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Closed-loop control can clamp down on crude unit corrosion

03.01.2012  |  Hilton, N. P. ,  Nalco Energy Services, Sugar Land, Texas

Automating the detection process and controlling applications in real time dramatically boosts performance

Keywords: [Corrosion] [crude unit] [refining] [automation] [process control] [chemical additives] [budget] [maintenance] [downtime]

The refining industry has been dealing with crude unit overhead corrosion since the early days of the industry. Many refiners today understand that 90% of corrosion damage occurs 10% of the time, when persistent and ongoing overhead corrosion is prevalent. These small periods of corrosion are related to unstable operations, the processing of opportunity crudes or other interruptions in normal operations. The industry has historically tried to control the corrosive environment through the application of best practices; by using specialty chemicals including sodium hydroxide (caustic); by improving desalter operations; and by upgraded metallurgy. The gap with this approach is not the tools themselves but the application of these tools. Today’s industry best practices impact 90% of stable operations but fail to address the 10% of time during unstable operations when the lion’s share of corrosion damage can occur.

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