Loss Prevention

Optimization: Plan before main air blower disaster strikes

Weeks before a planned overhaul of its coker unit, a synthetic crude plant’s main air blower for the furnace failed, throwing the engineers’ plans into disarray.

The importance of engineering and construction alignment throughout the project lifecycle

Payami, H., Fluor

Construction is where the rubber meets the road. This phase historically is the most challenging time of the project, often characterized by problems with high levels of urgency and difficulty.

Project Management: Efficiently expanding a specialty chemical company

Parmar, A., COIM USA; Shahani, G., ShureLine Construction

COIM, a specialty chemical company, decided to expand its production capacity in the U.S. to supplement growing market and economy.

Apply ceramic coatings to extend radiant tube life in process heaters

Bacon, J., IGS-Cetek

Process tubes in refining applications are typically steel alloy (ASTM A335 P22, P5 or P9), which contain 2.25%, 5% and 9% Cr, respectively. These grades oxidize at operating temperatures, and scale will grow continuously on the surface, often reaching 2 mm in thickness in higher-temperature/high-heat-flux units. The layers of scale are very insulating and represent a significant barrier to conductive heat transfer to the process.

Effectively clean air fan coolers with water and steam

In many refineries and petrochemical plants, air fan coolers (AFCs) become a major bottleneck to increasing plant capacity. Many plants suffer from lower heat duty than designed, especially during the summer months, which can lead to lower plant capacity.

Leveraging modern flow technologies to improve safety in refineries

The refining industry is facing increased pressures, such as crude oil supply changes, changing product distributions and increasing regulations. These pressure points create a highly competitive market where refiners are looking for options that include digitally transforming operations and adapting new technologies to enhance safety and improve uptime, flexibility and efficiency, while securing their competitive position in a dynamic market. Improving personnel and process safety remains a top focus area for refiners.

Managing dark data and visualizing your digital twin

Today’s tools are often specialized for a certain type of task; however, they often lack the connectivity that would enable the easy comparison and cross-reference of asset information. Engineering tools are well suited for design and build phases, but may be less suited for use in operations and maintenance.

Five key innovation concepts to impact frontline engineers in 2020

McIntee, A., KBC, a Yokogawa Company; Finnan, K., Yokogawa Corp. of America

Gas processing, liquefaction, oil refining, bulk petrochemicals and chemicals plants represent a large population of frontline engineers and technical managers. Their professional lives will become increasingly impacted by the growing adoption of disruptive digital technologies and digital platforms.

Executive Viewpoint: Fuels and petrochemicals will continue to help humanity thrive

Thompson, C., American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM)

A 15-yr rise in U.S. exports of refined products continued in 2019 with the nation exporting more than ever, underscoring the importance of these products to fueling a growing world. In the latter half of the last decade, U.S. petrochemical production capacity increased—with more than $20 B invested in domestic petrochemical projects in the last 2 yr alone—and exports of petrochemicals and petrochemical feedstocks rose, as well.

Editorial Comment: Adopting digital technologies to enhance operations

Nichols, Lee, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

What is the future of refining and petrochemical operations? One trend that has been the focus of many articles, whitepapers and conference presentations is the digital transformation of the hydrocarbon processing industry (HPI).