September 2006

Special Report: Refining Developments

Minimize furnace tubes carburization

Following a failure during a routine startup, engineers discovered two problems that compromised tube service life

During a maintenance shutdown, inspection of the visbreaker furnace discovered broken tubes. Further analysis of the tubes determined that carburization was the main contributing factor to tube failure. This refiner implemented a new operating program to reduce the incidence of carburization for the visbreaker furnace. Visbreaker unit description and operation. At Cepsa's Algeciras Refinery in Southern Spain, the visbreaker unit is a soaker type. Originally, it was a thermal cracking unit. In the early 1980s, it was retrofitted to operate as a visbreaking coil process, and then later revamped again to a soaker process. The average throughput is 5,700 tpd, and the typical feed quality is: 7

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