June 2021

Special Focus: Process Optimization

Good distributor design for high-velocity feed debottlenecks a crude preflash tower

Bazan Group’s crude unit No. 3—not designed by any of the authors’ companies—was bottlenecked by the preflash tower.

Blum, B., Bazan Group; Kister, H., Fluor; Tsang, R., Koch-Glitsch

Bazan Group’s crude unit No. 3—not designed by any of the authors’ companies—was bottlenecked by the preflash tower. The tower experienced frequent episodes—especially with light crudes (high naphtha percent)—in which the naphtha stream leaving the tower turned dark, accompanied by a high tower ∆P. Most likely, these episodes originated from crude entrainment and restricted the throughput of the entire crude unit. From the lowest downcomer, a 4-in. pipe drains the liquid into the top shed deck. During two recent outages, the 4-in. pipe was found broken and falling, with a hole in the seal pan from which it originated. As the pipe was in front of a high-velocity feed entry, it was likely t

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