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IOCL, Mathura.

Once Through Hydrocracker Unit (OHCU)



ROLL NO: 0901CM101031



Submitted to:

Prof. Vandana Sakhare

Department of Chemical Engineering


1) Acknowledgment
2) Introduction to Mathura Refinery
3) Introduction of OHCU Unit
4) Purpose
5) Primary Product
6) Make up Hydrogen Section
7) Reaction Section
8) Process Description
9) Light Ends Recovery Section
10) Summary And Conclusion

Training at INDIAN OIL CORPORATION, Mathura has very helpful to

increase our skill capability & ability to understand what I have been studied so
far in my engineering courses. Being here I have gained knowledge about the
various processes which has been taking place in the hydrocracking unit

It is pleasure & opportunities for me to express my feelings of thank &

respect to the people of IOCL, Mathura who have always helped & guided me
in understanding various concept which were unknown to me.

I am very thankfully to:

JAGANNATH BHILWARE (Chief training officer)

SUMIT SEXANA (Process Engineer)

ATUL RANJAN (Process Engineer)


Mathura Refinery is the sixth refinery of Indian Oil which was

commissioned in 1982 with capacity of 6.0 MMTPA to meet the demand of
petroleum products. The major secondary processing units provided were
Fluidised Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU),Vis-breaker Unit (VBU) and
Bitumen Blowing Unit(BBU).The original technology for these units was
sourced from USSR,UOP etc. With the commissioning of Once Through
Hydrocracker Unit in July 2000, capacity of Mathura Refinery is increased to
8.0 MMTPA.

Diesel Hydro treating unit (DHDT) & MS Quality Up-gradation

unit (MSQU) was installed with worldwide class technology from Axons and
UOP in 2005 for production of EURO-III grade HSD &MS.

Mathura Refinery is having its own captive power plant, which was
augmented with the commissioning of three Gas Turbine (GT) And Heat
Recovery Steam Generator in phases from 1997 to 2005 using Natural Gas as
fuel to take care of environment.

Mathura Refinery has planted 1,67,000 trees in surrounding areas

including refinery & township and 1,15,000 trees in Agra region around
Tajmahal. The Ecological Park which is spread across 4.45 acres is a thriving
green oasis in the heart of sprawling Refinery.
Once Through Hydrocracker Unit (OHCU)





Hydrocracking is an extremely versatile catalytic process in which feedstock

ranging from Naphtha to Vacuum Residue can be processed in presence of
Hydrogen and catalyst to produce almost any desired products lighter than the
feed. For Vacuum Gas Oil as feed, it can produce LPG, Naphtha, ATF, Diesel
and FCCU feed in varying proportions as per design requirement.
Depending upon the feed quality, product mix desired and the capacity of unit,
following process flow configurations can be adopted for Hydrocracker:

a) Single stage - For 100% conversion of the feed to products.

b) Two stage - For 100% conversion of the feed to products.
c) Once through - For partial conversion of feed to products (60%-
In Once Through Operation, there is no recycle and fractionators bottom is
taken as product (FCC feed). In Single stage scheme, the uncovered material
from fractionators bottom is recycled to first reactor along with fresh feed. In
the two-stage scheme, the unconverted material is routed separately to another

Residue up gradation into middle distillates and light distillates is currently
being done in the Indian Refineries primarily by employing FCC process,
delayed Cocking process & Visbreaking. Visbreaking is adopted primarily to
reduce the viscosity of the residue thereby making it marketable. Delayed
coking is adopted if Coke is also to be a product.

poor with respect to stability, & sulphur and have to be blended with other
straight run products to be able to market them. Otherwise, product treatment
would be necessary (Hydro-treatment, Merox treatment etc.)

Environment policy and stringent quality norms Mathura Refinery is required

to produce cleaner fuels to meet the existing specifications in market. Primary
function of Hydrocracker unit is to reduce sulfur emission and maximize middle
distillate production in Mathura Refinery. Feed to the unit consists of Vacuum
gas oil (VGO) from atmospheric vacuum distillation unit (AVU) 70 % High
sulphur & 30 % low sulphur.

Primary Product:

Stabilized Light Naphtha
Heavy Naphtha
Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF)/ Superior Kerosene (SK)
High Speed Diesel (HSD)
FCC feed


Reaction Fractionation Light ends

Make up
section section section section

The makeup hydrogen compression section consists of three identical parallel

compressor trains, each with three stage of compression. During normal
operation two trains are in use and compress make up hydrogen from a pressure
swing adsorption (PSA) unit to reaction section. The compressed make up
hydrogen is combined with hydrogen recycle gas in the reaction to from reactor
feed gas.


The reaction section contains one reaction stage in a single high-pressure loop.
Due to reactor weight limits of approximately 400 metric tons, the reaction
section consists of two reactors in series. The hydrotreating and hydrocracking
reactions taking place in the reaction stage occurs at high temperature and
pressure. A high hydrogen partial pressure is required to promote the
hydrocracking reactions and to prevent coking of the catalyst. An excess of
hydrogen is recirculated in the reactor loop for reactor cooling to maintain a
high hydrogen partial pressure, and to assure even flow distribution in the


The purpose of the fractionation section is to separate reaction section products

into sour gas, unstabilised liquid naphtha, heavy naphtha, kerosene and diesel.
Furthermore bottom containing unconverted product serves as feed to the FCC
unit or is sent to tankage. The sour gas and unstabilised light naphtha are sent to
the light ends section to make fuel gas, LPG and light naphtha.


Light Naphtha from the fractionators is sent to Deethanizer, where gases are
removed and sent to Amine Absorber where the H2S is absorbed in the Amine
and H2S free fuel gas is sent to Fuel Gas system. Rich amine with dissolved
H2S is sent to Amine Regeneration Unit in Sulfur Recovery Unit Block. The
bottom of Deethanizer is sent to debutanizer for the recovery of LPG. LPG is
taken out from the top and sent to treating section where it is washed with
caustic for removal of H2S. The stabilized Naphtha from the bottom of the
stabilizer is sent to Hydrogen Unit for production of Hydrogen.


Fresh feed to the Hydrocracker consists of a blend of Arab mix and Bombay
high VGO. The VGO comes from tankage at 80 0C. The cold VGO will be first
heated by heat exchange with kerosene product and then by a steam heater. The
unconverted oil further heats the feed before being filtered in the feed filter.
The filtered feed is pumped from feed surge drum by the feed pump which
provides the pressure necessary to send the feed through two additional heat
exchangers and a feed furnace.

Feed Filter / Back Flush Oil system

The feed filter are designed to remove particulate materials from the row feed
that would otherwise cause plugging of the lead reactor catalyst beds and
consequent pressure drop problems in the reactor. The filter system consists of
two banks of filters each filter banks is having 360 filter elements. During
normal operation one bank will be in line and one will remain in standby in
back flushed condition. The one bank filters the feed until the particulate matter
accumulates to a level where the pressure drop across the filter increases beyond
the set point the set point of the differential pressure switch (PDSH). When the
set point pressure (1.4 kg/cm2) is reached PDSH triggers the sequence of back
flushing of filter starts and cleaned filter will come in line. After completion of
back flushing the flushed filter will remains standby till the time back flush
sequence is not activated. A feed filter bypass line is provided on the feed line.
The bypass valve is located downstream of the feed inlet to the filter and is
normally closed. This bypass is provided to prevent a low low level in the
surge drum and potential loss of feed to the high pressure feed pump caused by
an excessively high-pressure drop across the filter. The filter bypass line is also
used during plant commissioning.



Fresh feed (VGO) at 188Kg/cm2 (at Mixing point) & 200 0C mixes with feed
gas (Make-up & recycle H2) before entering heat exchangers where it
exchanges heat with reactor effluents. A by-pass line from these exchangers
(before gas mixing) is provided to control the inlet temp to furnace. The
temperature control valve controls through the amount of VGO feed by pass.

The reactor feed furnace is a natural draft heater having 40 gas burners. The
VGO feed and gas split in two by a symmetrically branched manifold before
entering the firebox. Hence, the furnace has two passes. Each pass has
horizontal tubes fired from both sides to provide uniform heat transfer.
Combined feed with the oil /gas mixture entering at the top of furnace and
leaving at the bottom to prevent the possibility of liquid stalling in the tubes.
After the feed is heated and has exited the firebox the two passes are rejoined
and sent to lead reactor. The outlet temp is controlled by temperature control
valve located on common outlet.
The furnace operation is very critical for maintaining conversion temp in 1st
catalyst bed. This furnace is small heat duty & the temp rise across the furnace
is about 20-25 0C only. In case of temperature runaway in the reactor shutting
off the furnace firing reduces the reactor inlet temperature by 20-25 0C effecting
immediate control. However as the contents of the heater tubes are at high
pressure & temp and having Hydrogen it is potentially highly hazardous in case
of any tube leak etc. Thus, it is very important to ensure that no impingement on
tubes occurs & there is regular monitoring on flame length & tube temperatures

The reaction system consists of two reactors in series a lead reactor and a main
reactor. The lead reactor contains three catalyst beds and main reactor contains
two catalyst beds. In these reactors the fresh oil feed is hydrotreated and
partially converted (hydrocracked) into products. The lead reactor inlet pressure
should be maintained at 189.0 kg/cm2 (g) to maximize hydrogen partial


The reactor is designed to operate at inlet temp ranging from 360 0C at start of
Run (SOR) to 390 0C at End Of Run (EOR). These high temps are necessary
for the catalyst to hydrocrack the feed. The higher temp tends to increase the
catalyst activity. This compensates for the gradual loss of catalyst activity which
occurs as the run progress due to coke deposition on the catalyst.


The various hydrocracking reactions which take place on catalyst beds are
exothermic thus the outlet temperature of each is more than inlet temperature.
As the first bed outlet is the second bed inlet or second bed outlet is the third
bed inlet the reactants must be quenched to bring down its temperature for
desired reactions in succeeding bed. The quenching is accomplished by part of
recycle gas from Compressor discharge and injected between beds.
The temperature rise across reactor should not exceed more than 55 0C for
proper reactions and the inlet temp to each to be kept same. For obtaining better
temperature control by utilizing quench gas the Lead reactor has been divided in
to three unequal beds and Main reactor has been divided in to equal bed. This
helps to achieve same temp rise in each bed & control the rise in temp across
the reactor about 55 0C.



At fixed temp with all other variables unchanged the catalyst will produce
nearly constant product slate but over a period of time the Catalyst will slowly
fouled become coked-up with reaction and beds accumulate feed impurities.
The impurities like Iron in feed can plug the catalyst interstices. Thus excessive
pressure drop may develop across the catalyst bed/beds. As per the design the
Pr. drop for SOR/EOR for 1st bed & total across reactor are 5.27 Kg/cm2 and
10 Kg/cm2.


The two-phase reactor effluent which is at temperature of 400 0C / 415 0C at

SOR/EOR conditions respectively is cooled in various exchangers before phase


After leaving main reactor the effluent is initially cooled by incoming VGO feed
and then further cooled by heat exchange with recycle gas and with product
fractionator feed.


The effluent is further cooled to 210 0C exchanging heat with Boiler feed water

After the effluent stream cooled it sent to the HHPS. In this separator the reactor
products are separated from the excess hydrogen and gases formed in the
reactors. The effluent inlet temperature should not be more than 210 0C. This
separation temperature was selected for the following reasons:
To avoid hydrogen attack to Carbon steel.
To minimize heat exchange area needed to reheat the oil for fractionation.
Liquid from the HHPS flows to the power recovery turbine where it is let down
in pressure before entering the hot low-pressure separator (HLPS).


The first step in cooling the effluent vapor from HHPS occurs by heat exchange
with the CLPS liquid. This exchange causes some of the effluent vapor to
condense. The vapor is further cooled where it exchanges heat with the reactor
feed gas before it enters the effluent vapor air cooler.


The air cooler provides the final cooling stage for the reactor effluent.


Cooled reactor effluent vapor condensed light hydrocarbons and sour water
enter the CHPS at 65 0C after leaving the effluent vapor air cooler. Hydrogen
rich recycle gas separates from the oil and water phases exits the CHPS and
enters the recycle gas loop.
The majority of the water entering the separator settles to the bottom of the
drum because of its higher density relative to the oil. Liquid hydrocarbon is
drawn off just below the horizontal baffle at the furthest point from the
coalescing pad and is sent to the CLPS.

The sour water, containing about 7-wt % ammonia disulfide is drawn from the
separator bottom and sent to sour water stripper.

The vapor phase passes through a demister pad to collect any entrained liquid
and is sent to a Porta-Test Separator. The porta-Test Separator has specially
designed internals that effectively remove any entrained liquid in the CHPS

The H2S absorber designed to remove at least 95 % of the H2S out of recycle
gas in order to minimize H2S partial pressure in the high-pressure loop and
increases the hydrogenation rate of aromatic compounds. The resulting H2S
concentration in the recycle gas is less than 500 PPM.
The H2S is removed from the recycle gas by being absorbed by an amine
solution (25 wt %) flowing countercurrent to the recycle gas. The H 2S absorber
consists of eight valve trays. The lean amine first heated up by heat exchange
with diesel product and then further heated with steam. After heating lean amine
is sent to surge drum before being pumped up to system pressure. The H 2S rich
amine stream from the bottom of the absorber is let down in pressure and sent to
a flash drum and amine regeneration unit.


The recycle gas compressor is most critical equipment as this machine is first to
start after Make-up Compressor and continue to run for HCU operation.
The recycle gas (H2, methane, ethane etc.) is circulated by steam driven
centrifugal compressor. The major portion of discharge of compressor along
with make-up H2 joins the oil feed up stream of the feed/effluent exchanger.
Another portion of the gas stream flows on temperature control to the reactor
for inter bed quench. Protection against low recycles gas flow for compressor is
provided by antisurge system.


The HHPS hydrocarbon liquid is let down in pressure through the PRT and
letdown valve is flashed at 36.0 kg/cm2 (g) in the HLPS. The vapor from the
HLPS becomes part of the CLPS feed and the liquid becomes part of the
fractionator feed. This high temperature low-pressure flash allows for recovery
of dissolved hydrogen from HHPS liquid.

Before entering the CLPS the HLPS vapor is cooled in the HLPS vapor air
cooler to 65 0C and is then combined with hydrocarbon liquid from the CHPS.
The low temperature low pressure flash in the CLPS release hydrogen rich
vapor which is sent to Membrane purification unit for hydrogen recovery to
reduce net hydrogen consumption.

The CLPS is designed to be a three-phase separator. There will be very little

water entrained in the oil from the CHPS therefore the amount of water
accumulated in the CLPS during normal operation will be small. Any water
accumulated is sent to sour water. The oil phase passes through a coalescer
before exiting the vessel to capture any of the entrained water and prevent carry
over. The oil is then drawn off just below the horizontal baffle at the furthest
point from the coalescing pad. Liquid from the CLPS is used to cool the vapor
from the HHPS before it is combined with the HLPS liquid to from the product
fractionator feed.

Fractionator Feed Pre-heat Section

CLPS liquid from is sent to heat exchanger and then combined with HLPS
liquid. Combined liquid is sent to exchangers where it is further heated up to
305 C by Reactor effluent Fractionator bottom and inter reactor exchanger.
Fractionator feed is then heated up to 345 0C in the furnace before it enters the
fractionator column.


The fractionator operates much like a crude unit atmospheric column to separate
the products. The fractionator contains a total of 51 trays out of the 39 trays
above and 12 trays below the flash zone. In normal operation off gas and
unstabilized light naphtha are sent overhead heavy naphtha is drawn as a side
cut from tray 8, Kerosene is drawn as a side cut from tray 18, diesel is drawn as
a side cut from tray 30 and split into product and pump around. The
unconverted oil is drawn as the bottoms. The fractionator has 51 trays for
Vapour liquid contacting. Feed at 345 0C enters the flash zone between Trays 39
& 40.

Stripping Section

The unconverted oil is cooled by heat exchange first with the reactor feed in
heat exchangers and lastly by an air cooler before going to tank.
In the stripping section (Tray 40-51), superheated medium pressure steam is
supplied to strip recoverable products out of fractionator bottoms.

Fractionator over head vapors are partially condensed in air cooler and the trim
cooler. It is then combined with spill back from the firststage off gas
compressor and then goes to Fractionator Overhead accumulator at 43 0C. The
condensed hydrocarbon & water separate in the accumulator. The hydrocarbon
liquid is split in two streams. One stream under flow controller cascaded is sent
back to column at Tray-1 as reflux to maintain column overhead temp at 102
0C. The other stream is the product (i.e. unstabilized naphtha) and routed to the
light end recovery section.

Heavy Naphtha Draw Off

Heavy Naphtha is drawn from Tray 8 of Fractionator and flows to the Heavy
naphtha side cut stripper. The vapor from stripper top is returned to Fractionator
above Tray 7.The stripper is a packed bed column with thermo-siphon reboiler
which exchanges heat with the diesel pump around. The heavy naphtha product
is pumped via water cooler to storage at 40 0C.


ATF drawn from Tray-18 flows to side stripper. The stripper was design with 10
valve trays with a thermo siphon reboiler which exchanges heat with diesel
pump around. The ATF is first heat exchange with cold feed VGO from tankage
then air cooled and finally cooled to 40 0C in water cooler before it is sent to


One circulating reflux (pump around) is drawn from the fractionator to control
column fractionation i.e. vapor liquid traffic and provide heat for reboiler & MP
steam generator. The pump around is drawn from Tray 30 same as Diesel draw
tray and pumped to provide reboiling for ATF side cut stripper in heat
exchanger the heavy naphtha side cut stripper, the deethanizer reboiler, and the
stabilizer reboiler.


HSD is also drawn from Tray-30 and flows to side cut stripper. The side cut
stripper is designed with 10 valve trays and uses superheated medium pressure
steam to remove light components from the product. The overhead vapor is
returned to the fractionator above Tray 28.


The light end recovery section performs three basic functions:

Remove Light ends and waters from light naphtha C-2, H2S

Separate LPG from light naphtha and treat LPG to meet the desired

Sweeten the sour gas for further use as fuel gas.


The purpose of the compression section is to compress the vapor from the
fractionator overhead accumulator to the pressures required in the fuel gas
system. The light ends compression system consists of two stages of
compression. Between the two compression stages there is a water cooler and a
knock out drum.


The deethanizer remove light ends C-2, H 2S and water from the Light naphtha
and LPG. The column was designed for high C3 recovery and almost completes
removal of H2S from the light naphtha and LPG. The column contains three
packed beds with the feed entering the top of the column. The feed to the
deethanizer comes from the combined liquid stream leaving the deethanizer
reflux drum and is pumped to the top of the deethanizer. The diesel pump
around supplies heat to the deethaniser reboiler.


Stabiliser column separates the LPG from light naphtha. Stabiliser column is
provided with 44 valve trays for fractionation. Unstabilised naphtha feed
entering between trays 22 and 23. The overhead vapors from stabiliser column
are totally condensed in air cooler.The diesel pump around supplies heat to the
stabiliser reboiler. The overhead vapor from the Stabiliser will normally be fully
condensed into LPG. The stabilizer bottom is cooled in the Stabiliser air cooler
and then by cooling water. Some of the stabilizer bottoms (cooled light naphtha)
is sent to the overhead of the sponge absorber. It is pumped to the sponge oil
absorber overhead line. The remainder of the cooled light naphtha sent to tank.


LPG treating section removes traces of H2S and free water to meet LPG
specification. The LPG and caustic stream flows through a static mixer and a
mixing valve to ensure contacting between the hydrocarbon and aqueous
phases. The hydrocarbon and aqueous phase are separated in the caustic washer.
Caustic washed LPG flows to water washer to remove any entrained caustic.
Water is pumped to top of vessel the by pumps and the LPG enters at the
bottom. Water washed LPG flows out from through a demister Pad which
removes the entrained water and then goes to LPG coalescer to remove free
water. Separated LPG from top is then sent to the storage.


Sour gas from deethanizer reflux drum is treated here to remove H 2S. These
streams are combined and passed through filter separator to remove entrained
liquid & solid particles. Hydrocarbon liquid or solids can cause foaming in the
absorber. Level gauges with high-level alarms are provided in filter separator.
PDI-7702 measure pressure drops across filter separator. Filter by pass is also
provided which is normally kept close. Sour gases from filter separator are sent
to H2S absorber.


Hydro cracking is a catalytic chemical process used in petroleum

refineries for converting the high- boiling constituent hydrocarbons in
petroleum crude oils to more valuable lower-boiling products such as gasoline,
kerosene, jet fuel and diesel oil. The process takes place in a hydrogen- rich
atmosphere at elevated temperatures (260-425) and pressure (35-200 bar).

Hydro cracking plants are capable of processing a wide variety of feed

stocks of different characteristics to produce a broad range of products. They
can be designed and operated to maximize the production of a gasoline blending
component (called hydro crack ate) or to maximize the production of diesel oil.

5.2 Conclusion

This training report presents all the information about process

methodology of the plant according to the equipment individually, their process
conditions, temperature, pressure and operating conditions. All the necessary
guidance for the preparation of the report is taken from the training manual of
Mathura Refinery.

There is a limitation in this training report regarding the details like

optimization ,simulation and designing.