November 2018

Process Optimization

Process design consideration for a deep-cut vacuum distillation unit—Part 1

In the recent past, many US refineries have been reconfigured to process heavy opportunistic sour crudes.

In the recent past, 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. Typically, the price difference between HVGO and VR can range from 10%–25% of the crude oil price, depending on whether the refinery has a downstream residue upgrading unit (e.g., a delayed coker) for the conversion of VR into higher-value transportation fuels. FIG. 1. Potential coke formation in a vacuum column. The process

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