December 2018

Special Focus: Plant Design, Engineering and Construction

Process design consideration for a deep-cut vacuum distillation unit—Part 2

Recently, many US refineries have been reconfigured to process heavy opportunistic sour crudes.

Recently, many US refineries have been reconfigured to process heavy opportunistic sour crudes. The price spread between these and more conventional crude slates has made it financially attractive to operate vacuum columns for a deeper cut between heavy vacuum gasoil (HVGO) and vacuum residue (VR) product streams. The processing objective for a vacuum distillation unit (VDU) is to maximize the recovery of the combined (light and heavy) vacuum gasoil product. The desired cutpoint specified for the HVGO product governs the process conditions and sets the design of the major equipment (vacuum heater, transfer line, vacuum column and column internals, and vacuum ejectors) in the unit. The deepe

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