June 2015


Special Report: Process/Plant Optimization

Alkylating refinery-grade propylene offers processing opportunities

The propylene in this stream from FCC and coking units can be combined with isobutane in an alkylation unit to yield a high-value gasoline blending component—alkylate.

Deploying software-based emissions monitoring systems for refining processes

It is important that efficient and reliable tools for acquiring emissions data are available. Environmental constraints not only can affect production, but failure to provide emissions values for extended periods may lead to an authority-imposed plant shutdown.

Consider using a main automation contractor for your next capital project

Based on the experience of execution, design, engineering and construction of an LNG complex in Asia, the author outlines key considerations that contribute to project success.

Accurate rate-based modeling of acid gas and mercaptan removal using hybrid solvents
Badhwar, A., Cristancho, D., Dowdle, J., Ortiz-Vega, D., The Dow Chemical Company

Prediction of mercaptan removal from natural gas streams with liquid solvents presents significant challenges. Using an extensive experimental data collection campaign and recently improved thermodynamic models, an innovative solution has overcome these challenges and developed a rate-based model to accurately predict mercaptan removal performance.

HPI Focus: Energy Efficiency

Reducing energy costs while improving efficiency
Ruiz, D., Bolíbar, Á., Ruiz, J. P., Soteica Visual MESA; Morrón, G., Alonso, D., Repsol Química

Better energy management can make the difference between profit and losses. The question facing owner-operators is: how to reduce energy costs while satisfying site energy needs?

Regional Report

Europe’s downstream industry remains resilient
Romanow, Stephany, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

The European hydrocarbon processing industry (HPI) is a complex set of refineries and petrochemical facilities distributed among several nations, all of which are critical to the international trading and economy of the EU.


Develop an optimal cleaning strategy for crude preheat trains
Hegy, S., Aspen Technology Inc.

Fouling in heat exchangers is common throughout the process manufacturing industries. Fouling presents a large opportunity for owner-operators to reduce operating expenses and maintenance costs.

Process Safety

Update: Personnel changes introduce new considerations for PSM
Gaither, R. L., Chilworth Technology

Management of change (MOC) for process safety is well known, widely implemented and used by many employers, even when there is no regulatory requirement to do so, particularly in companies with complex and/or highly hazardous operations involving flammable, toxic chemicals and/or combustible dust.

Cloud computing: The next revolution in process safety
Whiteside, S., Lucas, J., Mangan Software Solutions

Over the past 25 years, the process safety and functional safety disciplines have evolved from the implementation of safety legislation and the creation of governing authorities, to the development of best practices and the adoption of applicable standards.


Overcoming the challenges of the ‘great crew change’
Rhodes, Mike, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

The hydrocarbon processing industry (HPI) is facing a daunting challenge in the near future: In the next five to seven years, approximately 50% of the workforce will retire in what many are calling the ‘great crew change.’ The next generation of engineers, operators, technicians and skilled workers must step up to continue the pursuit of technological innovations and industry growth.


HP Editorial Comment: Convergence of trends supports HPI opportunities
Romanow, Stephany, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

The downstream industry is halfway through 2015 and the second decade of the new millennium. Great changes have occurred over the past 12 months and five years. Change is not necessarily negative; in fact, it can be a welcome event.

HP Reliability: Update on steam turbine overspeed testing
Bloch, Heinz P., Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

An engineer working for a world-scale oil refinery in Asia-Pacific (AP) asked several questions on steam turbines: “I would like to know whether overspeed testing of steam turbines is recommended..

HP Automation Strategies: Manufacturing execution systems can help ‘onboard’ the next generation of workers
Abel, J., ARC Advisory Group

Population dynamics, including the impending retirement of the “baby-boomer” generation of workers and the associated need to quickly “onboard” the next generation of workers in the downstream industries are driving new demand for collaborative production systems/manufacturing execution systems solutions.

HP Project Management: Consider a modular approach to constructing condensate splitters
Senf, S., Audubon Engineering Solutions

Although the 1975 ban on crude oil exports remains in place, US oil producers have found more opportunities in shipping condensate both domestically and internationally. This practice is possible due to condensate splitters, which provide a workaround solution by separating crude oil into lighter byproducts. Because these lightly refined byproducts can be exported, investment in new condensate splitter capacity has grown.

HP Global: Outlook for UK chemical industry still optimistic
le Roux, S., Chemical Industries Association

The recovery following the Great Recession has been long and hard for both the UK economy and its chemical industry. The chemical and pharmaceutical industry in the UK has not expanded on an annual ba..

HP Petrochemicals: Mexican executives see new government reforms spurring petrochemical activity
DuBose, Ben, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

The CEO of Mexico’s state-run Pemex sees Mexico’s downstream and midstream industries offering big opportunities for new and foreign investments on the heels of the country’s massive energy reform program.

HP News
Rhodes, Mike, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

UAE FCC catalyst manufacturing facility completes Phase 1W. R. Grace & Co. and JV partner Al Dahra Agriculture Co. marked the commissioning of a new catalyst logistics silo terminal (pictured) and the..

HP Industry Metrics
Rhodes, Mike, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

US refinery utilization rates have returned to summer operating levels. Crude oil pricing supports higher cracking margins for gasoline in US and European markets. Asian margins fell as increasing sup..

HP Innovations
Blume, Adrienne, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Air Liquide will build the world’s largest air separation unit (ASU) in Secunda, South Africa. An essential component of the 5,000-metric-ton-per-day ASU will be the AIRMAX compressor solution from MAN Diesel and Turbo, which will be the largest-dimension compressor constructed to date.

HP People
Rhodes, Mike, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

KBC Advanced Technologies Plc. has appointed Eric Dodd as CFO of the KBC Group. He will succeed interim CFO Andrew Hebb and serve as a member of KBC’s executive committee. Mr. Dodd will be appoin..

HP Free Literature
Meche, Helen, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Video on long-life oxygen sensing innovation City Technology, a Honeywell company, has released a new video on how innovations and advanced technologies in long-life oxygen sensing are meeting key mar..

HP New Developments
Meche, Helen, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Aspen Technology’s aspenONE Engineering and aspenONE Manufacturing and Supply Chain Version 8.8 software was developed for firms in the oil, gas, chemicals, engineering and construction, and other process industries.