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Heat Recovery Steam Generators

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Waste Heat Boilers

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Fired Packaged Watertube Boilers

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Specialty Boilers

We’ve been around awhile. The RENTECH team has

a heap of experience – a total of more than 3,000 years – making boilers that operate efficiently and safely on six continents. Our formula has been tested and perfected so you can be assured that a boiler from RENTECH will perform reliably and earn your trust. So don’t be tempted to saddle up with a greenhorn; insist that your boiler be built Texas-tough by the skilled people at RENTECH.

WWW.RENTECHBOILERS.COM

BOILERS FOR PEOPLE WHO KNOW AND CARE

at RENTECH. WWW.RENTECHBOILERS.COM BOILERS FOR PEOPLE WHO KNOW AND CARE Select 58 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS

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SEPTEMBER 2010
SEPTEMBER 2010
SEPTEMBER 2010

SEPTEMBER 2010

SPECIALREPORT

HPIMPACT

TECHNOLOGY

REFINING DEVELOPMENTS Update on spiral wound gaskets ‘Clean fuels‘ use unique solutions
REFINING
DEVELOPMENTS
Update on spiral
wound gaskets
‘Clean fuels‘ use
unique solutions
www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com
use unique solutions www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com Are recent gains by US refiners sustainable? Debating

Are recent gains by US refiners sustainable?

Debating low-carbon fuel standards

Calculate temperature in horizontal tanks

Are recent gains by US refiners sustainable? Debating low-carbon fuel standards Calculate temperature in horizontal tanks
Are recent gains by US refiners sustainable? Debating low-carbon fuel standards Calculate temperature in horizontal tanks
Are recent gains by US refiners sustainable? Debating low-carbon fuel standards Calculate temperature in horizontal tanks
Are recent gains by US refiners sustainable? Debating low-carbon fuel standards Calculate temperature in horizontal tanks
Are recent gains by US refiners sustainable? Debating low-carbon fuel standards Calculate temperature in horizontal tanks

Fired Package Boilers / Wasteheat Boilers / HRSG Maintenance & Service Strategies / Boiler Repair Services / SCR and CO Systems

Some folks called it “the devil’s rope,” but there’s no denying that barbed wire revolutionized the American west in the 1860s. And RENTECH Boiler Systems has revolutionized the boiler industry with its direct fired boilers, headered membrane waterwall design, and customer service. We think you will cotton to our boilers because they will lower operating costs, reduce shutdowns and cut emissions. So carve G.T.T. (gone to Texas) on your door and head to Abilene to discover solutions to your boiler needs.

WWW.RENTECHBOILERS.COM

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BOILERS FOR PEOPLE WHO KNOW AND CARE

boiler needs. WWW.RENTECHBOILERS.COM Select 58 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS BOILERS FOR PEOPLE WHO KNOW AND CARE
SEPTEMBER 2010 • VOL. 89 NO. 9 www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com SPECIAL REPORT: REFINING DEVELOPMENTS 29 39 45
SEPTEMBER 2010 • VOL. 89 NO. 9 www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com SPECIAL REPORT: REFINING DEVELOPMENTS 29 39 45

SEPTEMBER 2010 • VOL. 89 NO. 9

www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com

SPECIAL REPORT: REFINING DEVELOPMENTS

29

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81

20 questions: Identify probable causes for high FCC catalyst loss

P. K. Niccum

Consider high-impact constructability issues for refineries

R. Carter

Bottomless refinery: Improve refinery economics

P. McKenna and F. Sheikh

Biorenewables update: What is beyond ethanol and biodiesel?

R. Cascone and B. Burke

Upgrade FFC performance—Part 1

L. M. Wolschlag and K. A. Couch

Fine-tune processing heavy crudes in your facility

T. Falkler and C. Sandu

Mitigate corrosion in your crude unit

N. P. Hilton and G. L. Scattergood

Improve vacuum tower revamp projects

S. Costanzo, S. M. Wong and M. Pilling

HEAT TRANSFER/VESSELS

89 Calculating the temperature distribution in horizontal vessel saddle supports

G. N. van Zyl

MAINTENANCE/RELIABILITY

95

Spiral-wound or kammprofile gaskets?

C. Yoder and D. W. Reeves

ENGINEERING AND CONSTRUCTION 2010—SUPPLEMENT

99

Managing projects in a global evironment

S. K. Poddar

LOSS PREVENTION

115 Hydrobulging of storage tanks and its effect on first support selection

M. G. Choudhury, S. Johri and R. Tripathi

ENGINEERING CASE HISTORIES

123

Case history 58: Piston pin plug wear

T. Sofronas

DEPARTMENTS

7 HPIN BRIEF • 21 HPIN CONSTRUCTION 26 HPI CONSTRUCTION BOXSCORE UPDATE 126 HPI MARKETPLACE • 129 ADVERTISER INDEX

HP ONLINE EXCLUSIVES Upgrade FFC performance—Part 2

L. M. Wolschlag and K. A. Couch

Cover Marathon’s Garyville, Louisiana refinery completed a major expansion with startup in December 2009. This
Cover Marathon’s Garyville, Louisiana
refinery completed a major expansion
with startup in December 2009. This
project increased the refinery’s rated
capacity from 256,000 bpd to 436,000
bpd and is now among the five largest
US refineries as well as the 20 largest
international refineries. More details of
the Garyville project can be found on
page 22. Photo courtesy of Marathon
Oil Corp.

HPIMPACT

15

Strong second quarter for US refiners

15

Low-carbon fuel standard could cause ‘crude shuffle’

16

$8.4 billion Chinese pump market by 2015

17

BP to pay $50.6 million for Texas City explosion

COLUMNS

9 HPIN RELIABILITY Eccentric reducers and straight runs of pipe at pump suction

11

HPINTEGRATION STRATEGIES Sustainability program management with EAM

13

HPIN CONTROL

APC application

ownership

130 HPIN WATER MANAGEMENT Utility water boot camp for process engineers—Part 1

GPC’s Software Reference—Fall 2010

Following page 132

www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com Houston Office: 2 Greenway Plaza, Suite 1020, Houston, Texas, 77046 USA Mailing Address:

www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com

www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com Houston Office: 2 Greenway Plaza, Suite 1020, Houston, Texas, 77046 USA Mailing Address:
www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com Houston Office: 2 Greenway Plaza, Suite 1020, Houston, Texas, 77046 USA Mailing Address:

Houston Office: 2 Greenway Plaza, Suite 1020, Houston, Texas, 77046 USA Mailing Address: P. O. Box 2608, Houston, Texas 77252-2608, USA Phone: +1 (713) 529-4301, Fax: +1 (713) 520-4433 E-mail: editorial@HydrocarbonProcessing.com www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com

Publisher Bill Wageneck bill.wageneck@gulfpub.com

EDITORIAL Editor Les A. Kane Senior Process Editor Stephany Romanow Process Editor Tricia Crossey Reliability/Equipment Editor Heinz P. Bloch News Editor Billy Thinnes

European Editor Tim Lloyd Wright Contributing Editor Loraine A. Huchler Contributing Editor William M. Goble Contributing Editor Y. Zak Friedman Contributing Editor ARC Advisory Group (various)

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MAGAZINE PRODUCTION Director—Editorial Production Sheryl Stone Manager—Editorial Production Angela Bathe Artist/Illustrator David Weeks Manager—Advertising Production Cheryl Willis

ADVERTISING SALES See Sales Offices page 128.

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Hydrocarbon Processing is indexed by Applied Science & Technology Index, by Chemical Abstracts and by Engineering Index Inc. Microfilm copies available through University Microfilms, International, Ann Arbor, Mich. The full text of Hydrocarbon Processing is also available in electronic versions of the Business Periodicals Index.

ARTICLE REPRINTS

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HYDROCARBON PROCESSING (ISSN 0018-8190) is published monthly by Gulf Publishing Co., 2 Greenway Plaza, Suite 1020, Houston, Texas 77046. Periodicals postage paid at Houston, Texas, and at additional mailing office. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Hydrocarbon Processing, P.O. Box 2608, Houston, Texas 77252. Copyright © 2010 by Gulf Publishing Co. All rights reserved. Permission is granted by the copyright owner to libraries and others regis- tered with the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) to photocopy any articles herein for the base fee of $3 per copy per page. Payment should be sent directly to the CCC, 21 Congress St., Salem, Mass. 01970. Copying for other than personal or internal reference use without express permission is prohib- ited. Requests for special permission or bulk orders should be addressed to the Editor. ISSN 0018-8190/01.

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the Editor. ISSN 0018-8190/01. www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com GULF PUBLISHING COMPANY John Royall, President/CEO Ron

GULF PUBLISHING COMPANY

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Other energy group titles include:

World Oil ® Petroleum Economist Publication Agreement Number 40034765

Printed in U.S.A

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MacroTrap ®

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MacroTrap ® Guard Bed Media Catalyst Catalyst protection protection that that lasts. lasts. Increases in pressure

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Increases in pressure drop due to fouling of the catalyst bed lead to higher energy consumption and compromise reactor performance.

MacroTrap® guard bed media is

a performance-proven product that

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MacroTrap® media delivers proven benefits in several key areas:

• Premature shutdowns are avoided.

MACROTRAP® MEDIA MITIGATES PRESSURE DROP INCREASE 100% Limit 0% Time Skim Skim Catalyst Recharge Without
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BILLY THINNES, NEWS EDITOR

BT@HydrocarbonProcessing.com
BT@HydrocarbonProcessing.com
BT@HydrocarbonProcessing.com

BT@HydrocarbonProcessing.com

Canada Products (Shell) and Delek US Holdings, Inc. have agreed

to end negotiations regarding a potential sale of the Shell Montreal East refinery. Shell and Delek US met last week in an effort to address outstanding issues that both parties had been unable to resolve in negotiations held earlier this year. Negotiations once again reached an impasse, leading both parties to terminate discussions. “Unfortunately, after considerable efforts to find common ground on a number of complex issues, both sides have determined not to pursue further negotiations with regard to the Montreal East Refinery,” said Uzi Yemin, president of Delek US Holdings. “Because no buyer for the refinery had been identified by the end of last year, we announced on January 7, 2010 that we intended to convert the refinery to a terminal and so started detailed planning for the conversion,” said Richard Oblath of Shell. “Although we retained hope that a buyer could be found, the conversion was planned in parallel to the sale process, since there was no guarantee a sale would occur.”

The late July fire at Frontier Oil’s Cheyenne, Wyoming, refinery

has been problematic for the company, but its leadership does not see the incident as having a long term effect on Frontier’s overall bottom line. “We suffered a recent setback in Cheyenne as a result of a fire near our crude unit,” said Mike Jennings, chairman of Frontier. “Our third quarter production and costs will reflect this outage, which is expected to last approximately two to three weeks. Despite this event, our Cheyenne refinery has been delivering on its cost reduction and yield improvement goals. Still ahead of us is the completion of Cheyenne’s LPG recovery proj- ect, which is scheduled to come online in mid-2011.”

Rive Technology Inc. has an agreement with W. R. Grace & Co. Conn.

to jointly develop and commercialize Rive’s zeolite technology for use in catalysts for fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) processes within a petroleum refinery. Rive’s proprietary technology makes zeolite refining catalysts more accessible to hydrocarbon molecules, resulting in increased yields of transportation fuels and less coke. Rive’s technology creates refinery wide operating flexibility due to enhanced coke selectivity. Refiners can profit from the improved catalytic performance by increasing refinery throughput, processing heavier crude oil and maximizing production of high quality fuels. Under the agreement, Rive and Grace will develop, manufacture and market FCC catalysts incorporating Rive’s technology worldwide.

The grand opening of the Castrol China Technology Center recently

took place in Shanghai’s Pudong Jinqiao Science Park. The new facility will be dedicated to developing lubricant technology solutions for the automotive, aviation, industrial, offshore and marine market sectors in China. The center comprises specialist laboratories dedicated to conducting lubricant development and modification, a friction testing cen- ter to evaluate and screen new formulations for industrial and automotive applications, a driveline testing laboratory and a vehicle workshop for testing product performance.

Huntsman Corp. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire

the chemicals business of Laffans Petrochemicals Ltd. Located in Ankleshwar, India, the Laffans chemicals business manufactures amines and surfactants. The chemicals business has 130 employees and annual sales of approximately $45 million. The acquisition is sub- ject to certain terms and conditions and is expected to occur in the first half of 2011.

Gevo has signed definitive agreements to acquire Agri-Energy’s

ethanol production facility in Luverne, Minnesota. Mechanical retrofitting of the plant will begin upon closing the transaction. Isobutanol production is expected to begin by the first quarter of 2012. During most of the retrofit process, it is expected that the facility will continue to produce ethanol. HP

HPI N BRIEF

Refinery

financing

In these troubled economic times, it is nice to see some lending and financ- ing for large scale projects being given the green light. The Egyptian Refining Co. (ERC) recently signed a debt pack- age of $2.6 billion to finance construc- tion of its $3.7 billion second-stage oil refinery in the greater Cairo area of Egypt. The refinery will produce over 4 million tpy of refined products when completed, including 2.3 mil- lion tons of EURO V diesel. The debt package includes $2.35 billion of senior debt and $225 mil- lion of subordinated debt. Institutions participating in the senior debt package include the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Nippon Export and Investment Insurance, the Export-Import Bank of Korea, the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank. First draw- down under the senior debt facilities is expected in the coming two months. Mitsui & Co., which is part of the consortium of contractors building the refinery, is providing $200 million of subordinated debt financing. The African Development Bank is provid- ing an additional $25 million of sub- ordinated debt financing. News of the debt package came just weeks after the International Finance Corp. announced it would invest equity of $100 million in the project. The refinery, to be located in the greater Cairo district of Mostorod, will sell its production to the state- owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. (EGPC) under a 25-year offtake agreement at international prices. ERC has obtained all regulatory and environmental approvals and signed a lump-sum turnkey contract with GS Engineering & Construction/ Mitsui & Co. The project’s builders expect to complete construction and operational testing of ERC in the second half of 2014 in time for opera- tions to begin in 2015 “Considering the financial and reg- ulatory complexity of building a refin- ery today, the signing of ERC’s debt package has come together remark- ably quickly,” said Tom Thomason, CEO of ERC. HP

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HPI N RELIABILITY HEINZ P. BLOCH, RELIABILITY/EQUIPMENT EDITOR HB@HydrocarbonProcessing.com Eccentric reducers and

HPIN RELIABILITY

HEINZ P. BLOCH, RELIABILITY/EQUIPMENT EDITOR

HB@HydrocarbonProcessing.com
HB@HydrocarbonProcessing.com
HB@HydrocarbonProcessing.com

HB@HydrocarbonProcessing.com

Eccentric reducers and straight runs of pipe at pump suction

Questions relating to proper reducer application in centrifugal pump suction lines date back many decades. Until his death (at age 84, in 1995), world-renowned pump expert Igor Karassik frequently corresponded with the writer and other pump users on pump-related subjects. We rarely pass up an opportunity to highlight some of his experience-based comments. Once, a pump user referred to Fig. 1 and noted that this was quite typical of illustrations found in many textbooks. In essence,

Fig. 1 indicates that, with a suction line entering the pump in the horizontal plane, the eccentric reducer is placed with the flat at the top. Available texts often give no indication as to whether the pumpage came from above or below the pump. Igor Karassik agreed that, if the supply source was from above the pump, the eccentric reducer should be installed with the flat (horizontal) surface at the bottom. Entrained vapor bubbles could then migrate back into the source instead of staying near the pump suction. If the pump suction piping entered after a long horizontal run or from below the pump, the flat of the eccentric reducer should be at the top. 1 Still, in many older texts it has been assumed that the pump- age source originated at a level below the pump suction nozzle. Karassik reminded us that older Hydraulic Institute Standards commented on the suction pipe slope:

high point in the suction pipe will become filled with

air and thus prevent proper operation of the pump. A straight

taper reducer should not be used in a horizontal suction line as an air pocket is formed in the top of the

reducer and the pipe. An eccentric reducer should be used instead.” This instruction applies regardless of where the pumpage originates. Depending on the particulars of an installation, trapped vapors can reduce the effective suction line cross-sectional area. Should that be the case, flow velocities would tend to be higher than anticipated. Higher friction losses would occur and pump performance would be adversely affected. In the case of a liquid source above the pump suction, and particularly where the suction line consists of an eccentric reducer followed by an elbow turned vertically upward and a vertical pipe length—all assem- bled in that sequence from the pump suction flange upstream—it will be mandatory for the eccentric reducer flat side to be at the bottom. That said, Fig. 2 should clarify what reliability-focused users need to implement. Also, whenever vapors must be vented against the flow direction, the line size

upstream of any low point must be governed by an important criterion. The line must be a diameter that will limit the pump- age velocity to values below those where bubbles will rise through the liquid. In general, it can be stated that wherever a low point exists in a suction line, the horizontal piping run at that point should be kept as short as possible. In a proper installation, the reducer flange will thus be located at the pump suction nozzle and there is usually no straight piping between reducer outlet and pump nozzle. Straight pipe lengths are, however, connected to the eccentric reducer inlet flange. On most pumps, one usually gets away with five diameters of straight length next to the reducer. In the case of certain unspeci- fied velocities and other interacting variables (e.g., viscosity, NPSH margin, pump style, etc.), it might be wise to install as many as 10 diameters of straight length next to the reducer inlet flange. The two different rules-of-thumb explain seeming inconsistencies in the literature, where both the 5 and 10-D rules can be found. HP

LITERATURE CITED

1 Karassik, Igor J., Centrifugal Pump Clinic, 2nd Ed., Marcel Dekker, Inc.,

1989.

The author is HP’s Equipment/Reliability Editor. The author of 17 textbooks and over 470 papers or articles, he advises process plants worldwide on reliability improvement and maintenance cost reduction opportunities. His coauthored Bloch/ Budris text, Pump User’s Handbook, is comprehensive and very widely used. Find the 2nd edition under ISBN 0-88173-517-5.

Any “

 
Air pocket Suction
Air pocket
Suction
Suction
Suction

Incorrect

Correct

FIG. 1

Illustration of eccentric reducer mounting from Hydraulic Institute Standards.

Suction
Suction

Correct Source of supply below pump.

Suction
Suction

Eccentric reducers should be arranged with the bottoms flat when source of supply is above the pump.

FIG. 2

Suggested modifications for eccentric reducer mountings.

Reliability has no quitting time.

Think about ITT.

Reliability has no quitting time. Think about ITT. In oil and gas facilities around the world,

In oil and gas facilities around the world, ITT delivers pumps, valves, composite piping, switches, 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.

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HPI NTEGRATION STRATEGIES RALPH RIO, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR rrio@arcweb.com Sustainability program management with EAM

HPINTEGRATION STRATEGIES

RALPH RIO, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

rrio@arcweb.com
rrio@arcweb.com

rrio@arcweb.com

rrio@arcweb.com

Sustainability program management with EAM

Moving to a sustainable manufacturing model requires signifi- cant changes throughout the enterprise. Some HPI companies use a top-down approach in which senior managers set targets to which engineers and plant operators must respond. Others use a more collaborative approach, providing visionary goals and allowing project leaders to emerge. In either case, companies must manage and monitor progress to ensure that overall business needs are met. An effective program requires structure.

Focal points for managing sustainability. Sustainable

manufacturing embodies three principal concepts: design-, envi- ronment- and resource-friendly products; produced in environ- ment- and resource-friendly plants; with an environment- and resource-friendly supply chain. Available software applications can help HPI plants and other manufacturers manage each of the product, plant and supply chain domains. For example, manufacturers typically use enter- prise asset management (EAM) applications to manage the life cycle of assets in the plant and supply chain. This can be extended to also manage a sustainability program for plant assets.

Manual merges create mayhem. Sustainability concerns

for a plant include both the various inputs into the plant (feed- stocks, power, water, air and MRO materials), plus the different plant outputs (gasses, liquids and solids) that can have a detri- mental effect on humans or the environment. The problem is that each asset category within a plant typically has its own specific operational control applications and systems. For most manufacturers, rolling up the carbon footprint across a site involves accessing each of these different systems and per- forming manual data mergers, which at best, is a time-consuming and error-prone process. HPI companies can leverage the knowledge base resident in their EAM and maintenance management systems to help man- age the plant’s sustainability program. EAM systems improve equipment uptime and performance (Fig. 1). This benefit can be extended to reduce both a company’s carbon footprint and emissions. EAM can also help manufacturers comply with future carbon reporting regulations. EAM applications have an asset-specific structure. They man- age each asset as either an individual item (like a compressor), or as a group (like a distillation train). EAM has well-established functions for managing each asset. These include work-order management (scheduling, dispatching and monitoring comple- tion), parts inventory management, labor management, informa- tion management and analytics. A sustainability program also needs this asset-specific approach to identify those assets that need improvement. For example, a plant’s wastewater contains a mixture of effluents from a variety of plant sources. The volume and composition is inconsistent over

time. The obvious emitters have probably already been addressed. What do you do next? Examining the wastewater is too late in the process. To improve sustainability, manufacturers need to move

upstream to the source, and closely examine the individual assets. The major areas of asset-specific functionality relative to man- aging a sustainability program include:

• Program management: set goals, measure and benchmark

performance

• Alert management: monitor, trend and notify

• Planning and analytics: optimize asset performance

• Emissions and resource compliance: track and verify for corporate governance and government regulations.

Plant sustainability program scope. HPI plants already

see significant new resource-based constraints, regulations and business drivers. These will only escalate. Also, it is reasonable to expect higher prices for feedstocks, energy and carbon emissions in the future. As shown in the figure, these resources involve a variety of different plant production, IT, and other assets. Usually, each of these assets has a supervisory control system or historian. These supervisory systems provide an excellent data source for the EAM system to use to manage sustainability. Rather than periodic manual data collection, data collection should be an automated process with integration between the EAM system and these supervisory control systems. HP

The author has been with ARC since 2000. Prior to joining ARC, he was with GE Fanuc Automation as its manager of marketing for its CIMPLICITY software and ser- vices. Prior to that, Mr. Rio was Intellution’s marketing manager for all HMI software products. Mr. Rio holds a BS degree in mechanical engineering and an MS degree in management science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York.

Inputs Processing Outputs Power Production Waste MRO Air IT data center Emissions Water HVAC Steam
Inputs
Processing
Outputs
Power
Production
Waste
MRO
Air
IT data center
Emissions
Water
HVAC
Steam
Larry O’Brien is part of the automation consulting team at ARC covering the
Lighting, other
process industries, and an HP contributing editor. He is responsible for tracking the
market for process automation systems (PASs) and has authored the PAS market stud-
Natural gas
ies for ARC since 1998. Mr. O’Brien has also authored many other market research,
Plant assets EAM
strategy and custom research reports on topics including process fieldbus, collaborative
partnerships, total automation market trends and others. He has been with ARC since
January 1993,
and started his career with market research in the field instrumentation
FIG. 1
Managing sustainability via assets with EAM.
markets.

Your new title after reducing emissions at your plant?

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Y. ZAK FRIEDMAN, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Zak@petrocontrol.com HPI N CONTROL APC application ownership Advancec process

Y. ZAK FRIEDMAN, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

Zak@petrocontrol.com
Zak@petrocontrol.com

Zak@petrocontrol.com

Zak@petrocontrol.com

HPI N CONTROL

APC application ownership

Advancec process control (APC) requires skilled control engi- neers, and where such engineers are not available, even well- implemented APC applications quickly become ineffective. That much is known and has been published. 14 Feeling frustrated over the dire APC manning shortage, I wrote an editorial recommend- ing simplifying APC to the point of giving up on some of the benefits, aiming to reduce maintenance requirements and improve the APC success rate. Another school of thought, represented best perhaps by Allan Kern, suggests that we do away with multivari- able predictive control (MVPC) tools altogether, and move back to implementing APC strategies as DCS structures, going by the name of advanced regulatory control (ARC). I do not share Kern’s view against MVPC but think that com- plexity is the real culprit. Good intentions of capturing all of APC benefits have led control engineers to overly complex designs that might be beneficial with constant attention, but fall into disuse without attention. I have implemented many simple MVPCs, as well as ARC applications, and if you structure such an applica- tion with say, one inferential-quality model plus one override constraint without any built-in economics, it works day-in and day-out. If you wish to incorporate more constraints, especially constraints with slow dynamics and more economic consider- ations, MVPC is your tool, and that application requires almost daily attention to work well.

‘Why?’ Management asks. “We have paid a lot to develop APC, why do we need to invest more engineering time, and yet daily, to keep this application in good repair?” Complexity has something to do with it. Refinery economics can vary wildly. Seasonal or blocked-operation jumps are obvious and predictable, but there are other events that change economics quickly: delayed shipments, storms, equipment problems, troubles in a neighbor- ing refinery, political unrest on a different continent or, in fact, any unforeseen event. Can the preconfigured MVPC economics cope with actual economics of the day? It absolutely cannot! And how would a wise operator respond to a mismatch between refinery economics versus MVPC configuration? He/she would continue using valid APC functionality and disable offending functionality, usually by clamping manipulated variables (MVs). I have seen applications with 40 controlled variables (CVs) by 20 MVs where only two MVs were not clamped. Worse yet, operators are not expected to be aware of plantwide economics. With lack of guidance they might let APC drive the unit against the economics of the day, and what have we achieved then?; nice-looking multi- variable responses that cause the refinery to lose money. That is why economics-driven APC applications need daily attention. The site APC engineer should always be aware of cur- rent economic situations. While the engineer cannot quickly rede- sign the APC to follow current economics, he/she must find a way to set economic drive coefficients and CV targets to approach the

real economics, and then instruct operators about how to work with these settings. That is what I call ownership. Being aware of refinery economics is perhaps a two-hour-a-week task, and figur- ing out how to make APC comply with current economics could take six more hours a week. There’s more to say about inferential control models. They are important because as APC moves the unit, keeping prod- uct qualities on target is key to correct optimization. I advocate inferential models based on first principles, whereas many APC practitioners employ regression-based models. That, in itself, is not a disaster. While the regression is necessarily inferior, a good process engineer can perhaps specify model inputs correctly to achieve workable models. Either way, inferential models require careful and detailed monitoring. As a minimum—track unbiased inferences against the lab to investigate inferential bias patterns, especially if it is related to operational modes. Upon seeing that the regression model no longer fits, the APC engineer should devote time to collect data and come up with another regression. That is perhaps a two-to-four-hour a week job, depending on the number of inferential models and their quality.

What about outsourcing APC engineering? In my

view, APC ownership, i.e., the responsibility to monitor econom- ics and inferential models, and to set the APC to agree with unit economics, should rest with the site engineer. But communica- tions tools today certainly permit engaging a remote expert to help the site APC engineer set the application correctly, and/or to rework inferential models. I support inferential models in many refineries, though not to the point of daily attention. The count of hours above leads to a simple conclusion that a good APC engineer can steward four major applications, five or six with outside help. If you cannot afford this level of engineering support—why spend money implementing APC to begin with? In that case implement only simple APC with quality targets and constraints but without economic drives. HP

LITERATURE CITED

1 Friedman, Y. Z., “Avoid advanced control project mistakes,” Hydrocarbon Processing, October 1992.

2 Friedman, Y. Z., “Advanced process control—it takes effort to make it work,” Hydrocarbon Processing, February 1997.

3 Latour, P. R., “Does the HPI do its CIM business right?” Hydrocarbon Processing, July 1997.

4 Kane L. A., “Controversy in Control,” Hydrocarbon Processing, March/April 1998.

The The author author is is a a principal principal consultant consultant in in advanced advanced process process control control and and online online

optimization optimization with with Petrocontrol. Petrocontrol. He He specializes specializes in in the the use use of of first-principles first-principles models models

for for inferential inferential process process control control and and has has developed developed a a number number of of distillation distillation and and reactor reactor

models. models. Dr. Dr. Friedman’s Friedman’s experience experience spans spans over over 30 30 years years in in the the hydrocarbon hydrocarbon industry, industry,

working working with with Exxon Exxon Research Research and and Engineering, Engineering, KBC KBC Advanced Advanced Technology Technology and and since since

1992 1992

(Technion) (Technion) and and a a PhD PhD degree degree from from Purdue Purdue University. University.

with with Petrocontrol. Petrocontrol. He He holds holds a a BS BS degree degree from from the the Israel Israel Institute Institute of of Technology Technology

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BILLY THINNES, NEWS EDITOR

BT@HydrocarbonProcessing.com
BT@HydrocarbonProcessing.com
BT@HydrocarbonProcessing.com

BT@HydrocarbonProcessing.com

HPIMPACT

Strong second quarter for US refiners

Baker & O’Brien issued an August report that stated US refinery cash margins have increased, on average, by almost $3 per bar- rel vs. the previous quarter, with the stron- gest improvement noted on the West Coast. Countering the general improvement trend was the East Coast, where margins declined slightly because of a widening light-heavy crude oil discount and general market con- ditions. Overall US first half 2010 (10H1) cash margins were much stronger than the last half of 2009 (Table 1). However, during the second quarter of 2010 (10Q2), refining crack spreads began to slip relative to the previous quarter, with further weakening noted in July. The light-heavy differential increased in the first half of 2010, resulting in the improvement of margins for Gulf Coast coking refineries. However, margins for East Coast cracking refineries remained stuck at depressed 2009 levels (Fig. 1), even with the previous shutdown of two area refineries (Valero’s in Delaware City, Delaware, and Sunoco’s in Westville, New Jersey). With the recent announcement by Western Refining of plans to close the Yorktown, Virginia, refinery, East Coast refinery capacity will soon be reduced by a cumulative total of almost 400,000 bpd, which is 23% of the East Coast’s atmospheric distillation capac- ity operating in November 2009.

Recent margin improvements have encouraged US refineries to increase throughputs (Fig. 2), with overall refinery utilization rates increasing during the quar- ter from 82.2% to 88.7%. The increases in throughput varied widely across regions, with the Midwest only increasing by 2% vs. an increase of 12% in the Gulf Coast. The consultants at Baker & O’Brien hold the opinion that, during the second quarter of 2010, US refiners exhibited much stronger performance. But they wonder whether the industry can sustain this performance for any extended period depends upon strengthening demand for transportation fuels. Supply-side challenges in the medium term include currently high gasoline and diesel inventory levels, addi- tional capacity from new projects that are near completion and announced plans to restart idled refining capacity.

Low-carbon fuel standard could cause ‘crude shuffle’

The National Petrochemical and Refin- ers Association (NPRA) recently released a report examining how a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) policy intended to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the trans- portation sector could actually result in “shuffling” or “leakage” of emissions. The study says an LCFS would actually increase global GHG emissions by up to 19 million metric tpy. This is in contradiction to those

who advocate the LCFS, saying it would reduce emissions. Barr Engineering of Min- neapolis, Minnesota, conducted the study for members of NPRA. The study assumes that because an LCFS would prevent US refineries from import- ing petroleum obtained from oil sands in neighboring Western Canada, the US would instead have to import more oil in tankers from the Middle East and elsewhere. At the same time, the Canadian oil would be shipped in tankers across the Pacific to China and other Asian locations. The study calls this long-distance move- ment of oil thousands of miles around the world in tankers a “shuffle” that would result in higher carbon dioxide emissions than simply extracting the Canadian petro- leum from the oil sands for US consump- tion, due to emissions created by shipping the oil such great distances. “In conducting this technical study, we looked at the most accurate data publicly

TABLE 1. US refiner cash margins compared to previous periods, $/bbl

10Q2 vs. 10Q1

10H1 vs. 09H2

East Coast

(0.54)

+0.55

Midwest

+4.04

+2.83

Gulf Coast

+2.40

+3.73

Rocky Mountains

+4.28

+3.22

West Coast

+5.41

+1.82

US Total

+2.94

+2.86

East Coast resid cracking vs. Gulf Coast coking margins 12 East coast resid cracking, W
East Coast resid cracking vs. Gulf Coast coking margins
12
East coast resid cracking, W Africa
10
Gulf coast coking, Maya
8
6
4
2
0
Jan-09
Apr-09
Jul-09
Oct-09
Jan-10
Apr-10
FIG. 1
East Coast resid cracking vs. Gulf Coast coking margins
from January 2009–April 2010.
Gross margin, $/bbl input

Mbpd

8,000

7,000

6,000

5,000

4,000

3,000

2,000

1,000

0

FIG. 2

Total crude + feedstock inputs to US refineries

2007

2008

2009

2010

Q1

2010

Q2

East Coast

Midwest

Source: US DOE/EIA

Gulf Coast

Rocky

Mountains

West Coast

Crude and feedstock inputs to US refineries from 2007 to 2010 Q2.

HPIMPACT

available, and the conclusion was clear,” said Joel Trinkle, senior air quality consultant at Barr and one of the authors of the study. “Crude shuffling under a nationwide LCFS would substantially raise overall greenhouse gas emissions.” The study found that an LCFS imple- mented in the US results in a notable increase in greenhouse gas emissions due to the displacement of Canadian crude imports to the US and the rerouting of crude imports and exports to accommodate this displacement (Table 2). “Nearby Canadian crude sources would be diverted to regions not affected by an LCFS and replaced with supplies from distant parts of the world,” the study says. “While it is likely that an LCFS would change the mix of crude imports to the US, LCFS implemented in the US is not expected to change over- all trends in energy use and demand for crude resources throughout the rest of the world. A shift in US crude-supply pref- erences will simply cause redirection of crude supplies elsewhere.” This analysis of the change in crude- transport-related emissions accompany-

ing implementation of an LCFS indicates that the net effect will be a doubling of GHG emissions associated with changes in crude-transport patterns. It indicates an increase in global GHG emissions by 7.1 million to 19.0 million metric tons per year, depending on the extent of resulting Canadian crude displacement (Fig. 3). Canada is currently the largest supplier of petroleum imported into the US, but other nations are looking to the Canadian oil sands as a potential energy source. China alone has already invested more than $6 billion in Canadian oil sands projects as it

continues to rapidly increase its presence in overseas energy production. “By denying the American people access to oil from our friendly neighbor Canada,

a low-carbon fuel standard would raise fuel costs and wipe out millions of American jobs,” said NPRA President Charles T.

Drevna. “Now this latest study shows that

a nationwide LCFS won’t reduce overall

global GHG emissions—it will actually raise them. These findings simply reinforce NPRA’s long-held belief that a federal low- carbon fuel standard is a policy of all pain and no gain.”

TABLE 2. Total transport GHG emissions under LCFS examined in detail

Scenario

Metric tons CO 2 -e total per day (assumes tanker transport—one way)

Metric tons CO 2 -e total per day (assumes tanker transport— roundtrip/deadhead)

Base case

All Canadian imports to US displaced

35,160

40,519

All Canadian imports to US Midwest II displaced

16,651

19,189

Crude shuffle case

All Canadian imports to US displaced

76,478

92,507

All Canadian imports to US Midwest displaced

36,218

43,809

Metric tons CO 2 -e/bbl

2.5E-02

2.0E-02

1.5E-02

1.0E-02

0.5E-03

0.0E-03

FIG. 3

Thousand metric tons CO 2 -e/day

LCFS GHG impacts: Base case vs. crude shuffle

GHG emissions per barrel

Total GHG emissions per day

Base case Crude shuffle
Base case
Crude shuffle

100

80

60

 

40

 

20

0

One way

Round-trip-

All Midwest

All US

All Midwest

All US

tanker

deadhead

Canadian

Canadian

Canadian

Canadian

transport

tanker

transport

crude

crude

crude

crude

imports

imports

imports

imports

displaced

displaced

displaced

displaced

One way

Round-trip-deadhead

tanker transport

tanker transport

LCFS GHG impacts: Base case vs. crude shuffle.

Additional concerns regarding Ameri- can access to Canadian oil sands resources have surfaced following a recent US State Department decision regarding a proposed pipeline to transport Canadian crude to refineries in the Gulf Coast region. The decision will allow federal agencies an additional 90 days to comment on TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL proj- ect, pending the State Department’s release of a final environmental impact statement. The proposed pipeline expansion would more than double the amount of Canadian crude imported to the US. Several regional and state LCFS initia- tives are currently underway, including a statewide LCFS program in California

established as part of the state’s AB 32 cli- mate law, and proponents of a federal LCFS continue to seek its enactment. A federal LCFS provision was included in the 2008 Lieberman-Warner climate- change bill that was defeated in the Senate. The 2009 Waxman-Markey climate-change bill also contained an LCFS provision, although it was removed before the bill was passed by the House. Two other recent studies cast additional doubt on the efficacy of an LCFS. A June

2010 report by Charles River Associates

found that a nationwide LCFS implemented in 2015 would result by 2025 in: the loss of between 2.3 million and 4.5 million US

jobs; an increase of up to 170% in the price of gasoline and diesel fuel; and a 2–3% decrease in the US gross domestic product. The other report, by the Canadian Energy Research Institute, issued in Octo- ber 2009, examined the impacts of develop- ing Canadian oil sands on the US economy. It found that such development (which would be threatened by the implementation of a nationwide LCFS in the US) would result in an estimated 343,000 new US jobs between 2011 and 2015, and that US out- put of goods and services would increase by an average of $62 billion per year from

2009 through 2025.

$8.4 billion Chinese pump market by 2015

McIlvaine is predicting that China will account for 21% of the $40 billion 2015 world market for industrial pumps. China is completing a five year plan which is adding 15,000 million gallons daily of municipal sewage treatment. Also of note is that China now has twice the big power plant scrubbers as does the US. These scrubbers each need

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up to 400,000 gpm of abrasive slurry. China is building more new coal plants than the US or all of Europe combined.

BP to pay $50.6 million for Texas City explosion

The US Department of Labor’s Occu- pational Safety and Health Administra- tion announced that BP Products North America Inc. will pay a full penalty of $50.6 million stemming from the 2005 explosion at its Texas City, Texas, refinery that killed 15 workers and injured 170 others. The agreement resolves failure-to-abate citations issued after a 2009 follow-up investigation. In addition to paying the record fine, BP has agreed to take immediate steps to protect those now working at the refinery, allocating a minimum of $500 million to that effort. “This agreement achieves our goal of protecting workers at the refinery and ensuring that critical safety upgrades are made as quickly as possible,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “The size of the penalty rightly reflects BP’s disregard for workplace safety and shows that we will enforce the law so workers can return home safe at the end of their day.” Under the agreement, BP immediately will begin performing safety reviews of the refinery equipment according to set schedules and make permanent corrections. The agreement also identifies many items in need of immediate attention; the com- pany has agreed to address those concerns quickly and to hire independent experts to monitor its efforts. Additionally, the agreement provides an unprecedented level of oversight of BP’s safety program including regular meetings with OSHA, frequent site inspections and the submission of quarterly reports for the agency’s review. Finally, in a step toward workplace safety corporate-wide, BP agrees to establish a liaison between its North Ameri- can and London boards of directors and OSHA, which will allow the agency to raise compliance problems at the highest level. “Safer conditions at this refinery should result from this arrangement, which goes far beyond what can normally be achieved through abatement of problems identified in citations,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels. “Make no mistake, OSHA will be watching to ensure that BP complies with the agreement and safeguards its workers.” In September 2005, OSHA cited BP for a then-record $21 million as a result of

the fatal explosion at its Texas City refinery in March of that year. Upon issuance of the citations, the parties entered into an agreement that required the company to identify and to correct deficiencies. In a follow-up investigation in 2009, OSHA found that although the company made many changes related to safety, it failed to live up to several extremely important terms of that agreement. As a result, OSHA cited BP for “failure to abate” violations with

HPI MPACT

penalties totaling a record $50.6 million that BP now has agreed to pay. During that same 2009 investigation at the Texas City refinery, OSHA also identified 439 new willful violations and assessed more than $30 million in penal- ties. Litigation before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission regarding those violations and penalties is ongoing and is not impacted by today’s settlement. HP

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BILLY THINNES, NEWS EDITOR

BT@HydrocarbonProcessing.com
BT@HydrocarbonProcessing.com
BT@HydrocarbonProcessing.com

BT@HydrocarbonProcessing.com

HPI N CONSTRUCTION

North America

AdvanceBio Systems LLC has a con- tract with the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, to provide a biomass pretreatment reactor system for its inte- grated biorefinery research facility. The equipment will be used for research, devel- opment, demonstration and deployment in support of national transportation fuel diversification objectives, specifically those associated with performing the advanced technologies that make fuel ethanol from cellulosic biomass cost-competitive.

Xebec Adsorption Inc. has signed a sig- nificant contract to build a complete biogas upgrading plant for Terasen Gas in west- ern Canada. The plant will be installed at a landfill site in British Columbia to upgrade biogas to biomethane which will then be injected into the utility’s natural gas grid for residential uses such as home heating and cooking. The biogas plant features the lat- est generation of Xebec’s proprietary rapid- cycle pressure swing adsorption technology. Commissioning and startup is expected to take place in early 2011.

ProSep has $2 million contract to pro- vide process engineering and specialized internals for crude separation. This con- tract was awarded through a commercial alliance with Thermo Design and will be installed at a super major oil and gas producer’s steam-assisted gravity drainage facility located in the oil sands of Alberta, Canada. The crude separation equipment will be built using ProSep’s free water knock-out and treater vessel designs and internals, allowing for efficient separation of crude, natural gas, water and solids from the production stream.

Syntroleum Corp.’s new Dynamic Fuels plant that will produce high quality renewable fuels from animal fats and greases is mechanically complete, and work is now underway to prepare for the start of opera- tions. The prime contractor on the project in Geismar, Louisiana, achieved mechanical completion in July and turned the entire plant over to Dynamic Fuels LLC, a joint venture of Syntroleum and Tyson Foods.

The commissioning activities in progress include flushing of all lines, verifying opera- tion of the control system and installation of catalysts and absorbents. Dynamic Fuels currently expects to begin fuel production and ramp up of production rates during the third quarter of 2010.

South America

Foster Wheeler AG’s Global Engi- neering and Construction Group has an owner’s engineer contract for a new LNG receiving terminal to be built in Montevideo, in the region of Río de la Plata, Uruguay. The contract was awarded by Uruguay’s state-owned oil company, Administración Nacional de Combusti- bles, Alcohol y Portland (ANCAP). Fos- ter Wheeler’s scope of work includes tech- nical assistance through the initial phases of the development of the project, concep- tual design of the terminal, and develop- ment of the invitation to bid for the role of owner and operator of the terminal. The owner/operator role will include the responsibility for, among other elements, the engineering, procurement and con-

struction (EPC) contract. Foster Wheeler’s

TREND ANALYSIS FORECASTING

scope also includes the supervision of the

Hydrocarbon Processing maintains an

EPC contractor from detailed engineering

extensive database of historical HPI proj-

through to startup.

Europe

ect information. Current project activity

is published three times a year in the HPI

Construction Boxscore. When a project

is completed, it is removed from current

The Shaw Group Inc. has a contract

listings and retained in a database. The

with Dogu Akdeniz Petrokimya ve Rafin-

database is a 35-year compilation of proj-

eri Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. (DAPRAS) to

ects by type, operating company, licen-

sor, engineering/constructor, location, etc.

provide project management consultancy

Many companies use the historical data for

(PMC) services for a grassroots refinery in

trending or sales forecasting.

Yumurtalk located in the Ceyhan region of

The historical information is available in

Turkey on the eastern Mediterranean coast.

comma-delimited or Excel

®

and can be cus-

Shaw will also conduct pre-front-end engi-

tom sorted to suit your needs. The cost of

the sort depends on the size and complex-

neering design development for 14 process

ity of the sort you request and whether a

units, utilities, offsites and marine facilities

customized program must be written. You

at the site.

can focus on a narrow request such as the

The planned facility, the Adana Dogu

history of a particular type of project or

you can obtain the entire 35-year Boxscore

Akdeniz refinery, will be designed to process

database, or portions thereof.

212,000 bpd of crude oil. The crude will

Simply send a clear description of the data

flow into the Ceyhan region from various

you need and you will receive a prompt

sources, including Iraq, Russia and the Cas-

cost quotation. Contact:

pian areas, and will target the domestic and

Lee Nichols

regional export markets.

P. O. Box 2608

Houston, Texas, 77252-2608

Fax: 713-525-4626

INEOS Oxide says it will build and

e-mail: Lee.Nichols@gulfpub.com.

operate a new 1-million-tpy ethylene ter-

minal, to be constructed at its Zwijndrecht facilities in Belgium. Operation of the new deep-sea terminal is expected to start in 2012. Once completed, the new terminal will be connected directly to INEOS’ eth- ylene consuming facilities in the Antwerp/ Rotterdam area and into Europe via the ARG ethylene pipeline linking Antwerp to Cologne and the Ruhr industrial areas.

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has

a contract with The Dow Chemical Co.

to provide engineering and construction management services for the expansion of Dow’s facility in Fombio, Italy. The expansion will accommodate the manu- facturing of uniform particle size (UPS) copolymers to be used in ion exchange

resins. The scope of the contract includes

a range of services from detailed design

and construction management activities, up to mechanical completion. The project includes the installation of new process equipment. The new equipment covers

two existing buildings and includes an upgrade and tie-in of existing utilities and

a new control system.

ConocoPhillips, Rompetrol Rafinare S.A. and Rominserv S.A. have a license

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 cus- tom sorted to suit your needs. The cost of the sort depends on the size and complexity of the sort you request and whether a custom- ized program must be written. 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 por- tions thereof. Simply send a clear description of the data you need and you will receive a prompt cost quotation. Contact:

Lee Nichols P. O. Box 2608, Houston, Texas, 77252-2608 Fax: 713-525-4626 e-mail: Lee.Nichols@gulfpub.com

HPIN CONSTRUCTION

Garyville refinery major expansion facts

Completed on schedule during the fourth quarter of 2009, the Garyville Major Expansion (GME) units are fully integrated with the original refinery operations. With the expansion, the refinery’s rated capacity increased from 256,000 bpd to 436,000 bpd, making it among the largest refineries in the US. The 180,000-bpd expansion will provide the equivalent of 7.5 mil- lion gallons of clean transportation fuels each day; the initial cost for GME was an estimated $3.2 billion. In addition to the installation of a new crude and vacuum distillation units, expansion plans called for the construction of infrastructure and other process units: 44,000-bpd delayed coker, 70,000-bpd heavy gasoil hydrocracker, 65,000-bpd reformer and a 47,000-bpd kerosine hydrotreater. The new facilities incorporate the latest safety and environmental control

incorporate the latest safety and environmental control TABLE 1. GME overview timeline technologies at the

TABLE 1. GME overview timeline

technologies at the refinery, which is the first and only refinery to be included in the US Environment Protection Agency’s elite National Environmental Performance Track (NEPT). Mara- thon’s Garyville refinery was also one of the first refineries to achieve this distinction. The construction project was one of the largest private sec- tor projects underway in the US. Some of the most important project partners existed offsite—citizens in the local parish and in the state of Louisiana who trusted Marathon Oil and endorsed this project. Because of this successful partnership, Marathon was able to:

• Provide over 270 full-time employees and contract positions

• Award $1.7 billion in contracts to local Louisiana companies

• Contribute approximately $60 million during the construction project in State and parish tax revenues

• Provide an economic boost to the community, in the wake of natural disasters and a worldwide economic recession. During construction, the GME required approximately 2,000 construction workers, with over 9,100 workers at peak periods. In total, more than 40,000 workers participated in this expan- sion project. More than 31 million construction hours were logged. With an OSHA Recordable Incident Rate of 0.27 compared to OSHA’s published average of 4.7 for general construction projects. The GME used enough steel to build over 15,000 cars, created 10 miles of new paved roads, and installed over 1,000 miles of wire and cable. This was truly a global effort with 1,300 engineers from the Philippines, Mexico, India and the US all working tirelessly to develop over 60,000 blueprints. Around the world, and around the clock, major equipment was manufactured in 12 countries. Over 50 barges traveled tens of thousands of miles to deliver this hardware to the site. To preserve integrity of the Mississippi River dike while delivering some equipment, a $3.5 million temporary bridge was con- structed. Once the hardware was onsite, the team safely executed over 100 critical equipment lifts, some as large as 850 tons.

Note: Marathon Oil Corp. is an integrated energy company

focused on value creation through the responsible development of liquid hydrocarbon and natural gas resources to help meet the world’s energy needs. It is

• 4th largest US-based integrated oil and gas company

• 5th largest US petroleum refiner

• Headquartered in Houston, Texas. HP

2006

2007

2008

2009

March Contractor to begin clearing site

January Commence steel erection

March Complete engineering effort

May Begin hauling fill

March Commence piping erection

May Begin commissioning activities

July Commence filling

July Commence construction of marine facilities

October Mechanical completion

December Detailed engineering effective start

September Commence foundations

December Critical vessels delivered to site

December Startup

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HPI N CONSTRUCTION

and technical services agreement for the revamp of the existing delayed coker unit at Rompetrol’s Petromidia refin- ery in Romania. The revamp will utilize ConocoPhillips’ delayed coking technol- ogy to further improve the reliability, the environmental performance and the oper- ability of the existing 22,000-bpd unit. Construction of Rompetrol Rafinare’s Petromidia refinery delayed coker revamp is expected to be completed in 2012.

Foster Wheeler AG’s Global Engi- neering and Construction Group has a framework agreement, awarded by Statoil, acting on behalf of Gassco AS as operator for the Gassled joint venture, for front-end engineering design (FEED) services valid through 2013 to support the development of the Kårstø oil and gas processing plant in Norway. Statoil is modifying, on behalf of Gassco, the processing plant to enable it to process new light oil/condensate pro-

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duction coming onstream in the Norwe- gian North Sea.

Middle East

Flowserve Corp. has received final approval from Saudi Aramco on a mas- ter purchase agreement to supply pumps, valves and services for the Yanbu’ export refinery project (YERP). Under the terms of the corporate procurement agreement (CPA) established between Flowserve and Saudi Aramco, Saudi Aramco plans to make significant future purchases of Flowserve pumps, valves and value-added services. Flowserve expects to begin book- ing orders under the CPA later in 2010. Under construction on the west coast of Saudi Arabia, YERP will be a 400,000- bpd, full-conversion refinery being built in Yanbu’ Industrial City, Saudi Arabia. The refinery is designed to process Arabian heavy crude and will produce high-quality, ultra-low-sulfur refined products, including gasoline and diesel fuel. The new refinery is expected to be operational in 2014.

Tecnimont SpA has a contract with Kuwait National Petroleum Co. to develop a treatment plant for acid gas and condensates. The project, scheduled for completion by 2014, will be executed a on turnkey basis and has a value of approxi- mately $400 million. The contract includes the provision of engineering services, pur- chase materials, construction and com- missioning of the plant for a new train of process and treatment systems including softening gas and condensates (for the new treatment plant acidgas), as well as the revamping of the existing gas treatment

systems ( for the current extraction system

of acid gases) for the refinery in the Mina

Al-Ahmadi section of Kuwait City. The new plant will have a processing capacity of approximately 78,000 bpd of condensate.

The Shaw Group Inc. has a con-

tract with Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Co. (Takreer) to provide project management consultancy services during the engineer- ing, procurement and construction phase of a base oils plant at the Ruwais Indus- trial Complex in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The planned facility will be capable of produc- ing 500,000 tpy of Group III base oils, as well as 100,000 tpy of Group II base oils, and is scheduled to begin commercial pro- duction in 2013. Group II and III base oils are used for blending top-tier lubricants for car engines. HP

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HPI CONSTRUCTION BOXSCORE UPDATE

HPI CONSTRUCTION BOXSCORE UPDATE   Company City Plant Site Project Capacity Unit Cost Status Yr Cmpl
HPI CONSTRUCTION BOXSCORE UPDATE   Company City Plant Site Project Capacity Unit Cost Status Yr Cmpl
 

Company

City

Plant Site

Project

Capacity Unit Cost

Status Yr Cmpl Licensor

Engineering

Constructor

UNITED STATES

 

Massachusetts

Northeast Biodiesel

Greenfield

Greenfield

Biodiesel

3.5

MMgal

2.5

U

2011

CANADA

British Columbia

Spectra Energy

Dawson Creek

Dawson Creek

Gas Processing

200

MMcfd

1500

P

2013

LATIN AMERICA

 

Argentina

Tierra Del Fuego P&C ENAP ENAP Reficar Reficar Reficar

Tierra del Fuego Pemuco Pemuco Cartagena Cartagena Cartagena

Tierra del Fuego Pemuco Pemuco Cartagena Refinery Cartagena Refinery Cartagena Refinery

Ammonia LNG Regasification LNG Storage (4) Treater LPG Treater, Jet Fuel Treater, Spent Caustic

 

1.5

Mtpy

F

2012

KBR

Chile

600

Mm3/d

P

2012

Chile

200

m3

P

2012

Colombia

 

None

E

2011

Merichem

Colombia

None

E

2011

Merichem

Colombia

None

E

2011

Merichem

EUROPE

France

Total Total Total Georgian Oil and Gas Corp Sud Chemie Gate Terminal BV ConocoPhillips/Rompetrol Rafinare NIS-Refinery Novi Sad

Gonfreville

Gonfreville

Distillation, Crude Hydrocracker Hydrotreater, Gas Oil Refinery Bio-ethanol Compressor Coker, Delayed Hydrogen Generation

EX

205

Mbpd

950

E

2013

FW

France

Gonfreville

Gonfreville

EX

48

Mbpd

950

E

2013

Technip

France

Gonfreville

Gonfreville

364

Mbpd

950

E

2013

Technip

Georgia

Undisclosed

GOGC Refinery

 

None

S

2014

Germany

Straubing

Straubing

 

2

Mt

36

U

2011

Netherlands

Rotterdam

Maasvlakte

 

None

E

2011

Techint

Burckhardt Compression|TS LNG BV Rominserv Jacobs |Heurtey

TS LNG BV Rominserv Heurtey

Romania

Navodari

Navodari

RE

22

Mbpd

50

E

2012

Serbia

Pancevo

Pancevo

40

tpd

100

U

2011

Haldor Topsøe

ASIA/PACIFIC

 

China

CNPC

Anning

Kunming Oil Refinery Nanjing Chemical Ind Park Ningbo Ningbo Tianjin Yantai Yantai Ennore Jurong Taichung Taichung

Refinery Phenol ADI (aliphatic isocyanate) Polyethers Dehydrogenation, Propane ADI (aliphatic isocyanate) MDI LNG Terminal Terminal Coke Oven Plant Gas Treating

 

200

Mbpd

3400

E

2012

China

INEOS

Phenol/Sinopec YPC

Nanjing

400

Mtpy

S

2013

China

Yantai Wanhua Polyurethanes

Ningbo

 

None

S

2013

China

Yantai Wanhua

Polyurethanes

Ningbo

None

S

2013

China

Tianjin Bohua

Tianjin

 

600

Mm-tpy

U

2012

CB&I

China

Yantai Wanhua Polyurethanes

Yantai

 

None

S

2013

China

Yantai Wanhua

Polyurethanes

Yantai

 

600

Mtpy

C

2010

India

IOCL/TIDCO JV Stolthaven Singapore Pte Dragon Steel Corp Dragon Steel Corp

Ennore

2.5

MMtpy

64

P

2015

Singapore

Jurong

61

Mm3

350

E

2011

Chiyoda Singapore Pte

Taiwan

Taichung

3

Mtpd

F

2012

Uhde

Taiwan

Taichung

EX

146

Mm3

F

2012

Uhde

MIDDLE EAST

 

Jordan

Jordan India Fertilizer Co Jordan India Fertilizer Co KNPC KNPC Arabian Chlorovinyl Company Dammam 7 Petrochemicals

Eshidiya Eshidiya Mina Al Ahmadi Mina Al Ahmadi Al Jubail Jubail

Eshidiya Eshidiya Mina Al Ahmadi Mina Al Ahmadi Al Jubail Jubail 2 Ind Zone

Phosphoric Acid Sulfuric Acid Acid Gas Removal Acid Gas Removal (2) Caustic Soda Acrylic acid\acrylates

 

500

Mtpy

625

E

2012

SNC-Lavalin

Jordan

4.5

Mtpy

625

E

2012

SNC-Lavalin

Kuwait

230

MMcfd

400

E

2014

Tecnimont

Kuwait

RE

None

400

E

2014

Tecnimont

Saudi Arabia

 

245

Mtpy

U

2011

Uhde

Daelim |Jacobs

Daelim

Saudi Arabia

200

Mtpy

S

2014

Aker Solutions

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See http://www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/bxsymbols for licensor, engineering and construction companies’ abbreviations, along with the complete update of the HPI Construction Boxscore.

BOXSCORE DATABASE ONLINE

THE GLOBAL SOURCE FOR TRACKING HPI CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY For more than 50 years, Hydrocarbon Processing
THE GLOBAL SOURCE
FOR TRACKING HPI
CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY
For more than 50 years, Hydrocarbon Processing
magazine remains the only source that collects and
maintains data specifically for the HPI community,
publishing up-to-the-minute construction projects
from around the globe with our online product,
Boxscore Database. Updated weekly, our database
helps engineers, contractors and marketing personnel
identify active HPI construction projects around the
world to:
• Generate leads
• Market research
• Track trend analysis
• And, decide future budget planning.
Now, we’ve made our best product even better!
Enhancements include:
• Exporting your search results to Excel so you can
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• Delivering the latest updated projects directly to
your inbox each week
• Designing customized construction reports for your
company using our 50 years of archived projects.
For a Free 2 -Week Trial, contact Lee Nichols at
+1 (713) 525-4626, Lee.Nichols@GulfPub.com,
or visit www.ConstructionBoxscore.com
or visit www.ConstructionBoxscore.com 26 I SEPTEMBER 2010 HYDROCARBON PROCESSING Select 154

26 I SEPTEMBER 2010 HYDROCARBON PROCESSING

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REFINING DEVELOPMENTS

SPECIALREPORT

20 questions: Identify probable causes for high FCC catalyst loss

Here is a list to troubleshoot your catalyst problems

P. K. NICCUM , KBR Technology, Houston, Texas

F luid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU) performance and reliability are the primary drivers of refinery econom-

ics. Containment of the finely powdered catalyst within the circulating FCC unit inventory is a critical element of effective FCC operation. Identifying the probable causes of high catalyst losses from a FCCU remains one of the more important yet eso- teric challenges that can be faced by FCC operators and engineers. The answers to 20 key questions provide a basis to list the more likely causes of high losses. Armed with this list, a refiner can develop cost- effective mitigation strategies to relieve, if not solve, the problem online or be pre- pared to confirm and correct the situation during the next unit shutdown. This can prevent chasing unlikely solutions, while the real culprits escape detection.

Workhorse unit of the refinery.

FCCU performance and reliability do impact refinery economics. Containment and minimizing losses of the finely pow- dered catalyst within the circulating FCC unit inventory is critical. It is remarkable that two-stage reactor and regenerator cyclones, as depicted in Fig. 1, typically capture more than 99.997% of the catalyst dust entrained with the product and flue gas vapors. Any significant loss in the abil-

ity to contain the catalyst will have serious negative economic consequences, such as:

• Catalyst contamination of slurry-oil

product reducing its value in the market.

• Severe erosion of slurry-circulation pumps

• Required cleaning of heavy oil tanks due to catalyst buildup

• Loss of compliance with permitted

atmospheric particulate emissions

• Premature failure of flue gas power

recovery turbines

• Loss of catalyst fluidity causes irregu-

lar or unstable catalyst circulation leading to lower FCC unit throughput and less desirable product yields

• Several fold increase in fresh catalyst

makeup costs. After a refinery notices an increase in FCC catalyst loss rate, it may prematurely conclude that the high loss rate must be due to mechanical problems that can only be cured by a unit shutdown and repairs. This scenario can then deepen when no obvious mechanical damage is found dur- ing the shutdown and it becomes apparent

that the root cause of the losses can only be diagnosed by gathering clues and studying unit operations while the FCC unit is in service. Indeed, the worst thing that can be found during the shutdown and inspection could be finding nothing at all. There are three categories of questions that can be asked when gathering clues to determine the most likely cause of high FCC catalyst losses:

• Questions with answers at your fin- gertips

• Questions that should have readily available answers

• Questions whose answers require

data or analysis beyond that considered routine. These listed groupings can provide an order for an investigation, starting with the questions where answers are most eas- ily available, and working down the list

toward those requiring more time and costs to answer. Another complicating factor in FCC catalyst loss investigations, like many trou-

bleshooting exercises, is that some of the supposed evidence may be corrupt or just

plain wrong. It is up to the investigator to look for what is being indicated by the pre-

ponderance of the evidence, and not be drawn into making premature conclusions

based on limited data.

First things first: Q1–Q7. If the

increased rate of catalyst loss is not severe, the first indication may be the report of higher

than expected fresh catalyst additions needed to maintain the unit catalyst inventory. The

FIG. 1 Cut-away view of FCC unit.
FIG. 1
Cut-away view of FCC unit.

SPECIALREPORT

REFINING DEVELOPMENTS

first order of business is to ascertain which side of the reactor-regenerator system, if not both sides, is responsible for the increased catalyst loss, as listed in Table 1. Q1: What is the relative rate of catalyst loss in the fractionator bottoms compared to normal? Calculating the catalyst loss rate through the reactor cyclones is normally a straightforward multiplication of the slurry oil production rate times the concentration of ash in the slurry oil product. Q2: What is the relative stack opac- ity or rate of fines catch compared to normal? An increase in regenerator stack opacity generally indicates an increase in stack catalyst emissions. It is noted that particles with diameters greater than a few microns generally have an increasingly smaller impact on opacity while those with diameters in the range of 0.1 to 1.0 microns have the larger impact on opacity. 1,2 The presence of third-stage separators, electro- static precipitators and flue gas scrubbers can obscure the impact of increased regen- erator catalyst losses on stack opacity. 3 A concept referred to throughout this article is “What is normal?” Unfortunately, in many cases, this “normal” data may be difficult to obtain as the incentive to docu- ment problems often gets more priority

TABLE. 1. Questions with answers at your finertips

than collecting data concerning what things look like when all is well. It is also noteworthy if either the reactor or regenerator loss rate has decreased while losses from the other vessel have increased. With a constant rate of fines input (fresh catalyst) and fines generation by attrition, anything that reduces the fines losses from one vessel will increase the fines concentra- tion in the unit and result in a corresponding increase in fines flowrate from the other ves- sel. For instance, commissioning a catalyst slurry oil filter with recycle back to the riser will increase the loss rate from a regenerator. The equilibrium catalyst data sheet provides a long-term accounting of many important equilibrium catalyst properties that are useful in diagnosing catalyst loss issues. Chief among these is the particle size data. 4 Q3: What is the relative amount of equilibrium catalyst in the 0–40 micron range? An equilibrium catalyst data sheet provides a long-term accounting of many important equilibrium catalyst properties that are useful in diagnosing catalyst loss issues. Chief among these is the particle size data. 4 The relative amount of fines in the catalyst inventory is often indicated by the percentage of the catalyst particles

1. What is the relative rate of catalyst loss in the fractionator bottoms compared to normal?

2. What is the relative stack opacity or rate of fines catch compared to normal?

3. What is the relative amount of equilibrium catalyst in the 0–40 micron range?

4. What is the average equilibrium catalyst APS compared to normal?

5. How does the volumetric flowrate of reactor product vapors through the cyclones compare to normal?

6. How does the volumetric flowrate of air or flue gas through the regenerator compare to normal?

7. How does the catalyst circulation rate compare to normal?

TABLE 2. Questions needing more investigation to resolve

8. What is the relative rate of catalyst loss from the regenerator compared to normal?

9. How does the fresh catalyst makeup rate compare to normal?

10. Are the losses steady or intermittent?

11. When did you last change the type of fresh FCC catalyst?

having a diameter less than 40 microns. This parameter provides an indication of whether or not the increased loss rate is due to cyclone malfunction versus an increase in fines generation due to increased attri- tion or a higher loading of fines with the fresh catalyst. Q4: What is the average equilibrium catalyst APS compared to normal? The change in average particle size (APS) of the equilibrium catalyst generally moves opposite the fraction of fines in the cata- lyst. However, APS can also increase over time due to decreasing equilibrium catalyst withdrawals that traps the largest particles within the circulating catalyst inventory. Q5: How does the volumetric flowrate of reactor product vapors through the cyclones compare to normal? The volu- metric rate of vapor flowing through the reactor cyclones can be estimated based on the reactor operating temperature and pres- sure together with the hydrocarbon product rate, reactor and stripper steam rates, and an estimate of the hydrocarbon product molecular weight. The rates and molecular weights of any hydrocarbon recycle streams should also be included in the calculations. Q6: How does the volumetric flowrate of air or flue gas through the regenerator compare to normal? The regenerator air rate together with the regenerator operating temperature and pressure provide an indica- tion of the volumetric vapor traffic through the regenerator and its cyclone system. Even better accuracy can be obtained by calculat- ing the molar rate of the flue gas based on the air rate and flue gas composition. Q7: How does the catalyst circula- tion rate compare to normal? The most common method of estimating the catalyst circulation rate is based on the regenerator air rate, flue gas analysis, and reactor and regenerator temperatures. For the purpose of catalyst loss troubleshooting, the consis- tency of method is more important than the absolute accuracy of the method.

12. When did the loss increase first occur?

13. How long did it take for the losses to increase from a normal rate?

TABLE 3. More difficult to resolve questions on FCC operations

14. What is the relative angularity of the equilibrium catalyst?

15. What is the relative angularity of lost catalyst?

16. What is the relative APS of the catalyst in the reactor carryover?

17. What is the shape of the differential particle size curve of the catalyst in the reactor carryover?

18. What is the relative APS of the catalysts in the regenerator carryover?

19. What is the shape of the differential particle size curve of the catalysts in the regenerator carryover?

20. How does the cyclone system pressure drop compare to normal?

30 I SEPTEMBER 2010 HYDROCARBON PROCESSING

The next level. As listed in Table 2:

Q8: What is the relative rate of cata- lyst loss from the regenerator compared to normal? On the regenerator side, quan- tification of the catalyst loss rate is best determined over a period of time by sub- tracting the reactor catalyst loss rate from the catalyst addition rate. Careful attention to changes in the unit and catalyst hopper inventories over the same time period is important for the catalyst balance. Previously, the presence of particulate capture devices downstream of the regen-

When the right reaction matters

The petroleum refining landscape is constantly evolving through changing crude slates, shifts in refined product demands, and the necessity to produce more from existing assets. In the face of these challenges, BASF offers innovative solutions. If you are looking for a catalyst supplier whose technologies and services will enable you to make more of the products you want with enhanced operating flexibility, look no further than BASF. Trust BASF FCC Catalyst Technologies and Services to deliver innovation, value, and performance to your refinery.

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SPECIALREPORT

REFINING DEVELOPMENTS

FIG. 2 Microscopic view of FCC catalyst.
FIG. 2
Microscopic view of FCC catalyst.
10 9 8 Typical PSD 7 Poor second-stage cyclone performance 6 5 4 3 2
10
9
8
Typical PSD
7
Poor second-stage
cyclone performance
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Particle size, microns
FIG. 3
Reduced system efficiency.
Percent, %

erator may obscure the impact of increased regenerator catalyst losses on stack opacity. In these cases, the investigator can review the catalyst catch rate in the post-regenerator flue gas cleanup equipment. For instance, data on the catch rate in a fourth-stage cyclone fines hopper or in an electrostatic precipitator (ESP) dust bins can provide more evidence of increased regenerator catalyst loss. Q9: How does the fresh catalyst makeup rate compare to normal? Docu- mentation of catalyst additions is important for several reasons. Firstly, after accounting for any changes in routine equilibrium cat- alyst withdrawal rates, increasing fresh cata- lyst additions to maintain unit inventory corroborates other indications of increas- ing catalyst losses. Second, increasing the fresh catalyst addition rate generally leads to increased losses due to increased fines input with the fresh catalyst and because the newer catalyst may have surfaces that are more easily abraded. 5 Q10: Are the losses steady or intermit- tent? If the increased catalyst losses seem to come and go with time, this is an indica- tion that the problem may be more related to operating conditions than mechanical damage. For instance, the diplegs may be operating close to a flooded condition, where changes in gas rate or catalyst load- ing drastically affect the cyclone efficiency. In a counter-example, if the increased loss rate is due to a hole in a plenum or cyclone outlet tube, then the losses are more likely continuous and increasing. Q11: When did you last change the type of fresh FCC catalyst? If the type of fresh catalyst has changed in a timeframe that could coincide with the increased cata- lyst losses, the catalyst itself becomes suspect. Similarly, the same is true if the fresh catalyst receipts show significant physical property changes, especially in terms of the fraction of fines, density or Attrition Index. 6

32 I SEPTEMBER 2010 HYDROCARBON PROCESSING

Q12: When did the loss increase first occur? It is also worthwhile to consider the date when the increased catalyst losses seemed to begin. Look for coincidences with other significant events in the FCC operation. For instance, did the time of the increased loss rate correspond with a unit turnaround or upset? Equipment damage is more likely to occur during a startup, upset or shutdown. Loss of restriction orifices that can cause an attrition problem more commonly occurs during a turnaround. Were there other significant changes in the operation corresponding to the time of the increase in catalyst losses such as changes in feedrate, combustion air rate, catalyst circulation rate or feedstock quality? Q13: How long did it take for the losses to increase from a normal rate? If the catalyst loss rate made a step change from normal to a higher value, then this generally indicates that the problem is not an erosion induced hole somewhere in the cyclone system; as the hole size will increase gradually if erosion is to blame.

Harder-to-answer questions. As

shown in Table 3, these require sample cap- ture and/or laboratory testing that would be considered non-routine. Q14: What is the relative angularity of the equilibrium catalyst? As shown in Fig. 2, looking at the sample of the equilib- rium catalyst loss under a microscope can be very revealing. If the sample contains a lot of small, jagged or broken pieces, it indicates an abnormally severe degree of catalyst attrition. 7 Q15: What is the relative angular- ity of lost catalyst? Generally speaking, samples of catalyst lost from the reactor are readily available from a sampling of the slurry oil product or circulating slurry oil. The slurry oil can be washed and fil- tered in a laboratory, and the captured

catalyst can be viewed under a micro- scope. If available, samples of catalyst lost from the regenerator can be viewed under a microscope. The microscope can reveal whether the sample contains a high concentration of small, jagged or broken pieces indicating an abnormally severe degree of catalyst attrition. Q16: What is the relative APS of the catalyst in the reactor carryover? Catalyst taken from the slurry oil can be subjected to the all important particle size analysis. For a given rate of fines input and fines generation within the unit, material bal- ance considerations dictate that the APS

of the lost catalyst must increase as the loss rate increases. The image from the micro- scope can corroborate the particle size analysis by showing more than an expected fraction of larger particles and even very large particles that would never escape a properly functioning cyclone system.

• If the APS of the lost catalyst is smaller

than normal, and if the loss rate is higher than normal, then that would indicate an

increased degree of fines input or increased catalyst attrition.

• Moderately increasing APS would

indicate some loss of cyclone efficiency; if the loss rate is higher than normal or a

reduction in fines input or attrition if the loss rate is less than normal.

• Moderately increasing APS indicates

a reduction in fines input or attrition if the loss rate is less than normal.

• A large increase in APS indicates

a major cyclone malfunction or serious

damage. Q17: What is the shape of the differ- ential particle size curve of the catalyst in the reactor carryover? The particle size analysis of a loss sample can also be reported as differential particle size distribution, indicating the fraction of particles falling in narrow size ranges. This is a different pre-

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SPECIALREPORT

REFINING DEVELOPMENTS

10 9 8 7 6 Attrition 5 4 3 2 1 0 0 10 20
10
9
8
7
6
Attrition
5
4
3
2
1
0
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Particle size, microns
FIG. 4
Bi-modal distribution indicating an attrition problem.
Percent, %
10 9 Hole or crack in outlet 8 tube or plenum 7 6 5 4
10
9
Hole or crack in outlet
8
tube
or plenum
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Particle size, microns
FIG. 5
Bi-modal distribution indicating cyclone bypass.
Percent, %

What can be done to correct an attrition problem online?

• Locate and correct any missing orifices or valve openings.

What can be done to correct a plugged reactor cyclone dipleg online?

• Lower the stripper bed level to unseal the diplegs.

• Pressure bump the unit by changing the vessel operating pressure rapidly, say 4 psi in 15 seconds.

sentation than a cumulative particle size dis- tribution displaying the weigh percentage of

particles having less than a given diameter. 8 The shape of the differential particle size distribution curve can be insightful:

• If the curve has only a single broad

peak centered about a higher than normal

particle size, as shown in Fig. 3, this could indicate a partial loss of cyclone efficiency but not complete bypassing of solids.

• A bimodal curve having a peak near

that considered normal, as well as a second-

ary peak at a lower than normal particle size as shown in Fig. 4, may indicate a catalyst attrition problem.

• Some bypassing of material around

the cyclones altogether would occur with

a breached plenum chamber or a hole in

a secondary cyclone outlet tube, as shown

in Fig. 5. This would exhibit itself with a bimodal curve having peaks near that con- sidered normal, as well as a secondary peak at a higher than normal particle size. Q18: What is the relative APS of the catalysts in the regenerator carryover? Collecting a representative sample of catalyst lost from the regenerator is less straightfor- ward than the collection of fines from slurry

34 I SEPTEMBER 2010 HYDROCARBON PROCESSING

oil. Ideally, a dust sample can be collected from the regenerator effluent, and the results

can be analyzed as previously discussed with respect to catalyst separated from slurry oil. If dust collection equipment exists down- stream of the regenerator, such as a scrub- ber, ESP or TSS, the fines catch can also be analyzed and used in the investigation. Q19: What is the shape of the differ-

ential particle size curve of the catalysts

in the regenerator carryover? If a dust

sample from the regenerator effluent can

be obtained, the results can be analyzed as previously discussed with respect to catalyst separated from slurry oil. Q20: How does the cyclone system pressure drop compare to normal? Some FCC units are instrumented with differen- tial pressure measurements across the ves- sel disengaging space and the vapor outlet. This provides an indication of the pres- sure drop through the cyclone system and

it will indicate whether there has been a significant change in the catalyst or vapor loadings of the cyclones. Once answers to many of the 20 questions are available, these answers can be analyzed

for fit with the characteristics of the problems described below to establish the more likely causes of the catalyst loss problem.

Possible FCC catalyst losses. More

common causes of high catalyst losses are:

Excessive attrition in a fluid bed. Cat- alyst attrition in a fluid bed is caused by catalyst particles colliding at high velocity with other particles or solid surfaces. The high particle velocities in a fluid bed are chiefly the result of particle acceleration driven by high-velocity gas jets within the fluid bed. The focus of an investigation into the source of excessive catalyst attrition can include looking for these problems:

• Missing restriction orifices or open orifice bypasses associated with pressure

taps, torch oil nozzles, and other vessel connections intended to pass only a small amount of gas, air or steam.

• High-velocity gas jets can also emanate

from broken or eroded steam or air distrib- utors where gas escapes without traveling through a velocity reducing nozzle typically used in the design of such distributors. A high fines concentration in the lost catalyst; high fines content in the catalyst inventory; and splintered, broken and jagged particles as viewed with a microscope, all are indicative of a catalyst attrition problem. Excessive reactor or regenerator dilute

phase attrition. Since there is little catalyst in a dilute phase, by definition, high attri- tion rates in this region are likely associ- ated with particle impacts on solid surfaces within the cyclones, especially cyclones with high exit velocities.

• The nature of the solid surfaces can

also play a role in catalyst attrition with badly damaged refractory or unusually rough refractory surfaces providing more opportunity for abrupt impact of the trav- elling catalyst. Plugged reactor secondary cyclone dipleg. Secondary cyclone dipleg plugging is much more common than the plugging of primary cyclone diplegs. The reason is smaller diameter diplegs. The plugging of a second-stage reactor cyclone dipleg often calls for an immediate shutdown of the FCC unit due to high catalyst losses.

• Coke can form in a reactor cyclone

and then fall into the dipleg, causing a full or partial plug. 9

• If feed is introduced into the reac-

tor before the internals are sufficiently

heated, such as can happen during startup or upsets, then large amounts of coke can appear wherever feedstock can condense.

• Some cyclones have check valves on

the dipleg. Anything that can cause the flapper to stick or be held closed, includ-

ing design problems or hinge coking, will provide an effectively plugged dipleg.

• Failures of the cyclone hexsteel

attachments to the cyclone interior shell can release sheets of hexsteel and refrac- tory sufficiently large enough to plug even large diameter diplegs. Such failures can be

attributed to poor hexsteel design or instal- lation as well as coke induced refractory anchor failure. 10 Plugged reactor primary cyclone dipleg. The causes of primary reactor cyclone dipleg plugging are the same as those given for the plugging of reactor secondary cyclone diplegs. Plugging of reactor primary cyclone diplegs is rela- tively uncommon due to the large dipleg diameters normally associated with primary cyclones. If a primary cyclone dipleg does become plugged, and if the vapor outlet is associated with a secondary cyclone, as is common, the catalyst loading to the sec- ondary cyclone may exceed the capacity of the secondary cyclone dipleg. In this event, the secondary cyclone will become flooded with catalyst, and full-range catalyst will begin flowing at a high rate from the sec- ondary cyclone outlet. Plugged regenerator cyclone diplegs. Plugging of regenerator cyclone diplegs has similar causes and effects to those encoun- tered with respect to the reactor cyclones, but plugging of regenerator cyclone diplegs

is less common. In the regenerator, the cok-

ing phenomenon that is at the root of most reactor cyclone plugging problems does not exist. There are, however, some situations peculiar to the regenerator cyclones:

• A phenomenon unique to regenerator

secondary cyclone diplegs is that the almost

extinct use of spray water in the regenerator primary cyclone outlets can lead to the for- mation of wet catalyst in dipleg, preventing catalyst flow.

• Regenerator upsets, such as a sud-

den drop in pressure or the activation of emergency spent catalyst riser lift steam, can precipitate a large catalyst carryover that may persist even after the disturbance is gone. This has been explained by not-

ing that defluidized solids will drain from

a cyclone much more slowly than fluidized

solids. So much catalyst can be thrown into the cyclones that it defluidizes before it can get into the dipleg. Then, even at normal entrainment, the catalyst will not drain out of the cyclone fast enough to eliminate the packed catalyst level in the cyclone. 11

Holes in plenum or second-stage cyclone outlet tube. A hole in a plenum or secondary cyclone outlet tube, as shown

REFINING DEVELOPMENTS

SPECIALREPORT

in Fig. 6 provides a direct path for cata- lyst escape, bypassing the cyclone system,

and allowing even large catalyst particles to show up in the main fractionator bottoms

or flue gas system. Even a 10-mm hole can increase the catalyst losses several fold. In time, the passage of high velocity catalyst through the hole will increase the hole size, and the catalyst losses will intensify.

• Holes often start as cracks or tears in

the metal; in time, they grow due to the erosive effects of the catalyst flow. If the catalyst loss problem is not yet severe, a unit inspection may have difficulty finding the cracks, as the cracks may tend to close as the unit cools.

• The impact of a hole in the out-

let tube or plenum of a reactor with riser cyclones will be less than with an inertial riser termination device because there will be little catalyst in the dilute phase that can be sucked into the hole. Holes in a second-stage cyclone. Holes in a secondary cyclone (or a single stage cyclone), including holes in the cyclone dipleg, will have serious consequences on catalyst containment. The rate of perfor- mance deterioration will be controlled by how quickly the hole enlarges due to ero- sion. Holes in the dipleg allow the vapor flow into and up the dipleg. This can restrict the ability of catalyst to flow down the dipleg. If the hole is in the cyclone body,

FIG. 6 Two-stage regenerator cyclone system.
FIG. 6
Two-stage regenerator cyclone
system.

then the incoming vapor jet can disrupt the desired vapor profile in the cyclone, damag- ing the collection efficiency. Holes in first-stage cyclone. Holes in primary cyclones are not as common due to the lower velocities in primary cyclones. The catalyst loss impact from a hole in a primary cyclone will be much less severe compared to a hole in a secondary cyclone,

because the secondary cyclone will catch almost all the catalyst lost from the primary cyclone. In fact, it may be difficult to even notice the increased catalyst loss associated with a hole in a primary cyclone. Stuck open or missing flapper in first- stage cyclone. Most first stage cyclones are

submerged in a fluid bed and do not have or need check valves because the catalyst traffic is sufficiently high enough that gas does not force itself up the dipleg. Some- times check valves, as shown in Fig. 7, are included to limit losses during startup when the diplegs are not submerged. In these cases, a stuck-open flapper will be of little consequence during normal operations. In some cases, due to the unit geom- etry or technical preference, the primary cyclones can be designed to discharge above the bed. In these cases, assum- ing the cyclone is not a positive pressure riser cyclone, a properly functioning valve is required. The consequences of a valve that is stuck open would be a major loss of

FIG. 7 Cyclone dipleg check valve.
FIG. 7
Cyclone dipleg check valve.

What can be done online to correct a plugged regenerator cyclone dipleg?

• Pressure bump the unit by changing the vessel operating pressure rapidly, say, 4 psi in 15 seconds

• Partially unload the catalyst and then return to a normal operating level.

• Following a cyclone overload, sometimes normal operation can be restored by reducing the air rate to a very low level for several minutes so that overfilled cyclone hoppers can drain the defluidized catalyst.

SPECIALREPORT

REFINING DEVELOPMENTS

cyclone efficiency, increasing the loading to the secondary cyclones and increasing the catalyst losses from the unit. Stuck open or missing flapper in sec- ond-stage cyclone. A flapper that is stuck open or missing may not affect the cyclone performance if the dipleg is submerged suf- ficiently in a well-fluidized bed. If the bed fluidization is erratic, then the losses may increase due to unsteady catalyst flow down the dipleg or due to gas bypassing up the dipleg. If the secondary cyclone dipleg is not

submerged into the fluid bed, a stuck open or missing flapper turns the dipleg into a vac- uum tube sucking vapors into the cyclone; destroying the cyclone efficiency. A detached dipleg would have similar consequences. Reactor cyclone overload. A reactor cyclone system can become overloaded if the catalyst or vapor traffic exceeds the design hydraulic capability of the cyclone system. The cyclone system pressure drop increases with both catalyst and vapor load- ing. As the pressure drop increases, the cata-

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lyst in the dipleg must backup to a higher elevation, as shown in Fig. 8, to provide enough static head to force the catalyst out of the dipleg. When the catalyst height in the dipleg reaches the dipleg top, the swirl- ing vapors in the bottom of the cyclone will reentrain the catalyst and drastically reduce cyclone collection efficiency. This situation

is referred to as “cyclone flooding.” Increas- ing reactor vapor traffic beyond the cyclone dipleg hydraulic limit can occur by operat- ing at an increased feedrate, higher conver- sion, and reduced operating pressure.

• Catalyst loss can be intermittent

when cyclone dipleg hydraulic limitations are the issue.

• When operating near the cyclone

dipleg hydraulic limit, even a small increase

What can be done to correct a stuck open or detached check valve online?

• It may be possible to reduce catalyst losses by raising the bed level to seal the dipleg.

What can be done to correct a cyclone design issue online?

• Nothing, but try to rule out the other possible causes before shutting down.

• Adjust operating conditions to minimize losses until design modifications are possible.

Second-stage cyclone First-stage cyclone Dipleg catalyst level Catalyst bed level FIG. 8 Cyclone hydraulic balance.
Second-stage
cyclone
First-stage cyclone
Dipleg catalyst level
Catalyst bed level
FIG. 8
Cyclone hydraulic balance.

REFINING DEVELOPMENTS

SPECIALREPORT

0.05 0.04 0.03 0.02 V = Effective superficial vapor velocity, fps e p = Particle
0.05
0.04
0.03
0.02
V
= Effective superficial vapor velocity, fps
e
p = Particle density, lb/ft 3
= Gas density, lb/ft 3
g
e = Entrainment,
lb
cat/ft 3 vapor
0.01
1 2
3
4
5
6 7 8 9 10
e/ g
20
30
FIG. 9
Catalyst entrainment correlation.
V
e / p

What can be done to correct catalyst-induced loss problem online?

Sometimes refiners purposely add fresh catalyst with high

fines content, low density, lower Attrition Index, or just an increase in fresh catalyst makeup rate to improve the fluidity of the catalyst inventory. With that in mind, consider:

• Ordering fresh catalyst with lower agreed limits on 0–40 micron particle content.

• Changing to a catalyst with higher particle density or one with increased attrition resistance.

• Reducing the fresh catalyst makeup rate.

in catalyst circulation or vapor rate can result in increased catalyst losses.

• Dipleg sizing is rarely a limitation dur-

ing normal operations, but if the regenera-

tor temperature falls to very low levels while maintaining riser outlet temperature, the catalyst circulation will increase. At extreme conditions, the reactor cyclone dipleg can restrict the flow of catalyst. Regenerator cyclone overload. A regenerator cyclone system can also become overloaded when catalyst and vapor traf- fic exceed the hydraulic capability of the cyclone system:

• Catalyst loss can be intermittent when

cyclone dipleg hydraulic limitations are the

issue. In some cases, the flue gas stack can appear to be puffing.

• Increasing vapor traffic beyond the

cyclone dipleg hydraulic limit can occur

by operating at increased regenerator air rate, higher temperature and reduced operating pressure.

• Catalyst overload in regenerator

cyclones can occur for the same reasons as vapor overload because the catalyst entrainment rate to regenerator cyclones, as shown in Fig. 9, is a function of regen- erator superficial vapor velocity. 12 Poor efficiency—Cyclone design. The suspicion of a poor efficiency cyclone design will typically be raised only after the instal- lation of a new set of cyclones. Poor reactor cyclone efficiency due to coke formation within the cyclone has also been reported. 9 Having said this, it would be a charac- teristic of a low efficiency cyclone design to exhibit a rather large average catalyst par- ticle size in the lost catalyst. Also, the differ- ential particle size analysis curve would have only a single peak as opposed to a bi-modal peak associated with a damaged cyclone. A low concentration of fines in the circulating inventory would also be characteristic of low cyclone system efficiency. Poor efficiency—Regenerator design. It would be a characteristic of a low-effi-

ciency regenerator design to lack sufficient height or diameter to effectively disengage

the catalyst rising from the fluid bed. Such

a regenerator would exhibit a rather large

average catalyst particle size in the lost cata-

lyst while the differential particle size analy- sis curve would have only a single peak as opposed to a bi-modal peak associated with

a damaged cyclone. A low concentration of

fines in the inventory would also be char- acteristic of a low-efficiency regenerator

design. The quality of the bed fluidization may also affect the catalyst entrainment rate and cyclone operability:

• Defluidized sections of the bed may

inhibit flow from the submerged diplegs.

• Spouting spent catalyst risers can

throw more catalyst up to the cyclones.

• Specially designed baffles placed

within the bed have been observed to reduce catalyst entrainment. 13 Fresh catalyst too soft. Soft FCC cata- lyst is one that inherently suffers from a

higher than average attrition rate when subjected to the rigors of circulation in the FCC unit. The softness of a catalyst is the opposite of its hardness, a parameter defined by the catalyst manufacturers as

an Attrition Index. 5 This index is based on

a laboratory simulation of FCC catalyst

attrition relying on the punishment of a

laboratory sample with a high-velocity gas jet at defined standard conditions.

• Catalyst manufacturers offer varying

degrees of catalyst hardness. Soft catalyst

is rarely an explanation for a catalyst loss

problem today.

• Catalyst that is too soft will manifest

itself as higher catalyst losses from both the reactor and regenerator and higher than normal equilibrium catalyst fines content. Fresh catalyst—High 0–40 micron content. A fresh catalyst with a high 0–40 micron content is one that is shipped with a larger than typical fraction of particles hav- ing diameters less than 40 microns. Cata- lyst with this character will lose a higher

What can be done to correct a dipleg hydraulic problem online?

• Reduce dipleg submergence by lowering the catalyst bed level

• Lower vapor and/or catalyst circulation rates.

• Increase operating pressure.

percentage of their mass from the inventory shortly after being loaded into the unit. Fresh catalyst—High addition rate.

FCC unit catalyst losses have a definite cor-

relation with the rate of fresh catalyst addi-

tions because increasing fresh catalyst addi- tion rate increases fines input and because

the fresh catalyst may have fragile edges that are lost more easily when the catalyst is first introduced into the unit.

• Higher catalyst losses are an expected,

normal result of increasing fresh catalyst

addition rate. Increased reactor fines retention.

Whenever changes occur that limit the abil- ity of fines to escape from a reactor system, the fines will find their way out of the unit via a different avenues, which are limited to the regenerator cyclones and increased catalyst withdrawals. Examples of changes that increase reactor catalyst retention are:

• Recycle of fines from the fractionator

bottoms back to the FCC reactor via con-

ventional slurry oil recycle system or a slurry-oil filter system.

• Installation of new reactor cyclones

having a higher design efficiency. Increased regenerator fines retention.

If the catalyst fines cannot get out through the regenerator, they will be forced to exit the unit through the reactor. Examples of changes that increase regenerator catalyst retention are:

• Recycle of fines from an electrostatic

precipitator or third-stage separator back to the regenerator.

SPECIALREPORT

REFINING DEVELOPMENTS

• Installation of new regenerator

cyclones having a higher design efficiency

• Feed contaminants and regenerator

operating conditions that lead to sticky catalyst within the regenerator. In the presence of high levels of fluxing agents such as sodium, potassium, calcium, chlorides or vanadium that can be intro- duced with contaminated feedstock, and especially at high temperatures, the catalyst can become sticky. These fluxing agents can form low melting eutectics with the

catalyst at temperatures as low as 930°F to 1,200°F. 5 There will be times that even with thoughtful consideration of the answers to the 20 questions, and even after unit shutdowns and inspections, the cause of high FCC catalyst losses will remain elu- sive. However, FCC product economics, reliability and environmental concerns may compel refiners to resort to extraor- dinary tactics for finding the source of the high losses.

dinary tactics for finding the source of the high losses. Select 156 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS Extraordinary

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Extraordinary measures. A number

of more costly and time-consuming options

in searching for the root cause of high cata- lyst losses include:

• Cold-flow modeling

• Radioactive tracers and gamma ray

scans

• Cyclone pressure testing

• Computational fluid dynamic simula-

tions. The road to the conclusion of an investi- gation into the cause of high catalyst losses may prove to be long and arduous. How- ever, if the investigation stays the course, the road will usually lead to success. HP

LITERATURE CITED

1 Ensor D. S., and M. J. Pilat, “Calculation of Smoke Plume Opacity from Particulate Air Pollutant Properties,” 63rd Annual Meeting of the Air Pollution Control Association, St. Louis, Missouri, June 14–18, 1970.

2 McClung, R. G., “Effect of FCC Catalyst Fines Particle Distribution on Stack Opacity,” The Catalyst Report, Engelhard Corp., 1994.

3 Niccum, P. K., E. Gbordzoe and S. Lang, “FCC Emission Options,” NPRA Annual Meeting, March 2002, San Antonio.

4 Montgomery, J. A., “More about Davison’s Equilibrium Fluid Cracking Catalyst Analysis Program,” Davison Catalagram, No. 63, Davison Chemical Division, W. R. Grace & Co., 1981.

5 Linden, D. H., “Catalyst Deposition in FCC Power Recovery Systems,” Katalistiks’ 7th Annual Fluid Cat Cracking Symposium, Venice, Italy, May 12–13, 1986.

6 Weeks, S. A. and P. Dumbill, “Method speeds FCC catalyst attrition resistance determinations,” Oil & Gas Journal, April 16, 1990, pp. 38–40.

7 Zhou, F., C. Liu, J. Liu and S. Shu, “Use micro- graphs to diagnose FCC operations,” Hydrocarbon Processing, March 2006.

8 Fletcher, R., “Stepwise method determines source of FCC catalyst losses,” OGJ, Aug. 28, 1995.

9 McPherson, L. J., “Causes of FCC Reactor Coke Deposits Identified,” OGJ, Sept. 10, 1984.

10 Session II.A-Fluid Catalytic Cracking, Mechanical Question 6, NPRA Q&A Session on Refining and Petrochemical Technology, 1994. 11 Zenz, F. A. and D. F. Othmer, Fluidization and Fluid-Particle Systems, Reinhold Publishing Co., New York, 1960. 12 Giuricich, N. L. and B. Kalen, “Dominant Criteria in FCC Cyclone Design,” Katalistiks’ 3rd Annual Fluid Cat Cracking Symposium, May 26–27, 1982, Marriot Hotel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 13 Miller, R. B., Y-Lin Yang, T. E. Johnson,

S. J. McCarthy and K. W. Schatz, “REGENMAX™

Technology: Staged Combustion in a Single Regenerator,” NPRA Annul Meeting, March 1999, San Antonio.

Phillip Niccum joined KBR’s fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) team in 1989. He has held various FCC-related positions at KBR including process manager, chief tech- nology engineer of FCC, and is currently director of FCC Technology for KBR’s Technology business unit. Following graduation from California State Polytechnic University with a degree in chemical engineering in 1980, he began his career in the Central Engineering Department at Tex- aco USA headquarters, where he provided design and technical assistance to Texaco FCC units worldwide.

REFINING DEVELOPMENTS

SPECIALREPORT

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