August 2001

Process Technology/Refining

Improve NGL plant performance

Process engineers troubleshoot unstable process circuits

Eskaros, M. G., WorleyParsons; Wines, T. H., Pall Corp.

An NGL recovery plant in the Persian Gulf area encountered operating problems during performance test runs. Proper adjustment of operating temperatures indicated on process flow diagrams eliminated pump cavitation, severe vibration and stopped flaring of sour hydrocarbons. Actual feed process simulations used air cooler designs that showed lower operating temperatures than needed. Raising temperatures above process design values eliminated accumulation of lighter components in the liquid phase and reduced flashing in the light-components pump suction drum. Consequently, pump cavitation stopped and the system operated smoothly. The process. The plant (Fig. 1) functions are:

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