December 2019

Archive

Special Focus: Plant Design, Engineering and Construction

Surviving turbulent times requires deep management changes
Chevriere, J. P., Transmar Consult Inc.; Daily, A., Daily Thermetrics

The Stone Age did not end due to a stone shortage. The Conventional Oil Age was not eclipsed by vanishing traditional oil and gas resources. The Shale Revolution unleashed an era of abundant, new unconventional oil and gas supplies.

Modeling a dividing wall column for NGL fractionation
Noh, H. Y., Cherif, M., Saudi Aramco

Dividing wall column (DWC) modeling was conducted to apply to natural gas liquids (NGL) fractionation to find if there were any benefits in the design. Regarding the convergence of a unique column with an internal dividing wall, a search was conducted for commercial simulation software that would be applicable.

Maintenance and Reliability

Consider installing a VFD to increase reliability and savings
Vila Forteza, M., Petronor

The Petronor oil refinery is in the north of Spain and is part of REPSOL Group. In 2019, the facility upgraded the driver of a reformer’s draft fan from a general-purpose steam turbine and gearbox to a variable frequency drive (VFD) electric motor.

HC condensate sphere inlet pipe failure investigation
Rinawi, A., KELM Engineering LLC; Al Bukhari, A., Al Hajji, M., Al Boobaid, M., Saudi Aramco

During a normal turnaround and inspection (T&I) of a hydrocarbon sphere, a fatigue failure in the 24-in. inlet pipe riser was discovered. As per the original 2003 design, the sphere serves as a surge tank during pipeline scraping, as well as a backup for a stabilizer during T&I. Each stabilizer has a capacity of 78,000 bpd. However, due to asymmetry in the piping configuration, the sphere typically receives higher flow of 90,000 bpd, with rates sometimes reaching 110,000 bpd as a result of scraping or other activities happening concurrently. The sphere was upgraded to work continuously in 2012 to handle the anticipated additional condensate by adding an overhead gas compressor and a dedicated condensate shipper pump.

Environment and Safety

Rethink fired heater design for emissions
Malhotra, K., S & B Engineers and Constructors Ltd.

As environmental regulations are becoming more stringent on reduced nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide emissions, burner designs are changing to meet revised regulations. The heater design must complement the chosen burner for optimal performance. Although design duty is considered to be the main focus of the heater design, the range of heater operation and its impact on heater safety and emissions needs are often neglected.

How changes to functional safety standards can optimize fire and gas detection
Naranjo, E., Emerson Automation Solutions

ANSI/ISA-84 is one of the most influential standards in functional safety and has been a driver for instrumented process safety improvements over the last 20 yr. It is a comprehensive norm covering a wide range of aspects related to functional safety in process industries, including the entire life cycle of designing, implementing and operating safety systems.

HP Top Project Awards 2019

HP Top Project Awards

The editors of Hydrocarbon Processing have identified nine projects that are anticipated to significantly impact the global or regional downstream industries. The winners and nominees of the HP Top Project awards will have a considerable impact on the HPI, whether through CAPEX, satisfying domestic or regional demand, diversifying product offerings, or adding to the resurgence in refining and/or petrochemical processing capacity.

IMO 2020

Refinery residue and bitumen upgrading: Gasification

Gasifiers take the bottom of the crude barrel and move the residue into the C1 value chain. Refiners have had a variable record of running gasifiers for a time and then shutting them down. Reasons for this include inexperience with gasifier operations, lack of knowledge on how to extract profits from the C1 value chain and market difficulties in catering to clients operating in different business environments.

The plight of the modern refinery: Racing to meet IMO 2020 regulations
Scalco, V., General Atomics

When Kitack Lim won his second, four-year term as the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in November 2018, it solidified the organization’s aggressive 2020 deadline for a global < 0.5% sulfur limit on fuel oil used onboard ships. This reduced sulfur requirement, commonly known as IMO 2020, squeezes the oil and gas industry, confounding the medium- and small-size refineries that struggle to produce low-sulfur fuel oil (LSFO), and wracking the nerves of maritime freight shippers facing volatile fuel pricing.

IMO 2020 stability and compatibility headaches
Curcio, E., Barsamian, A., Refinery Automation Institute, LLC

The year 2020 will be a mess from the fuel oil stability and compatibility points of view. The year will be price-driven, so the temptation to “cut corners” is great—meaning that a highly variable number of blend components to manufacture the fuel oil will open a “Pandora’s box” of complex and questionable fuel formulations.

Heat Transfer

Improve exchanger operability and efficiency through tube-side enhancement
Drögemuller, P., Ellerby, P., CALGAVIN Ltd.

The authors’ company has been serving the process industry for more than 35 yr to improve tube-side heat transfer in tubular heat exchangers. Its main application area is the use of a proprietary tube insert technology in new equipment design for exchangers with laminar tube-side flow, where considerable size reductions are achievable due to the increased tube-side performance.

Columns

Editorial Comment: HPI spending forecast to reach nearly $440 B in 2020
Nichols, Lee, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

As the hydrocarbon processing industry (HPI) moves into the next decade, three regions will be the leaders in new capital construction—Asia, the Middle East and the U.S.

Reliability: When slow-rolling machines can cause failures, and how to avoid them
Bloch, Heinz P., Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

All the book learning in the world will fail if we do not use common sense. We could also say that we need to think things through and should recognize that intuitive logic can lead us astray. If that sounds like semantic banter, let us zero in on three practical field examples that illustrate the issues at hand.

Optimization: Steam methane reformer vs. electrolysis technology
Koul, S., Shah, M., Linde Engineering

Hydrogen market demand is forecast to expand. Bulk petrochemicals, ammonia, methanol and gasoline refining consume nearly two-thirds of global hydrogen demand.

Petrochemicals: Petrochemical data management using cloud-based digital solutions
Smith, K., Thermo Fisher Scientific

Petrochemical companies face significant commercial pressure to offer high-quality products at competitive prices. To boost operational efficiency and support regulatory compliance, many businesses operating in the petrochemical sector use informatics tools, such as laboratory information management systems (LIMS), to organize their data.

Equipment: Rotating equipment repair: The technology-driven shift from preventive to predictive
Pandita, R., Persistence Market Research

Rotating equipment repair vendors are looking at a future that can be described as both exciting and challenging. As predictive maintenance (PdM) makes deeper inroads, vendors have been forced to rethink their legacy repair offerings.

Executive Viewpoint: Succeeding against cyber attacks

No doubt exists that the added connectivity that modern control and automation systems deliver offers a myriad of benefits. By embedding computing within the process and utilizing edge and cloud technologies, it can provide greater visibility. It creates a digital thread for the plant and allows both equipment and the processes to be analyzed, as well as giving prescriptive advice.

Digital: Better maintenance through better data
Eichelberger, N., Accruent

When I talk to professionals in the refining and petrochemical businesses, they are always interested in how new technologies can improve operational efficiency, make plants safer and increase profitability.

Heat Transfer: Designing electric process heater systems for catalytic regeneration
Bartell, P., Valin Corp.

Achieving effective catalyst regeneration requires a process that produces a very high level of heat in a very efficient manner. Over the years, several different approaches have been taken to create this required heat. Traditional steam has been a popular choice, as has heated transfer media. However, these methods have limitations.

Industry Perspectives: New project announcements surpass 400 in 2019
Nichols, Lee, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

According to Hydrocarbon Processing’s Construction Boxscore Database, more than 400 new projects have been announced in 2019. The total represents a 25% increase in new project announcements year-over-year.

Business Trends: The ins and outs of construction contracts
Shahani, G., Berg, J., ShureLine Construction

Industrial construction projects are becoming larger and more complex, with shorter schedules. To meet these challenging requirements, such construction projects are often executed by multiple entities located in different countries that may have different business objectives.