Owens, chairman and co-founder of the UK’s Green-
ergy, a prime example of a biofuels distributor that has suc-
ceeded in the “green” industry. “During the mid-2000s, credit
was easy and too much was built,” he says. “The industry still
has a hangover from that time.”
Dieter Bockey, spokesperson for the Union for the Promo-
tion of Oilseeds and Protein Plants in Germany, identifies credit
conditions as part of the cause of the rapid growth of the indus-
try. “In 2006, everyone could finance a plant,” he says. “But
now in Germany, several hundred thousand tons of production
have been idle for several years now.”
Legislation. Another pillar of the industry’s growth is that
phenomenon without which Greenergy might never have made
its astonishing journey from being the “new kid” in the 1990s,
to its position today as the UK’s third largest private company,
the tax incentive. When the consulting group Arthur D. Little
reported, in the early stages of the development of the 1997 Fuel
Quality Directive, that when Sweden had used taxation policy
to steer its refiners into profitable, clean fuels production, the
detaxation of greener products was taken up with relish across
large parts of Europe. Article 16 of the European Energy Taxation
Directive allowed governments to exempt fuels, and the stimulus
this provided led many to conclude that there were sound reasons
to turn more of Europe’s agricultural product into biofuels. That
phase, which effectively afforded manufacturers a 10-year trade
wind, is now drawing to a close. “The rules are clear, and the
general policy is to move from promoting biofuels with detaxa-
tion to mandating their use with quotas,” says Bockey.
Two pieces of European rule-making are responsible for this.
The Renewable Energy Directive is a major policy initiative
currently being transposed into national laws in the member
states. In the UK, where it should enter fully into law by year
end, it calls for 15% of UK energy all energy, but specifically
10% of transport fuels, to be supplied from renewable sources
by 2020. Compared to initial ambitions for 20% biofuels in
2020, this goal has effectively been halved, and some of the
more ambitious biofuels champions have seen slower growth
as they realign their trajectory to a 10% share of the renewable
energy in the transport sector. The target includes second-
generation biofuels that can be double counted in the quota sys-
tem because they are derived from used oils, waste or residues.
Conventional biofuel producers perceive this next generation
of sources as further reducing the demand for rapeseed and soy
oils and sugar-derived ethanol.
Alongside the renewables directive are the greenhouse
gas (GHG) provisions of the Fuel Quality Directive. These
require fuel suppliers to reduce the lifecycle GHG lifecycle
emissions of products that they supply by 6% by 2020. In
July 2011, the European biofuels information initiative,
EurObserv’ER, reported that biofuels sales grew by 1.7 mil-
lion tons/yr (1.7 MMtpy) to 13.9 MMtpy between 2009 and
2010. Of this total, 10.7 MMtpy is biodiesel and 2.9 MMtpy
is bioethanol.
Biodiesel. The European standard for biodiesel, EN590, lim-
its the blending of biodiesel to 7 vol%. Against a total market
for 209 MMtpy within the EU, that suggests a potential market
of 14 MMtpy. The Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Pro-
teinpflanzen e.V. (UFOP) reports the stark fact that European
production capacity, at 22.4 MMtpy, exceeds that by almost
10 MMtpy. The association is calling for B100 or B30 blends
to be made available for sale as a way to boost the European
industry, something that would also help fuel suppliers to hit
their own quotas.
Ethanol. In the ethanol market, a failure to meet even the
existing quotas, means that, this year, oil companies in Europe
will likely pay hundreds of millions of Euros in fines for failing
to blend sufficient biofuels into their products.
As I reported in May, a bungled introduction of E10 gaso-
line into the large German gasoline market means that the large
players will be paying the German government some €620 for
every 1,000 l when they are below their quota commitment.
Likewise, there are growing pains for German consumers due
to a lack of persuasive information on the suitability of high-
ethanol blends. Result: Many German drivers have persistently
avoided the blended fuels. But for German oil companies to
meet their quotas, they really need to attain 80%–90% of the
total marketshare as E10.
Europe warily prepares to enter
a newly globalized age of biofuels
HPIN EUROPE
12

Other problems. Aside from the bottom line hit that the
German companies face this year, there have also been reputa-
tional issues to contend with. Consider Neste, the export-ori-
ented Finnish refinery. This refiner focused on reacting nimbly
to the need for on-spec bioblending components, as it once
did to US West Coast reformulated gasoline demand. But its
attempts to control its supply chain through involvement with
Indonesian palm oil producers have left it exposed to constant
criticism from environmentalists.
Despite its technical and commercial leadership in hydroge-
nated vegetable oil production, and its rapidly growing boiler-
plate capacity in Europe and Singapore, it is dogged by claims
that its oils resources are destructive to rainforest.
Greenpeace members wearing orangutan suits who leafleted
on the steps of the Rotterdam World Biofuels Markets confer-
ence this year may be tolerable for a fuels manufacturer at an
industry conference. But how easy it is for some of Europe’s
major consumer brands, including the airlines involved in
the fledgling biojet fuel market, to deal with environmentalist
criticism of what they see as their green initiatives remains to
be seen.
Article 17 of the Renewable Energy Directive requires the
whole supply chain of compliant fuels to be certified. Unsus-
tainable biofuels will simply not generate the tradable certifi-
cates that must be surrendered to avoid fines under the scheme.
Fuels that do not offer a 35% GHG gas saving compared to
gasoline or diesel will not count in the early phase of the legis-
lation. In 2017, this threshold will rise to 50% and, in 2018,
to 60% for new plants that come onstream after Jan. 1, 2017.
Faced with the difficulty of sourcing biofuels that meet
sustainability requirements, it’s understandable that large oil
companies should seek relationships with Brazilian companies.
Sugarcane ethanol from Brazil has lifecycle GHG emissions that
are hard to beat in an energy-dense liquid.
This year Shell announced a joint venture with Cosan, the
world’s largest manufacturer, which the companies value at some
$12 billion. Cosan represents the best entry to sustainable biofu-
els in the market—the best entry of scale,” Mark Williams, Shell’s
director of downstream operations, told the Financial Times,
adding, “we will take the lowest-carbon, least-impact form of
ethanol and leverage that into a worldwide opportunity.”
It’s understandably difficult for some European manufactur-
ers to accept that their markets, stimulated by the European
tax-payer, will be supplied from outside of the EU. Get over it,
says Owens. “Trade bodies are looking to be protectionist and
close the door and I think that’s absolutely the wrong way to.
European producers need simply to ask, ‘who are my custom-
ers, what’s my customers, and how do I meet my customers’
needs,” he says.
Globalization. But as Shell spends its billions in the tropics
and Owens feeds UK cars on US cooking oil and Brazilian etha-
nol, the apparent winners in the European biofuels market will
need to contend with a political risk that could yet upset their
plans. Globalization is not a philosophy that has emerged com-
pletely unscathed from the restructuring of European economies
post-2008 crash. “German and European politicians are no lon-
ger accessible like they once were to the biofuels industry. They
don’t reply to letters,” says Bockey. “Their answer to requests to
support the European biofuels market with tax exemptions is to
ask why they should spend European money to line the pockets
of manufacturers in the US or South America.”
European politicians don’t necessarily have to put up further
tariffs to deter biofuel imports. There are less dense biofuels,
uneconomic to transport across the planet, than that are pro-
duced on small farms and at local council facilities from Sweden
in the North to Naples in the south.
Other options. Biogas—methane derived from biomass,
human, animal and household waste—has lifecycle GHG cre-
dentials that Brazilian biofuels can only dream of. Stimulating
the market leads to investments in the local neighborhood,
not the Atlantic Basin. Vehicles are becoming more efficient,
and the product is interchangeable with natural gas. Already,
European politicians have seen to it that there are some 7,000
sites in Germany manufacturing biomethane, and the Swedish
market grew 40% last year. “It’s becoming more important for
German agriculture than liquid biofuels,” says Bockey. That may
overstate the importance of a market that is largely restricted to
a strip of Europe from Sweden, through Germany and the Alps,
to Italy in the south.
But manufacturers will be wise to remember that policy mak-
ers created the biofuels markets, and their influence, alongside
the power of the free market, will continue to shape it. HP
The author is HP’s European Editor and is also a specialist in European distillate
markets. He has been active as a reporter and conference chair in the European
downstream industry since 1997, before which he was a feature writer and
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.
Select 152 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
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HPINTEGRATION STRATEGIES
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

I

15
SKai@Arcweb.com
SHIN KAI, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
On July 22, four months after the unprecedented earthquake
and tsunami struck the Pacific Coast side of eastern Japan,
Japanese engineers from various process and other industries
gathered in Tokyo to participate in a series of panel discussions
entitled, “What automation should learn from the 3/11 disas-
ters.” The panels, held as a session at ARC Advisory Group’s
2011 Japan Forum in Tokyo, were jointly organized by ARC
and the Society of Instrument and Control Engineers (SICE).
The goal of the participating engineers was to review their own
notions of safety and control systems in an objective manner.
Not surprisingly, much of the discussion focused on the inad-
equacies of the process control and protective systems installed
at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. However, in most cases,
the same lessons learned can also be applied to critical opera-
tions in hydrocarbon processing industry (HPI) plants.
‘Reinvent ourselves from scratch.’ Among the 200
attendees at the ARC Tokyo Forum were end-user engineers,
integrators and contractors, automation suppliers, consultants
and researchers. Many of the plant-level engineers would
not have been able to attend if ARC had held the event one
month earlier.
Akira Nagashima, co-chairman of the SICE 50th anniversary
project steering committee and moderator of the panel, opened
the discussion by summarizing its purpose: “I think there is a
serious task we engineers must address before we think about
how to rebuild Japan. Yes, the triggering event of this crisis
was a 9.0-scale super earthquake; but we must admit that we
engineers had underestimated the power of Mother Nature,
and thereby allowed a runaway chain reaction of accidents.
The vulnerability of the artifacts and technologies we ourselves
introduced made this crisis worse ... All engineers, whether
involved in addressing this crisis or not, must stop and rethink
what we have taken for granted. I believe this is a rare oppor-
tunity to review our own mindset and behaviors and reinvent
ourselves from scratch.”
Protective control meets human beings. The first
panelist, Toshiaki Itoh, formerly of Mitsubishi Chemical and
current SICE Fellow, took the approach of discussing the entire
plant system operations. He analyzed the causes of the troubles
in the Fukushima nuclear power plant from the viewpoint of
instrument control engineering. Then, he pointed to irregu-
larities of the accident by showing that fundamental protective
control could not be enabled by ordinary steps or procedures.
Because the tsunami washed out auxiliary power supply units
and cooling systems abruptly, the risk level had not increased
sequentially in Fukushima. “By its nature, current protective
control is not enough to cope with such unpredictable events,”
he said.
From homogeneous to heterogeneous. Presenting the
control system suppliers’ viewpoint, the second panelist, Chiaki
Itoh, Yokogawa Electric, started his presentation with the prem-
ise that “science, or technology, is not almighty.” He explained
the evolution of control systems since the introduction of digital
controllers in the late 1970s. The need to allocate computing
resources flexibly and avoid the risk of system downtime spurred
the growth of system decentralization in the early 1980s. At the
same time, the need for nonstop control system operations led
to the profusion of redundant systems through the ’80s. System
suppliers have continued to develop redundancy architectures,
from duplex systems with redundant communications to the
highly advanced controller architectures in which redundant
CPU modules monitor each other continuously.
In addition, the industry nurtured a hierarchical safety sys-
tem that stops plant operation in an orderly manner to minimize
damage in an emergency. The safety system operates indepen-
dent of the control system, which is designed to operate a plant
in a stable manner.
But, according to Mr. Itoh, the limitations of both current
redundant architectures and safety systems have been revealed.
“We all saw the limitations of redundant architecture in an open
system, in the troubles at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
We also faced the limitations of safety systems, because stopping
the system is complicated and not safe, as was shown in the case
of the nuclear plant.”
Itoh turned his remarks toward the common engineering of
redundancy. “We must note that most redundancy technologies,
including the ones used in heavy process industries, are more or
less the same in nature.” He continued, “A typical plant control
system is installed in an enclosure that has redundant power sup-
plies sitting side by side. The prevalence of this design approach
indicates that the safety mechanisms we have in mind will be
effective only to the extent that they prevent accidents caused by
the potential failure of the engineered product themselves.” He
suggested that, “We now need to pursue a structural switch in
redundant architecture, from homogeneous to heterogeneous,
and need to add diversified technologies such as wireless com-
munication systems and various kinds of sensors to measure
open systems.”
These panel discussions were the first of their kind following
the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Attendees agreed that,
while natural disasters cannot be avoided, it would be a shame
if we can’t learn and gain important insights from them. HP
The author, Director of Research at ARC Advisory Group Japan, has over 25
years of experience writing about and covering the industry for leading publications
in Japan including Control Engineering, Asia Electronics Industry and others. He was
based in New York during most of 1990s covering the electronics industry for Dempa
Publications. Mr. Kai has BA and MA degrees from Sophia University, Tokyo.
Automation-related lessons learned from
March 11 disasters in Japan
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HPIMPACT
BILLY THINNES, TECHNICAL EDITOR
BT@HydrocarbonProcessing.com
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

I


17
European refiners’ safety
performance in 2010
European oil company association
CONCAWE started compiling statistical
data on safety performance for the Euro-
pean downstream oil industry 17 years
ago. The group recently released its safety
report for 2010, featuring data from 34
CONCAWE member companies. These
companies when combined account for
approximately 93% of the refining capac-
ity of the EU-27 countries, plus Norway,
Switzerland and Croatia.
The results are reported mainly in the
form of key performance indicators that
have been adopted by the majority of oil
companies operating in Europe, as well as
by other industry sectors.
Accident frequencies in the European
downstream oil industry are generally at
low levels and the 2010 performance con-
tinues this trend. Standing at 1.9, the lost
work incident frequency (LWIF) indicator
for 2010 is less than 2.0, as has been the
case since 2007 (this figure is calculated
from the number of lost workday injuries
(LWIs) divided by the number of hours
worked expressed in millions).
For the second consecutive year, CON-
CAWE members were asked to provide
process safety performance indicator
(PSPI) data which describe the number
of process safety events (PSEs) expressed
as unintended loss of primary contain-
ment (LOPC). Twenty-four companies
provided data in 2010 which represented
a significant increase from the 18 com-
panies that responded in 2009. From
these responses, a process safety event
rate (PSER) indicator of 2.3 for all PSEs
was recorded. This is a notable reduction
versus the 4.1 recorded in 2009, caused
mainly by a significant increase in the
working hours of those companies report-
ing PSE data.
Focus on fatalities. A total of 14 fatali-
ties were reported for 2010 that were the
consequence of 14 independent incidents.
Following a steady downward trend dur-
ing the 1990s, fatality numbers started
to increase in 2000. Fatalities reached an
alarming peak of 22 in 2003 before sub-
stantially trending downward from 2004–
2006. Fatalities were recorded at 11 in
2008 and in 2009.
This year manufacturing contractors
appeared to be the most vulnerable work
group, experiencing 13 fatalities. Clearly,
this is of concern and all companies
should ensure that the contractor work-
force is fully integrated into the compa-
nies’ safety monitoring systems. The fatal
accident rate (FAR) of 2.68 continues to
be at a level similar to that observed in the
late 1990s.
The report notes that road traffic acci-
dents clearly decreased compared to earlier
years with the rate reaching a plateau from
1999. There was a small reduction in the
road accident rate (RAR) in 2010. These
accidents essentially occur in the market-
ing activity where the bulk of the driving
takes place.
One point of particular interest is the
“safety triangle,” which is the relationship
between the total number of recordable
incidents or the number of LWIs and the
number of fatalities. This diagram is illus-
trative but not to scale, as shown in Fig.
1. Also shown is a graph of LWI and all
recordable incidents (AI) per fatality.
Fig. 1 illustrates the declining num-
ber of fatalities until 1999 whereas the
total number of incidents remained fairly
constant. The period from 2000–2003
saw a steady increase in fatalities while
both AI and LWI were still on a decreas-
ing trend, resulting in a decrease of the
ratios. The lower number of fatalities from
2004–2009 reversed the trend resulting in
relatively steady ratios with a small positive
spike in 2006 when there were only seven
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
450
500
1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012
LWI per fatality
AI per fatality
Fatalities
LWI
AI
979
2609
14
2010
The European refining industry’s safety triangle, which is the relationship between
the total number of recordable incidents or the number of lost workday injuries
(LWIs) and the number of fatalities. Also shown is a graph of LWI and all recordable
incidents (AI) per fatality from 1992–2010.
FIG. 1
0
1
2
3
4
Road accident
Fall
Construction/
maintenance
Burn/electrical
Confined
space
Other
Manufacturing
Marketing
Causes of fatalities in 2010. FIG. 2
Road accidents
Maintenance/
construction
Burn/fire/
explosion
Others
60%
40%
20%
0%
Third party
action
1998–2010
2006–2010
Causes of fatalities from
2006–2010 and from 1998–2010.
FIG. 3
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HPIMPACT



19
fatalities. Despite an increase in fatalities in
2010 the ratios were only slightly reduced.
These observations led to the conclusion
that the overall improvement in the level of
lower severity safety indicators is not neces-
sarily leading to the prevention of the more
severe incidents that result in fatalities.
Fig. 2 details the causes of the 14 fatali-
ties recorded in 2010 and Fig. 3 shows the
percentage of the main causes over the last
five years and for all years since this infor-
mation was first collected in 1998.
The FAR (2.68 per 100 million hours
worked) and the total number of fatalities
(14) in 2010 were somewhat higher than
in 2009, which is of concern. Thirteen of
the 14 fatalities were associated with con-
tractors: five (~36%) were caused by burn
or electrical incidents, three (~21%) were
a result of confined space entry incidents,
two (14%) were caused by road accidents,
two (~14%) resulted from construction
and maintenance, one (~7%) resulted
from a fall from height, and one (~7%)
was classified as “other.”
For the last five-year period, construc-
tion/maintenance/operations activities and
road accidents remain the principal causes
of fatalities.
Libya at a glance
Wood Mackenzie recently undertook
an analysis of Libya, attempting to discern
how long it could take for a recovery of
oil and gas production. One of the key
issues in this respect is how quickly the
National Transitional Council (NTC)
can stabilize the security situation across
the country. Regardless, it is too early to
expect a material recovery in Libya’s oil
and gas production.
“Once a resolution is reached, we
believe it will take around 36 months for
oil production to recover to the pre-conflict
level of 1.6 million bpd,” said Ross Cassidy,
a research analyst for Wood Mackenzie.
“It may be possible, however, for up to
600,000 bpd to be restored within three
months assuming a swift end to hostilities,
and an early focus by the NTC and inter-
national community on stability and infra-
structure repair.”
Wood Mackenzie’s global gas research
shows that gas production could take less
time to recover. Eight billion cubic meters
of gas per year is contracted from Libya to
Italy, with Eni as the primary off-taker sell-
ing to customers in Italy. The Greenstream
gas pipeline routes gas from Eni-operated
fields in Libya to Italy.
“The Italian market is presently over-
supplied with gas and Eni has had to delay
off-take obligations from other suppliers
because insufficient market is available,”
said Massimo Di-Odoardo, a European
gas analyst for Wood Mackenzie. “During
the Greenstream outage, Eni increased off-
take of Russian pipe gas supplies therefore,
resumption of Greenstream will add gas
to an already oversupplied Italian market
with implications for downside price risk
and reduced flows of pipe gas from other
suppliers, notably Russia. It could take
as little as three months to restart Green-
stream supply and reach pre-crisis produc-
tion levels, however, the time to resume
supply will depend on local security and
the state of infrastructure.”
Wood Mackenzie estimates that it will
take around 36 months for Libya to recover
its full production capacity, from when-
ever the current crisis reaches a resolution.
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HPIMPACT



21
This depends on the scale of damage to oil
infrastructure being limited, swift removal
of international sanctions and the timely
return of international oil companies and
foreign workers. The Libya state-owned
NOC and the international industry will
have to work in partnership to repair facili-
ties, restart production and ramp-up to pre-
crisis rates. Production recovery is likely
to vary by basin. It will take longer in the
mature and complex Sirte Basin, in eastern
Libya, which is the foundation of Libyan
production, than in the more modern and
less complex fields of the Murzuk and Pela-
gian Shelf basins, of western Libya.
Substantial oil volumes could be back
in the market by late 2012, if a resolution
is achieved by the end of 2011. But the
recovery period will extend if production
remains shut-in for longer, as infrastructure
continues to deteriorate. There is unlikely
to be any increase in production or restart
of exports, while Libya’s oil infrastructure
is open to sabotage by either side.
In the longer-term, the production
outlook will be largely dependent on the
nature of the outcome to the conflict and
its political fallout. Libya has the poten-
tial to produce up to 3 million bpd of oil
and become a major gas exporter through
partnering with the international industry,
which will bring finance, skills and tech-
nology to existing fields. But, for now, this
brighter future remains on hold until mili-
tary operations are concluded.
EU Parliament seeks
stricter greenhouse
gas rules
The European Parliament is calling
for fast action to reduce non-CO
2
cli-
mate forcers including black carbon soot,
hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), methane and
ground-level ozone. The Parliament’s call
for action came in a resolution passed this
week by an overwhelming majority (578 to
51 with 22 abstentions).
The resolution calls for a comprehensive
climate policy and “stresses that in addition
to considering CO
2
emission reductions, it
should place emphasis on strategies that can
produce the fastest climate response,” spe-
cifically strategies to cut black carbon soot,
HFCs, methane and ground-level ozone.
Because these climate forcers are short-
lived, reducing them produces a fast cli-
mate response, the Parliament said.
This is in contrast to long-lived CO
2
,
where a significant portion remains in the
atmosphere for thousands of years. Even
cutting CO
2
emissions to zero today will
not produce cooling for a thousand years,
officials said.
“Cutting just two of the short-lived
climate forcers (black carbon soot and
ground-level ozone) can cut the rate of
global warming in half and by two-thirds
in the Arctic for the next 30 to 60 years,
assuming we also make progress on CO
2
,”
said Durwood Zaelke, president of the
Institute for Governance and Sustainable
Development.
Emissions of black carbon and other
short-lived climate forcers can be reduced
quickly using existing technologies and
existing laws, according to a recent assess-
ment by the UN Environment Program and
World Meteorological Organization. The
EU resolution follows the first-ever ministe-
rial meeting on short-lived climate forcers
held September 12 in Mexico City. HP
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HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

I


23
SELECTED BY HYDROCARBON PROCESSING EDITORS
Editorial@HydrocarbonProcessing.com
Mercaptan oxidation
in aqueous waste
Tert butyl mercaptan (TBM) and
dimethyl sulfide (DMS) are oxidized to
destruction in an aqueous-waste solution
containing methanol (MeOH), mono-
ethylene glycol (MEG), ammonia and
hydrocarbon sources using advanced oxi-
dation process (ozone, hydrogen peroxide
and uV). The aqueous solution in the trial
mimics the expected waste stream from a
gas-transport pipeline.
Background to the problem. PSE
Kinsale Energy required a process to
dispose of an aqueous waste stream in a
gas-storage project. Injection gas consti-
tutes odorized natural gas containing 4.7
ppmv and 1.3 ppmv of TBM and DMS
respectively. This is injected into an off-
shore reservoir during summer for winter
withdrawal. Withdrawn gas is expected
to be water saturated, and hydrate inhibi-
tors, MEG and MeOH, are injected. The
aqueous waste generated from the onshore
separator contains MEG/MeOH, TBM/
DMS and trace amounts of native petro-
leum species (alkanes, cyclics, phenol, etc.).
Initial treatment options. Due
to the uncertainty of produced water
flowrates (from 10 m
3
/d to 100 m
3
/d) and
the relatively low absolute value of flows,
disposal is best achieved by third-party
offsite disposal. Third-party water-treat-
ment plants cannot accept a waste with
mercaptan (thiol).
Pilot-trial results. Phase 1 of trials by
PSE Kinsale Energy was to establish back-
ground rates of MEG/MeOH destruction.
If the process achieved significant MEG/
MeOH destruction, disposal could be
implemented within the site and transport
infrastructure could be avoided. Batches
ran up to two hours. Achieved destruction
for samples of different chemical oxygen
demand (COD) concentrations, respec-
tively 98 mg/l and 35 mg/l, were 45% and
12%. This did not yield a viable disposal
process and was unexpected.
Phase 2 dosed mercaptan and petroleum
species into MEG/MeOH solutions. The
trials were located in a remote area due to
odor potency. Vials were opened under a
liquid surface to prevent gas escape, and
equipment was rinsed with hypochlorite
to destroy mercaptan odor. The trial equip-
ment was placed under a fume-hood with
an extract fan fitted with a KOH/KI-
impregnated activated-carbon filter.
In tests, mercaptan odor was not evident
after 30 minutes. Subsequent trials with
varying solution strengths confirmed this.
Increasing the background COD from 700
mg/l to 2,400 mg/l equivalent did not sig-
nificantly affect the mercaptan destruction
rate as detected by the trial operators, as
shown in Fig 1.
Attempts to identify a rate of reaction
were not possible; the reaction was quicker
than one simple residence time (50 liters
circulated at 1m
3
/h).
In Phase 3, two batches of a fully simu-
lated waste with petroleum species were
processed for 120 minutes. The analysis to
confirm odor destruction was three-fold:
• Liquid samples were taken at time
intervals and analyzed for mercaptan.
• After 120 minutes, the batch was
transferred to a barrel for headspace analysis
using graphite adsorption tubes.
• Liquid samples were taken at time
intervals and subsequently sampled by an
odor panel. Mercaptan destruction was
confirmed within 60 minutes.
Conclusion. The advanced oxidation
process using ozone/uV rapidly and selec-
tively destroyed mercaptan in an aque-
ous waste containing MeOH, MEG and
petroleum species. Competitive behavior
was negligible despite the higher concentra-
tions of the potentially competing species.
Despite the inference in published research,
the oxidation process was not capable of
destroying MeOH or MEG in a time suit-
able for process implementation.
Select 1 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
Wastewater treatment
exceeds standards
The result of a four-year development
effort, GE’s next-generation membrane
bioreactor (MBR) wastewater-treatment
technology, LEAPmbr, is claimed to offer
the lowest life-cycle costs available from any
MBR technology, while also being cost-
competitive with conventional treatment.
These cost savings, along with operational
simplicity and a compact footprint, derive
from innovations to the popular GE Zee-
Weed 500 MBR product line. Cost and
efficiency savings include:
• A minimum 30% reduction in energy
costs
• A 15% improvement in productivity
(greater water-treatment capacity)
• A 50% reduction in membrane aera-
tion equipment and controls, leading to a
simpler design with lower construction,
installation and maintenance costs
• A 20% reduction in physical footprint,
leading to further reduced construction and
installation costs, as well as lower ongoing
consumption of cleaning chemicals.
MBR technology consists of a sus-
pended-growth biological reactor inte-
grated with GE’s high-performance, rug-
ged ZeeWeed hollow-fiber ultra-filtration
membranes. ZeeWeed membranes are
immersed in a membrane tank, in direct
contact with the water to be treated, which
is known as mixed liquor. Through a
permeate pump, a vacuum is applied to
a header connected to the membranes.
The vacuum draws the water through the
ZeeWeed membranes, filtering out solids,
As HP editors, we hear about new
products, patents, software, processes,
services, etc., that are true industry
innovations—a cut above the typical
product offerings. This section enables
us to highlight these significant
developments. For more information from
these companies, please go to our website
at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/rs
and select the reader service number.
TBM
DMS
COD
0.0 0
400
800
1,200
1,600
2,000
2,400
2,800
0 10 20 30
Time, min
40 50 60
1.0
2.0
3.0
O
d
o
r
a
n
t

c
o
n
c
.
,

m
g
/
l
C
O
D
,

m
g
/
l
4.0
5.0
6.0
Mercaptan destruction rate. FIG. 1
We don’t have a department
dedicated to quality. We have
a company dedicated to it.
©

2
0
1
0

S
w
a
g
e
l
o
k

C
o
m
p
a
n
y
Simulated computer modeling, dimensional testing, and electron scanning
of raw materials – you name it, we’ll go to any lengths to ensure that if it’s
from Swagelok, it’s top quality. Because Quality isn’t just one of our values.
It’s our attitude. It’s the focus of every associate, affecting everything from
our services to our products. And by using the same disciplines, practices,
and technologies through every office in every country, that focus is constant.
We know that quality isn’t just a well-made product, it’s customers served
beyond what they were expecting. To see what that attitude can do for you,
visit swagelok.com/quality.
Select 63 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
HPINNOVATIONS



25
along with bacteria and viruses. The filtered
water, or permeate, can then be further
treated, reused or discharged as needed.
Select 2 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
Alliance brings together
production technology
UOP LLC, a Honeywell company,
has formed a licensing alliance with
ExxonMobil Research & Engineering Co.
(EMRE) to offer integrated solutions for
producing lubricant oils and high-quality
fuels. The agreement between Honeywell
UOP and EMRE will reportedly provide a
one-stop solution for refiners to maximize
lubricant oil and diesel fuel production
levels. The alliance harmonizes EMRE
technology, used to produce lube base oils
for use in motor oil, with UOP hydropro-
cessing solutions that produce the high-
quality feedstocks needed for lubricant
production.
Users will also have access to integrated
process design solutions for EMRE fuel-
dewaxing technologies and UOP hydro-
processing solutions to produce high-
cetane, ultra-clean diesel for cold climates
in a single engineering package. “By bring-
ing together these two well-established
portfolios, we are maximizing solutions for
our customers to produce more and better
products from each barrel of crude,” said
Pete Piotrowski, vice president and general
manager of Process Technology and Equip-
ment for Honeywell’s UOP.
Select 3 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
Redesigned analyzer for
H
2
S in crude oil
The OMA-300 hydrogen sulfide (H
2
S)
analyzer crude oil edition from Applied
Analytics, Inc. (AAI) is a specialized con-
figuration of the OMA-300 H
2
S system.
Equipped with a headspace sample-con-
ditioning system, it monitors an opaque
liquid process. When a sample is too dark
or dirty to transmit a light signal, the head-
space system is said to produce a represen-
tative vapor-phase sample that can be easily
monitored via ultraviolet-visible absor-
bance spectroscopy and correlated to the
chemical composition of the liquid process.
“AAI has always offered a highly effec-
tive solution for measuring H
2
S in opaque
liquids, but the current demand for crude
analysis has given us cause to rethink
our offering,” said Dan Murphy, senior
mechanical engineer. “The process resulted
in modifications to the crude oil edition
Applied Analytics’ headspace
system.
FIG. 2
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Select 155 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
HPINNOVATIONS
26

of the OMA-300 H
2
S. The refined design
puts everything in one enclosure and adds
the capability to monitor multiple crude
streams at once using multiple headspace
columns running in parallel.”
Select 4 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
Renewable fuel options for
condensing hydronic boiler
Fulton’s Vantage boiler, which has been
available since 2003 as an ultra-high-effi-
ciency condensing hydronic boiler, is said
to be drawing attention for its ability to
use B100 biodiesel and ultra-low-sulfur
(under 15 ppm) heating oils for full con-
densing operation. “As a result of com-
prehensive testing at the independent
Brookhaven National Laboratory, it has
been proven that the Vantage can meet or
exceed the thermal efficiencies attainable
with natural gas,” said Erin Sperry, Fulton’s
commercial heating product manager.
The biodiesels used in the Brookhaven
testing facility included biodiesels pro-
duced from both soybeans and recycled
tallow. According to findings, ignition on
B100 biodiesel, even from a cold start,
was identical to traditional No. 2 heating
oil. Testing also discovered that carbon-
monoxide emissions and smoke-number
readings were essentially maintained at
zero during steady-state operation and
at a normal excess-air level of 25%. Fol-
lowing test runs, burner head inspections
found no significant coke deposits and
measurable reductions for NO
x
, SO
2
and
soot were observed. Predicted corrosion
rates were in the acceptable range for the
application. Boiler-jacket loss—moni-
tored using the standards of the Ameri-
can Society of Heating, Refrigerating and
Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
Standard 103—was found to be 0.2% of
steady-state input, a very low value.
At Brookhaven, boiler efficiency was
measured using both an indirect flue-
loss method and a direct input/output
method. As typically observed with
hydronic boilers, efficiency and conden-
sate collection rate are impacted by the
return-water temperature. At high fire
with a return-water temperature of 122°F,
efficiency was found to be 88%. At low
fire with a return-water temperature of
90°F, efficiency was 93%. Under BTS-
2000 test conditions of 80°F, return-
water temperature and 180°F supply-
water temperature, the rated efficiency
was 98% at high fire.
Select 5 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
Fulton’s Vantage boiler. FIG. 3
This bench top analyzer tops all others in its price range for
features and performance. It’s equipped with an intuitive user
interface, full-color touch screen and on-board Windows XP
computer. Ethernet electronics that permit remote access for
calibration, diagnostics or service support. Plus, the Phoenix II
has a large sample compartment that accommodates spinners
and special holders yet requires little or no sample preparation.
It all adds up to the lowest cost of ownership, backed by
AMETEK’s reputation for reliability and world class customer
support. Visit: ametekpi.com
Select 156 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
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regulators and vibration isolation systems that can handle harsh conditions and keep going.
After all, in the 24/7/365 refinery business, the last thing you want is a piece of equipment that
fails. With ITT, your processes stay up—and your total cost of ownership stays down. For more
information, and to receive our Oil and Gas catalog, visit www.ittoilgas.com or call 1-800-734-7867.
Select 86 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
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Select 79 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

I


29
HPIN CONSTRUCTION
HELEN MECHE, ASSOCIATE EDITOR
HM@HydrocarbonProcessing.com
North America
Dominion is proceeding with its next
major project in the Marcellus and Utica
Shale regions, the construction of a large
natural gas processing and fractionation
plant along the Ohio River in Natrium,
West Virginia.
The first phase of construction includes
facilities that can process 200 million cfd
of natural gas and fractionate 36,000 bpd
of natural gas liquids (NGL). This phase of
the project is more than 90% contracted
and is expected to be in service by Decem-
ber 2012.
US Senator John Hoeven has announced
that the US Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) has approved a key permit
for the proposed petroleum refinery on
the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation near
Makoti, North Dakota. The Mandan,
Hidatsa, Arikara (MHA) Nation Clean
Fuels Refinery is expected to be one of the
few oil refineries to be constructed in the
US in the last 30 years, and be capable of
refining 15,000 bpd of oil.
During his tenure as governor, and
now as a member of the US Senate Indian
Affairs Committee, Senator Hoeven has
worked to support the project and see that
it achieved federal approval. In anticipa-
tion of the refinery’s approval, the Fort
Berthold Community College created a
two-year training program to educate stu-
dents interested in energy-related careers,
including refinery operation.
Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. will
construct a 150 million cfd cryogenic natu-
ral gas processing plant on its Anadarko
gas-gathering system near Wheeler, Texas.
The $230 million Ajax plant—strategically
located to serve the rapidly growing Granite
Wash play—will add much-needed natural
gas processing capacity to the partnership’s
Anadarko system and is expected to be in
service by early 2013.
Black & Veatch has begun front-end
engineering design (FEED) for a new, liq-
uefied natural gas (LNG) export facility
that will be constructed on a barge and
transported to the Douglas Channel near
Kitimat Village, British Columbia, Canada.
The unique facility will feature the com-
pany’s patented PRICO process to liquefy
natural gas for transport to Asian markets.
The project is owned by HN DC LNG
Ltd. Partnership (Haisla Nation), LNG
Partners, LLC, and Douglas Channel Gas
Services Ltd. It will reportedly be the first
barge-mounted export facility serving the
Pacific Basin, as well as the first for export-
ing Canadian natural gas
Black & Veatch’s FEED work for the
facility, which will produce more than
800,000 tpy of LNG, will be completed
in January 2012. The FEED will provide
a definitive estimate in finalizing a lump-
sum, turnkey contract between the parties
for the facility’s engineering, procurement,
construction, testing and commissioning.
Golden Valley Electric Association and
Flint Hills Resources Alaska have com-
menced engineering on a natural gas liq-
uefaction (NGL) facility on Alaska’s North
Slope. The two companies have signed a
memorandum of understanding to exclu-
sively negotiate agreements to construct
and operate a facility that would enable
liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be trucked
to the Interior by the first quarter of 2014.
GVEA would use the gas to power its
newest turbine at the North Pole Power
Plant. Flint Hills would use the gas as a
supply fuel for the refining process at its
North Pole refinery.
The deal would deliver gas “at cost” to
each company. Lower costs mean lower
rates to GVEA members. Flint Hills would
reportedly become more competitive
and efficient by burning LNG instead of
refined crude oil in its refinery. Engineering
for the project is underway. The objective
is to have LNG available in the North Pole
by the first quarter of 2014.

UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, has
begun construction of a biofuels demon-
stration unit in Hawaii that will convert
forest residuals, algae and other cellulosic
biomass into green transportation fuels.
Backed by a $25 million US Department
of Energy (DOE) award, the Honeywell
UOP integrated biorefinery will upgrade
biomass into high-quality renewable gaso-
line, diesel and jet fuel. The project will also
support the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative
goal to achieve 70% clean energy by the
year 2030.
Located at the Tesoro Corp. refinery in
Kapolei, the biorefinery will demonstrate
the technology’s viability, test the fuels pro-
duced and evaluate the environmental foot-
print of the fuels and process technology.
The project is scheduled to begin initial
production in 2012, and is expected to be
fully operational by 2014.
The demonstration unit will utilize the
rapid thermal processing (RTP) technology
to rapidly convert biomass into a pourable,
liquid biofuel. This liquid biofuel will then
be upgraded to green transportation fuels,
using hydroprocessing technology from
Honeywell’s UOP.
South America
Foster Wheeler’s Global Engineering
and Construction Group has been released
to perform the second phase scope for an
existing contract with Ecopetrol S.A. for
modernization of the refinery in Barran-
cabermeja (PMRB), Colombia. This release
includes additional project management
consultancy (PMC) and front-end engineer-
ing design (FEED), detailed engineering
for the crude unit revamps, assisting Eco-
petrol in the selection process for engineer-
ing, procurement and construction (EPC)
Trend analysis forecasting
Hydrocarbon Processing maintains an
extensive database of historical HPI proj-
ect information. The Boxscore Database is a
35-year compilation of projects by type, oper-
ating company, licensor, engineering/construc-
tor, location, etc. Many companies use the his-
torical data for trending or sales forecasting.
The historical information is available in
comma-delimited or Excel
®
and can be custom
sorted to suit your needs. The cost depends on
the size and complexity of the sort requested.
You can focus on a narrow request, such as
the history of a particular type of project, or
you can obtain the entire 35-year Boxscore
database or portions thereof. Simply send
a clear description of the data needed and
receive a prompt cost quotation.
Contact: Lee Nichols
P.O. Box 2608, Houston, Texas, 77252-2608
713-525-4626 • Lee.Nichols@GulfPub.com
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HPIN CONSTRUCTION



31
contracts, as well as control and supervision
of the EPC and construction contractors.
The second phase of the PMRB will add
heavy-crude processing capability to take
advantage of the available domestic heavy
sour crudes, and it will provide a process-
ing configuration to meet the Colombian
clean-fuels product specifications. This
refinery upgrade will eliminate fuel-oil pro-
duction and increase overall profitability.
BASF will invest in a world-scale pro-
duction site for acrylic acid, butyl acrylate
and superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) in
Camaçari, Bahia, Brazil. It will reportedly
be the first acrylic acid and superabsorbents
plant in South America. With an invest-
ment volume of more than €500 million, it
is the largest investment in BASF’s century-
long history in South America.
In addition, BASF will start to produce
2-ethyl-hexyl acrylate in its existing chemi-
cal complex in Guaratinguetá, São Paulo.
This will be the first plant for this product
in South America.
Construction of the new acrylic-acid
complex will start in 2011, with produc-
tion expected to begin in the fourth quarter
of 2014. Production for 2-ethyl-hexyl acry-
late in Guaratinguetá is expected to start in
2015 on the basis of acrylic acid produced
in Camaçari.
Europe
A subsidiary of Foster Wheeler AG’s
Global Engineering and Construction
Group has a contract with Aibel AS to pro-
vide detailed design engineering services to
support Aibel, which has been appointed
by Statoil as the main engineering, pro-
curement and construction (EPC) contrac-
tor for the Kårstø Development Project
(KDP) 2013 for the Kårstø and Kollsnes
oil and gas processing plants in Norway.
Foster Wheeler’s scope of work includes
detailed design engineering services for
modifications at the Kårstø plant to enable
it to process light oil from the Gudrun
offshore oil field and condensate from the
Sleipner field. Its scope of work also covers
the upgrading of eight compressors: three
at Kårstø and five at Kollsnes. There are
two additional scopes of work included as
options under the KDP 2013 contract: a
boiler-upgrade project and a hydrogen-sul-
fide removal project at Kårstø. This work
has not yet been released and is dependent
on Statoil choosing to exercise the options.
Statoil is acting on behalf of Gassco.
Gassco is the operator for the Kårstø and
Kollsnes terminals, which are owned by the
Gassled joint venture, with Statoil as the
technical service provider.
Lummus Technology, a CB&I com-
pany, has a contract from Lukoil for the
license and basic engineering of a grassroots
delayed coking unit. The coker will be
designed to process 6,100 tpd of heavy
feedstocks and will be located at Lukoil’s
refinery in Perm, Russia. Lummus Tech-
nology’s proprietary delayed coking tech-
nology will enable Lukoil to economically
produce two grades of specialty coke from
vacuum resid and other heavy feedstocks to
meet the region’s coke-quality requirements
and light product needs.

BP has agreements with JBF RAK LLC
under which JBF RAK is to build a new
390,000-tpy polyethylene terephthalate
(PET) production unit in Geel, Belgium,
subject to required approvals.
The agreements provide JBF RAK with
the rights to build and operate this PET
unit on BP’s existing petrochemicals com-
plex in Geel, adjacent to BP’s world-class
purified terephthalic acid (PTA) facility. BP
will, in return, supply PTA directly to this
new PET manufacturing unit. Unit startup
is scheduled in 2014.
A subsidiary of Foster Wheeler AG’s
Global Engineering and Construction
Group has a contract for the basic engi-
neering design of a new hydrogen produc-
tion unit, based on Foster Wheeler Terrace-
Wall steam-reforming technology, to be
built at the Atyrau refinery, a member of
JS National Co. “KazMunayGas” group,
the leading national oil and gas company of
Kazakhstan.
The contract was awarded to Foster
Wheeler by OJSC Omskneftekhimpro-
ekt, the project engineering contractor for
the Deep Oil Conversion Complex, a major
revamp and modernization of the Atyrau
refinery. The project’s main purpose is to
increase the oil conversion rate and produc-
tion of all types of motor fuels to meet Euro
IV and Euro V standards. The refinery will,
as a result of this modernization, require
additional volumes of high-purity hydrogen.
The new hydrogen unit, which will use
high-olefinic liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)
as the main feedstock and natural gas as the
Select 157 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
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HPIN CONSTRUCTION
32


alternate feedstock, will be designed to pro-
duce 24,000 Nm
3
/h of pure hydrogen. The
basic design package is scheduled for com-
pletion during the third quarter of 2011.
Africa
KBR has a contract with Anadarko
Mozambique Area 1, Ltd., to perform a
pre-front-end engineering and design (pre-
FEED) study for a prospective liquefied
natural gas (LNG) plant in Mozambique,
Africa. The contract award follows the
recent natural gas discoveries by Anadarko
and its partners in the Rovuma Basin, off-
shore Mozambique.
The pre-FEED study is designed to
help Anadarko further assess the viability
of developing an LNG facility to export
natural gas from the region. Joint-venture
partners include Anadarko, ENH, Mitsui,
BPRL, Videocon and Cove.
A subsidiary of Foster Wheeler AG’s
Global Engineering and Construction Group
has been awarded a contract by Engen Petro-
leum Ltd. for engineering, procurement and
construction management (EPCm) services
for Engen’s new multiproducts pipeline
feeder-lines and infrastructure project at
Engen’s Durban refinery in South Africa.
The project objective is to develop the
pipeline network from Engen’s depots to
tie in to the Transnet pipeline to enhance
Engen’s access to key refined-product mar-
kets in the South African interior. Transnet
is the principal operator of South Africa’s
fuel pipeline system.
Middle East
Fluor Corp. has been awarded an engi-
neering, procurement and construction
(EPC) contract by SAPCo, a joint-venture
company being formulated between Saudi
Acrylic Acid Co. and Evonik Industries,
for its Super Absorbent Polymer (SAP)
Project in Jubail, Saudi Arabia.
The SAP project work is underway and
is expected to be completed and commis-
sioned by the fourth quarter of 2013.
Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has
been awarded the second phase of the Ras
Tanura Refinery Clean Fuels and Aromat-
ics Project. This award is under the Saudi
Aramco General Engineering and Project
Management Services contract. Jacobs is
executing the project from its office in Al-
Khobar, Saudi Arabia.
The project’s scope of services includes
front-end engineering design (FEED) ser-
vices for both inside battery limits (ISBL)
and outside battery limits (OSBL). In addi-
tion, the project includes refinery modi-
fications to comply with expected future
environmental regulations. The Ras Tanura
refinery is located in the Eastern Province
of Saudi Arabia.
UOP LLC, a Honeywell company,
has announced that Oman Oil Refineries
and Petroleum Industries Co. (Orpic) has
selected UOP/Foster Wheeler technol-
ogy to help process heavy oil and expand
fuel and petrochemicals production at a
refinery in Sohar, Oman. Orpic will use the
UOP/Foster Wheeler Solvent Deasphalting
(SDA) process technology to convert heavy
crude to low-contaminant deasphalted
oil, a product that is further processed in
refineries to produce liquefied petroleum
gas (LPG), gasoline, jet fuel, diesel and
propylene. The new unit will process 2.5
million metric tpy of heavy crude to signifi-
cantly increase the refinery’s production of
valuable petroleum products.
In collaboration, Honeywell’s UOP and
Foster Wheeler will provide the technology
license and basic engineering package for
the new unit, which is expected to start up
in 2015.
Wood Group GTS has been awarded
an agreement to supply parts for 14 Gen-
eral Electric (GE) Frame 6B gas turbines
located at various sites in Oman. Under
this 12-year contract, all GE Frame 6B new
components will be exclusively sourced
through Wood Group GTS. To support
this contract, Wood Group GTS will
rely on its advanced parts manufacturing
(APM) program.
In addition, Wood Group GTS will
assist its customer to model the overall
new parts demand for its fleet, allowing
optimization of parts usage based on sev-
eral factors. Under the agreement, there is
an option to also purchase Dry Low NOx
components. All these gas turbines are used
in the process of efficiently extracting natu-
ral gas from established gas fields.
The Qatargas-operated Laffan Refin-
ery Co. Ltd. has awarded a lump-sum
front-end engineering design (FEED) con-
tract for the refinery’s Phase 2 expansion to
Technip. Phase 2 will increase the current
Select 158 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
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refinery capacity to enable Qatar to meet all
of its naphtha, diesel, liquefied petroleum
gas (LPG) and kerojet requirements. The
FEED study is scheduled to be completed
by the first quarter of 2012, and it will be
executed by Technip’s engineering center
in Paris, France. The engineering, procure-
ment and construction (EPC) contract is
expected to be awarded by the third quarter
of 2012.
Asia-Pacific
Gladstone Liquefied Natural Gas
(GLNG) in Queensland, Australia, has
selected Meridium, Inc. as the platform
for its enterprise-wide APM initiative. The
GLNG plant, which began construction
earlier this year, is a joint venture between
Santos, Petronas, Total and KOGAS.
GLNG involves exploration and pro-
duction of coal-seam gas, a 420-km gas
pipeline from the gas fields to Gladstone
and a gas liquefaction and export facility
on Curtis Island. The Meridium software
implementation project at GLNG kicked
off in May. GLNG has chosen to imple-
ment almost the entire suite of Meridium
technology including Risk-Based Inspec-
tion, Reliability-Centered Maintenance,
and Asset Strategy Management and Imple-
mentation.
Lummus Technology, a CB&I com-
pany, has been awarded a contract by
Ningbo Haiyue New Material Co. Ltd.,
for the license and engineering design of a
grassroots propane dehydrogenation unit
to be built in Ningbo City, Zhejiang Prov-
ince, China. The unit will use the CATO-
FIN dehydrogenation process to produce
600,000 metric tpy of propylene, and it is
expected to start up in 2014.
CB&I has been awarded, through its
joint venture with Chiyoda Corp. and
Saipem S.p.A., the preparation and sup-
ply of the project-specification contract for
the Arrow Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
Plant Project in Australia. Arrow Energy
Pty Ltd., the project operator, is a 50/50
joint venture partnered by Royal Dutch
Shell and PetroChina.
The project, which will be designed
with a production capacity of 8 million
tpy (4 million tpy x 2 trains), is planned
to be constructed on Curtis Island, off the
coast of Gladstone, on the east coast of
Queensland, Australia. The project plans
to expand its capacity up to 16 million tpy
in the future. The LNG plant will be sup-
plied with coal-seam gas from the Surat
and Bowen basins in Queensland, and will
process, treat and liquefy the gas for export.
Alfa Laval has an order to supply Alfa
Laval Packinox heat exchangers to a pet-
rochemical plant in Singapore. The order
value is about SEK 110 million, and deliv-
ery is scheduled for 2012. The Alfa Laval
Packinox heat exchangers will be used in a
catalytic processing section for production
of mixed xylenes.
Qingdao Haijing Chemical (Group)
Co. Ltd. has selected INEOS Technolo-
gies’ vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and
suspension polyvinyl chloride (S-PVC)
technologies for a project at its new site
located at Dongjia-kou Pro Port Indus-
trial Zone, Qingdao, People’s Republic
of China. The 400 kiloton/yr VCM plant
features production of VCM by pyrolysis of
ethylene dichloride (EDC). The EDC will
be produced using high- and low-temper-
ature chlorination and INEOS Technolo-
gies’ unique two-stage fixed-bed oxychlo-
rination process.
The 300 kiloton/yr S-PVC plant will
produce a full range of suspension PVC
grades from VCM using INEOS Technolo-
gies’ suspension process, including the use
of INEOS Technologies’ proprietary PVC
additives and recipes.
The two plants, forming part of a
broader petrochemical complex, are sched-
uled to start up in 2013.
China Petroleum & Chemical Corp.
(Sinopec) and Syntroleum Corp. have
announced the grand opening of the Sino-
pec/Syntroleum Demonstration Facility
(SDF) located in Zhenhai, China. The
SDF is an 80-bpd facility utilizing the
Syntroleum-Sinopec Fischer Tropsch tech-
nology for converting coal, asphalt and
petroleum coke into high-value synthetic-
petrochemical feedstocks.
Sinopec and Syntroleum entered into a
technology-transfer agreement in 2009. As
part of the agreement, Sinopec relocated
Syntroleum’s natural-gas-fed Catoosa dem-
onstration facility to the Zhenhai Refining
and Petrochemical Complex in Ningbo
City, Zhejiang Province, China, for joint
technology demonstration and develop-
ment. Upon successful completion of the
Zhenhai program, Sinopec intends to build
commercial-scale coal and petroleum coke-
based Fischer Tropsch facilities using the
Syntroleum-Sinopec technology.
Select 159 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
34

I
OCTOBER 2011 HydrocarbonProcessing.com
HPIN CONSTRUCTION
The Qinghai Salt Lake Industry
Co. has selected UNIPOL polypropyl-
ene process technology from The Dow
Chemical Co. for its new 160-kiloton/
yr polypropylene unit. The unit will pro-
vide polypropylene as part of Qinghai’s
integrated magnesium metal project to
produce homopolymers, random copoly-
mers and impact copolymers. As part of
the magnesium metal project, it will uti-
lize coal as feedstock to produce ethylene
and propylene through coal gasification,
and then use the ethylene and propylene as
feedstock for the polypropylene unit.
Installation at Qinghai Salt Lake Indus-
try Co. is scheduled to start in 2012, with
startup expected in the second half of 2013.
Air Liquide’s Engineering and Construc-
tion division has signed a contract with the
Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group
(SNCG) to build a 500,000-tpy methanol-
to-propylene (MTP) plant, following the
successful commissioning of the first indus-
trial-scale unit built with the same client.
The contract comprises the basic engi-
neering, license and supply of proprietary
equipment, as well as services for procure-
ment and technical advisory services at
the site. This will be the third large-scale
MTP plant licensed by Lurgi. SNCG, in
close cooperation with the Lurgi team,
played an important and constructive role
in the commissioning and startup phases
of the reported MTP-1 first-of-a-kind
plant, thereby contributing to proving the
success of Lurgi MTP technology at the
industrial scale.
The unit to be built in Ningdong, in the
Chinese province of Ningxia, will have the
capacity to produce around 500,000 tpy
of propylene from coal. The engineering
phase for the contract is to be completed
within about eight months.
Bathinda refinery, the producer of
180,000 bpd, started crude oil processing
in trial runs on August 29th, a source with
direct knowledge of the plant told Reuters.
The refinery is owned by Hindustan Mit-
tal Energy Ltd (HMEL), a joint venture
between state-run Hindustan Petroleum
and Mittal Energy.
Project consultant, Engineers India
Ltd. (EIL), had said last month that the
plant would start crude runs in August
and be fully operational by November.
The land-locked refinery is in the north-
ern Punjab state. It adds to India’s current
refining capacity of close to 4 million bpd.
The last refinery commissioned in India was
earlier this year, when Bharat Oman Refin-
ery Ltd. (BORL), a joint venture of Bharat
Petroleum and Oman Oil Co., started its
120,000 bpd Bina plant in central India.
KBR has a contract with Jaiprakash
Associates Ltd. (JAL)—a Jaypee Group
company—to provide license and engi-
neering-design services for JAL’s brown-
field 2,200-metric tpd ammonia plant in
Kanpur, India.
KBR is licensing its Purifier technol-
ogy. Its design will reportedly enable JAL to
build the ammonia unit with lower energy
consumption and reduced capital costs.
The new unit will be set up in an existing
plant at the Kanpur site, which was recently
acquired by JAL. The award follows KBR’s
execution of a revamp study for JAL’s exist-
ing three identical 450-metric tpd ammo-
nia trains completed in late 2010. HP
Expanded versions of these items can be
found online at HydrocarbonProcessing.com.
Select 160 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
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36

I
OCTOBER 2011 HydrocarbonProcessing.com
HPI CONSTRUCTION BOXSCORE UPDATE
Company City Project Ex Capacity Unit Cost Status Yr Cmpl Licensor Engineering Constructor
AFRICA
Kenya Kenya Petroleum Refineries Mombasa Refinery RE None 899 F 2016
Niger CNPC Zinder Reformer, Cat 2 bpd 600 U 2012 Lanzhou Petrochemical
Nigeria Brass LNG Ltd Brass Island LNG 5 MMmtpy H 2013 ConocoPhillips Bechtel Bechtel
ASIA/PACIFIC
Australia United Petroleum Pty Ltd Dalby Ethanol EX 160 MMl/y S
China BP Zhuhai Chemical Co Zhuhai PTA (3) EX 1.25 tpy P 2014
India Indian Oil Corp Ltd Barauni Gasoline Desulfurization 403 Mm-tpy U 2012 Axens Toyo India|Punj Lloyd Ltd Punj Lloyd Ltd
India HMEL Bathinda Hydrogen Generation (1) 180 bpd C 2011 Haldor Topsøe L&T
India BPCL/Bharat Oman Refineries Ltd. JV Bina, Madhya Pradesh Refinery EX 120 bpd 446 P 2017
India Indian Farmers Fert Coop Nellore Urea 2330 Mtpd P 2014
India Indian Oil Corp Ltd Paradip Cracker, FCC EX 85 Mbpd U 2012 Lummus Technology
India ONGC Ltd Tatipaka Crude Unit 1500 bpd C 2011 Ventech PDIL|Ventech Nicco
India Rashtriya Chemicals Thal Alibagh Carbon Dioxide Removal TO 43 MMcfd H 2011 GV Haldor Topsøe
India HPCL Vizag Distillation, Crude (4) 300 bpd P 2016
Japan Inpex Joetsu LNG Receiving Termin 160 Mm3 E 2014 Chiyoda Chiyoda
South Korea JX Nippon Oil/SK Innovation Ulsan Paraxylene 1 m-tpy 1000 P 2014
EUROPE
Belgium BP/JBF RAK LLC Geel Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) 390 tpy P 2014
France Total Gonfreville Lube Hydroprocessing 8 Mbpd H 2012 CLG CLG
Romania Petrom Ploesti Coker, Delayed EX 36 Mbpd 1332 E 2014 Lummus Technology CB&I Lummus|FW
Russian Federation Alco-Naphtha Kaliningrad PET 240 Mtpy C 2011 Uhde Inventa-Fischer Uhde Inventa-Fischer
Serbia Gazprom Pancevo Cracker, Catalytic RE 22 bbl 20 M 2012
Spain Enagas Gijon LNG Terminal 800 Msm3/hr U 2012 Fluor Fluor
Uzbekistan Sasol/Petronas/Uzbekneftegaz Ustyurt GTL 1.3 MMtpy 817 E 2014 Samsung Eng
LATIN AMERICA
Colombia Ecopetrol Barrancabermeja Crude Unit RE 100 Mbpd E 2013 FW FW
Peru PlusPetrol Peru Undisclosed Diesel Production 4 Mbpd C 2011 Ventech Ventech Ventech
Surinam Staatsolie Paramaribo Visbreaker (VBU) 3 Mbpd 800 U 2013 Lummus Technology CB&I Lummus|Aker Saipem
Shell Solutions|Saipem
MIDDLE EAST
Kuwait KNPC Mina Al Ahmadi Diesel RE 60 m-bpd E 2013 Haldor Topsøe
Oman Oman Oil Co Sohar Refinery 187 bpd 40 E 2015 FW|Honeywell CLG|UOP|CB&I|JGC UOP|CLG|JGC
Qatar Qatargas Ras Laffan Refinery EX 292 bpsd F 2012 Technip
Saudi Arabia Saudi Aramco Ras Tanura Refinery (2) None 80 H 2012 WorleyParsons WorleyParsons WorleyParsons
Saudi Arabia Saudi Aramco Shedgum Sulfur Recovery Unit RE 550 t/a C 2011 Jacobs Nederland BV
Saudi Arabia IBN RUSHD Yanbu Xylene, Para 460 kty E 2014 UOP CTCI CTCI
Turkey Petkim/SOCAR/Turcas JV Aliaga Hydrogen 160 MNm3/h 5000 U 2015 FW
UNITED STATES
Louisiana ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Desalter RE 103 m-bpd E 2012 Cameron Cameron Cameron
North Dakota NDAREC Fort Berthold Indian Reservation Refinery 15 bpd 400 U 2013 Mustang
Corval Group
Texas Enbridge Wheeler Co Cryogenic Gas Plant 150 MMcfd 230 P 2013
Washington BP West Coast Cherry Point Distillate, HDS 20 Mbpd U 2011 Cameron Cameron
Cameron
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Select 95 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SPECIALREPORT
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

I


39
Intelligent severity optimization
project pays off in two months
Major olefin producer uses new process control
to fine-tune energy consumption
H. WANG, Z. WANG, W. DU, D. WANG and F. QIAN, East China University
of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China; and Z. TANG, Sinopec Yangzi
Petrochemical Co. Ltd., Nanjing, China
T
he Sinopec Yangzi Petrochemical Corp. (SYPC) wanted to
increase ethylene production at the Nanjing facility while
decreasing energy consumption. The ethylene producer
elected to use a real-time optimization (RTO) program to meet
its production and energy consumption goals. The SYPC ethylene
plant at Nanjing, China, increased higher-value product yield by
1.3% and decreased energy consumption by 2.5%. The authors
discuss the thinking and techniques applied to achieve both goals.
Background. As one of the pioneers in the development and
application of novel technologies in Sinopec, SYPC has been
working closely with East China University of Science and Tech-
nology (ECUST) for technical research to improve operation
efficiency, reduce energy consumption and increase benefits. On
the way to total automation, the “step-by-step” principle was
observed. The first target for the ethylene plant should be the
ethylene cracker, since it is not only the most important device
but also the largest energy consumer.
Simple advanced controls and product quality controls have
been successfully implemented in the plant and have continuously
produced benefits.
1,2
The benefits achieved in SYPC were soon
extended to other ethylene plants.
Although a more consistent furnace yield slate was produced
by using severity control in place of coil outlet temperature (COT)
control, determining severity setpoint remained an issue. The set-
point was set by plant management and nearly always around the
design value. This conservative approach inevitably incurs profit
loss, due to aging of the furnace. Also, decision-making could not
keep up with the frequent feed composition changes.
In response to the frequent market prices and feed changes,
SYPC decided to implement an RTO system for the ethylene
crackers. This is the first RTO project for the ethylene crackers
in China. It began in 2007 and was completed in 2009. In this
project, the severity was defined to be only independent variables.
The feedrate and steam-to-hydrocarbon ratio would be fine tuned
in the plant optimization project.
This decision was made based on the plant instrument condi-
tions and the “step-by-step” principle. From another viewpoint,
it also reflected the uncertainty of management on the potential
benefits. This uncertainty was quickly eliminated after the system
performance test.
System overview. Fig. 1 shows the optimization and con-
trol structure for the SYPC ethylene cracker. The RTO system
is on top of the severity control, regular controls (including the
COT control) and other plant provided basic controls. These
well-tuned control systems and reliable instruments promise (to
keep) stabilizing plant operation and to maintain the optimum
operating conditions found by the RTO system.
The RTO system comprises six processes and includes yield
prediction, data collection and validation, status monitoring,
model updating, optimization and results output. The system
provides the engineer with a choice of four objective functions or
operating modes, including: maximum overall profit, maximum
PHD
Online GCs Valves and measurements
Data collection
RTO
Data validation
Process monitor Model updating
Optimization
Results output
Operators interface Setpoint check
Severity control
Regular controls
DCS
Process
Serial interface
Ethylene cracker severity optimization and control
architecture.
FIG. 1
PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SPECIALREPORT
40

I

OCTOBER 2011 HydrocarbonProcessing.com
ethylene yield, maximum propylene yield and maximum olefins
yield. The operators’ interfaces for optimization are embedded
in the distributed control system (DCS). Plant engineers and
operators can write feed composition data and enable/disable
optimization commands through the user interface. The data are
continuously uploaded to the process history database (PHD).
The RTO system takes the process data, feed composition
data and operators command flags from the PHD. After calcula-
tion, the optimization results are written to the DCS, via a serial
interface (SI) card. The results are implemented as setpoints for
the existing controllers after validity check in the DCS.
Time interval varies in different parts of the optimization
system. The data collection runs every 5 minutes, and the yield
prediction also runs every 5 minutes. The execution cycle for
optimization process can be 30 minutes or 1 hour, depending on
the set boundaries of the step size for setpoints downloaded. If
any process or analytical abnormity is detected, the timer will be
cleared and will restart only when the process returns to normal.
For the project, a dedicated workstation (also called an “opti-
mization server” in the plant) was added. The optimization server
was placed in the engineering station room. A hardware firewall
was also installed to assure safe data flowing to the server from
the plant website.
Different access levels were assigned to different user classes.
Plant engineers and managers can update the product market
prices and select the optimization objectives. The software design-
ers and maintainers can do system performance monitoring and
necessary parameter debugging. The RTO system can be divided
into four components, including the yield prediction model, an
optimizer, custom programs and user interfaces.
Yield model. SYPC has access to a rigorous model for predict-
ing effluent compositions. This model is normally used for feed
selection and COT optimization in an offline mode. The rigorous
model requires a large amount of measured information including
the detailed feed compositions or feed characteristics. However,
there is no online measurement for the feed detailed composi-
tion in the plant, and the routine feed analysis cannot suffice the
required information, which makes the rigorous model difficult
to be incorporated in the RTO system.
Neural-network composite models comprising several sub-
models were developed to predict the cracked product yield for
the furnaces. Different sub-models feature feeds with distinct
pyrolysis characteristics, thus different product spectrum.
The model uses several feed characteristics and key operat-
ing variables to predict product yields. The feed characteristics
used include the PIONA values and density that can be acquired
by routine feed analysis. The operating variables include COT,
feedrate, steam-to-hydrocarbon ratio, and other temperature and
pressure variables.
The training data were based on the simulation results from
the rigorous model over a wide range of operating conditions,
with special emphasis on the normal operating range. A feedstock
historical database collected over more than five years was used,
and those representative feed samples were chosen for the simula-
tion and to produce the training data. The developed model was
first tested against the rigorous model. Until the relative error for
yields prediction fell below a predefined value, the model moved
to the online test stage. During online testing, the model was fur-
ther evaluated against analysis results from online gas chromato-
graphs (GCs). Before the test, the GCs were calibrated and also
tested by several repeated laboratory analyses to ensure reliability.
Fig. 2 compares the model prediction of propylene-ethylene
ratio (PER) with GC analysis results. The data are randomly
scattered around the x-axis, and the relative errors are below 3%.
Since the yield prediction model uses steady-state approximations
to estimate the dynamic furnace operations, the model will not
match the process exactly. But the model mismatches are taken
into account in the optimization results to update the optimizer.
Optimizer. The optimizer is the engine of the RTO system.
The primary function is to solve the yield model and execute the
online optimization. Meanwhile, it can do offline optimization
studies. As stated earlier, four optimization goals, or objective
functions, are available, including: maximum overall profit, maxi-
mum ethylene yield, maximum propylene yield and maximum
olefins yield. The profit function is defined as:
Profit = (Product values) – (Feedstock costs) +
(Utilities values) – (Utilities costs)
For the furnace, utilities values include super high-pressure
steam (SHPS) generation, and utilities costs comprise fuel con-
sumption, dilution steam and boiler feedwater (BFW) used. These
alternatives help plant managers or engineers to choose the “best”
−5
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Yield model accuracy compared with online GC data. FIG. 2
Engineer’s interface to the server. FIG. 3
PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SPECIALREPORT
way to operate the furnaces, based on the political policy, market
situation and feedstock availability.
An optimization toolkit was developed and can be used to solve
both single-objective optimization problems and multi-objective
optimization problems. Deterministic algorithms including a
sequential quadratic programming (SQP) technique, golden-sec-
tion search, a simplex method and hybrid methods with stochastic
algorithms can be selected according to the problem characteristics.
The optimization toolkit was designed not only for this sever-
ity optimization project, but also for plant optimization that
involves several independent variables in the future.
The downloaded optimization variables are furnace severities.
The setpoints downloaded are not the optimal severity solved
by the optimizer. The optimal severity is updated based on the
model prediction error to account for model inconsistency. The
optimizer would take a bounded step from the current setpoint
toward the updated severity value. This updating strategy allows
the controllers to have enough time to achieve the setpoints pre-
dicted by the optimizer, thus ensuring smooth furnace operation.
Custom programs. The custom programs were developed
to facilitate model predictions and to optimize the process while
addressing possible abnormal situations and maintaining all com-
munications involved and process data download as safe as pos-
sible. These functions were implemented in both the optimization
server and the DCS.
Server programs. The programs in the optimization server
were mainly designed to do data collection and validation, to
monitor the process based on data analysis, to update the system
with new input variables, to send the final results to the DCS, to
execute self-diagnosis and to log all important changes or even
system breakdown.
Several status flags are displayed in the server user interface,
including the communication status from PHD to server, the
optimization on/off command from operators, the status of fur-
nace and key instruments, and process data validity.
These statuses determine the sequence of events defined in
the RTO system. For example, if the process data was confirmed
98
99
100
101
102
103
96 hr
Y
i
e
l
d
,

%
Before RTO After RTO
RTO increased the yield of high-value olefins production. FIG. 4
Attention PI PESYS users
-Minimize gathering system bottlenecks to maximize delivery to process facilities
-Size pipes to maximize production by reducing friction without causing liquid loading
-Determine the potential effects of changes in plant or pipeline operating conditions
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PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SPECIALREPORT
42

I

OCTOBER 2011 HydrocarbonProcessing.com
questionable, the RTO system will get into the “initializing” state.
The system will continuously collect data and validate them unless
the process data return to normal. Meanwhile, the optimization
results from the previous cycle will be used as the downloaded set
points, and a corresponding flag will be sent to the DCS screen
to inform the operators of possible countermeasures. For security
consideration, any changes to the key parameters, such as the
market prices for each product, and corresponding username will
be logged in a recording text file.
DCS programs. The programs in the DCS were designed
to examine, restrict and implement the setpoints downloaded
from the server. If the communication faults or abnormal signal
from the server were detected, the programs will hold the current
setpoint and inform the operators through the dedicated user
interface in DCS.
User interfaces. The user interface is the “window” to the
RTO system.
3
Two sets of user interfaces were developed in the
server and DCS, respectively.
Server interfaces. The interfaces in the server were designed for
plant engineers and RTO system maintainers. There are seven pages
each with different functions. They are used to select the optimiza-
tion goals, to update the market prices and model parameters, to
monitor the process variables and optimization results, to perform
process analysis using the historical trends, to predict product yield
for given inputs and to carry out system test and parameter adjust-
ments. Fig. 3 shows the fourth page for variables historical trending.
DCS interfaces. The interfaces in the DCS were designed for
the console operators. There are four pages each with different
functions. They are used to write the feed characteristic data and
boundaries for the severity setpoints, to enable/disable the RTO
system, to display the system status, and to monitor the key operat-
ing variables and analytical system. The interfaces were designed
to be consistent with the previous severity control user interfaces,
which made the operator more familiar with the system.
Performance. Performance tests were conducted to verify the
effectiveness of the RTO system. The optimization base was to
keep the feedrate and steam-to-hydrocarbon ratio invariant during
the test. The representative base-line data and new base-line data
were collected to form a quantitative basis to evaluate olefin yield
increases and to reduce energy use.
The estimated tangible benefits indicate a project payback
period of less than two months. The achieved benefits include
95% from the desirable products increase and 5% from the utili-
ties saving. The average increase of ethylene plus propylene yields
is 1.4%. The average decrease of the fuel-gas consumption is 3.5%.
The fuel gas, SHPS and BFW all contributed to the utili-
ties. When the fuel gas decreased, the SHPS generation also
decreased. This leverage makes the utilities saving occupy only a
small share (5%) in the benefits, despite a considerable fuel gas
saving observed. Fig. 4 shows the yields increase before and after
the performance test. Fig. 5 shows fuel gas decrease before and
after the performance test.
The benefits clearly show the capability of the RTO system to
push the cracker severity to the profitable constraints based on
the latest economic data. During the test, the daily tube metal
temperatures (TMTs) were also measured and recorded before and
after performance test. The maximum TMT of the week before
the test was 1,080°C and 1,078°C after the test. This result indi-
cates that the RTO system can potentially prolong the furnace run
length. This can be considered as one of the intangible benefits
from the RTO system.
Other intangible benefits also include the offline use of the
RTO system. The system can be used to predict effluent yields, to
evaluate different operating conditions or to do sensitivity analyses
based on feed properties and operating conditions. Another intan-
gible benefit is that the system provided the plant management
with a better understanding of economic sensitivities of different
operating modes. The performance test showed that increas-
ing some olefin losses can increase the total profitability, which
helped plant management gain a much clearer understanding of
the tradeoff between the product yield and energy consumption.
Key to success. As the first successful RTO project on ethylene
crackers in China, the management of the SYPC and ECUST
project team were both awarded the “National Science and Tech-
nology Progress Award” in 2009. Several features leading to this
successful project are:
• Transparency to users. The system was designed, to the
greatest extent, to make the plant personnel understand what the
system is doing and why.
• Safety first principle. Comprehensive abnormal situation
management can assure the safety of the optimization control
system, in spite of any abnormality in yield model prediction,
process data, system program and even the server breakdown.
• Flexibility. The system provides several possible operating
modes and optimization algorithms. The system can be used in
online or offline mode.
• Friendly interfaces. The standard user interfaces in DCS
interface facilitate interpretations and operations of the optimiza-
tion control system.
• Easy to maintain. All possible adjustable parameters have
been summarized and displayed in a specific interface for mainte-
nance. This feature has great value in view of frequent manpower
flow and the movement of the plant engineers.
• Software portability. The generic and modularized codes
behind the software make it easy to integrate with planning system
in higher levels and easy to redevelop for furnaces in other plants.
In addition to the on-the-job training plus the special training
session for operators, the commitment of plant management,
and the seamless cooperation between the user and provider all
contribute to the success of the project.
91
93
97
95
101
99
103
96 hr
F
u
e
l

g
a
s

c
o
n
s
u
m
p
t
i
o
n
,

%
Before RTO After RTO
The RTO decreased energy consumption, as shown in the
before and after performance testing.
FIG. 5
PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SPECIALREPORT
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

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43
Future plans. The SYPC ethylene plant is continuing to look
for ways to further improve the RTO system performance. The
dilution steam and the feedrate have been discussed to incorpo-
rate into the RTO system, which requires the revamp or replace-
ment of the steam instrument and also the development of a
total plant model.
The implementation of this RTO system in ethylene plants of
Sinopec Qilu and Shanghai is in preparation. HP
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Funds for Distin-
guished Young Scholar, National High-Tech Research and Development Program
of China and the Shanghai Key Technologies R&D Program. A special thanks is
extended to Ling Zejing, Huang Xianping, Hu Tiansheng and Zha Xingqi from
SYPC for their contributions.
LITERATURE CITED
Complete literature cited available online at HydrocarbonProcessing.com.
Honggang Wang is currently a PhD student at the East China University of
Science and Technology, Shanghai, China. He directly began his doctoral study after
receiving his BS degree from the China University of Petroleum (Beijing) in 2005. His
research field includes first-principle modeling and optimization of ethylene crackers.
His experience includes design, configuration and commissioning of APC and RTO
projects. He has published 8 papers and holds 1 patent.
Zhenlei Wang is a full professor at the East China University of Science and
Technology. He specializes in the field of advanced control. He has served as the
lead control engineer on several advanced process control projects, such as ethylene
crackers, ethylene distillation and propylene distillation. Dr. Wang has published 15
papers and holds 2 patents in process control area. He was awarded the “National
Wenli Du is a full professor and also the deputy director of the Institute of Auto-
mation in East China University of Science and Technology. She has more than 8 years
of experience in modeling and optimization of chemical plants. Dr. Du has published
several papers and holds patents in this area. She has been awarded the “National
Science and Technology Progress Award” in 2002, 2005 and 2009. Dr. Du holds a
PhD in control theory and control engineering from the East China University of Sci-
ence and Technology, Shanghai, China.
Dahai Wang is a final-year postgraduate student at the East China University of Sci-
ence and Technology, Shanghai, China. His areas of interest are multiple model adap-
tive control and user interface development. He has published three research papers.
Feng Qian is a full professor and vice president of the East China University
of Science and Technology. He has extensive project experience in the design and
implementation of DCS-resident APC, inferential control and optimization strategies
as applied to petrochemical processes (olefins, aromatics, specialty chemicals). He has
published more than 250 papers and holds 22 patents. He has been awarded the
“National Science and Technology Progress Award” in 2002, 2005 and 2009. Dr. Qian
received his BS degree in 1988 and his PhD in 1995 both in industrial automation
from the East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China.
Zhiwu Tang is a section chief in the Science and Technology Office, SINOPEC
Yangzi Petrochemical Co., Ltd., Nanjing, China. He has more than 20 years of profes-
sional experience in the petroleum oil refining, petrochemicals and polymer industries.
He is responsible for simulation, APC and RTO project management in the plants.
Mr. Tang was awarded the “Shanghai Science and Technology Progress Award” in
2004 and “The Ninth China Patent Award of Excellence” in 2005. He received his
BS degree in applied chemistry from Huazhong University of Science and Technol-
ogy in 1987, and received his MS degree in chemical engineering from the Nanjing
University of Technology in 2005.
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PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SPECIALREPORT
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

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45
Fine-tune diesel hydrotreating
operations
This refinery used a simulator to train operators effectively
A. T. ALDAIEL, M. M. ALMULLA and M. A. ALNAJRANI, Saudi Aramco, Dhahran,
Saudi Arabia; and K. CHAITANYA, A. DESHPANDE and V. HARISMIADIS,
Hyperion Systems Engineering, Modeling and Simulation, Pune, India
M
odern plants are heat integrated
and are increasingly more auto-
mated. Smooth processing con-
ditions dull the operators’ skills in handling
abnormal events. Likewise, fewer young
people are entering refinery operations as
senior personnel retire. To remedy the expe-
rience gap, a Middle East refinery opted
to use an operator training simulator for
a new diesel hydrotreater. This program
focused on training and fine-tuning the
needed skill set for the hydrotreater opera-
tions’ employees.
BACKGROUND
Long production runs and few major
upsets within the process diminish the oper-
ators’ skills in handling infrequent or unfore-
seen situations. In practice, this is seen with
operating losses through poorly managed
disturbances, delays in achieving maximum
throughput, inability to follow customer
demands or exploiting market opportuni-
ties and unrealized profits. In addition, it
is becoming increasingly more difficult to
recruit and train new operators effectively.
The situation is exacerbated by the market
competition for local skilled resources.
1
An effective method that can support
improved plant operator skills and main-
tain process understanding and engineering
analysis is a dynamic process simulator.
2

This simulator can be either:
• Generic, standard or customized—
Providing only a typical representation of
the actual process unit.
• Custom-tailored and detailed—
Accurately representing the end-user’s
actual unit, by closely following the process
and instrumentation diagrams.
There are arguments in favor of using a
generic, standard or customized simulator
as a training tool (see Table 1). They are
based on its immediate delivery and low
cost. However the return value for these
systems can be low; experienced operators
will not see these simulators as relevant to
actual plant operations.
A custom-tailored simulator is more effec-
tive in training. It costs a fraction of a percent
of a modern process unit, and the payback
time can be significantly less than two years,
depending on how it is applied.
The value to the corporation using such
a simulator can be huge due to avoiding pro-
duction losses or major plant incidents. Simi-
larly, significant improvements are seen in
safety and environmental compliance. Due
to the greater understanding of the value that
simulators can bring in improved operational
performance, operator training simulators
are becoming a requirement for grassroots
plants. If they are used before plant commis-
sioning and for a detailed troubleshooting of
the control system, a simulator can pay for
itself before the plant is even operational and
provide continuous value to the plant.
3

This case history investigates a new oper-
ator training simulator for a diesel hydro-
treater plant in the Middle East.
DIESEL HYDROTREATING PROCESS
Hydrotreating reactions take place in a
fixed-bed reactor at elevated temperatures
(300°C–400°C) and pressures (30–130
atmospheres), in the presence of a catalyst
consisting of an alumina base impreg-
nated with cobalt and molybdenum.
4,5
Feed
pump
Plant
feed
Heater
Reactor
Hot
separator
Stripper
column
Cold
separator
Rich amine
HP amine
absorber
Recycle gas
compressor
Makeup gas
Purge gas
Lean amine
H
y
d
r
o
g
e
n
-
r
i
c
h

r
e
c
y
c
l
e

g
a
s
Sour water
Product
pump
Hydrotreated
diesel
Reflux
drum
Sour water
Sour gas
Gas to amine treater
for H
2
S removal
A schematic process flow diagram for a diesel hydrotreater. FIG. 1
PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SPECIALREPORT
46

I

OCTOBER 2011 HydrocarbonProcessing.com
Fig. 1 is a schematic of the equipment and
process flow streams for a typical diesel
hydrotreating (DHT) unit. Liquid feed (at
the bottom left hand side in the diagram)
is pressurized, preheated and mixed with
hydrogen-rich recycle gas. The resulting
mixture flows through a fired heater where
it is totally vaporized before entering the
reactor. The hydrotreating reactions, i.e.,
desulfurization, denitrogenation, satura-
tion and cracking, occur on a fixed-bed
catalyst. The reaction effluent is partially
cooled and flashed at the hot separator ves-
sel. The vapor flow is further cooled. The
resulting mixture of liquid and gas enters
the cold-separator vessel at about 40°C and
45 atmospheres.
Most of the hydrogen-rich vapor from
the cold-separator vessel is recycled to the
reactor, passing through an amine contac-
tor to remove hydrogen sulfide (H
2
S). Any
excess gas from the cold-gas separator vessel
joins the sour gas from the stripping of the
reaction liquid product.
The bottoms product from the stripper
is the final product from the hydrotreating
unit. The overhead gas from the stripper is
flared off or recycled. The amine solution
to and from the recycle gas contactor comes
from and is returned to the refinery’s main
amine gas treating unit.
MODELING HIGHLIGHTS
A commercial off-the-shelf dynamic
process simulator software package was
used to model in high fidelity and from first
principles all plant equipment. A typical
screenshot for a model flowsheet is shown
in Fig. 2. Process modeling included:
• Oil assay. An oil assay with a series
of pseudo-components was configured to
represent the oil properties. About 35 com-
ponents were used to describe the simulator
material streams.
• DHT reaction kinetics. All reac-
tion types (desulfurization, denitrogena-
tion, aromatics saturation, hydrocracking,
etc.) were modeled. Reactions were tuned
to match the heat and mass balance pro-
vided by the process licensor. The model-
ing accounted for impurities, like CO and
H
2
O that could act as catalyst poison.
• Recycle gas compressor. Anti-surge
control and compressor startup sequence
were incorporated into the model. Thus,
the operator could be trained in following
the exact compressor startup procedures,
either in distributed control-system (DCS)
mode or in local mode.
• Hydrogen makeup reciprocal com-
pressors. The manual loading and unload-
ing provisions for compressor was modeled.
The operator can change the compressor
load from the DCS only, exactly as in the
actual unit.
• Gas-amine contactor columns. The
H
2
S absorption in amine was modeled
using a reaction in the column. Foaming,
including liquid entrainment, was simu-
lated when conditions were appropriate.
• Diesel quality. The final hydrotreated
diesel product quality was matched to
licensor data, i.e., ASTM D86 curve.
• All control loops were tuned, so
that the reaction to disturbances is quick
Process model flowsheet in simulator. FIG. 2
ZV-0047
Reset activated
false
false
false
false
false
50E
50E
50E
XA
009.F
XA
0073
XA
0073
XA
0073
false
true
ZV-0073
Valve reset
ZV-0073
Ready to reset
ZV-0073
Valve shutdown
alarm
ZV-0073
AFC
ZV
Smart
positioner
Note 5
ZV-0073
DCS shutdown
HS0073CR
Close_ZV0073
Trip_ZV0073
HS0073E
XA0073
XL0073R
N Out
Note 4
AND096_02
AND096_01
AND096_03
AND
AND
AND
1
10
1
Total plant S/D
SH-001 H12
FX
XA0073F
02-03/04-02
04-07/08-07
0073
2Y
5V 24V
(DC)
HS0073CR
HS0073CR
HS0073E
AS
(0093CR)
(0093F)
( )
0073
( )
XA
0073
( )
HS
0073E
( )
XA
0073
( )
XL
0073
( )
ESD logic application in simulator. FIG. 3
TABLE 1. Types of training simulators available
Simulator type Definition Characteristics
Standard A typical unit Not accurate representation of the end user’s plant or control system.
operation
Generic A typical plant Not accurate representation of the end user’s plant or control system.
Customized Modified standard Seems closer to the end user’s unit operation or plant. Often, this
or generic models similarity is limited to equipment and instrument tag-names.
Not accurate representations of the end-user’s plant or control system.
Custom P&ID based Accurate simulation of end user’s plant.
Modeling is based on P&IDs and a copy or accurate emulation
of the control system.
PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SPECIALREPORT
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

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47
but stable. A number of complex control
loops were tuned, using the lambda tuning
method.
6
The controller tuning parameters
obtained can be utilized as the initial values
in the actual DCS to expedite commis-
sioning.
• Emergency shutdown system (ESD)
was modeled in the simulator, using a series
of simple logic blocks. To facilitate trouble-
shooting and monitoring of the shutdown
system during abnormal conditions, the
logic diagrams were used as backgrounds,
and red/green colored feedback for true or
false respectively, was used for signals going
from the ESD to the DCS or to the field.
A typical screenshot of the ESD model is
shown in Fig. 3.
• “Fast action” buttons have been
provided for the draining and filling of
hold-ups. This was done to ensure that the
operator does not wait for long times dur-
ing start-up and shutdown for a vessel to
empty or fill-up.
System architecture. A typical opera-
tor training simulator (Fig. 4) is composed
of three main elements:
• Instructor station
• Calculation engines
• Operator stations (i.e., DCS consoles).
The master simulator environment
provides the necessary tools to prepare and
seamlessly integrate the aforementioned
elements:
• Instructor station. In this case, it
was built in the native simulator system.
It contains graphics that are based on the
DCS system and includes the field-opera-
tor duties. It provides all the necessary tools
for the operator to navigate through the
plant, generate equipment malfunctions,
create training scenarios, and review the
performance of the operators. Typically,
there is one PC used by the instructor.
• Calculation engines. The process
model calculations are done in a series of
“engines.” The overall process model is
divided over a number of smaller models.
These individual models are interconnected
by multi-component streams, using physi-
cal property information obtained directly
from the simulator’s physical property and
thermodynamic database. Each one of
these models is running on a single CPU-
core. A number of PCs may be used to run
a process model.
• DCS engineering station. It per-
forms all DCS functions (controller calcu-
lations, alarm managing, etc.) and allows
a control engineer to modify the database.
It is connected to the operator stations, as
in the real plant. The connection between
the simulator master environment and the
DCS engineering station is through a spe-
cial link designed to allow it to function as
an integral part of the dynamic simulation
system, e.g., simulator starting/stopping,
loading/saving initial conditions.
• Cross-reference tables in the simula-
tor link process model variables, instruc-
tor functions, etc. with the DCS and ESD
input and output points.
In this particular project, one instructor
station PC and three simulator worksta-
tions were used. This was done to ensure
that the simulator system can achieve at
least 2 x real time (i.e., simulate the plant
phenomena in half the time that would
be needed in reality) and in all operating
conditions. The workstations were con-
nected to a DCS system—consisting of
four dual-screen operator stations, one
engineering station and two FCS servers,
performing the control calculations. The
architecture of the delivered system can be
seen in Fig. 5.
Malfunction and scenarios. A mal-
function can be defined as an unexpected,
abnormal occurrence, e.g., a valve that does
not operate as commanded or expected.
The introduction of malfunctions is one
of the most important aspects of simula-
tor based training. They are used by the
instructor to test a trainee-operator’s abil-
ity to analyze, and to correctly respond to,
similar challenges in the physical plant.
Without a malfunctions capability, simu-
lator-trained operators would be capable of
handling a plant only under normal operat-
ing conditions. Malfunctions for operator
training simulators can be classified as:
• Standard malfunctions. These are
malfunctions that are automatically pro-
vided by the simulator system and are
accessible through the instructor station
(e.g., valve failure to its safe mode, global
Simulator master
environment
Calculation Engine 1
Calculation Engine 2
Calculation Engine N
...
Instructor station DCS Engineering station
Operator station
(DCS console 2)
...
Operator station
(DCS console M)
Operator station
(DCS console 1)
Base simulator architecture. FIG. 4
Simulation network
Instructor station Color laser
printer
Switch
Simulator PC Simulator PC
ENG PC
Operator
station (HIS)
Operator
station (HIS) FCS0101
Switch Control network
Operator
station (HIS)
Operator
station (HIS) FCS0102
Delivered simulator system architecture. FIG. 5
PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SPECIALREPORT
48

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OCTOBER 2011 HydrocarbonProcessing.com
power failure, etc.) Note: These standard
malfunctions depend on the simulation
software used; although similar between
vendors, the standard malfunctions are not
necessarily the same.
• Custom malfunctions. This refers
to the special equipment malfunctions
that the simulator vendor must configure,
especially for the delivered simulator (e.g.
heat exchanger tube rupture, catalyst poi-
soning, etc.)
• Generic custom malfunctions.
These are malfunctions that must be
custom-designed and implemented in the
simulator for all similar equipment, e.g.,
blockage for all filters, fouling for all heat
exchangers, etc.
Custom malfunctions. In the simula-
tor delivered, the main/starting instructor
station page contains a series of navigation
buttons, leading to different categories of
custom malfunctions. A part of the page
can be shown in Fig. 6. Each page contains
detailed schematics that can be used by the
instructor for easier control of the malfunc-
tions. These schematics include custom-
ized trends, transmitter values, etc., and
they support the instructor in training the
operator. Fig. 7 is a typical implementation.
Training scenarios. Scenarios enable
the plant instructors to record and replay
predefined sequences of events. Such events
may be simple, i.e., closing a valve or trip-
ping a pump or executing a malfunction;
but they are quite complex as a plant nor-
mal shutdown. All operator actions can be
recorded and replayed by the instructor.
These simulator features contribute to
training operators on emergency situations
and the plant operation procedures. Now,
operators can receive hands-on experience
for troubleshooting rare and complex situ-
ations, and the instructors can closely track
the operators’ activities.
For the delivered operator training sim-
ulator modeling system, a number of pre-
configured scenarios were incorporated into
the model (Fig. 8). Some are listed here:
• Loss of feed
• Loss of recycle gas compressor
• Loss of amine feed to the low pressure
amine absorber
• Fuel/pilot gas to furnace failure
• Steam failure
• Less feed to unit
• Loss of product pumps.
Trainee evaluation methodology.
The trainee operator evaluation is based
on their ability to maintain the plant at its
nominal steady state. In this event, steady
state is characterized by a series of variables,
their acceptable operational limits (e.g.,
HH/LL alarms or ESD triggering points)
and their relevant importance. When a
malfunction is triggered, the operator is
expected to:
• Recognize the plant area to respond
• Understand what is not functioning
correctly
• Mitigate any adverse effects.
The simulator system keeps track of
the variables specified and reports the time
that the variables in question are above or
below the acceptable limits. The smaller the
areas above/below these limits, the better
the skills of our operator. A weighted aver-
age of the response provides the “score” for
each operator. This is shown schematically
in Fig. 9.
Project milestones. The main project
milestones are listed in Table 2. The typical
work-breakdown structure for an opera-
tor training simulator is shown in Table
3. Comprehensive tests of the model are
required and include:
Process battery limit
and
power/instrument air
failure malfunctions
Fouling/tube rupture
malfunctions
Reactor
malfunctions
Amine malfunctions
and flow blockage
malfunctions
Part of the main navigation page, leading to a series of custom malfunctions. FIG. 6
A detailed schematic for heat exchanger fouling and tube rupture malfunctions . FIG. 7
A typical screenshot showing the training scenario summary window. The “loss of
recycle gas compressor” scenario is selected and ready to run.
FIG. 8
TABLE 2. Project milestones
Milestone Week into the project
Kick-off meeting 0
Preliminary design review meeting 6
Critical design review meeting 11
Model acceptance test 25
Factory acceptance test 50
Site acceptance test 54
Training simulator “ready for use” 56
PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SPECIALREPORT
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49
• During model acceptance tests, local
model stability tests, training scenario and
custom malfunctions detailed review, plant
shutdown and start-up should be done.
The earliest that modeling challenges are
identified, the better. Accordingly, the
simulator vendor will have enough time
to review modeling without impact on the
delivery schedule.
• Factory acceptance test for the train-
ing simulator should be done as a dry run
of the actual plant startup, and actual
startup procedures and manuals should
be used. Commitment to this approach
should be obtained from all involved par-
ties, including proponent, EPC contractor
and simulator vendor.
• A simulator is a multi-purpose tool.
It should be used to identify early any DCS
modifications or design changes required
that would normally be uncovered during
commissioning. A simple statistical analy-
sis of the factory acceptance test punch-list
items for the current training simulator proj-
ect revealed that over 53% of the observa-
tions were related to the design of the DCS
or the ESD. Details are shown in Fig. 10.
Benefits. The main benefits from this
grassroots plant operator training simula-
tor are:
• Troubleshooting and validating the
plant process control system:
o It was verified that the control sys-
tem operates as intended, without generat-
ing spurious equipment trips.
o The DCS graphics and controls
were reviewed prior to plant commission-
ing and updates were suggested; a number
of observations were reported. The actual
DCS was updated to incorporate these
changes. For example missing graphics or
graphics elements were identified; associa-
tions of graphics with the DCS controls
were updated; incorrect DCS connections
were fixed.
o Design changes were proposed,
such as adding air or power backup to cer-
tain critical valves or motors.
o Reasonable estimates for the con-
troller tuning parameters were provided;
these are realistic starting points for the
commissioning of the actual plant.
• Reviewing the emergency shutdown
logic:
o Cause and effect logic was rigor-
ously tested on the simulator.
o Improvements were suggested and
verified prior to plant commissioning. For
example, delay timers were changed, and
trip limits were reviewed.
• Verification of the plant startup and
shutdown procedures. The factory accep-
tance test was conducted as a dry-run of
the actual plant startup and shutdown,
using the detailed procedures provided by
the EPC contractor. This allowed the par-
ticipants a) to test the simulator system,
ensuring that all objectives are met, and
b) validate, clarify and improve the facil-
ity operating manuals to be used for the
actual startup.
• Facilitating the operator training:
o Simulator provided a series of cus-
tom malfunctions and training scenarios
o Continuous personnel training and
operator certification achieved
o Since the simulator was available
six months prior to plant commissioning,
the operators were fully trained on the new
control systems functions, graphics and
project configurations.
After model troubleshooting and deliv-
ery of the simulator system, experienced
operators commented favorably on the
similarity between the dynamic response of
the simulator and existing plants using the
same technology. These factors are expected
to play a significant role for the real plant,
resulting in:
• A faster and smoother startup and
achievement of the nominal steady state
• Increased process understanding for
both engineers and operators
• Safer and more efficient operation
under transients and abnormal conditions
• Longer plant runs and prolonged
catalyst life, since extreme or adverse opera-
tional conditions are avoided.
Status and future work. The DHT
simulator was successfully delivered to the
site six months before the actual plant start
635
640
645
650
0 10 20 30 40
Time, minutes
H
e
a
t
e
r

e
x
i
t

t
e
m
p
e
r
a
t
u
r
e
,

°
F
Time below
low limit is 9 min
Area low
High limit
Area
high
Low limit
Time above
low limit is 7 min.
A typical example of an operator evaluation. FIG. 9
Model observations 39.7%
Other 7.1%
ESD 5.8%
DCS affecting
model 9.5%
DCS observations 38.9%
Factory acceptance test observations for current project categorized. FIG. 10
TABLE 3. Work breakdown
structure for the operator training
simulator
Activity Effort, %
Model building 45
Project management, quality, 15
documentation
Instructor station 5
Integration and testing 12.5
Reviews, acceptance tests (factory, site) 10
Updates (plant data alignment) 7.5
Training and documentations 5
Total 100
PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SPECIALREPORT
50

up. Since delivery time, the operators used
the simulator extensively, obtaining confi-
dence, learning about the plant behavior,
and getting hands-on training on opera-
tional procedures and in mitigating the
effects of equipment malfunctions.
After the plant commissioning, startup
and attaining the nominal steady state,
the simulator was successfully updated to
reflect the realities in the plant. Thus, it
will continue to offer a) valuable insight to
engineers for verification of plant design
updates, controllability and de-bottle-
necking studies, b) continuous training
and certification to plant operators, and c)
increased value for the shareholders for the
years to come. HP
LITERATURE CITED
1
Resnik, C., “Better Operator Ergonomics Increase
Plant KPIs,” Automation World, December 2009.
2
Pankoff, J. A. Sr., Use a Competency-Based
Approach to Develop High-Performance Workers,
Hydrocarbon Processing, August 1999.
3
Harismiadis, V. I., “Earn two million dollars a year.
Dynamic Process Simulation: DCS Integration,
Quality Assurance, and Operator training,” 3rd
Pan-Hellenic Chemical Engineering Conference,
31 May–2 June 2001.
4
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrodesulfurization
5
Hydrocarbon Processing, “Refining Processes
Handbook;” “Advanced Process Control and
Information Systems Handbook,” 2005.
6
Olsen, T. and B. Bialkowski, ”Lambda Tuning
as a Promising Controller Tuning Method for
the Refinery,” AIChE Spring National Meeting,
March 2002.
Amr AlDaiel is a project engineer
at Saudi Aramco for Northern Area
Projects Department. He has five years
of experience in project management
in the area of Instrumentation, pro-
cess control and automation. Mr. AlDaiel holds a BS
degree in electrical engineering, cum laude, from the
University of Colorado.
Maan AlMulla is a senior Project
Engineer at Saudi Aramco for North-
ern Area Projects Department. He has
13 years of experience in project man-
agement and has managed from the
client side two OTS Projects. Mr. Maan holds a bachelor
degree in Systems Engineer—Automation and Control
from KFUPM University since 1998.
Mansour AlNajrani is a senior
process engineer at Saudi Aramco
for the Ras Tanura Refinery Opera-
tion Department. He has 14 years of
experience in operation and was rep-
resented the refinery for the OTS Project. Mr. AlNajrani
holds a bachelor degree in chemical engineering from
KFUPM University since 1995.
Krishna Chaitanya is a pro-
cess simulation engineer at Hyperion
Systems Engineering, Pune, India. He
has two years of experience in refinery
FCCU process operations and three
years in dynamic process modeling and operator train-
ing simulators. Mr. Chaitanya holds an MS degree in
refining and petrochemical engineering.
Amol Deshpande is a team
leader at Hyperion Systems Engineer-
ing, Pune, India. He has nine years of
experience in the process industry:
three years in process design and
detailed engineering and six years in dynamic process
modeling. Mr. Deshpande holds a BE degree in chemical
engineering from Pune University, India.
Vassilis Harismiadis is the real-
time process optimization and train-
ing manager at Hyperion Systems
Engineering. He has over 13 years
experience in the oil and gas indus-
try with particular emphasis on using dynamic process
modeling to improve plant effectiveness. Dr. Harismiadis
holds a PhD from NTU, Athens, Greece in the thermo-
dynamic modeling of complex systems.
Scott Rollman
Strategic Business Manager:
Global Engineering
s.rollman@vega.com
www.vega-americas.com
VEGA Americas’ VEGAPULS 62 through-air
radar sensor produces a safety high level
signal, protecting against overfill situations.
With self-diagnostics and self-calibration,
the unit provides the user with measurement
accuracy and reliability.
The VEGAPULS 62 through-air radar
supplies the following benefits:
϶ Mountable on a ball valve assembly for
service and access
϶ Integral self-monitoring significantly reduces
maintenance costs
϶ Operation verification without process
interruption and system downtime
϶ SIL approved
Overfill Protection with
Through-Air Radar Technology
Select 165 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SPECIALREPORT
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

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51
Process gas chromatography: Avoid
the iceberg of hidden expenses
Total cost of ownership can quickly add up for
field analytical equipment
M. GAURA, Emerson Process Management, Houston, Texas
P
rocess gas chromatographs (GCs) are the most common
multi-component, online chemical analyzer used in modern
hydrocarbon processing industry (HPI) facilities—refineries,
petrochemical plants and natural gas sites. GCs are proven and can
provide data to control processes, supervise product quality and
monitor facility emissions. Historically, GCs were placed in shel-
ters that provided a stable temperature environment and a clean
work area for operation and maintenance periods.
To ensure optimal performance and reduce sample lag time—
the time required for a sample to travel from the sample tap to
the GC—the shelters were often located in areas classified as
hazardous by industry codes and standards. Also, the space for
the GC and shelter was not always available in close proximity to
the process line being sampled.
In both situations, significant costs were added to these proj-
ects that operations or environmental personnel had not consid-
ered in the project budget. The primary focus would have been
on purchasing a GC that could provide a reliable and repeatable
analysis of a sample stream at the best price. Unfortunately, the
cost for the GC often represents a very low percentage of the total
project cost, about 5% to 20%. Parties responsible for profit and
loss (P/L) of operating units, plants and pipelines are keenly aware
of the total cost impact of adding a traditional GC to perform a
stream analysis. Accounting systems are now more open, and in-
house engineering and installation resources have been replaced
with contractors and consultants. So where are the “hidden” costs
for field-mountable GCs, and what can be done to greatly reduce
the total costs to install and operate a GC?
The iceberg. Selecting, installing, operating and maintaining a
traditional GC can, and does, involve costs that exceed the capital
cost for the GC. Think of the total cost structure as being similar
to that of an iceberg in the ocean. A typical iceberg has about 10%
to 15% of its volume above the water with the remainder hidden
below the water’s surface. When deciding to install a GC, think
of the price for the GC (only) as the portion of an iceberg visible
above the water. This example shows that significant additional
costs may not be considered when selecting the GC. Those costs
can include: a protective shelter, in-house or contracted engineer-
ing, installation charges, instrument air, heated sample lines,
training, and startup and check out.
Shelter. If one assumes that the shelter will need to control
temperature in both directions—heating during winter and cool-
ing during summer—and be compliant to hazardous ratings of
the location, it will represent at least 40% of the total project
cost. One cannot simply consider the cost of four walls, a door, a
roof and a floor for a typical installation. The additional costs of
the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit also
involve a purge system, area monitors and alarms, lighting, com-
munication and electrical distribution, as well as instrument air,
plumbing and vent headers; all must be considered.
Engineering. The cost for both in-house and contract engi-
neering are significant for any project. They involve bringing a
physical structure onto an industrial plant. These costs are some-
where between 15% to 18% of the total project cost.
At the onset, equipment requirements need to be understood
and discussed by those wanting the new GC and those that are
responsible for the processing unit that will house the GC. Speci-
fications must be developed and distributed to internal teams and
potential suppliers that address the installation area including
Iceberg of hidden costs. FIG. 1
PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SPECIALREPORT
52

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OCTOBER 2011 HydrocarbonProcessing.com
hazards present, available footprint, environmental conditions,
proximity to sample point and utilities, etc. After hundreds of
hours of reviewing proposals, clarifying concerns and ultimately
making a purchasing decision, site-preparation engineering must
begin. Foundation requirements need to be detailed, plumbing
and conduit runs drawn up, communication and power inter-
connections finalized. All actions require significant time and,
therefore, add cost to the GC addition project.
Installation. Once the planning and designing are detailed,
the shelter must be physically installed. Installation charges will
make up 15% to 20% of the total GC project costs. The material
and labor costs to install a secure base (concrete pad) represent a
portion of the installation costs, but not all of it. If the shelter is
large, the installation may require renting a large crane to place the
shelter in the final mounting location—a significant additional
expense. Even if the shelter can be placed at the selected loca-
tion utilizing available plant equipment, labor costs will still be
incurred as the structure is secured, communication and power
interconnects are made, and tubing and piping are connected to
existing points in the plant.
Instrument air. Although instrument air is often readily avail-
able in a plant, lines must be installed to the shelter, thus adding
more costs to the project. These expenses are composed of not
only materials, but also the labor required to install and con-
nect the hardware. The operational cost of air use should also
be considered. Using a cost of $0.80/1,000 scf for plant air, an
air-bath-heated GC can add over $2,000 to the operational costs.
If the GC and shelter also require purge system, the operating
costs to escalate.
Heated sample line(s) and probe(s). For samples necessitat-
ing extended sample line runs (assume 200 ft = “extended”) and
a heated probe, it is reasonable to assume an additional cost of
$7,000–$15,000 to total project expenses. Sample lines that are
unheated and uninsulated can save several thousand dollars in
costs, but one needs to closely evaluate the typical stream com-
position and its possible dew point and compare them to the
known environmental conditions before foregoing heated sample
lines. Failure to do so may result in multi-phase samples entering
the sample-handling system or the GC, resulting in inaccurate
analysis values.
These “hidden” costs account for 70% to 80% of the total
installation cost of a new GC. They are referred to as “hidden”
costs, as they are often not considered when the initial decision is
made to add a control or required measurement in a plant. Obvi-
ously, they must be.
How can you reduce ‘hidden’ costs? Many users of
GCs are convinced that they (GCs) are complex pieces of
equipment and must be housed in environmentally controlled
shelter. A GC can be intimidating. Why? These devices have an
electronic section similar to that of a personal computer (CPU,
communication interfaces and video displays); and they have an
analytical oven that can consist of shut-off, vaporizing inject,
column and back-flush valves, and, more important, such ana-
lytical units include multiple detector technologies such as ther-
mal conductivity, flame ionization and flame photometric, and
a variety of possible separation media, e.g., columns. Couple
this mindset with the critical nature of the results being gener-
ated, and it is easy to understand why process GCs are often
placed in shelters. Of course, some users have experienced per-
formance issues with their GCs when atmospheric temperatures
and/or pressures swing; they also contribute to the preference
of placing a GC in a shelter.
What if the GC did not need to be placed in a shelter,
or did not require the shelter to be temperature controlled? Yes,
to properly analyze a sample stream, GCs require stable tempera-
ture, pressure and flowrate of the sample as it travels through the
analytical oven. Variations in temperature can result in drifting
baselines, peak shifts and even multi-phasing of the sample. Pres-
sure and flowrate changes can also impact sample values if they
are not controlled.
Minimizing analytical errors can be accomplished by using a
properly designed sample handling system, appropriate transport
tubing and an application-defined probe assembly. At no point
in this extraction, transport or conditioning of the sample gas is a
shelter required. The items listed here can be electrically or steam-
heated and mounted outside in nearly any environment without
compromising performance or safety. The costs associated with
a shelter—including the shelter itself as well as the engineering
and installation costs—have already been discussed. They are
significant, but can they be removed or reduced?
Recently, field-mountable process GCs have been introduced
to the industry and are gaining increasing acceptance. Field-
mountable GCs are generally smaller and typically have more
limited application capability compared to traditional air-bath
oven GCs. But the initial costs to house, install, operate and
maintain these field-mountable process GCs are less than larger
“conventional” GCs.
Issues of environmental impact, hazardous area classifica-
tion, utility consumption, application capability, availability
and maintainability are discussed and compared and costs
assigned where possible. The total cost of installing, main-
taining and operating process GCs will be examined over a
hypothetical installation and 10-year period and compared to
a traditional air-bath oven analyzer design and field-mountable
transmitter designs.
Environmental. For a conventional GC, the instrument is
designed for installation in an analyzer house. It is not recom-
mended to be installed in the field without additional climate-
control protection because of repeatability issues. It cannot
withstand rain and is sensitive to high humidity. Normally, con-
ventional GCs need some ambient temperature control to ensure
Field-mountable process GC. FIG. 2
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53
oven temperature stability, particularly in low-temperature envi-
ronments and those with widely varying temperature cycles.
For the new field-mounted GC, the instrument is designed to
be installed directly in the field without any additional protection.
Field-mountable GCs are designed to withstand rain, high humid-
ity and a wide ambient temperature range—typically –20°C to
60°C (–4°F to 140°F)—without impact on their analytical per-
formance. Housings are typically IP 56 or higher. A rain shield or
three-sided rack can be included for those times when technicians
must do maintenance on the equipment, but it is not required.
Hazardous area classification. For a conventional process
GC, the area classification GC depends upon the manufacturer,
but is normally Class 1 Division 2 Groups B, C and D, utilizing
an appropriate purge mechanism. Some manufacturers offer Class
1 Division 1 Groups B, C and D. None of these instruments are
explosion proof. Fig. 2 is a typical example of a conventional
process GC.
The field-mountable GC derives its protection for flammable
hazardous areas from its enclosure (Fig. 3). The instrument hous-
ing is explosion proof, and there is no need for an air purge to
ensure rating. The typical area classification is Class 1, Zone 1,
AEx d IIB+H
2
, T4, Enclosure Type 4—various agency approvals,
such as ATEX, CSA and IEC-Ex are often obtained.
Utilities. For the conventional GC, normal electrical require-
ments for the oven are from 1,140 W to 1,200 W during initial
startup and 400 W to 500 W during normal service. Instrument
air is required for cooling and purging of the electronics (Class 1
Division 1), as well as for the oven temperature air-bath heater.
Some manufacturers also recommend purging electronic sections
with “dry” instrument air to prevent the buildup of dust or mois-
ture in them. Failure to do so can result in the premature failure of
electronic board assemblies or components housed in this section
of the process GC.
For field-mounted GCs, the instrument consumes less elec-
trical power during initial startup and during normal use—often
less than 150 W. The field-mountable GC does not require instru-
ment air for any functions because of oven and housing design.
Therefore, continuous heating of “plant air” is not required,
reducing the power requirements. Pneumatic valves can be actu-
ated safely by carrier gas. Electric sample shut-off valves, solenoids
and sample stream switching valves can be utilized. Pneumatic
sample valves and column valves are also utilized. Carrier gas fol-
lows a flow path from reference detector to oven columns/valves,
and then to the measurement detector to minimize carrier gas
consumption. The field-mountable GC provides significant utility
cost savings over the useful life of the instrument.
Oven design capability. For a conventional GC, the oven
heat is provided by a heating tube and heater coil. Because the
oven space is large, air must circulate to ensure adequate tem-
perature distribution and control. This arrangement is known
as an air-bath oven. Almost all process GCs use air-bath ovens.
Tight proportional, integral, derivative (PID) control of the oven
temperature is normally used. (Some older process GCs have only
proportional integral control.) This provides adequate tempera-
ture control; however, the large thermal mass of the oven makes it
slow to heat up and cool down. Temperature stability upon initial
power-up or after oven maintenance will take at least one hour
to attain. Maximum oven temperatures vary depending upon
the manufacturer. Typical upper limits are 180°C to 200°C. The
larger internal space allows multiple detectors and valves to be
housed. Sub-oven assemblies can also be installed, allowing for
temperature programming that is required for applications like
simulated distillation.
For the field-mounted GC, a central core is used for the oven.
This is heated by block wrap-around heaters. The thermal mass of
the oven assembly maintains temperature stability and transmits
heat to the detectors mounted to the oven assembly. Tight PID
control can be maintained because the oven’s thermal response
time is fast. The columns are near the detectors and heaters,
allowing stable heating throughout the analysis. The entire oven
assembly is enclosed in an insulation packing. This ensures the
ambient temperature rating of the field-mountable GC—typically
–20°C to 60°C (–4°F to 140°F).
A maximum of four sample/column switching valves (6-port
or 10-port) can fit into the oven, based on the manufacturer.
The oven can house up to two thermal conductivity detector
(TCD) sets: TCD/TCD; or a flame ionization detector (FID)
and TCD in a TCD/FID detector set. This is also dependent on
the manufacturer.
Given the compact design and the heating method of the
analyzer, the maximum oven temperature is lower than that of a
traditional GC, but can still be up to 150°C. The lower number
of possible valves, reduced space for columns and lower tempera-
ture capabilities can all limit the number of applications capable
by the field-mountable GC; in some instances, it can limit which
high carbon number compounds can be analyzed. Programmed
temperature type applications, such as simulated distillation,
cannot be done.
$60,000 $60,000 $60,000
$5,000 $5,000
$10,000
$7,500
$60,000
$125,000
$3,300
$24,750
$56,824
$50,000
$50,000
$50,000
0
50,000
100,000
150,000
200,000
A
n
a
l
y
z
e
r

i
n
s
t
a
l
l
a
t
i
o
n

c
o
s
t
,

$
250,000
300,000
350,000
Sun shields 3-Sided shelter Analyzer house
Engineering
Installation and training
Shelter/enclosure
Heated sample line cost
GCs and SHS
$125,800
$199,750
$301,824
Installation cost comparison of field-mountable and
conventional process GC (1 GC).
FIG. 3
2,722 5,610 143
6,600
2,900
19,400
6,800
20,400
20,736
50,681
0
20,000
40,000
60,000
80,000
T
o
t
a
l

a
n
a
l
y
z
e
r

o
p
e
r
a
t
i
n
g
,

$
100,000
120,000
140,000
Airless oven Air-bath oven
HVAC electricity
Utility air
Carrier gas
Spares
Calibration gas
Electricity
Total OPEX Savings over
10 years = $105,086
Ten-year cost comparison of field-mountable and
conventional process GC (1 GC).
FIG. 4
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OCTOBER 2011 HydrocarbonProcessing.com
Cycle times. Column configurations and oven temperatures
for both the field-mountable GCs and conventional GCs do
not differ significantly for most applications. Accordingly, the
cycle times are relatively equivalent. A complete analysis of
natural gas up to and including C
6
+ hydrocarbon components,
giving a measurement within 0.1 Btu in 1,000 Btus, for exam-
ple, is accomplished in a field-mountable GC in four minutes.
Sample transport lag times. Conventional process GCs are
usually installed in analyzer houses, which are often five times
more expensive than the cost of a single GC. Therefore, an opti-
mization of the analyzer house is done to place as many analyzers
as possible into a single house. This rationalizes the cost of the
house between various GCs. Location of the house is determined
by plant geography (space available as opposed to the geographic
distribution of the sample taps). This rarely allows for the opti-
mizing transport lag. A conventional GC typically has longer
lag times when compared to a field-mountable GC. A 200-foot
¼-in. sample line will introduce a two-minute transport lag into
a control loop. The effect of this lag depends upon the control
strategy, process dynamics and analysis cycle time. Additionally,
compromises and costs in sample/speed loop disposal to a flare
may have to be made to obtain fast sample transport times.
The field-mountable GC can be installed close to the sample
tap to reduce the sample transport lag and to help optimize con-
trol response. A closely coupled field-mountable GC (30 ft to 40
ft) will typically have a 20-second sample lag time.
Installation considerations. For a conventional GC, typical
extra expenses include engineering time and costs, additional
labor associated with a shelter installation, safety systems for
the enclosed space, pouring an installation pad and bringing
plant instrument air to the conventional process GC. For a
field-mounted GC, the design allows it to be mounted closer to
the sample takeoff; so the sample line itself can be shorter. The
installed cost is lower, and that can be significant when heat-
traced sample lines are used. Fewer problems will be encountered
obtaining a representative sample due to the sample characteristics
TABLE 1. Basis for cost estimates
Utility and calibration costs
Electricity cost $0.05 $/kW-hr
Instrument air $ for 1000 scf $0.80 $/1,000 SCF
Carrier gas cost $170.00 $/cylinder
Calibration cost $330.00 $/cylinder
GC data Air bath oven Airless oven
Utility air CFM 5 0
Electricity (W) 630 33
Calibration gas bottles/year 2 1.7
Carrier gas bottles/year 12 4
Annual spares and replacement parts $1,940 $290
Shelter
HVAC unit power 6.6 KW
HVAC description CSA Certified Class I Div
2 Groups B, C & D,
includes freestanding 25 ft
fresh air stack, certified
to 130 mph wind
Replacement A/C after 10 years $21,620
TABLE 2. Installation cost comparison: Field-mountable GC vs. traditional GC
1 Transmitter GC 1 Transmitter GC 1 Conventional GC
in sun shield in 3-sided shelter in analyzer house
Number of GCs/enclosed house 1
Number of GCs/3-sided shelter 1
Number of GCs/sun shield 1
Number of 3-sided shelters 1
Number of enclosed shelters 1
Gas chromatograph cost $45,000 $45,000 $45,000
Sample system cost $15,000 $15,000 $15,000
Sample line cost per ft-insulated Installed $5,000 $5,000 $10,000
Engineering costs $50,000 $50,000 $50,000
Enclosed house cost C1 D2 10 ft x 14 ft $125,000
3-sided shelter cost C1 D2 6 ft x 6 ft $60,000
Sun shield for single GC cost $7,500
Enclosed shelter installation at site cost $49,725
3-sided shelter installation at site cost $20,800
Sun shield installation at site cost $650
Analyzer installation cost $650 $650
Shelter startup and check-out cost $1,300 $2,600
Training cost $2,000 $2,000 $2,000
Instrument air piping (300 ft) cost $2,499
One-year cost estimate
Required capital $125,800 $199,750 $301,824
Savings $176,024 $102,074
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55
changing during transport. Problems with clogging, two-phase
flow and condensation are also reduced. The field-mountable GC
can be freestanding, mounted to a pipe, or mounted in a simple
three-sided shelter. The field-mountable GC will occupy less space
in the plant than an analyzer house, and will simplify transporta-
tion of the analyzer to the final site.
Availability. Preventative maintenance needed by both the
field-mountable GC and conventional GC is similar as is the time
required to do this maintenance. Should oven substitutions be uti-
lized, some field-mountable GC ovens can be completely replaced
in approximately 20 minutes. Mean time to repair (MTTR) will
depend upon the particular defect in question. Both the field-
mountable GC and conventional process GC will require about
10 minutes of cool-down before components can be handled, plus
the time to substitute any required components. It will take from
1 to 4 hours to re-establish temperature stability.
So how can you avoid or reduce the hidden costs?
When considering a new GC for your site, one should be able to
determine whether a field-mountable process GC can be utilized
for a specific plant need. If possible, using a field-mountable GC
can significantly lower the costs associated with adding a process
GC measurement. Tables 1–3 outline not only the upfront cost
savings if a fully enclosed shelter can be eliminated, but also
the expected cost savings over the life of the equipment. In this
example, 10 years was selected. Tables 1–3 detail the differences
between field-mountable and conventional process GC installa-
tions and life-cycle costs, and Figs. 4 and 5 add graphical repre-
sentations of the comparative costs.
A decision to add a process GC in a plant is often the result
of extensive research and planning, and the benefits or required
needs are well understood. However, many hidden costs are often
not considered in the planning and budgeting phase(s). Selecting
the appropriate GC and enclosure type can significantly reduce
both capital and operational expenses. In appropriate applica-
tions, field-mountable GCs offer significant savings and greatly
reduce total cost of ownership compared to conventional process
GCs by reducing costs with climate controlled shelters, instru-
ment air, electrical power, carrier gas consumption, installation
costs, and also by reducing sample lag times. Typical installation
cost savings, given the estimates and assumptions can be as much
as $175,000, and the 10-year operational cost savings can be as
much as $105,000. HP
TABLE 3. Cost comparison field-mountable GC vs.
traditional GC over 10 years
GC operation cost Air bath oven Airless oven Savings
Electric cost $2,722 $143 $2,579
Utility air cost $20,736 $0 $20,736
Calibration gas $6,600 $5,610 $990
Carrier gas $20,400 $6,800 $13,600
Spares and replacement parts $19,400 $2,900 $16,500
GC total operation costs $69,858 $15,453 $54,405
Total shelter and HVAC $50,681
Total OPEX savings $105,086
Total OPEX savings over 10 years $105,086
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Where do You Want to be
on the Performance Curve?
P = People
M = Methodologies
T = Technologies
For more information on how
KBC can help you achieve
NextGen Performance,
contact us at:
AMERICAS +1 281 293 8200
EMEA +44 (0)1932 242424
ASIA +65 6735 5488
answers@kbcat.com U www.kbcat.com
Your Company + KBC Produces NextGen Performance
n
We collaborate with our clients to create unique solutions to their specific
challenges. Some of these challenges may include:
For 30 years, KBC consultants have provided independent advice and expertise to enable
leading companies in the global energy business and other processing industries manage
risk and achieve dramatic performance improvements.
Strategic Challenges
U Creating Effective Business Strategy/Decisions
U Increasing Return on Investments
U Enhancing Returns on Acquisitions/Divestitures
U Reducing Strategic/Capital/Market/Investment Risk
U Enhancing Yields
U Creating Effective Response to Crude/
Feedstock/Product Markets
U Improving Financial Performance
Operating Challenges
U Improving Yield
U Increasing Availability
U Reducing Maintenance Costs
U Improving Safety Performance
U Implementing/Improving
U Managing Operational Risk
Behaviour-based Reliability
U Improving Supply Chain Performance
Capital Challenges
U Increasing Return on Capital Investment
U Rationalising/Optimising Environmental
Compliance Capital Expenditures
U Reducing Capital Risk
Organisational Challenges
U Increasing Organisational Effectiveness
U Improving Employee Competency/Capability
U Enhancing Employee Support Systems
U Improving Shift Team Function
Environmental Challenges
U Reducing Emissions
U Ensuring Compliance
U Reducing/Managing Environmental Liabilities
U Improving Energy Efficiency
U Rationalising Compliance Expenditures
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PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SPECIALREPORT
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Find benefits in automating
boiler systems
Dynamic models unravel potential problems in high-pressure
steam production and consumption
A. BOURJI, D. BALLOW and M. CHOROSZY, WorleyParsons, Houston, Texas
S
team-load shedding is a series of automated actions imple-
mented to prevent or to minimize the impact to a refinery
or petrochemical complex due to a shortage of steam supply
shortage or in drop steam-system pressure. Steam load is eliminated
by shutting down or “shedding” expendable steam users. Without
an appropriate strategy, safety systems will engage possibly shutting
down critical equipment to prevent catastrophic consequences,
and production will be lost. It is important to note that steam load
shedding is done to improve the reliability of the steam system; it
is not a safety system. Steam load shedding will replace or eliminate
the need for a properly designed emergency shutdown system.
Design stability. The stability of high-pressure (HP) steam
boiler(s) is critical for hydrocarbon processing industry (HPI)
facilities. There are several stability definitions in steam delivery
systems. Process and mechanical engineers generally think of sta-
bility in terms of the equipment’s ability to function as intended.
The steam system is unstable when a boiler cannot produce the
requested amount of steam due to insufficient fuel or heat-transfer
surface limitation. Control engineers, however, think of stability
in terms of loop stability. An automatic controller is deemed stable
if the process variable tracks the setpoint in an acceptable manner.
The third stability type is combustion stability. A well-anchored
flame is produced when combustion is stable. Unstable flames are
produced when local upsets in the air-to-fuel ratio occurs. Local
upsets in air-to-fuel ratios are sometimes caused by oil mixtures
that contain excessive amounts of light volatile hydrocarbons.
Realizing the potentially varied viewpoints of all stakeholders,
the goal of stability control is to steer the steam system toward
operating conditions that meet all of these expectations. To that
end, a master controller is often applied.
Case study. To better illustrate the concept of steam load shed-
ding and boiler stability, the following case study investigates the
expansion of an ethylene petrochemical complex. The complex
consists of three facilities (A, B and C), and it was built in three
phases at different times over 15 years. Each phase of the complex
was provided with its own separate steam system. At the end of
the third phase, one design objective was to integrate the steam
system throughout the three phases to optimize cost and provide
a reliable, robust and stable steam supply for the entire complex.
The integrated steam system consists of seven boilers and
various users from the three processing facilities. Each boiler’s
control philosophy is similar, consisting of feedback control using
local steam header pressure to adjust boiler loading. Individu-
ally, this control strategy works well, maintaining the required
steam header pressure at the local source. When used in a large,
integrated facility with boilers separated by more than 1,000 m of
piping as in this case study, the total system stability and required
response time becomes critical.
Defining upsets. In the system, an initial condition must first
be established. This initial condition can be viewed as the normal
operating backdrop against which the dynamic analysis will intro-
duce upsets. For this case study, a base scenario of normal operation
was set at running all boilers in automatic pressure cascade control.
Alignment with the operating plan is important at this stage, since
the dynamic results will be influenced by the initial conditions.
To properly mitigate declining steam availability, the likely
causes for steam shortages must be defined. These cases are best
agreed upon by consulting with the process engineering and oper-
ations personnel. For this case study, these upsets are proposed:
• Loss of one hydrocarbon feed source to the ethylene furnaces,
resulting in the shutdown of the furnace-wall burners on 3 of the
10 cracking furnaces.
• Loss of super-high pressure (SHP) boiler feedwater to the
ethylene furnace convection section steam system or fuel gas, result-
ing in a shutdown of all furnace burners on all cracking furnaces.
• Boiler trip, including a series of boilers going out of service:
Single boiler tripping
Two boilers tripping
Three boilers tripping.
These scenarios are analyzed using a dynamic simulation to
determine their impact on the steam system.
Dynamic modeling. To achieve a reliable, robust and stable
steam supply throughout the complex, the fully integrated steam
system must be analyzed in a dynamic state to understand the
probable interactions between the shedding logic programs. Oper-
ating facilities are generally not able to risk a major shutdown to
test system responses from upsets. The next best option is to model
the system dynamically. The dynamic model is a testing platform
on which the logic can be proved out and adjusted, if necessary.
A steam balance is first developed using a steady-state model.
These models are “based on the assumption that feed streams and
specifications are constant, with no holdup, delay or transient
PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SPECIALREPORT
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OCTOBER 2011 HydrocarbonProcessing.com
condition in the process being modeled. Dynamic simulators, in
contrast, do account for holdup, delay and some transient condi-
tion.”
1
Fig. 1 is a dynamic model of the steam system, and it is
built using these cases:
• Steam suppliers and users are modeled as control valves
with their performance characteristics programmed into the valve
actions. This allows for reduced complexity and stable model
solutions while still giving the user control over rates of change
at the supplier/user.
• Let down valves are modeled using valve data.
• HP steam header piping configuration is determined from
isometrics when available and plot plans in the absence of iso-
metrics.
• Control information: Boiler performance per manufacturer
and/or plant data
Maximum boiler ramp rate
Boiler capacity limitations
Turndown restrictions.
• Compressor turbines’ steam use is based on performance curves
• Ethylene furnace trip action narratives and cause/effect
matrices.
As shown in Fig. 1, the model is designed as a simplified
system using a source and sink construction. This is an appro-
priate model construction when the boiler characteristics are
well understood and the primary interest is the piping system’s
dynamic characteristics. The model is focused on studying the
changes in header pressure during upsets; a simplified source-
sink structure is used. Boiler ramping characteristics can be
programmed into the emulating controller to closely mimic the
boilers observed or predicted behavior.
Dynamic modeling limits. As with any engineering exercise,
it is important to understand the limitations of the chosen analyti-
cal method. For this case study, the dynamic model is ideal but has
limitations. Noise, lag and process variability will force the real
controllers to work at maintaining their setpoints. The idealized
model presented here does not account for this behavior. How-
ever, dynamic simulation software generally has the capability to
emulate this non-ideal behavior. It is up to the user to determine
the appropriate level of complexity and to recognize that increased
complexity will result in slower, less stable simulation runs. Addi-
tionally, the model simulates the steam-distribution network.
But, it does not include the other two sides of the boiler stability
triangle—fire side and water side. This will be important when
analyzing the results for boiler stability.
Shedding strategy. After identifying the upset cases and
setting the major parameters and assumptions for the dynamic
model, a shedding strategy must be developed (see Table 1). Major
steam users must “shed” to recover from the upset scenario. The
input of experienced operations personnel is essential in develop-
ing a ranking of the major steam users for the “shedding process.”
This ranking will allow developing steam-shed actions resulting
from steam-header pressure loss.
For the case study, System A was constructed first. Its steam
shedding was initially developed on a stand-alone basis. Each sub-
sequent addition, systems B and C, were also
initially configured on a stand-alone basis.
The total facility must be evaluated for inter-
actions. If required, setpoint adjustment or
other mitigation strategies may develop from
the integrated case check. For example, if
steam header pressure sag causes simultane-
ous actions in all three major areas that shed
too much load, some actions may be shifted
to a different trigger point in the logic.
Automated steam-shed control
system. Each of the three case study pro-
cess facilities have steam-shed control sys-
tems implemented by logic programmed
within their respective distributed con-
trol systems (DCSs). Note: For this case
study, three separate and distinct DCSs are
involved due to the timing and execution
strategy applied when building facilities
A, B and C.
Each process area’s steam-shed control
system monitors the pressure of the HP
steam header within its process area. When
Ethylene unit
compressor
turbine
Boiler 1 Boiler 2
Turbine
user
Condensing
user 1
Condensing
user 2 Let down
station
FC
xxx
FC
xxx
PC
xxx
FC
xxx
FC
xxx
FC
xxx
FC
xxx
FC
xxx
FC
xxx
Secondary
producers
Secondary
consumers
Include sufficient
pipe operations to
simulate holdup
volume
Pipe 1 Pipe 4 Pipe 6 Pipe 7
P
i
p
e

2
P
i
p
e

3
P
i
p
e

5
P
i
p
e

8
P
i
p
e

9
Direct manipulation of the
boiler source stream flow
Sample model flowsheet. FIG. 1
TABLE 1. Basic principles of steam-load shedding
Steam-load shedding is done through an automated program in the DCS.
The steam-load shedding program is configurable at an engineering level to
allow the facility to make setpoint adjustments as required in the future.
The steam-load shedding program will have an automatic (or active) mode and
a manual mode.
Proactive actions—Simultaneous shed actions that are triggered upon receipt
of trip signal such as a boiler-master fuel trip.
Reactive actions—Shed actions as a result of a steam header pressure sag.
Shedding a turbine driver and activating a motor backup must include steps to
ensure that the load is taken by the electric driver prior to shedding the steam
turbine. This happens above the turbine auto trip point, since the turbine con-
troller would automatically switch the driver to electric if steam pressure is lost.
Shedding strategy includes the impact of header pressure sag on the large
turbo-machinery equipment. This equipment often must be protected from high
pressure differentials that can cause damage.
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

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59
the steam-header pressure within a process area drops to a prede-
termined pressure, the area’s steam-shed control system automati-
cally shuts down the expendable steam users within its process
area, in a predefined “shed group” determined according to the
shedding strategy. If the steam-header pressure continues to drop,
the steam-shed control system automatically shuts down addi-
tional steam user shed groups within its process area. As a shed
group is shut down, the demand on the steam system is reduced,
assisting the boilers in restoring header pressure.
Steam shed groups are predefined groups of steam users. Each
group consists of steam users that have been selected to be shut-
down or “shed” at a specific HP steam header pressure. There can
be several shed groups within a single facility. The shed groups
within each process facility are grouped by their importance to
plant operations. The first shed group contains users that are least
important, followed by the second, third and fourth shed groups
in order of increasing importance.
For the case study, the steam-shed control systems within each
of the three process facilities are programmed to shed only steam
users within its process area. The steam-shed control system
for one process area does not shut down steam users in another
process area.
Once a proposed shedding logic has been added to the model,
analysis of the system response to the defined upsets can begin.
For the case study, the analysis of the dynamic simulation model
shows that the existing steam-shed control system within each
process facility properly mitigates the simulated steam system
failure scenarios and prevents an uncontrolled collapse of the
integrated HP-steam system pressure.
Results. For each upset scenario, a dynamic model is run with
and without steam-load shedding actions. The upset begins 30
seconds into the simulation so that the steady-state normal opera-
tion prior to the upset is visible. A representative sample of the
dynamic modeling results is presented for Scenario 1—loss of one
hydrocarbon feed source to the ethylene furnaces resulting in a
shutdown of the furnace wall burners on three cracking furnaces.
The initial state for Scenario 1 is normal operation with nine
ethylene unit furnaces online and the tenth in hot steam standby
(HSSB). The upset occurs when loss of a single hydrocarbon feed
to the system results in the activation of the furnace emergency
shutdown system. The resulting safety interlock activation will
force three of the eight operating furnaces from normal opera-
tion to HSSB.
For the case study facility, SHP steam is produced in the eth-
ylene unit cracking furnaces and is let down to the HP level. The
ethylene units are connected on the HP header level to balance
0
50,000
100,000
150,000
200,000
250,000
300,000
350,000
400,000
450,000
500,000
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60
Time, minutes
F
l
o
w
,

k
g
/
h
Ethylene unit HP steam production. The initial steady-state
operation of the HP steam production is interrupted after
a partial furnace trip. The loss of furnace heat input results
in a ramp down of HP steam production.
FIG. 2
Since 1968
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PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SPECIALREPORT
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OCTOBER 2011 HydrocarbonProcessing.com
the facility. An upset in SHP steam production in an ethylene unit
cascades to reduce available HP steam for the rest of the facility.
After a partial trip, each tripped furnace produces steam equiva-
lent to HSSB rates. Simultaneously, the cracked-gas compressor
in the ethylene unit (due to reduced feed) will go to turndown
operation. The net effect on the HP steam header will be a ramp
down of HP steam extraction from the cracked-gas compressor
as shown in Fig. 2.
The pressure controller for each boiler area automatically
senses the drop in HP steam header pressure and ramps up steam
production to compensate. Fig. 3 shows a typical boiler ramp up
for each area. The ramp rate is limited by the emulating flow con-
troller based on known boiler characteristics. Once steam header
pressure nears a recovery point, the header pressure controller
seeks its setpoint according to its tuning parameters, as evident by
the slight oscillations shown starting at 10 minutes.
The boilers are not able to ramp up production fast enough
to prevent a rapid drop in header pressure. The header pressure
response is shown in Fig. 4. The steam-load shedding logic begins
switching off expendable users at 38 kg/cm
2
g, thus facilitating a
more rapid pressure recovery.
Fig. 5 is an example on the impact of steam load shedding.
Once Facility A header pressure drops to 38 kg/cm
2
g, the load
shedding logic stops an expendable user within the Facility A
utility area. A typical user is a large turbine driver that has an
available electric motor backup. As shown in Fig. 5, Facility A
has a turbine user in its utility area that is included in the shed-
ding logic. For this example, when the header pressure reaches
the shedding trigger point, the logic engages the backup electric
driver and disengages the turbine driver, thus reducing the steam
requirement for the Facility A utility area more quickly than a
boiler can ramp up steam production.
Integrated system stability control. As previously dis-
cussed, steam-load shedding logic prevents or lessens the impact
from upsets on the steam system. During operation, some vari-
ability will occur within the normal operating range. The facility-
wide steam system must be capable of responding to these normal
variations without relying on steam-load shedding logic. For a
complex site with multiple boiler installations, such as the case
study, a supervisory stability controller or plant master controller
can be used to ensure appropriate responses by different boiler
areas. The objective of the stability controller is to prevent a boiler
trip or steam-header pressure sag scenario from causing steam
loss, resulting in an uncontrolled crash of multiple process units.
What is a plant-master controller? Without a plant
master, there is a potential that although the individual control
system responses to a perturbation are correct, the sum total
of the individual actions can cause the total system to become
unstable, and all boilers to be knocked offline. However, a plant
master cannot function effectively unless each boiler’s individual
boiler master is fully functional.
For all boilers to be effectively integrated and function as a
single central steam plant, each boiler must be fully functional and
capable of being put into automatic control. When each boiler is
capable of functioning in automatic, a plant-master control can
be used to orchestrate the response of individual boilers to system
TABLE 2. Potential issues causing boiler instability
Process issues
Effects of produced fuel gas composition swings on boiler stability
Variability of oil delivery temperature, pressure and composition
Lack of system blow off
Environmental constraints
Boiler mechanical issues
Inability to produce name-plate steam rate
Cold end corrosion
De-superheat circuit reliability
Position of swirler in burner
Position of oil gun (proper insertion)
Vibration associated with oil burning rates
Vibration associated with excess FGR rates
Limitations of the burners
De-superheat circuit reliability
Control function issues
Inaccurate/unstable air measurement
Possible inaccurate gravity feed bias to air-to-fuel ratio adjustment
Damper characterization
Repeatability of valve and damper positioning on demand change
Environmental constraints
126,250
136,250
146,250
156,250
166,250
176,250
186,250
196,250
206,250
216,250
226,250
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Time, minutes
F
l
o
w
,

k
g
/
h
Boiler steam production. Boilers outside of the ethylene
unit will respond as header pressure falls, ramping up
their steam production rate. The ramp rate is limited by
the emulating flow controller based on known boiler
characteristics.
FIG. 3
30
32
34
36
38
40
42
44
46
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60
Time, minutes
P
r
e
s
s
u
r
e
,

k
g
/
c
m
2
g
B A C
Steam header pressures. The header pressures begin
declining immediately due to the upset. Boiler ramp rates
are insufficient to stop the decline until the first shedding
logic trigger point is reached at 38 kg/cm
2
g. The system
rebounds quickly after the shedding logic engages.
FIG. 4
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

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61
perturbations. The plant master is essentially instructions that tell
each boiler what to do when the system is perturbed. The plant
master tells the individual boiler’s boiler master what to do.
Options. A plant master can be designed with various goals.
For the case study facility, the plant-master control can be imple-
mented in several ways:
As is. This option basically does the best with what the plants
already have in terms of hardware. It will run the seven boilers in
automatic under a limited number of conditions and will flip the
system into manual when it sees certain conditions.
When a predetermined number of signals are unavailable or
deemed out of range, the plant master puts the system in manual
just as the individual boiler master puts a control loop into manual
when it loses a primary signal. For example, for an individual boiler,
if the signal from the flue-gas recirculation flow transmitter becomes
unavailable to the controls of the boiler, this condition is alarmed,
and the associated FGR control station is automatically switched
to manual mode. To understand what it means to configure a plant
master in this fashion, one must understand the limitations of the
existing equipment, fuels and individual system dynamics.
The boilers operate under many constraints. All boilers must
work within the constraints set up by their individual burner
management systems (BMSs). A BMS can be thought of as a
set of go/no-go instructions. The BMS does not control boiler
modulation; it simply allows the boilers to modulate. The “rules”
or setpoints within the BMS are fixed and cannot be altered dur-
ing operation.
It is not uncommon for boilers to operate on a wide range of
fuel gas gravity and composition. This fact causes an inherent
control difficulty for all of the boilers. The control systems of all
boilers can only function if gravity and heat release are consistently
related. Fig. 6 represents the programmed relationship between gas
specific gravity (sg) and Btu content, when the sg of the gas is 0.5,
then the fuel value must be approximately 1,000 Btu/scf and when
the sg is 0.2, the fuel value must be approximately 500 Btu/scf. The
system cannot function if the heat value of the gas is ever 500 Btu/
scf or when the sg is 0.5, as represented by the red dot in Fig. 6.
The relationship between gravity and air demand must also
be similar. Any changes in air demand for a given gravity will
cause problems for the burner. For example, in combustion
controls, it is not uncommon to program gas gravity compensa-
tion into the control system if a variable fuel gas composition
is expected. The potential downside of this strategy is that gas’s
gravity must be consistently related to specific gravity. If com-
positions can exist that create a gas sg with a heating value that is
not in line with the programmed relationship, then combustion
instability can occur.
Facility A other
process users
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Time, minutes
F
l
o
w
,

t
h
o
u
s
a
n
d

k
g
/
h
Facility A utility area
User shedding example. FIG. 5
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OCTOBER 2011 HydrocarbonProcessing.com
Each BMS has a set of rules that determines the allowable fuel
gas pressure to each burner. If the gas pressure is too high, or if the
gas pressure falls too low, the burner is no longer “safe,” and the
BMS will take action to shut the burner down. Since a burner is
essentially a fixed orifice, the gas pressure at the burner for a given
heat release will be much higher on fuel gas compared to natural
gas. The problem can be that the high-high fuel gas pressure trip
was set to natural gas. When the boiler fires produced fuel gas, its
output is constrained. It may not be able to make its nameplate
rating for steam because the BMS shuts the burner down when it
gets to that high-high gas pressure setting. The plant master and
boiler master must understand the constraints and tell the boilers
to act accordingly. This information can be incorporated into the
steam-shed dynamic model, introducing new constraints to the
model and altering conclusions when compared to more ideal
boiler performance constraints.
The essence of the “as is” strategy is to define how to live with
the physical and dynamic constraints of the system. This strategy
will need to identify when and how the current equipment can
be controlled in automatic. Some of the issues with the “as is”
scenario are:
• Difficulties in accurately measuring combustion air
• Difficulties in achieving NO
x
compliance under all load
scenarios
• Effect of demanded low load on the metallurgy
• Ability to maintain boiler operation on single burner MFT
• Repeatability of FGR valve positioning on load change
• Mechanical vibration associated with oil burning
• Thermo-acoustic vibration on fans.
Further dynamic modeling of the system “as is” will help
increase the understanding of the limitations and constraints
that exist in the current boiler systems. The modeling will
need to incorporate field measurements of various process
parameters, and to be tested against historical data trends from
known upsets.
Most of the time. This strategy addresses any issues experienced
by existing boilers. It will require that all existing boilers be tuned
and that operational priorities and strategies for waste disposal be
addressed. After studying the existing system, hardware and philo-
sophical changes can be made to stabilize operations. Once indi-
vidual boiler stability is demonstrated, a plant master can be config-
ured to reinforce stability when rapid and coordinated responses are
required from the three steam plants. The plant master can decide
which plant reacts first, second and third, taking into account the
constraints of the individual systems, as shown in Table 2.
Dynamic modeling will be useful in this scenario as a testing
platform for proposed hardware or control changes. After more
precisely emulating current boiler behavior, the model can be
updated to predict the benefits of the proposed modifications.
All of the time. This is the perfect world scenario. All boilers
would run totally in automatic. This is probably not realistic for
many boiler installations, especially those firing fuels with varying
compositions such as waste oils. It would require that all of the
fuels (gas and liquid) being fired in the boilers be consistent in
terms of composition and delivery pressure.
Field verification and stability. Input from the field is
essential to the success of developing a plant master. Current
problems in automatic and manual control must be understood
and mitigated where possible.
The robustness of a plant master depends on the robustness of
the individual boiler masters. It is necessary to discuss operating
practices and challenges with the operators to ensure that all issues
are addressed and factored into the design of the plant master.
System stability depends on the ability of each individual boiler
to do requested actions consistently without affecting the other
boilers within the system. Individual boiler stability depends on
the ability of that boiler to perform the action requested without
knocking itself offline.
The dynamic model can be easily tailored to mimic current
operation and then used to predict future response and guide
decisions. This tailoring can only be accomplished through
close consultation with operators who have hands-on experience
with the existing boilers under a variety of operating condi-
tions. Once tailored, the model is tested for acceptance during
an organized meeting by a team comprising of engineering and
operations representatives. This is commonly known as a “model
acceptance test.”
Options. With the five boilers of Facilities A and B in opera-
tion, the plant operators are able to maintain header pressure by
manually modulating the five boilers. At any given time, they
could make as many as 120 (5 factorial) wrong decisions. When
Facility C comes online, with two additional boilers, if the system
is in total manual, they could make 5,040 (7 factorial) wrong deci-
sions in response to a system perturbation, a major increase in the
probability of system wide destabilization.
The dynamic load shed analysis has shown that the capacity
and layout of the system are essentially functional but do not
address system stability. Further model development could incor-
porate additional information from the field and provide insight
to stability issues.
If the multiple decentralized steam plants are to be run in
automatic for any length of time, as in the case study, there must
be plant-master controller. The plant-master controller will tell
each boiler how to respond to perturbations in the system. A
plant-master controller can work only if each boiler is capable of
responding to the request being made. To configure a plant mas-
ter in the most economic and effective manner, the difficulties
encountered by each individual boiler must be acknowledged and
understood. Problems that can be mitigated through boiler tun-
ing should be resolved. Problems requiring changes in hardware
should be evaluated relative to cost and benefit. HP
0
500
1,000
1,500
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7
Gas specific gravity
G
a
s

B
t
u

c
o
n
t
e
n
t
,

B
t
u
/
s
c
f
Heating value as a function of specific gravity. FIG. 6
Complete literature cited and author biographies and photos available online at
HydrocarbonProcessing.com.
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ͻ MŽĚĞů ĂŶLJ NGL͕ LNG͕ LÞG ƌĞĐŽǀĞƌLJ ĂŶĚ ĨƌĂĐƟŽŶĂƟŽŶ ƉƌŽĐĞƐƐ
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ͻ DĞƚĞƌŵŝŶĞ ŚLJĚƌĂƚĞ ĨŽƌŵĂƟŽŶ ĂŶĚ CC
2
ĨƌĞĞnjĞͲŽƵƚ ƚĞŵƉĞƌĂƚƵƌĞƐ ƵƐŝŶŐ ďĞƐƚͲŝŶͲŝŶĚƵƐƚƌLJ ƉƌĞĚŝĐƟŽŶƐ
ͻ SŝnjĞ ƚǁŽ ĂŶĚ ƚŚƌĞĞ ƉŚĂƐĞ ƐĞƉĂƌĂƚŽƌƐ
ͻ UƐĞ LdžĐĞů ƚŽ ƉĞƌĨŽƌŵ ƉĂƌĂŵĞƚƌŝĐ ƐƚƵĚŝĞƐ ĂŶĚ ĞĐŽŶŽŵŝĐ ĂŶĂůLJƐĞƐ
ͻ CĂůĐƵůĂƚĞ ŚLJĚƌĂƚĞ ŝŶŚŝďŝƚŽƌ ƌĞƋƵŝƌĞŵĞŶƚƐ ƵƐŝŶŐ ƵŶƐƵƌƉĂƐƐĞĚ MĞCnͬn
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ͻ MŽĚĞů ĂŵŝŶĞ ƚƌĞĂƟŶŐ͕ ĚĞŚLJĚƌĂƟŽŶ͕ ĐƌLJŽŐĞŶŝĐ͕ ĂŶĚ ĨƌĂĐƟŽŶĂƟŽŶ ĨĂĐŝůŝƟĞƐ ŝŶ ƚŚĞ ƐĂŵĞ ƉƌŽũĞĐƚ
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PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SPECIALREPORT
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

I


65
Consider model-based inferential
properties for reformers
A European refiner opts to apply embedded multivariable predictive
controllers as part of an advanced process control system
S. BIRDI and A. AUTUORI, Eni, Italy; S. LODOLO, Aspen Technology, Italy;
and C. BEAUTYMAN, Aspen Technology, UK
E
ni settled on using inferred properties models as part of a
control and optimization application for two refineries on
reformer units. Using improved rigorous models in opera-
tions would help achieving a more accurate and reliable control for
the reformers. One solution identified was applying an open-loop
advisory systems area and closed loop control and optimization
area. In the present low-gasoline market, reformers must improve
hydrogen (H
2
) supply and consumption. European refiners, often,
operate reforms to balance gasoline or hydrogen production.
Reformers can be operated in many different ways depend-
ing mainly on process type (continuous or semi-regenerative),
market scenario and specific refinery or aromatics complex setup.
Research octane number (RON) always plays an important role.
RON can be minimized, to ensure proper gasoline blending,
maximize hydrogen production or operated as a trade off with
catalyst life in semi-regenerative units.
It is rare that a proper RON online analyzer is available in
reformers, and it almost never happens that information related
to other properties, such as coke laydown rate, is made avail-
able in real time to operations. Such information is normally
reported by very infrequent lab analysis. Important constraints
like skin temperatures are often unreliable or not available after
some run time.
Some process licensors provide tables and correlations on their
manuals and occasionally proprietary code is deployed online
to estimate some reformer constraints like RON. This code is a
black box, difficult to maintain, tuned on a specific catalyst and
not based on a commercial and open simulation tool. This code
becomes unusable after changes in the process, like a secondary
air added in the regenerator tower, or catalyst vendor changes.
This area is also non-core business for process licensors, and these
black box applications tend to be poorly maintained. eni decided
to develop the model for one refinery and with good results apply
it to eni’s Livorno refinery reformer.
Process operations and constraints. The eni Sannazzaro
refinery’s continuous catalytic reformer (CCR) is equipped with
a multivariable predictive controller that, in current scenario,
pushes the unit against constraints (basically furnaces metallurgy)
maximizing feed while guaranteeing a minimum RON in the
reformate, i.e., in the stabilizer bottom stream. Most active con-
straints in the multivariable predictive controller application are:
1. Reformate naphtha octane number (RON)
2. Coke deposition on catalyst
3. Maximum tube skin temperatures
4. Hydrogen to hydrocarbon ratio in reactors.
This refinery is quite complex with many units that influence
H
2
and the gasoline pools. A less than maximum reformer feed or
a too low or too high RON would result in extra costs or reduced
profit coming from more expensive H
2
used in conversion and
desulfurization units—a suboptimal solution. It would incur extra
MTBE consumption if a too low RON or simply because of a dif-
ferent-than-planned blending receipt in case of a too high RON.
Solution description. Inferentials, based on rigorous models
have been developed for:
• Reformate naphtha octane number (RON), WAIT, WABT
• Coke laydown rate (kg/h)
• Coke on catalyst (wt%)
• Coke profile in reactors
• Duties of furnaces
• Skin temperatures
• Minimum hydrogen to hydrocarbon (H
2
/HC) ratio.
The solution development major steps are:
• Calibrate the reformer rigorous model offline using unit
test run data
• Run case studies (4,000
+
cases) to exercise model over com-
plete operating range
• Analyze model responses and build quadratic inferential
models to be deployed online and used as controlled variables
within a multivariable predictive controller application
• Periodically (e.g., annually) recalibrate model to represent
long-term catalyst activity decline and any other process changes
that may be implemented.
The rigorous model is not directly deployed online. Quadratic
correlations are derived instead and deployed proprietary software
is used to build and deploy online inferential properties. The
rigorous model could be deployed online, and this is actually an
area being investigated to assess additional benefits that could
be obtained. The presented solution is based on standard and
configurable field proven tools as it was the better fit for the eni
Sannazzaro refinery.
The rigorous model online deployment would open the way
to a truly adaptive inferential, given the fact that the recalibration
PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SPECIALREPORT
66

I

OCTOBER 2011 HydrocarbonProcessing.com
of the model could be automated. Fig. 1 shows the overall archi-
tecture deployed online.
Rigorous model. The rigorous reformer model is based on
fundamental kinetics and it’s integrated with fractionation/heat
exchange models providing a full flowsheet model that is repre-
sented in the Fig. 2. Both continuous (CCR) and semi-regenera-
tive (SRR) reformers can be modeled. Some of the main features
of the model are:
• Detailed feed characterization
o separate responses have been analyzed for feed naphthenes
and aromatics content and not simply N+2A content
• Rigorous reactor model
o Response against average bed temperature (or WABT)
have been analyzed and not simply inlet temperature (or WAIT),
obtaining more representative responses
• Rigorous heat balance
o “Heat sink” effect of recycle gas is modeled giving realistic
Hydrogen/Hydrocarbon ratio response.
Inferentials development includes:
WAIT and WABT. Weight average inlet temperature (WAIT)
is calculated as:

WAIT =
T
IN
( R1)
×CW
(R1)
+T
IN
(R2)
×CW
(R2)
+T
IN
(R3)
×CW
( R3)
CW
( R1)
+CW
(R2)
+CW
( R3)
where T
IN
(for R1, R2, R3) represent the inlet temperatures of
the three reactors and CW the catalyst weights.
The weight average bed temperature (WABT) based on the
reactors average bed temperatures (ABT
(Ri)
) is calculated as:

WABT =
ABT
( R1)
× CW
( R1)
+ ABT
( R2)
×
CW
(R2)
+ ABT
( R3)
× CW
( R3)













CW
( R1)
+ CW
( R2)
+ CW
(R3)
RON is inferred based on these process measurements:
• R
xj
inlet temperature
• R
xj
outlet temperature
• Feed rate
• H/HC ratio
• Separator pressure
• Catalyst circulation rate
• Feed naphthenes
• Feed aromatics
• Rvp specification.
The average bed temperature for each reactor is calculated
using the R
xj
measures, and RON is then inferred based on a qua-
dratic correlation and using these average bed temperatures and
all other measures reported here. The correlation actually uses all
measures both linear and quadratic terms.
Coke. Both the coke laydown rate (kg/h) and its amount on
catalyst (wt%) have been calculated based on both the reactor
and the regeneration operative conditions. A coke profile in the
reactor has been also calculated depending on the occasional event
of not completely burning the coke in the regenerator and thus
not completely regenerating the catalyst. This profile is used to
evaluate the maximum amount of coke deposition in the reactor
to be used to set the minimum hydrogen-to-hydrocarbon ratio.
The minimum H
2
/HC ratio is calculated to avoid excessive coke
on catalyst entering the regenerator.
It is well known that a full catalyst cycle reactors-regenerator is
as long as 8 or 10 days but the regenerator section (i.e., CCR sec-
tion of the reformer) can stop for a long time while the reformer
keeps running. These events have then to be properly managed.
The current coke laydown rate (i.e. the rate in kg/h at which
coke is laying down on the catalyst) and the resulting equilibrium
coke on catalyst (wt%) are inferred based on the same process
measurements used for RON (obviously apart Rvp) plus naph-
tha feed boiling range information and using a similar linear and
quadratic correlation.
The current coke laydown rate (kg/h) inferred represents the
spot coke laydown rate. If the same feed
and operating conditions are maintained
for a complete catalyst cycle, then this
would represent the equilibrium coke on
catalyst (wt%) entering the regenerator. The
regenerator entry point is where the catalyst
samples are taken and then analyzed.
The catalyst cycle through all reactors
in the eni Sannazzaro refinery is approxi-
mately eight days and during this period
feed quality and operating conditions nor-
mally change many times. Using laboratory
results to update this inferential would be
incorrect. Nevertheless the coke on catalyst
can be calculated as:
Flowsheet model of reformer. FIG. 2
Diagram of inferred property model for the reformer. FIG. 1
PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SPECIALREPORT
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

I


67

Coke
wt %
=
Coke
kg /h
CatalystCirculationRate
kg /h
×100
We could call the above properties equilibrium coke laydown
rate and coke on the catalyst. The actual coke laydown rate to the
regenerator (kg/h) and the current spot (wt%) coke on catalyst is
calculated directly from the air and oxygen content process mea-
surements. The calculation is based on a total mass and oxygen
balance around the regenerator. The combustion reaction, assum-
ing a chemical formula for coke equal to CH
x
is:

4×CH
x
+ 4+ x ( )×O
2
⇔4×CO
2
+2x ×H
2
O
With the air flow measures, it is possible to calculate the oxy-
gen amount that is consumed during the burning process and the
burned coke (kg/h) corresponding to the amount of consumed
oxygen. Once the coke laydown is obtained, the coke on catalyst
(wt%) can then be calculated.
H
2
/HC ratio. The minimum H
2
/HC ratio, that guarantees to
maintain the coke deposition over catalyst within limits, must also
be calculated. This is actually the minimum H
2
/HC ratio that
maximizes reformate yield while respecting the coke on catalyst
constraint in regenerator capacity.
Both the reactor and regenerator operations affect the mini-
mum H
2
/HC ratio because the coke deposited over the catalyst
depends on the operative conditions of the reactor but also on
the coke that passes through the regeneration section without
burning. It’s very important to consider the event of the coke
not burning in the regenerator due to a CCR failure and passing
through and thus underestimating the minimum H
2
/HC ratio.
Fig. 3 reports three different cases that explain what happens
when the regenerator tower shuts down:
• In normal operations (A,) the coke deposited in the reac-
tor is totally burned in the regeneration section; thus the coke
on catalyst depends only on the reactor operative conditions. A
uniform deposition of coke along the reactor can be assumed in
this case.
• If the regeneration tower fails to burn completely, then the
coke (B), a slice of catalyst not completely regenerated enters the
reactor.
• When the regeneration tower is again operative (C), the coke
is completely burned and the catalyst is fully regenerated again.
However the slice of catalyst covered by coke is still in the reactor,
slowly moving and generating a “coke profile”.
The minimum H
2
/HC ratio calculation considers the presence
of the moving coke slice to avoid underestimating the H
2
/HC
ratio. Without this accurate calculation, when the coke slice exits
the reactors section, the operator has to reduce the catalyst circu-
lation rate to avoid an overload of the regeneration tower. This
would happen days after the CCR failure event. The coke profile
is described and monitored within the solution and accurate
minimum H
2
/HC ratio is supplied to the multivariable predictive
controller application.
Duties and skins temperatures. Duty is evaluated on the
process side with the classical heat transfer equation taking into
consideration the mass flow, feed composition, H
2
/HC ratio and
the delta in I/O temperatures.
Skin temperatures are inferred by adopting the Standard API-
530 method, where the radial component of the heat flow is cal-
culated together with the transfer heat coefficients in bulk, fouling
and across the tube describing this way the temperature profile
from the inner part to the skin of the tube itself. This certified
methodology is not straightforward to implement and requires
a detailed knowledge of furnace geometry and metallurgy and
also products thermodynamic properties, but it permits safe use
of inferred skin temperatures as closed-loop controlled variables.
The products affecting heat exchange are naphtha and hydro-
gen, in a vapor-phase mixture, and also coke deposited along
the walls of the tubes. The thermodynamic properties that are
required for naphtha and hydrogen are specific heat, viscosity and
thermal conductivity; while for coke the only needed property is
thermal conductivity. All of these properties have been calculated
using the rigorous model and then building accurate correlations,
function of pressure and temperature, to be deployed online. Heat
transfer coefficients have been calculated according to API-530 as
function of Reynolds (Re) and Prandtl (Pr) numbers:

h = f Re, Pr,
Tb
Tw
,
μb
μw











where: Tb, μb represent respectively the bulk temperature (coil
outlet temperature) and bulk viscosity
3) tube wall
2) coke layer
1) fluid
Bulk temperature
Maximum skin temperature
Temperature profile across tube: naphtha mixture, coke
layer and tube wall.
FIG. 4
R
e
g
e
n
e
r
a
t
o
r
R
e
g
e
n
e
r
a
t
o
r
R
e
g
e
n
e
r
a
t
o
r
Reactor Reactor Reactor
Coke
profile
a) b) c)
Coke profile of the CCR reformer. FIG. 3
■ Incorporating advanced process
control can provide users with accurate,
dependable and timely process
information on variables that are not
easy to measure directly.
PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SPECIALREPORT
68

I

OCTOBER 2011 HydrocarbonProcessing.com
Tw and μw represent respectively the temperature of the fluid
that is in direct contact with the coke layer and its viscosity
Tw is unknown and must be found through an iterative process
that has been easily implemented on line.
The temperature profile across tubes is defined by the three
layers as shown in Fig. 4:
1. Fluid as mixture of naphtha and hydrogen
2. Coke layer
3. Tube wall.
The duty generated in the furnace must be decomposed in an
axial duty flow and radiant duty flow; therefore, the global gener-
ated duty is multiplied by corrective factors: F
C
a factor account-
ing for circumferential heat flux variations; F
L
for longitudinal
heat flux variations; F
T
to take into consideration the effect of
tube metal temperature on the radial heat flux.

Q
RAD
= DUTY ×F
C
×F
T
×F
L
Once the radial duty is calculated using API-530 method to
obtain the three correction factors, then the Δ T across the three
different layers can be derived as:

ΔT
f
=
Q
RAD
h
×
De
Di −2×tc








ΔT across fluid
ΔT
c
=
Q
RAD
×tc
kc
×
De
Di −tc








ΔT across coke
ΔT
m
=
Q
RAD
×ta
kw
×
De
De −ta








ΔT across metal
where:
De and Di are external and internal diameter of the tubes
tc is the coke layer thickness
ta is the tube thickness
kc and kw are the thermal conductivities of coke and metal
respectively
The maximum skin temperature can then be calculated adding
the above ΔTs to bulk temperature.
Results. Some obtained results are reported:
RON results:
• 1 year data (2008, Fig. 5)
• 160 lab analysis,
• 11 outliers (plant shutdown-startup),
• 149 used samples.
where in blue the inferential, in red the infrequent lab. The pro-
cess licensor correlation was based mainly on the WAIT measure
and the N+2A feed analysis was required to update the mea-
sure (this analysis is done once per week) to account for feed
quality changes. The blue line RON inferred measure takes into
account the feed quality changes, by including in the calculation
the WABT, which is a measure of the reaction progress. Fig. 6
provides an idea of how well the lab analysis data are reproduced:
99% of the data falls within ± 0.45 range, and the official lab
analysis ASTM reproducibility is ± 0.70.
99.00
6,660 6,720 6,780 6,840 6,900 6,960 7,020 7,080
98.50
99.17
98.67
99.33
98.83
99.50
99.00
99.67
99.17
99.83
99.33
100.00
99.50
100.17
99.67
RON_AT
RON_LAB
RON values predicted and measured by the lab. FIG. 5
0
-3.00 -2.00 -1.00 0.00
RON (LAB-INF)
Data
Gauss
1.00 2.00 3.00
5
10
15
20
25
Scatter of lab vs. model predicted RON. FIG. 6
Coke Lab
Coke INF
4.000
2
7
/
0
2
/
0
8
0
5
/
0
3
/
0
8
1
4
/
0
3
/
0
8
1
1
/
0
3
/
0
8
2
0
/
0
3
/
0
8
1
7
/
0
3
/
0
8
2
3
/
0
3
/
0
8
0
8
/
0
3
/
0
8
0
2
/
0
3
/
0
8
4.750
5.500
6.250
7.000
4.000
8.500
Coke make values predicted and measured by the lab. FIG. 7
■ APC can maximize profitable operations
while respecting both constraints that can
be measured directly and those variables
that can be accurately inferred to maintain
safe and reliable operation.
PROCESS CONTROL AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SPECIALREPORT
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

I


69
Coke results:
• 1 year data (2008, Fig. 7)
• 97 lab analyses
• 6 outliers (regeneration tower OUT)
• 86 used samples.
where in blue the inferential and in red the infrequent lab analy-
sis, Fig. 8 provides an idea of how well the lab analysis is data is
reproduced.
Skins results as shown in Fig. 9:
1. Green lines: installed thermocouples (low reliability, par-
ticularly with furnace in end-of-run conditions); red line: inferred
skin temperature
2. Change in process operative condition: inferred measure
was responding properly, following the most reliable thermo-
couples indications
3. Plant shutdown: during startup the inferred measure fol-
lowed the thermocouples signal
Similar impressive results have been obtained for H
2
/HC ratio,
Duties and other estimated properties.
Advantages. The solution described in the previous sections
and deployed online to be used by the closed-loop control, is by
far superior to any other available solution and also to any online
analyzer. It can provide not only RON but also coke on catalyst,
minimum H
2
/HC ratio, Skins and other accurate information
that analyzers can’t supply.
Some of the advantages for this solution are:
1. Use of standard software: open architecture; no “hidden
code” nor black boxes; and use of configurable, integrated and
user friendly tools.
2. Inferred measures (RON, coke laydown, skins, etc.) are
calculated by regressing a reformer rigorous model that can be
tuned and calibrated easily. No simple correlations nor “simpli-
fied” models.
3. Detailed feed characterization in the model (not simply
N+2A).
4. Accuracy in constraints calculations makes it possible rid-
ing actual constraints as defined by an LP or blending model, i.e.,
obtain the true potential from the unit.
5. The application can be easily maintained, recalibrated and
even customized by changing a few parameters in the configura-
tion section.
6. The deployment online is made through a standard and
field-proven tool that provides validation for both input and
output signals to guarantee a safe DCS interfacing.
7. The operator interface used for online deployment is stan-
dard, web based, auto-configurable, i.e., does not need any effort
to be maintained and modified in case of application changes: it
reads the configuration files and updates automatically.
8. Inferred measures updates with lab analyses or analyzers to
correct bias are embedded in the web based application.
9. Automatic links with APC platform and inferred proper-
ties are made available via standard architecture that allows only
validated values to be used for closed loop control.
10. Availability of a rigorous reactor model for offline what-
if analysis, test different naphtha feeds and catalyst deactivation
monitoring.
11. Model can be also used for planning (LP) models accuracy
improvements and online KPI targets calculation and perfor-
mance monitoring.
12. Catalyst and even process vendor independent solution
model can be tailored on specific process configuration and if
catalyst is changed and even if process is revamped/modified, the
investment is preserved.
Benefits. The benefits related to more accurate, reliable and
real-time information on quality depend on the use of informa-
tion. Certainly using RON, skins, H
2
/HC, coke laydown as
controlled variables within a control application that is designed
to continuously push the unit, permits to make the best use
of such information. Obtainable benefits obviously depend
on market scenario, the way reformer is operated and specific
refinery constraints.
At present, H
2
costs are well above 1,000 €/ton and a less than
maximum H
2
production from a reformer due to constraints
such as skins or coke, that are not truly represented, can result in
huge profit losses from hydrocracking or desulfurization units.
Just 200 kg/h of H
2
not available for refinery conversion and
desulfurization units could mean 2 million (MM) €/y loss.
The gasoline pool plays a role even in current diesel oriented
market, because gasoline is one of the crude cuts and must be
sold. Being able to run closer to a RON target, minimizes give-
away, and permits avoiding downgrading too much gasoline
to LPG. Conversely, a too low RON leads to more expensive
blending receipts and higher MTBE consumption. Typical sav-
ings, even if strongly depending on specific refinery layout and
blending pool, could range from 0.5 up to 1.5 MM€/y for each
reformate RON point.
0
Δ Coke (LAB-INF)
5
10
15
20
25
-3.00 -2.00 -1.00 0.00 1.00 2.00 3.00
Data
Gauss
Scatter of lab vs. model predicted coke make. FIG. 8
Skin temperatures values predicted and measured by the
thermocouples.
FIG. 9
70

PROCESS CONTROL
It has been verified that efficient reformer inferentials embed-
ded in a closed-loop application led to a feed increase of 3.7% in
the eni Sannazzaro refinery. These came with:
• Increased H
2
production being able to push truly repre-
sented constraints
• Reduced RON giveaway
• Reduced MTBE consumptions
• Better CCR temperature profile.
In a semi regenerative reformer, where catalyst life cycle is
driving operations having accurate RON and coke, i.e., catalyst
life, estimates is even more important and benefits can be much
higher particularly in a pro-aromatics reformer. This solution has
also been successfully applied to a semi-regenerative reformer.
Options. The proposed application for CCR and SRR infer-
entials, developed with a rigorous model and deployed online
through a field proven tool, is by far superior to any other solution
currently available. It’s based on open architecture and is accurate,
reliable, easy to configure and maintain. The investment is always
preserved also in case of process or catalyst changes.
Using such inferentials in closed-loop-control applications to
obtain additional benefits, if compared to poor estimates, may
repay the investment in just a few months. The availability of
a rigorous reformer model can be used for other purposes like
“what-if ” analysis and to test different feed types, maximizing
this way the investment. The next step is deploy online directly
the rigorous model and move to a truly adaptive inferential. HP
Stefano Lodolo is a senior advisor and industry consultant with
Aspen Technology in Italy. He has nearly 25 years of field experience
in advanced process control in refining, chemical and petrochemical
industries. Mr. Lodolo has successfully implemented dozens of MPC
and other automation projects on a wide variety of process units. He
holds an MS degree in chemical engineering for Bologna University, Italy.
Dr. Clive Beautyman is a senior advisor with AspenTech
and is based in the UK. After earning a BSc in chemical engineer-
ing from UMIST and a PhD from Imperial College, he joined BP in
1984 working on early refinery RTO and inferential projects. Dr.
Beautyman has subsequently worked for a number of refinery
services companies including Profimatics, Honeywell and KBC Process Technology.
In 2001, he joined AspenTech. He specializes in refinery reactor modeling across a
range of planning, operational and process engineering applications. He has worked
on projects with numerous refining clients throughout the world. Dr Beautyman is a
Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and is a Chartered Engineer.
Santo Biroli is with the process control dept. responsible at the
eni R&M Sannazzaro Refinery. He has a broad range of experience
in process control, modeling and optimization. Over the past 15
years, he has been actively involved in developing, implementing
and commissioning of APC algorithms, inferential sensors, multi-
variable predictive control and optimization projects carried out on numerous refinery
processes. He holds a BS degree in electronic engineering for the Pavia University, Italy.
Augusto Autuori is responsible for APC project coordination of
eni refineries. After a degree in chemical engineering from University
of Salerno, in 2002, he joined eni as an APC engineer. Between
2002 and 2006, he participated on several APC projects (DMCplus
and inferential implementation) at some refinery plants. In 2006, he
moved to eni R&M HQ technology department and is responsible for APC project coor-
dination, oil movement systems implementation on eni primary logistics hubs a long
with innovative systems implementation for plants monitoring and operator training.
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REFINING DEVELOPMENTS
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

I


71
A
challenge for existing refineries is
how to process heavy crudes and
handle the technical constraints
associated with such feedstocks. A new
heavy crude was discovered at the Mangala
field in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan, India,
in January 2004. The crude resources went
into production in late August 2008. The
Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) con-
ducted a detailed analysis of this crude for
product yields and characteristics. Lower
distillate yield (23 wt%) and difficulties
associated with its transportation through
pipeline due to a higher pore point (39
+

°C) clearly indicate that neat processing of
the new crude by existing refineries may
not be feasible.
One solution was to design a grassroots
refinery designed specifically for this chal-
lenging heavy crude oil located near the
Mangala field. Eight grassroots refinery
configurations capable of processing the
Mangala crude were conceptualized and
evaluated economically with regard to finish
products meeting Euro IV specifications.
Results from the study indicated that indi-
vidual product and combined distillate yield
(gasoline + kerosine + diesel) are configura-
tion dependent, and they are governed by
the combination of secondary conversion
processes as part of the processing scheme
included in the configuration.
Need for more oil. Reduced avail-
ability of lighter conventional crudes and
growing global demand for energy drive
efforts to find and produce new crude
resources. India is actively seeking new
offshore and onshore crude sources. Like-
wise, heavy crude oil reserves are increas-
ing in availability. For example, the heavy
crude reserves at the Mangala field in the
Thar Desert of Rajasthan, India are esti-
mated at 3.6 billion barrels (570 billion
m
3
) oil of which 1 billion barrels (160 bil-
lion m
3
) are recoverable. Cairn India is the
current operator of the field, a subsidiary
of Cairn Energy. At present, 125,000 bpd
(125 Mbpd) of crude oil is pumped out
from wells in Rajasthan by Cairn India,
Refinery configurations:
Designs for heavy oil
Conceptualization and economic evaluations considered all possible
scenarios to process clean gasoline and diesel from domestic feedstock
S. KUMAR, S. M. NANOTI, Y. K. SHARMA and M. O. GARG,
Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun, India
Amine treating
Treaters
Treaters
Hydrotreater
Gas processing
SR naphtha
SR gasoil
Kero
Naphtha
Other units gas
Gas
Gas
Gas
VGO
V
a
c
u
u
m
d
i
s
t
i
l
l
a
t
i
o
n
D
e
l
a
y
e
d

c
o
k
e
r
LCO
FCC
unit
HN
NHT NSPL
Reformer
LN
LN
Coker LN
Vacuum
residuum
L
o
n
g

r
e
s
i
d
u
e
Coker HN
LCGO
HCGO
H
2
H
2
H
2
Crude
ADU
Refinery gas
Gasoline
Diesel
Claus sulfur plant
Kero/jet fuel
Sulfur
LPG
Slurry oil
Light naphtha
Coke
Configuration 1—CDU + DCU + FCC + Reformer + HDT. FIG. 1
TABLE 1. Mangala crude
characteristics
Characteristics Value
Density, 15°C, kg/liter 0.8804
Gravity, °API at 60°F 29.13
Pour point, °C +39
Total sulfur, wt% 0.08
Total acid value, mg KOH/g 0.25
Wax content, wt% 20.60
Watson characterization factor, K
UOP
12.47
LPG potential (C
3
+ C
4
), wt% 0.01
Naphtha (IBP–140°C), wt% 1.10
Distillate (IBP–370°C), wt% 23.30
REFINING DEVELOPMENTS
72

I

OCTOBER 2011 HydrocarbonProcessing.com
and plans are in effect to to produce 150
Mbpd in the near term.
1,2

Reliance Industries, Essar Oil and
Indian Oil Corp. Ltd. (IOCL) and Man-
galore Refinery have shown interest in pro-
cessing a blending stock to conventional
crude. With an increasing production
rate, lower distillate yield (23 wt%) and
difficulties associated pipeline transport
issues associated with the Mangala crude,
existing refineries are not designed to han-
dle this very heavy crude oil. A grassroots
refinery located near the Mangala field is
the best option.
Mangala crude characterization.
Detailed analysis of Mangala crude was
carried out at IIP. Table 1 lists the major
characteristics of the crude oil. With a spe-
cific gravity value of 0.881 (API: 29.1),
the Mangala crude is neither heavy nor
light. However, its distillate (from IBP–
370°C) and naphtha (from IBP–140°C)
fraction yield values of approximately 23
and 1.1 wt % of crude are significantly
lower in comparison to corresponding
values of approximately 50 and 12 wt%
for conventional crude. This crude oil can
be considered part of the heavier crude
category. Watson characterization factor
value of 12.47 clearly indicates that it is
paraffinic in nature. Also, the higher pore-
point value of 39
+
°C poses the challenges
in transpiration via pipelines.
Refinery configurations. Present
day data indicate that there is a continuous
shift to middle and light distillates at the
expense of heavy ends and to ever increas-
ing higher quality standards.
In view of constraints associated with
Mangala crude and its present explora-
tion rate, eight refinery configurations
for a 5 million metric tpy (5 metric
MMtpy or 100,000 bpd (100 Mbpd))
crude processing capacity were conceptu-
alized and analyzed. Table 2 summarizes
possible processes and configurations. In
each configuration, diesel and gasoline
pool streams from different processes
units are blended to produce Euro IV
diesel and gasoline.
TABLE 2. Mangala refinery
processing schemes and
configurations
Configuration-1 CDU + DCU + FCC +
Reformer + HDT
Configuration-2 ADU + FCC* + SHDS +
PRU + DHDT + HGU
Configuration-3 ADU + DCU + FCC* +
SHDS + PRU + HDT + HGU
Configuration-4 CDU + DCU + HDK +
HDT + HGU
Configuration-5 CDU + DCU + HDK
(60% conversion) + FCC +
HDT + Reformer + HGU
Configuration-6 CDU + SDA + FCC +
Reformer + HDT
Configuration-7 CDU + SDA + HDK +
HDT + HGU
Configuration-8 CDU + SDA + HDK
(60% conversion) + FCC +
HDT + Reformer + HGU
Amine treating
Treaters
Treater
Hydrotreater
Gas processing
SR naphtha
SR gasoil
Kero
Naphtha
Other units gas
Gas
NHT NSPL
HGU
PRU
HN
LN
H
2
H
2
H
2
H
2
Crude
L
o
n
g

r
e
s
i
d
u
e
ADU
SHDS
Refinery gas
Gasoline
Diesel
Diesel
Claus sulfur plant
Kero/jet fuel
Sulfur
Propylene
LPG
Slurry oil
Gas + LPG
LCO
LSHS
F
C
C
*
Configuration 2—ADU + FCC* + SHDS + PRU + HDT + HGU. FIG. 2
Amine treating
Treaters
SHDS
Treater
Hydrotreater
Gas processing
SR naphtha
SR gasoil
Kero
VGO
Naphtha
Gas + LPG
Other units gas
Gas
NSPL
HGU
PRU
HN
LN
H
2
H
2
H
2
Crude
L
o
n
g

r
e
s
i
d
u
e
ADU
Refinery gas
Slurry oil
Diesel
Claus sulfur plant
Kero/jet fuel
Sulfur
Gasoline
Propylene
LPG
Coke
V
a
c
u
u
m
d
i
s
t
i
l
l
a
t
i
o
n
Vacuum
residuum
H
y
d
r
o
t
r
e
a
t
e
r
Gas
Coker LN
Coker HN
LCGO
HCGO
D
e
l
a
y
e
d

c
o
k
e
r
NHT
Configuration 3—CDU + DCU + FCC* (50% LR) + SHDS + PRU + HDT + HGU. FIG. 3
REFINING DEVELOPMENTS
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

I


73
These configurations were developed
using technologies and processes that are
already commercially proven and well
established in refineries. Figs. 1–8 are flow
diagrams for the proposed processing con-
figurations. Based on technical and eco-
nomic ranking criteria, six configurations
(1–7) are shown here (Fig. 8 is available
online at Hydrocarbonprocessing.com).
In configurations 1 and 6, the hydrogen
generation unit (HGU) is not included,
as hydrogen (H
2
) demand can be met
by recovering the H
2
from the gasoline
reformer unit.
Product yields and properties. In
all cases, product streams generated in each
process unit were blended to obtain the
final products with desired quality speci-
fications such as Euro IV for gasoline and
diesel.
3
A commercially available software
was used in the optimization and planning
of plant operations in the refineries; in-
house developed correlations and a knowl-
edge data base available at IIP were used to
calculate the yields and properties of dif-
ferent products obtained from each process
unit.
4–9
Product yields obtained for each
refinery configuration are listed in Table
3, along with the distillate yield, which is
the summation of kerosine, gasoline and
diesel yields.
Study results indicate that the individ-
ual product and combined distillate yield
(gasoline + kerosine + diesel) are configura-
tion dependent and governed by the com-
bination of secondary conversion processes
included in the configuration. Accordingly,
the configurations can be categorized in
these classes based on configuration selec-
tivity toward specific types of product man-
ufacturing potential.
• Gasoline and diesel-oriented con-
figurations (1, 5, 6 and 8). Euro IV gaso-
line and diesel can be manufactured.
• Diesel-oriented configurations (4
and 7). Only Euro IV diesel can be pro-
duced. However, these processing configu-
rations do not have gasoline production
potential.
• Propylene-oriented configurations
(2 and 3). These processing configurations
have propylene manufacturing potential
that the other options do not have due to
FCC*/propylene recovery unit inclusion in
these configurations.
From Table 3, it is clear that in Con-
figurations 1 and 6, there is surplus light
naphtha whereas in Configuration 7,
about 52,000 metric tpy of light naph-
tha procurement is needed to meet H
2

demand in this configuration. Distillate
yield value (gasoline + kerosine + diesel)
follows configuration numbers in the order
of 4>5>7>1>8>3>6>2. However, including
LPG yield in the distillate yield changes
the former trend to 4>5>1>7>3>8>2>6.
These trends suggest that including a
hydrocracker will yield more distillates.
Amine treating
Treaters
Hydrotreater
Gas processing
Treater
Kero
SR naphtha
N
a
p
h
t
h
a
SR gasoil
VGO
Gas
Other units gas
Gas
NSPL
NHT
LN
H
2
H
2
Crude
L
o
n
g
r
e
s
i
d
u
e
ADU
Refinery gas
Diesel Diesel
Claus sulfur plant
Kero/jet fuel
Sulfur
LPG
Coke
V
a
c
u
u
m
d
i
s
t
i
l
l
a
t
i
o
n
Vacuum
residuum
H
y
d
r
o
c
r
a
c
k
e
r
Gas
Coker LN
Coker HN
LCGO
LN naphtha
HN naphtha
Diesel
Kero
HCGO
D
e
l
a
y
e
d

c
o
k
e
r
HGU
Configuration 4—CDU + DCU + HDK + HDT + HGU. FIG. 4
Amine treating
Treaters
Hydrotreater
Gas processing
Treater
Kero
SR naphtha
N
a
p
h
t
h
a
SR gasoil
VGO
Gas Gas
LCO
HN
HN
LN
LN
Other units gas
Gas
NHT
HGU Ref
H
2
H
2
H
2
Crude
L
o
n
g
r
e
s
i
d
u
e
ADU
Refinery gas
Diesel
Slurry oil
Diesel
Claus sulfur plant
Kero/jet fuel
Sulfur
LPG
Coke
Gasoline
V
a
c
u
u
m
d
i
s
t
i
l
l
a
t
i
o
n
Vacuum
residuum
H
y
d
r
o
c
r
a
c
k
e
r
F
C
C

u
n
i
t
Gas
Coker LN
Coker HN
LCGO
Naphtha
Distillate
HT gasoil
HCGO
D
e
l
a
y
e
d

c
o
k
e
r
NSPL
Configuration 5—CDU + DCU + HDK (60%) + FCC + Reformer + HDT + HGU. FIG. 5
REFINING DEVELOPMENTS
74

I

OCTOBER 2011 HydrocarbonProcessing.com
The configurations (6, 7 and 8) with the
solvent deasphalting (SDA) unit give a
lesser combined distillate yield value cor-
responding to the configurations (1, 4, and
5) with the delayed coking unit (DCU) in
place of the SDA.
From the crude vacuum resid (VR)
fraction physico-chemical characteriza-
tion, it is clear that the VR has a low
sulfur and vanadium content but has a
high nickle (Ni) content. Thus, only fuel-
grade coke can be produced from the
DCU using VR as a feedstock due to Ni
content. However, if the VR’s Ni metal
content can be reduced by pretreatment,
then premium-grade anode coke can be
produced due to the very low sulfur and
vanadium content in the VR. Lowering
the sulfur content (<1%) of the fuel oil
provides opportunities to sell it at a higher
price than the refinery-fuel grade.
Economic evaluation. The economic
analysis for these configurations was car-
ried out for 5 metric MMtpy (100,000
bpd) crude processing capacity. The study
was done during second quarter (2Q)
of 2010. Crude and product prices were
taken from the database available on Inter-
net, in public sector oil refineries and IIP
database.
1, 9, 10
Capital costs of processing
units were also taken from data available in
technical journals, Internet and informa-
tion provided from oil refineries; units cap-
ital cost were corrected for the base price
corresponding to 2Q 2010, using the Mar-
shall & Swift equipment cost index.
10–12
To calculate payback for each con-
figuration, a straight-line depreciation
method was used assuming a plant life of
15 years. Corporate tax was considered at
the rate of 30% of gross profit. Manpower
charges of $22.2 million, and insurance,
maintenance and miscellaneous costs at
the rate of 0.5%, 4.5% and 0.15% of
plant cost, respectively, were considered
under the working capital head along
with the crude’s cost. These configura-
tions were compared with respect to prod-
uct sales value realization, the investment
required to set up the grassroots refinery,
utility cost, gross profit and the payback
period. Table 4 lists the details of the eco-
nomic evaluation.
The results from Table 4 indicate
that gross profit follows the configura-
tion number trend: 2>4>7>3>1>6>5>8.
Although, products sale values for Con-
figuration 2 and 4 are comparable but
payback period values are significantly
different due to higher capital investment
and utilities cost requirements for Con-
figuration 4. Furthermore, Configuration
7 (CDU + SDA + HDK + HDT + HGU)
has comparable gross profit and payback
period value with Configuration 2, but a
significant amount of pitch is generated
that can pose a serious demand and dis-
posal problems, and pushes this configura-
tion as less attractive than 2 and 4.
Options. These preliminary refinery
configurations conceptualization and
Amine treating
Treaters
Treater
Hydrotreater
Gas processing
SR naphtha
SR gasoil
Gas
Kero
Naphtha
Diesel
Kero
HN
LN
Other units gas
Gas
H
2
H
2
Crude
L
o
n
g

r
e
s
i
d
u
e
ADU
H
y
d
r
o
c
r
a
c
k
e
r
Refinery gas
Diesel
DAO
Claus sulfur plant
Kero/jet fuel
Sulfur
LPG
Pitch
Vacuum
residium
HCGO
S
D
A

u
n
i
t
VGO
V
a
c
u
u
m
d
i
s
t
i
l
l
a
t
i
o
n
NSPL
NHT
LN
Naphtha
Purchased L napahtha
HGU
Configuration 7—CDU + SDA + HDK + HDT + HGU. FIG. 7
Amine treating
Treaters
Treater
Hydrotreater
Gas processing
SR naphtha
SR gasoil
Gas
Kero
Naphtha
Other units gas
Gas
NHT NSPL
Reformer
H
2
H
2
LN
LN
H
2
Crude
L
o
n
g

r
e
s
i
d
u
e
ADU
FCC
unit
Refinery gas
Gasoline
Light naphtha
Slurry oil
Diesel
DAO
Claus sulfur plant
Kero/jet fuel
Sulfur
LPG
Pitch
Vacuum
residium
HCGO
LCO
S
D
A

u
n
i
t
VGO
V
a
c
u
u
m
d
i
s
t
i
l
l
a
t
i
o
n
Configuration 6—CDU + SDA + FCC + Reformer + HDT. FIG. 6
REFINING DEVELOPMENTS
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

I


75
their economic evaluation analysis results
indicate that Configuration- 2 (ADU +
FCC* + SHDS + PRU + HDT + HGU)
tops the gross profit and payout period
ranking list. Maximum gasoline yield is
obtained in Configuration-1 (CDU +
DCU + FCC + Reformer + HDT), but
it occupied 5th place in gross profit pay-
back period ranking. However, Configu-
ration 4 (CDU + DCU + HDK + HDT +
HGU), which ranked just below Configu-
ration-2 from profit and payback points
of view, but provides the maximum distil-
late (4,305 metric tpy diesel) manufactur-
ing potential against the distillate yield
(2,856 metric tpy gasoline and diesel) for
Configuration 2.Therefore, in view of
current diesel driven economy, Configu-
ration 4 may be proved the best over the
long term. HP
* The INDMAX technology maximizes the conver-
sion of heavy oils to highly olefinic LPG through a
fluidized catalytic cracking (FCC) process.
NOMENCLATURE
ADU Atmospheric distillation unit
VDU Vacuum distillation unit
CDU Crude distillation unit
(ADU + VDU)
DCU Delayed cocker unit
FCC Fluidized catalytic cracking unit
SHDS Selective hydrodesulfurization unit
PRU Propylene recovery unit
HDK Hydrocracker unit
SDA Solvent deasphalting unit
HDT Hydrotreating unit
DHDT Diesel hydrotreating unit
NHT Naphtha hydrotreating unit
NSPL Naphtha splitter
HGU Hydrogen generation unit
INDMAX FCC/propylene recovery unit
LN Light naphtha
HN Heavy naphtha
LCGO Light coker gasoil
HCGO Heavy coker gasoil
LCO Light cycle oil
VGO Vacuum gasoil
LITERATURE CITED
Complete literature cited avaiable at
HydrocarbonProcessing.com
TABLE. 3. Material balance and product yields for all refinery configurations
Configuration number,
thousand tpy 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Feed
Crude 5,000 5,000 5,000 5,000 5,000 5,000 5,000 5,000
Hydrogen 0 11 14 74 63 0 66 48
Total 5,000 5,011 5,014 5,074 5,063 5,000 5,066 5,048
Product yields
Fuel gas 176 283 276 91 225 87 11 128
Sulfur 2 1 2 2 3 1 1 1
LPG 501 623 538 102 250 416 48 261
HGU Naphtha 0 40 51 222 189 0 198 143
Surplus/procured naphtha 123 0 0 0 0 52 –73 0
Gasoline 1,409 1,327 868 0 650 1,005 0 0
Kerosine 225 225 225 399 225 225 417 225
Diesel 1,908 1,304 1,993 3,906 3,047 1,738 3,410 ,037
Slurry oil 188 134 88 0 71 201 0 120
Coke 347 0 348 347 347 0 0 0
Pitch 0 0 0 0 0 1,143 1,048 1,048
FCC coke 131 302 194 0 36 128 0 79
Propylene 0 762 416 0 0
Total 5,009 5,000 4,998 5,069 5,043 4,996 ,061 5,043
Distillate 3,542 2,856 3,086 4,305 3,922 2,968 3,827 3,262
Dr. M. O. Garg is the director of
Indian Institute of Petroleum, Deh-
radun, a constituent laboratory of
Council of Scientific and Industrial
Research. Dr. Garg has 33 years of
experience in the refining industry. He started his career
after graduating from IIT-Kanpur in the Research and
Development Division of Engineers India Ltd. in 1976.
He earned a PhD at University of Melbourne. In 1994, he
joined the process system services division of KTI-Technip
India Ltd. and joined Indian Institute of Petroleum in
1998. Dr. Garg has developed and commercialized sev-
eral technologies and has received two CSIR Technology
Award . Dr. Garg has published over 207 papers and
holds 26 patents . He has been elected Fellow of Indian
National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Garg specializes
in the area of liquid-liquid extraction, simulation and
modelling, process integration, advance control, and
process conceptualization. He is acknowledged as an
expert in petroleum refining and petrochemicals.
Shrikant Nanoti is head of sep-
aration processes division at Indian
Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun,
India. He received a chemical engi-
neering degree from Laxminaryan
Institute of Technology, Nagpur and a PhD from the
Indian Institute of Technology. Dr. Nanoti has over 26
years of experience in the development and scale-up of
separation-based technologies, process design, process
integration and pinch analysis for the petroleum refining
and petrochemical industries. He has published more
than 35 research papers in national and international
journals and holds eight patents.
Yogendra Kumar Sharma
has 30 years of experience in analyti-
cal, research and development work
and presently heads the crude oil eval-
uation laboratory at Indian Institute
of Petroleum, Dehradun. Dr. Sharma was awarded the
INSA/DFG fellowship to work on mechanism of degrada-
tion of middle distillate fuels at Engler Bunte Institut der
universitat Karlsruhe, Germany and has submitted the
D.Sc theses at B.R Ambedakar University of Agra. He is a
Sunil Kumar received an MS
degree in chemical engineering from
the Indian Institute of Kanpur, India in
2009. He has been awarded with Cer-
tificate of Merit for Academic Excel-
lence in the Master of Technology Pro-
gramme in chemical engineering at IIT Kanpur and also
honored with Ambuja’s Youngh Researchers Award. He
started his career in modeling and simulation group, as
a scientist, at Indian Institute of Petroleum (CSIR), Dehra-
dun, India, in 2009. He has completed several projects in
the area of petroleum refinery separation and conversion
processes using the advanced state-of art tools.
TABLE 4. Economic evaluation for various grassroots refineries
Configuration number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Product sales value, billion $ 3.148 3.482 3.24 3.417 3.288 3.022 3.322 3.15
Refinery cost, billion $ 1.751 1.613 1.926 2.01 2.16 1.368 1.663 1.722
Utility cost, million $ 109 126 133 200 266 90 205 220
Working capital, billion $ 2.685 2.678 2.694 2.699 2.706 2.666 2.681 2.684
Gross profit, million $ 237 570 284 384 172 176 326 131
Payback period, years 6.2 3.2 5.9 5.0 8.2 6.4 4.9 8.3
NABL technical assessor and has significantly contributed
to the evaluation of various indigenous and imported
crude oils, natural gas liquids, condensate and petroleum
products. Dr. Sharma has published 12 research papers
in international journals and has filed seven patents.
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INSTRUMENTATION AND MEASUREMENT
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

I


77
Improve material balance by using
proper flowmeter corrections
Here are guidelines to increase accuracy for flow measurements
S. PERAMANU and J. C. WAH, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Calgary, Canada
P
rocess plants frequently encounter mass imbalances. These
can be attributed to various factors, but often they lead back
to inappropriate measuring devices, improper calibration,
incorrect installation or incorrect interpretation of the measured
flows. There are well-established guidelines available to ensure
appropriate flowmeter selection based on the process conditions
and control requirements.
Instrument vendors follow the industry standards and
approved procedures for flowmeter calibration, calculating the
calibration factors based on the data provided in the flowmeter
specification datasheets. Engineering and construction service
contractors often follow vendor guidelines and standard prac-
tices to correctly install the flowmeters. This means that most
flowmeter installations, therefore, meet accepted project stan-
dards and specifications.
What’s the flowrate? However, measured flow interpreta-
tion, normally a process or production engineer’s responsibility,
is often done without proper directions or guidelines. Although it
appears straightforward that the flowmeter measures the flowrate
and the flowrate value is read from the display, significant error
can be introduced if the flow measurement conditions are not
understood and appropriate correction factors are not applied.
Accurate stream flow interpretation and critical mass balance
reconciliation require understanding flowmeter characteristics and
their associated measurement uncertainties. This is of particular
importance where mass balances may be used for highly sensitive
process control operations, production accounting or government
reporting on royalties and emissions.
This article provides a background on the importance of
accurate measurements, a description of measurement errors
and the role of uncertainties in mass balance and reconciliation.
Flowmeter correction equations are derived for differential pres-
sure flow, volumetric flow and mass flowmeters, and flow cor-
rection factors are provided for various units of measurements
(UOM). Flowmeter uncertainty equations are derived for differ-
ential pressure flow, volumetric flow and mass flowmeters.
METERING APPLICATIONS
To achieve the most accurate flow measurement (minimum
uncertainty), proper flow system operation and maintenance must
be practiced so that meter accuracy capabilities are realized. Periodic
maintenance, testing and recalibration are essential because the cali-
bration will shift over time due to wear, damage or contamination.
The maintenance may be only a secondary-equipment calibra-
tion, a complete system mechanical inspection, an actual through-
put test against some agreed-upon standards or any combination
of these. The equipment used to test the meter, such as thermom-
eters, dead-weight tests, pressure gauges, differential-pressure
gauges, chromatographs and provers (used for throughput tests),
must have accuracy certification and should be approved and
agreed upon by the interested parties. Having operators who have
had experience with similar metering systems also increases the
calibration and test procedure confidence levels. Test equipment
itself should be recertified periodically by the agency or manufac-
turer that originally certified the equipment.
Custody transfer operations. In custody-transfer measure-
ment, the measurement furnishes quantity and quality informa-
tion that can be used as the basis for a change in ownership and/
or a change in responsibility for materials.
Custody-transfer measurement is distinct from other measure-
ment types because of the contractual nature of the meter. Cus-
tody-transfer metering may require accuracy of ± 0.1% or better,
whereas control measurement may be accepted at a ± 2% accuracy
and operational measurement may require a ± 5% accuracy. A
high-integrity custody-transfer measurement system is a result
of careful design based on the specific application requirements
comprising fluid control, conditioning, metering, computation
and a means of traceable site data validation.
1, 2
Custody-transfer management involves the entire chain from
the custody-transfer metering conceptualization to the final pro-
duction or sale data reporting. For example, in the upstream oil
and gas sector, measurement includes all intermediate steps such
as measurement and sampling guidelines, operational procedures,
data processing, data transmission and reconciliation, allocation
or custody-transfer procedures. To solve the flow measurement
equation, it is imperative that every equation parameter be well
understood and represented.
A primary custody-transfer measurement consideration is to
minimize flow variations by maintaining better flow control. For
situations where this may not be possible, a meter with a wide-
ranging flow capacity is needed. If a single meter with the required
flow capacity to cover the intended operating range with mini-
mum uncertainty does not exist, using multiple meters with some
type of meter-switching control is required. Most meters operate
with a specified uncertainty within the stated flow capacity limits
that is typically from 25% to 95% of the flowmeter maximum
INSTRUMENTATION AND MEASUREMENT
78

I

OCTOBER 2011 HydrocarbonProcessing.com
capacity. For custody-transfer metering and critical control mea-
surement, it is important to maintain the meter operation within
the stated flow capacity limits.
Errors. Other than some operating problems and poor mainte-
nance that may affect the measurement, the main cause of error is
the fluid characteristics and errors in fluid density calculation. For
gases, mixtures are more accurately measured if the stream has rel-
atively constant composition. This allows specific PVT tests to be
run, or data may be available for common mixtures from previous
work. If the mixture is changing rapidly, a densitometer or a mass
meter may be required to determine an accurate measurement.
During times when a custody-transfer meter is out of service
or registering inaccurately, a procedure must be in place for mea-
suring or estimating deliveries. This procedure may need to be in
accordance with regulatory standards if the meter flow is used for
regulatory reporting. An example of this is the recent USA EPA
Greenhouse Gas Mandatory Reporting Rule issued Sept. 22, 2009.
A typical accuracy limit from ± 0.5% to ± 2% may be used, but
may be set closer or wider depending on the specific meter costs
and measurement ability.
For custody-transfer meters, a prover system or master meter
should be used for throughput testing and recalibration. The
best throughput test can be run directly in series with a prover.
The prover can come in many forms, but essentially it involves a
basic volume that has been certified by a government or industrial
group. Since most meters are not totally linear, tests may have to
be run over the meter’s operating range to calculate the calibration
factors dependent on the flow capacity.
Commercial mass balance software. The characteristics
and strengths of commercial mass-balance software may include:
• Graphically aided input that is user friendly and intuitive
• Interactive diagnostics and feedback on input errors
• Flexibility to select the measurement units desired by the user
• Flexibility for the user to select start and end times to per-
form the reconciliation
• Facility to construct mass-balance units based on plant con-
figuration user input
• Reconciliation processes perform linear, nonlinear and
inequality constraints on the measurement data to produce rec-
onciled measurements and unmeasured flow estimates
• Algorithm for efficient iteration and fast convergence to the
solution. Some algorithms may include the Monte Carlo method
to generate sets of random values for measurement errors within a
prescribed range (±%uncertainty) that are solved and iterated in
the reconciliation algorithm
• Algorithm to ensure numerical robustness and prevent
numerical runaway
M
4
Stream 1, M
1
Stream 2, M
2
Stream 3, M
3
Tank
Flow reconciliation example for a storage tank. FIG. 1
TABLE 1. Flow correction factors for various flowmeters
Differential-pressure meters, Volumetric flowmeters, Coriolis with
orifice, venturi, nozzle, vortex, turbine, ultrasonic Mass flowmeters, integrated density
Phase, UOM wedge, pitot and annubar and magnetic Coriolis and thermal measurement
Liquid flow, act. m
3
/h 1 1


ρ
D
ρ
M


ρ
D
ρ
M

Liquid flow, std. m
3
/h


ρ
M
ρ
D
×
ρ
D_Std
ρ
M _Std


ρ
M
ρ
D
×
ρ
D_Std
ρ
M _Std


ρ
D_Std
ρ
M _Std


ρ
D_Std
ρ
M _Std

Liquid flow, kg/h 1 1


ρ
M
ρ
D


ρ
M
ρ
D

Gas flow, act. m
3
/h 1 1

(M
D
P
D
/ Z
D
T
D
)
(M
M
P
M
/ Z
M
T
M
)


M
D
P
D
Z
D
T
D
M
M
P
M
Z
M
T
M
Gas flow, std. m
3
/h*

(M
D
Z
D
T
D
/ P
D
)
(M
M
Z
M
T
M
/ P
M
)

Z
D
T
D
P
D
( )
Z
M
T
M
P
M
( )


M
D
M
M


M
D
M
M

Gas flow, kg/h 1 1

(M
M
P
M
/ Z
M
T
M
)
(M
D
P
D
/ Z
D
T
D
)

(M
M
P
M
/ Z
M
T
M
)
(M
D
P
D
/ Z
D
T
D
)
*For gas flow, std. m
3
/h, the design and measured compressibility factors at standard conditions (101.325 KPa
a
; 15°C) are assumed to be the same compressibilty factors for most gases is close to
unity at standard conditions.
INSTRUMENTATION AND MEASUREMENT
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

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79
• A reconciled mass balance at the processing unit level or group
of processing units, progressing all the way up to the plant level
• Ability to reconcile total mass and selected component frac-
tions at the same time
• Reporting tool to verify the present error in balance for each
node and generate the customized reports.
Mass balance and reconciliation. Data reconciliation
3,4
improves process data accuracy by adjusting the measured values so
that they satisfy the process constraints. The amount of adjustment
made to the measurements is minimized since the random errors are
expected to be small. Data reconciliation can be formulated by the
following constrained weighted least-squares optimization problem:
Minimize the function (known as objective function):

ΔM
i
( )
2
σ
i
2
i=1
n

Where n is the number of measurements, ΔM is the difference
between the reconciled and measured values of measurements, i
and ␴
i
is the measurement i standard deviation. The value 1/␴
2
which is an inverse of variance (square of standard deviation) is the
weight factor representing the accuracy of the respective measure-
ments. Since a higher value of standard deviation implies that the
measurement is less accurate, the above choice gives larger weights
to more accurate measurements.
The above objective function minimization is subject to con-
straints:
f
j
(M
i
ϩ⌬M
i
) = 0 j = 1,….m
Where f is the balance equation for the measurements (i = 1,….n)
and m is the number of balance equations.
During the reconciliation process, the measurements contain-
ing systematic bias or gross errors are detected by comparing the
difference between the reconciled and measured values to the
measurement uncertainties.
If Abs(⌬M
i
/ M
i
) > Uncertainty, measurement i has gross error.
The measurements containing gross errors are either eliminated
or appropriately compensated for data reconciliation to be effec-
tive, as shown in Fig. 1. In this example, the reconciliation involves:
M
1
= stream 1 cumulative measured mass flow over a period
(a day, for example)
M
2
= stream 2 cumulative measured mass flow over a period
M
3
= stream 3 cumulative measured mass flow over a period
M
4
= measured mass inventory gain or depletion over the
same period
It is evident that because of measurement errors these measured
quantities do not balance, namely:
M
1
ϩ M
2
M
3
ϩ M
4
Therefore, reconciliation is required; adjustments to each of the
measured quantities need to be made to obtain a mass balance:
(M
1
ϩ ⌬M
1
) ϩ (M
2
ϩ ⌬M
2
) = (M
3
ϩ ⌬M
3
) ϩ (M
4
ϩ ⌬M
4
)
where ΔM
i
is an adjustment (+ve or –ve) for the measured quan-
tity M
i
.
It is evident that there are infinite sets of ΔM
i
, each of which
will give the desired mass balance, i.e., they will satisfy the equa-
tion above. Of the infinite sets of ΔM
i
, the one particular set that
corresponds to the least amount of total adjustment is required.
This suggests that the problem to find this particular set of ΔM
i

can be formulated as one that entails minimizing a function (usu-
ally referred to as objective function) subject to some constraints
(mass-balance equations). For the simple example here, the prob-
lem of finding that particular set of ΔM
i
can be formulated as:
Minimize the objective function:

ΔM
1
( )
2
σ
1
2
+
ΔM
2
( )
2
σ
2
2
+
ΔM
3
( )
2
σ
3
2
+
ΔM
4
( )
2
σ
4
2
Subject to the constraint:
(M
1
ϩ ⌬M
1
) ϩ (M
2
ϩ ⌬M
2
) –
(M
3
ϩ ⌬M
3
) – (M
4
ϩ ⌬M
4
) = 0
Where ␴
i
is the uncertainty associated with the instrument that
gives the measured quantity, M
i
.
The use of uncertainties for reconciliation can be explained with
this example. Assume that a flowmeter M
1
with percent uncer-
tainty at 95% confidence level (%U
95
) as ±2% is reading 300 kg
True value Average
Biased, not precise
Bias
True value Average
Biased, precise
Bias
Not biased, not precise Not biased, precise
F
r
e
q
u
e
n
c
y
True value and average
True value and average
F
r
e
q
u
e
n
c
y
F
r
e
q
u
e
n
c
y

F
r
e
q
u
e
n
c
y
Measured value Measured value
Measured value Measured value
Bias and precision errors. FIG. 2
TABLE 2. Variable uncertainty
Sensitivity coefficient Sensitivity value, S Uncertainty, U
95
(S U
95
)
2
C
D
Discharge coefficient 1 1 0.45 0.2025
d Orifice diameter 2/(1 – ␤
4
) 2.298 0.05 0.0132
D Pipe diameter –2␤
4
/(1 – ␤
4
) –0.298 0.25 0.0056
⌬P Differential pressure
1
⁄2 0.5 0.5 0.0625
␳ Actual density
1
⁄2 0.5 0.45 0.0506

Std
Standard density –1 –1 0.5 0.25
Sum of squares ∑(S U
95
)
2
= 0.5844
Square root of sum of squares √∑(S U
95
)
2
= 0.7644
INSTRUMENTATION AND MEASUREMENT
80

I

OCTOBER 2011 HydrocarbonProcessing.com
during a certain time period. Since the 95% confidence level cor-
responds to two standard deviations, 2␴
1
, the standard deviation
error, ␴
1
, for this measurement can be calculated as ±3 kg as:



1
=
%U
95
100
×M
1
=
±2
100
×300 =±6 kg
(95% confidence error)
Therefore, the weight factor, (1/␴
1
2
), for measurement M
1

in the objective function above is 1/9. Suppose if the reconciled
flowrate for M
1
is 307 kg, then the reconciled error (difference
between the reconciled value and the measured value) is 7 kg. This
value is greater than the 6 kg error (95% confidence) calculated.
This means that measurement M
1
has a gross error and should be
eliminated or properly compensated for effective reconciliation.
FLOW CORRECTIONS
Process industry flowmeters can be classified into three broad
categories that include differential-pressure meters, actual volu-
metric flowmeters and mass flowmeters. The differential-pressure
meters include orifice, venturi, nozzle, wedge, pitot tube and
annubar; volumetric flowmeters include vortex, turbine, ultrasonic
and magnetic; and mass flowmeters include Coriolis and thermal
meters. The meter operating principles and flow equations are
provided in Appendix A.
For any of these flowmeters, the vendor should make sure that
the flowmeters measured outputs are in the UOM requested in the
flowmeter specification datasheet. For this, the vendor calculates
the conversion factor by using the design density data (or pressure,
temperature and molecular weight data for gases) specified on the
datasheet to output measured values in the desired UOM.
During process operation, the measured density (or P, T, MW
and z for gases) values may not be the same as the values on the
datasheet. Therefore, the measured flowrates should be corrected
to account for the measured process conditions. The correction
factors for various flowmeters using different UOM are provided
in Table 1. The details of the flowmeter correction calculation are
available in Appendix B.
Flow uncertainty equations. Uncertainty, U
95
, is a statisti-
cal statement of measurement accuracy that is useful in:
• Defining tolerances for reconciling measurements with
concurrent gross-error detection and elimination
• Estimating accuracies when reporting to government on
measurements that impact royalties and emissions
• Evaluating custody-transfer metering performance.
Uncertainty is a measurement process characteristic. It provides
an estimate of the error band within which the true value for that
measurement process must fall with high probability.
5
It is based
on the probability of 95% that is twice the standard deviation, 2␴.
The 95% confidence level for the estimated flowmeter uncertainty
is in accordance with prudent statistical and engineering practice.
Flowmeter uncertainty is actually a function of both bias (sys-
tematic or gross error) and precision (random error), as shown
in Fig. 2. Flowmeter part manufacturers follow rigorous testing
and calibration to remove or randomize the measurement biases.
In Canada, they follow the standards by Measurements Canada,
and in the US, the test method follows the National Bureau of
Standards (National Institute of Standards and Technology). The
values used for the precision may be obtained from manufacturer’s
specifications for the respective equipment provided that the
values are adjusted to reflect operating conditions.
To calculate the uncertainty values, the significance of each
variable (parameter) in the flow calculation equation is examined
and is related to flow measurement. It is assumed that the meter
has been properly installed, operated and maintained. It is also
assumed that the systematic equipment biases are randomized
within the database, which means that variations in the equip-
ment and laboratories will not impose any bias in the equations’
ability to represent reality.
For practical considerations, the pertinent variables are
assumed to be independent to enable simpler uncertainty cal-
culations. It was noted that the simplified uncertainty equations
would provide very good uncertainty estimates.
6
The mathemati-
cal relationships among the variables establish the sensitivity of
the metered quantities to each of these variables. Each variable
that influences the flow measurement uncertainty has a specific
sensitivity coefficient. The uncertainty for a general equation
Q = f (x
1
, x
2
,.....x
N
) can be derived analytically by partial differen-
tiation based on propagation of uncertainty by the Taylor series.
Refer to Appendix C for derivation using the Taylor series. The
uncertainty in Q can be given as:


δQ
Q
=
x
1
Q
∂Q
∂x
1












2
δx
1
x
1












2
+
x
2
Q
∂Q
∂x
2












2
δx
2
x
2












2
+.... +
x
N
Q
∂Q
∂x
N












2
δ x
N
x
N












2




















1 2
This can be represented in a simpler form as:


δQ
Q
=
S
x
1
( )
2
U
x
1
( )
2
+ S
x
2
( )
2
U
x
2
( )
2
+............ +
S
x
N
( )
2
U
x
N
( )
2












1 2
where ␦Q/Q is the uncertainty in Q, S
x
is the sensitivity coefficient
associated with the variable and U
x
is the variable uncertainty.
The uncertainty equations are derived for differential pressure,
volumetric and mass flowmeters in Appendix D using the flow
equations representing the basic operating principle.
FLOWMETER UNCERTAINTY
Uncertainty for orifice, venture or nozzle meter measuring in
standard flow is given by:


δQ
StdVol
Q
StdVol
=
1 ( )
2
δC
d
C
d












2
+
2
1−β
4











2
δd
d










2
+
−2β
4
1−β
4




⎜⎜






2
δD
D










2
+
1
2










2
δΔP
ΔP










2
+
1
2










2
δρ
Act
ρ
Act












2
+ −1 ( )
2
δρ
Std
ρ
Std












2




















1/2
The same equation above can be used for a wedge meter;
however, the deviation in the equivalent diameter, d, for a wedge
meter is calculated by using:


δd
d
=
H
d
1
π
1/2
G
1/2
2n
1/2
+
1
1−m
2
( )
1/2

1
2
m
2
n
1/2






























δH
H










+
D
d
1
π
1/2
G
1/2
G −
H
D
1
1−m
2
( )
1/2
+2n
1/2

1
2
m
2
n
1/2






⎜⎜






































δD
D










INSTRUMENTATION AND MEASUREMENT
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

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81
where:
d
D
1/2
G
1/2
; G Cos
1
m 2mn
1/2
^ `
;
m 1 2
H
D
; n
H
D
H
D
2
Uncertainity equations for vortex, turbinem ultrasonic and
coriolis flowmeters are in Appendix D.
Measured flowrate correction. An orifice meter is used in
a refinery to measure the flowrate of liquid hydrocarbons and it is
calibrated to indicate (readout) flowrate in standard volumetric
flows. For example, design stream conditions indicated on the
flowmeter specification datasheet are:
T
D
= Design temperature = 300°C
P
D
= Design pressure = 1,500 kPaa

D_Std
= Design standard density = 950 kg/m
3
(normally
obtained from process simulation)

D
= Design actual density = 750 kg/m
3
(normally obtained
from process simulation).
During actual operation, the measured conditions are:
T
M
= Measured temperature = 310°C
P
M
= Measured pressure = 1,500 kPaa

M_Std
= Measured standard density = 960 kg/m
3
(measured in
the laboratory using the sample)

M
= Measured actual density = 740 kg/m
3
(measured, or
calculated using an appropriate correlation).
For liquid flows, if the measured densities are not available at
the actual operating conditions, the established correlations can
be used. It should be noted that these correlations may result in
some error in the density predictions.
Actual liquid hydrocarbon stream density can be estimated
using the equation by Yawas:
7

SG
m
= SG
r
( )
2
−0.0011×(T
m
−T
r
)
For C
20
and heavier alkanes, the densities can be obtained
using the method by Fisher:
8

SG
m
=1.29+
SG
r
−1.29
T
r
+737












T
m
+737 ( )

where SG
m
is specific gravity at measured temperature
SG
r
is the specific gravity at reference temperature
T
m
is measured temperature in Kelvin
T
r
is reference temperature in °C.
A method for calculating actual density using liquid critical
properties is given by Noor:
9

ρ
m
=
M
V
C
3.964−1.957
T
m
T
C
( )
where ␳
m
= Density at measured temperature in kg/m
3
,
M = Molecular weight,
V
C
= Critical volume in m
3
/kg
T
m
= Measured temperature in Kelvin
T
C
= Critical temperature in Kelvin.
From Table 1, the correction factor for the orifice meter with
indicated (readout) liquid flowrate at standard conditions is
given by:

Correction Factor =
ρ
M
ρ
D
×
ρ
D_Std
ρ
M _Std

H
D
Wedge flowmeter
P
1
P
S
P
t
ΔP
P
2
P
1
P
2
P
1
P
2
D
d
Orifice flowmeter
Flow
Pitot tube flowmeter
D
D d
Venturi flowmeter
Flow
D d
Nozzle flowmeter
Flow
Flow Flow Flow
Flow Flow Flow
D
w
Interval
(frequency)
Vortex flowmeter
D
Angular velocity measurement
Turbine flowmeter
D L Ɵ
Upstream transducer
Downstream transducer
Ultrasonic flowmeter
D
Magnetic flowmeter
Voltage (E)
Magnetic field (B)
L
Examples of various flowmeters used by industry. FIG. 3
INSTRUMENTATION AND MEASUREMENT
82

I

OCTOBER 2011 HydrocarbonProcessing.com
and the corrected flowrate at standard conditions is given by:
Q
StdVol_Corr
= Q
StdVol_Meas
ϫ Correction Factor
If the flowmeter indicated (readout) flow is 600 std. m
3
/d, then
the corrected flowrate at standard condition is:
= = 589.8 Std m
3
/d ~ 590 std. m
3
/d


600×
740
750
×
950
960

Uncertainty calculation. A 3-in. orifice meter run with a ␤
ratio of 0.6 is selected for the previous liquid hydrocarbon flow
measurement example at a static pressure of 1,500 kPaa and flow-
ing temperature of 310°C. Differential pressure recorded for the
flow is 25 kPa and the flowrate is 590 std. m
3
/h.
The variable sensitivity coefficients can be calculated using the
orifice uncertainty equation:


δQ
StdVol
Q
StdVol
=
1 ( )
2 δC
d
C
d












2
+
2
1−β
4











2
δd
d










2
+
−2β
4
1−β
4












2
δD
D










2
+
1
2










2
δΔP
ΔP










2
+
1
2










2
δρ
Act
ρ
Act












2
+ −1 ( )
2
δρ
Std
ρ
Std












2






























1/2
The uncertainty values for the variables ␦x/x at 95% confi-
dence level, U
95
, can be obtained from industry standards and
procedures (AGA, API, ASME, ASTM) and/or manufactures’
specifications for the equipment or parts. For each variable, the
uncertainty listed in Table 2 represents random errors only, which
are obtained from AGA RP-3-1.
Based on the calculations, the standard volumetric flow mea-
surement uncertainty at 95% confidence level is ± 0.76%. For
mass flow measurement uncertainty, the standard density variable,

Std
, in the above equation is excluded, which gives the % U
95
value of ± 0.58%.
APPENDIX A
The operating principles and flowmeter equations are listed in
this appendix for the flowmeters as shown in Fig. 3.
Differential pressure flowmeters. The flowmeters that
measure differential pressure to calculate the flowrates can be clas-
sified as differential pressure flowmeters.
Orifice, venturi and nozzle flowmeters. For fluid flow in an
orifice, venturi or nozzle flowmeter, the actual volumetric flowrate
can be given as:
10

Q
ActVol
=C
d
E
u
Y
π
4
d
2










2 P
1
−P
2
( )
ρ
1
=C
d
E
u
Y
π
4
d
2










2ΔP
ρ
1
where d is the orifice diameter for an orifice meter or throat diam-
eter for venturi and nozzle meters,
P
1
= Pressure at the upstream pressure tap,
P
2
= Pressure at the downstream pressure tap

1
= Density at P
1
pressure condition.
C
d
= Discharge coefficient to account for frictional losses
(kinetic energy into heat) due to viscosity and turbulence effects.
E
u
is the velocity approach factor that relates the flowing fluid
velocity in the meter approach section (upstream meter tube) to
the orifice/throat fluid velocity:

E
u
=
1
1−β
4
where ␤ = d / D is the orifice bore (or throat for the venturi and
nozzle) to pipe inner-diameter ratio.
Y is the expansion factor to account for the gas compressibility
that is given by:

Y = P
2
P
1
( )
2
k
k
k −1










1− P
2
P
1
( )
k−1 ( )
k
1− P
2
P
1
( )

















1−β
4
1−β
4
P
2
P
1
( )
2
k
















where k is specific heat ratio C
P
/C
V
. For ␤ less than 0.25, ␤
4
value
approaches zero in the equation.
Pitot tube or annubar flowmeters (for velocity less than
30% of sonic velocity). For fluid flow in a Pitot tube flowmeter,
the actual volumetric flowrate can be given as:

Q
ActVol
=K
π
4
D
2










2 P
t
−P
s
( )
ρ
Act
= K
π
4
D
2










2ΔP
ρ
Act
Where: K = Instrument coefficient that is usually determined
through calibration,
D = Pipe inside diameter
ΔP = Pressure drop measured by the Pitot tube, which is the
difference between the total (stagnation) pressure, P
t
, and the
static pressure, P
s
.
Wedge flowmeter (used for liquid flows only). For liquid
flow in a wedge flowmeter, actual volumetric flowrate can be
calculated using the orifice equation:

Q
ActVol
=C
d
E
u
π
4
d
2










2ΔP
ρ
Act
where d is equivalent orifice diameter that is calculated using
equivalent beta ratio:

β =
d
D
=
1
π
1/2
cos
−1
1−2
H
D










−2 1−2
H
D










H
D

H
D










2














1/2











where H = wedge segment opening height,
D = Pipe inside diameter,
ΔP = Pressure drop across the orifice

Act
= Liquid density at actual temperature and pressure condi-
tions, T, P.
C
d
is the wedge meter discharge coefficient to account for
frictional losses (kinetic energy into heat) due to viscosity and
turbulence effects.
E
u
is the velocity approach factor that relates the flowing fluid
velocity in the wedge meter approach section (upstream meter
tube) to the fluid velocity in the wedge section.


E
u
=
1
1−β
4

where ␤ is d/D which is equivalent orifice to pipe inner diameter
ratio.
Volumetric flowmeters. The flowmeters that directly inter-
pret the actual volumetric flow from other measured parameters
are called volumetric flowmeters. To interpret the velocity, vortex
INSTRUMENTATION AND MEASUREMENT
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING OCTOBER 2011

I


83
meters use vortex shedding frequency; ultrasonic meters use sound
transit time; and magnetic meters use voltage induced in the fluid
(conductive) flowing through an imposed magnetic field.
Vortex flowmeter. A vortex flowmeter measures the volumet-
ric flowrate by using the vortex shedding frequency caused by a
flow barrier.
11
Strouhal number, S, is related to vortex shedding frequency
by S = fw / u
where f = Vortex shedding frequency that depends on flow veloc-
ity, fluid viscosity and flow barrier dimensions (bluff, which is
either a cylinder or a square column) used to create vortex
w = Flow barrier width (bluff )
u = Fluid velocity in the bluff section.
Actual volumetric flowrate can be given by:


Q
ActVol
= Au =
π
4
D
2
B
fw
S










where D is the pipe inner diameter
and B is the blockage factor that is defined as the pipe bore
area less the bluff body blockage area, divided by the pipe full
bore area:

B =
π
4
D
2
−KwD
π
4
D
2
=1−
4K
π
w
D
where K factor is used to compensate for the pipe flow nonuni-
form profile in industrial applications. Combining the above
equations the actual flowrate is given as:

Q
ActVol
=
fπD
3
4S
w
D










1−
4K
π
w
D










The Strouhal number, S, is about constant across a wide Reyn-
olds number range of (10
2
–10
7
). The S value depends on the bluff
width to the pipe inner diameter ratio. S = 0.18 for w/D = 0.1; S
= 0.26 for w/D = 0.3; and S = 0.44 for w/D = 0.5.
Turbine flowmeter. A turbine flowmeter measures the volu-
metric flow by counting the rotor revolutions (rotor angular
velocity) that turns in proportion to the flow velocity.
12–14
The
equation for a turbine meter can be given as:
utan␪ = Kr ␻
where u = Incoming flow velocity,
␪ = Angle between the pipe axis (incoming flow direction)
and the turbine blades,
r = Root-mean-square value of the blade inner and outer radii
to represent the average radius,
K = Instrument factor to compensate velocity loss (nonideali-
ties) due to rotor blade design and ␻ is the rotor angular velocity.

r =
r
o
2
+r
i
2
2
where r
o
= Blade radius outer edge and r
i
= Radius blade root.
Actual volumetric flowrate can be given by:

Q
ActVol
= Au =
π
4
D
2










Krω
tanθ
Ultrasonic flowmeter. An ultrasonic flowmeter measures
the volumetric flow by using sound pulse transit time in the
flow medium caused by doplar effect.
15–17
A typical ultrasonic
flowmeter (transit-time flow measurement) system utilizes two
ultrasonic transducers that function as both transmitter and
receiver. The flowmeter operates by alternately transmitting and
receiving a sound energy burst between the two transducers and
measuring the transit time that it takes for sound to travel between
the two transducers. The difference in the transit time measured is
directly and related to the liquid velocity in the pipe.
If t
D
is the sound pulse transit-time (or time-of-flight) traveling
from the upstream transducer to the downstream transducer, and
t
U
is the transit-time from the opposite direction, the equations
can be given as:

t
D

Linear distance between transducers (L)
Net sound velocity along flow direction

(D / sin )
c u cos
t
U

Linear distance between transducers (L)
Net sound velocity opposite flow direction

(D / sin )
c u cos
where ␪ = Angle between the transducer axis to the flow direction,
c = Sound speed in the liquid,
D = Pipe inside diameter
u = Flow velocity averaged over the sound path. Solving the
above equations leads to:

t
U
−t
D
t
U
t
D
=u
2sinθ cosθ
D
=u
sin2θ
D
u =
KD
sin2θ
t
U
−t
D
t
U
t
D












=
KD
sin 2θ
t
f
where t
f
= (t
U
– t
D
) / (t
U
t
D
) is the transit-time function and K
is the instrument factor determined through calibration. There-
fore, by accurately measuring the upstream and downstream
transit-times, t
U
and t
D
, the flow velocity, u, can be obtained.
Actual volumetric flowrate is calculated as:

Q
ActVol
= Au =
π
4
D
2










KD
sin2θ
t
f
where A is the pipe inner cross-section area.
Magnetic flowmeter. Magnetic flowmeter operation is based
on Faraday’s Law that states that the voltage induced across any
conductor as it moves at right angles through a magnetic field is
proportional to the conductor velocity.
18
To apply this principle
the fluid being measured must be electrically conductive.
The voltage, E, generated in a conductor is given by:
E ␣ BLu
where:
E = Voltage generated in a conductor
B = Magnetic field strength perpendicular to the flow direction
L = Distance between the electrodes (usually equal to pipe
inside diameter in most construction)
u = Conductor velocity.
The fluid velocity can be given by:

u K
E
BL
=
where K is the instrument coefficient that is usually deter-
mined through calibration.
Subsequently, the actual volumetric flow rate is calculated as:

Q
ActVol
= Au =
π
4
D
2










KE
BL
where A is the pipe inner cross-section area and D is the pipe
inside diameter.
INSTRUMENTATION AND MEASUREMENT
84

I

OCTOBER 2011 HydrocarbonProcessing.com
Mass flowmeters. A coriolis flowmeter directly measures
the mass flow based on the inertial forces exerted on the tube
vibrations.
19–21
When an oscillating excitation force is applied
to the tube, causing it to vibrate, the fluid flowing through the
tube will induce a twist (or rotation) to the tube because of the
Coriolis acceleration acting in opposite directions on either side
of the applied force.
In a U-tube coriolis meter, the flow is guided into the U
shaped tube that is vibrated using an actuator. The vibration is
commonly introduced by electric coils and measured by magnetic
sensors. When the tube is moving upward during the first half of
a cycle, the fluid flowing into the meter resists being forced up by
pushing down on the tube. On the opposite side, the liquid flow-
ing out of the meter resists having its vertical motion decreased
by pushing up on the tube. This action causes the tube to twist.
When the tube is moving downward during the second half of
the vibration cycle, it twists in the opposite direction. The two
vibrations are shifted in phase (time lag) with respect to each
other, and the degree of phase-shift is directly affected by the
mass passing through the tube.
A U-shaped Coriolis flowmeter mass flow is given as:

Q
Mass
=
K
u
−I
u
ω
2
( ) τ
2KL
2
where K
u
= Tube stiffness,
K = A shape-dependent factor
L = Width,
␶ = Time lag,
␻ = Vibration frequency
I
u
= Tube inertia that includes the tube fluid mass. The expres-
sion can be simplified as:

Q
Mass
=
K
u
τ 1−
ω
ω
u












2










2KL
2
where:

ω
u
=
K
u
I
u
is the natural frequency of the U-shaped tube system.
Thermal flowmeter. A thermal flowmeter measures the mass
flow based on heat absorption. As molecules of a moving fluid
come into contact with a heat source, they absorb heat and cool
the source. At increased flowrates, more molecules come into
contact with the heat source absorbing even more heat. The heat
dissipated from the source in this manner is proportional to the
number of molecules of a particular gas (its mass), the gas thermal
characteristics, and its flow characteristics. The mass flow of a
thermal mass flowmeter can be given as:
Q
Mass
= K ϫ ⌬H
where K is the instrument coefficient which is usually determined
through calibration, and ΔH is the amount of heat dissipated
from the heat source. HP
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors thank their colleague Ken Fernie, P.Eng., for review and valu-
able comments on custody transfer metering, and Andrew Nelson, Production
management manager from Matrikon Inc., his for review and valuable input on
flow meter uncertainties.
LITERATURE CITED
1
Spitzer, D. W., Flow Measurement: Practical Guides for Measurement and
Control, 2nd Edition, Research Triangle Park, NC: ISA, 2001.
2
Upp, E. L. and P. J. LaNasa, Fluid Flow Measurement: A Practical Guide to
Accurate Flow Measurement, Gulf Professional Publishing, 2nd Edition, 2002.
3
Romagnoli, J. A. and M. C. Sanchez, “Data Processing and Reconciliation for
Chemical Process Operations,” Process Systems Engineering, Vol. 2, Academic
Press, 1st Edition, 1999.
4
Ozyurt, D. B. and R. W. Pike, “Theory and Practices of Simultaneous Data
Reconciliation and Gross Error Detection for Chemical Processes,” Computers
and Chemical Engineering, 28, pp. 381–402, 2004.
5
ASME MFC-2M, Measurement Uncertainty for Fluid Flow in Closed Conduits,
American National Standard, 1983 (Revised 2006).
6
AGA RP-3-1, Orifice Metering of Natural Gas and Other Related Hydrocarbon
Fluids Part 1—General Equations and Uncertainty Guidelines, American Gas
Association, June 2003. (API MPMS 14.3-1; ANSI/API 2530-91 Part 1; Gas
Processors Association GPA 8185 Part 1).
7
Yawas, C. L., et al, “Equation for Liquid Density,” Hydrocarbon Processing,
Vol. 70, No 1, January 1991, pp. 103–106.
8
Fisher, C. H., “How to Predict n-Alkane Densities,” Chemical Engineering,
Vol. 96, No 10, pp. 195, October 1989.
9
Noor, A., “Quick Estimate of Liquid Densities,” Chemical Engineering, Vol.
88, No. 7, pp. 111, 6th April 1981.
10
ASME MFC-3M, Measurement of Fluid Flow in Pipes Using Orifice, Nozzle
and Venturi, American National Standard, 2004.
11
ASME MFC-6M, Measurement of Fluid Flow in Pipes using Vortex Flowmeters,
American National Standard, 1998 (Revised 2005).
12
AGA RP-7, Measurement of Natural Gas by Turbine Meters, American Gas
Association, February 2006.
13
API MPMS-5.3, Measurement of Liquid Hydrocarbons by Turbine Meters,
American Petroleum Institute, September 2000.
14
ASME MFC-4M, Measurement of Gas Flow by Turbine Meters, American
National Standard, 1986 (Revised 2008).
15
AGA RP-9, Measurement of Gas by Multipath Ultrasonic Meters, American Gas
Association, April 2007.
16
API MPMS-5.8, Measurement of Liquid Hydrocarbons by Ultrasonic Flow
Meters Using Transit Time Technology, American Petroleum Institute, February
2005.
17
ASME MFC-5M, Measurement of Liquid Flow in Closed Conduits Using
Transit-Time Ultrasonic Flowmeters, American National Standard, 1985
(Revised 2006).
18
ASME MFC-16M, Measurement of Liquid Flow in Closed Conduits with
Electromagnetic Flowmeters, American National Standard, 1995 (Revised
2006).
19
AGA RP-11, Measurement of Natural Gas by Coriolis Meter, American Gas
Association, January 2003.
20
API MPMS-5.6, Measurement of Liquid Hydrocarbons by Coriolis Meters,
American Petroleum Institute, October 2002.
21
ASME MFC-11M, Measurement of Fluid Flow by Means of Coriolis Mass
Flowmeters, American National Standard, 1989 (Revised 2003).
Appendices B–D can be found at HydrocarbonProcssing.com.
Subodhsen Peramanu has more than 15 years of experi-
ence in conceptual, front-end design and detailed engineering of
upgrading and refining processes. He has authored papers on topics
including hydrogen separation and economics, bitumen character-
ization, and asphaltene solubility and reversibility. Dr. Peramanu was
involved in commissioning and start-up of CNRL Horizon Upgrader and is working with
CNRL Thermal Team as a senior engineering specialist on in-situ oil recovery. He holds
a BChemEng degree in chemical engineering from Institute of Chemical Technology
(formerly UDCT), Mumbai, MTech degree from Indian Institute Technology, Kanpur
and PhD from University of Calgary.
Juon Wah’s career in process engineering spans more than 30
years and covers conceptual design, FEED, EPC and detailed pro-
cess and equipment design of major projects in refining, bitumen
upgrading and oil and gas production facilities. At present, Mr.
Wah is a consultant on process design and plant operations. At the
time of writing, he was working on an expansion project for the Horizon Upgrading
complex of CNRL. Mr. Wah holds a BSc degree in chemical engineering from the
University of Birmingham, UK, and a Diplôme d’Ingénieur in chemical engineering
and petroleum refining from the IFP, France.
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Select 209 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
Select 207 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
Select 210 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
Eliminate
Valve Cavitation
Eliminate
Valve Cavitation
Cu Services LLC
725 Parkview Cir., LIk Crove vIg., IL 60007
Phone 847-439-2303 º rcronfeI@cuservices.net
www.cuservices.net
s0LACEONEORMOREDIFFUSERSDOWNSTREAM
OFAVALVETOELIMINATECAVITATION
s%LIMINATENOISE
s%LIMINATEPIPEVIBRATION
s2EDUCEVALVElRSTCOSTS
s2EDUCEVALVEMAINTENANCE
HPIN RELIABILITY
88

I

OCTOBER 2011 HydrocarbonProcessing.com
What guideline to use? As a general rule, adhering to
the lowered N
sss
requirement (not exceeding 9,000) will prob-
ably force industry to require purchase of 1,800 rpm multistage
pumps instead of the obviously less expensive (albeit somewhat
higher efficiency) 3,600 rpm single-stage pumps that have made
inroads over the past few decades.
Sticking with the questionable practice of buying the higher
speed (higher N
SSS
, or > 9,000) pumps should require a written
waiver by the parties accepting the procurement of high N
sss

pumps. Issuing such a waiver should (hopefully) force the various
“parties to such agreements” into understanding, describing and
clearly communicating the associated risks.
There is no easy choice. However, at low flows, the less
expensive pumps cannot operate safely for long periods. In the
end, these are judgment issues and reliability professionals must
advise the organization on the issues. Again, I believe reliability
professionals will have to caution and properly advise operating
and management personnel of the obvious risk of allowing high
N
sss
pumps to operate at low flows.
4
The ultimate decision as to what to buy and how safe of a plant
to have is management’s. Management, and operating personnel,
must be apprised of the need to stay away from certain flows. One
alternative to just cautioning others verbally is to budget costly
instrumentation that would have to be procured and installed.
Such instrumentation might mitigate the risk of operating at low
flow by automated means. But automated means may shift the life-
cycle cost calculation into numbers that were not previously antici-
pated. A second alternative would be to have only experienced and
thoroughly trained operating personnel—people who will simply
not allow these (high N
sss
) pumps to run at low flows. A third alter-
native would be to accept the need of more frequent monitoring
and to do repairs more often on high N
sss
pumps. What is saved in
capital will soon be spent as maintenance-related money.
The risks of purchasing pumps from the lowest bidder, or buying
process pumps without invoking experience-based specifications, or
employing an untrained labor force also deserve to be assessed. US
oil refineries have widely differing pump failure frequencies, and
paying close attention to NPSH matters is but one of the many
issues that require the attention of responsible personnel. HP
LITERATURE CITED
1
Taylor, I., “The most persistent pump-application problems for petroleum
and power engineers,” ASME Publication 77-Pet-5, Energy Technology
Conference and Exhibit, Houston, Texas, Sept. 18–22, 1977.
2
“Allowable Operating Region,” ANSI/HI9.6.3-1997, Hydraulic Institute,
Parsippany, New Jersey.
3
Bloch, H. P., and A. Budris, Pump User’s Handbook, 3rd Ed., Fairmont Press,
Lilburn, Georgia, 2010.
4
Bloch, H. P., Pump Wisdom, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey, 2011.
The author is Hydrocarbon Processing’s Reliability/Equipment Editor. A practicing
consulting engineer with close to 50 years of applicable experience, he advises pro-
cess plants worldwide on failure analysis, reliability improvement and maintenance
cost avoidance topics. He has authored or co-authored 18 textbooks on machinery
reliability improvement and over 490 papers or articles dealing with related subjects.
For more, read his Pump Wisdom: Problem Solving for Operators and Specialists,
John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey, April 2011.
HPIn Reliability continued from page 9
Bill Wageneck, Publisher
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HPIN CONTROL
The author is a principal consultant in advanced process control and online
optimization with Petrocontrol. He specializes in the use of first-principles models
for inferential process control and has developed a number of distillation and reactor
models. Dr. Friedman’s experience spans over 30 years in the hydrocarbon industry,
working with Exxon Research and Engineering, KBC Advanced Technology and since
1992 with Petrocontrol. He holds a BS degree from the Israel Institute of Technology
(Technion) and a PhD degree from Purdue University.
Allan.Kern@yahoo.com
ALLAN KERN, GUEST COLUMNIST
Prior to the 1980s, process control was in the dark ages. Our
main “technology” was the single-loop controller, despite that it
operated obliviously to the many interactions and non-first order
responses that characterize most processes. Due to cumbersome
capabilities, usually involving hardware and wires, if not tubing
and pneumatics, any enhancement, such as feedforward, override
or adaptive gain, was undertaken only for the most demanding
or profitable loops.
Then along came computers and a solution that most peo-
ple had not even dreamed of. Multivariable model-based pre-
dictive control (MPC) provided a solution that could manage
all the loops and all the constraints as one. Moreover, it used
actual process models and predictive control algorithms that
promised to render the limitations of feedback control, dif-
ficult dynamics and process interactions—all problems of the
past. The vision of MPC “dynamically” controlling processes,
while “safely pushing” multiple constraints, seemed poised to
become a reality.
After three decades, this vision has become widespread,
through its collective pursuit and enthusiasm, but has the real-
ity become widespread? Industry has been slow to recognize the
limitations of MPC in practice and to adapt its strategy.
Minimize, don’t maximize, CVs. A theme of MPC has
always been, the bigger the matrix, the bigger the “success.” In
matrix design, this means including many secondary control vari-
ables (CVs), sometimes literally by the dozen. But in operation,
this results in unwanted control, not improved control, when a
secondary CV takes over. CV priorities are relative to each other,
but they all have a claim to the manipulated variable (MV).
Operators handle this by opening the CV’s limits, so that it
might as well not be there in the first place. Or, to prevent yet
another unwanted override, by “clamping” the MV, so that the
whole MPC might as well not be there. This defeats the big
matrix MPCs, usually in days or weeks, not months or years.
Such efforts produced 20 x 50 matrices with typically 10% of
the variables actually in service.
Minimizing, not maximizing, the number of CVs assures
that only the essential CVs drive the MVs, and that the MVs are
available (not clamped) when needed. An appropriate matrix size
is indicated by the number of variables operators actually keep
active, or by the variables involved in the advanced regulatory
schemes before MPC ever came along—that is, much nearer to
2 x 5 than 20 x 50—for most processes.
The vast majority of secondary CVs are better “managed”
than “controlled,” as they historically have been. This means
they alarm only, allowing the operating team to weigh the best
response, not the MPC controller, which lacks the “big picture”
information, such as planning, equipment health and current
priorities, etc.
Model-based control is not always the solution. And, like
all feedforward, it is best used sparingly. Model-based control
does not overcome fundamental dependence on accurate gains.
Carefully conducted plant tests are supposed to address this,
but gains change, not just over time, but hourly and daily, with
charge rates, feedstock qualities, product slates and valve posi-
tions. In practice, this means that an average gain must suffice,
and that adaptive gain, where demanded by critical loops, is
more easily and reliably implemented in traditional base-layer
control algorithms.
As experienced control engineers know, feedforward (and
model-based control can be thought of as feedforward across the
board, just as big matrix control can be thought of as overrides
across the board) can do more harm than good if the model gain
and dynamics are not accurate. In this regard, it is not surprising
that, although MPC in theory can provide optimum control for
ideally behaved systems, in practice it is nearly always charac-
terized by classic control “cycling” and is subject to traditional
“detuning,” once again defeating its perceived advantage.
Industry has been slow to learn these and many other les-
sons. Matrix size has perhaps finally begun to shrink, but special
interests counter this important trend, such as licensing on a per
variable basis and surreal economic numbers on both the cost and
benefit sides of the equation.
Needed improvements aside, three decades of an MPC-cen-
tric strategy are enough to apprehend its limitations. MPC can
make life more difficult at the plant level. A common sentiment
among management now is that process control seems to be part
of the problem, not the solution. That is sorely disappointing,
because smart-base layer controls—including field devices, safety
systems and DCS controls—are the solution to process safety,
reliability and performance. This idea, rather than MPC, should
be at the center of industry’s process control vision and strategy
going forward.
Reshaping the process control landscape—from one of big-
matrix MPCs and neglected base-layers, to one of high-per-
formance base-layers with automation intelligence embedded
throughout—probably needs to begin with reassignment of cor-
porate MPC budgets to a smart base-layer orientation. If that
sounds expensive or like starting over, the good news is that a
base-layer-centric strategy is inexpensive and mainly leverages
existing control system capabilities and in-house human resources,
investing high-value knowledge and experience into smart control
designs. Consequently, it is a strategy that soon fuels itself. HP
Reshaping process control: A corporate prerogative
The author has 30 years of process control experience and has authored numer-
ous papers on advanced process control, decision support systems, inferentials, and
distillation control, with emphasis on operation and practical process control effec-
tiveness. Mr. Kern is a professional engineer, a senior member of ISA, and a graduate
of the University of Wyoming.
90

I

OCTOBER 2011 HydrocarbonProcessing.com
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