Additional sources of oil, such as shale oil, coming into the market can pose challenges for refiners. The challenge comes from mixing these “opportunity crudes” with other types of crude oil that may have very different physical properties.
As a Digital Refining article, Evaluating opportunity crude processing explains:
Crude oil incompatibility and the precipitation of asphaltenes on the blending of crudes can lead to catastrophic fouling and coking in the preheat train, resulting in net economic loss.
Heat exchangers can bear the brunt of this fouling, which in turn can have a significant impact on energy efficiency and production loss. For most refineries, energy consumption remains one of the largest controllable costs.
A webinar, Processing “opportunity” crudes? Be prepared for unexpected challenges! will be held on Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 11:00am CDT. Hart Energy’s Group Managing Editor for Midstream and Downstream Theresa Ward will be moderating the discussion with Emerson’s Gary Hawkins and Vinson Process Controls’ Ashley Hurley.
Gary and Ashley will highlight ways to perform on-line heat exchanger monitoring to provide data that is critical to making informed decisions. They will provide an overview of how refineries can implement an asset monitoring strategy by taking advantage of wireless communication from on-line devices in the plant.
They will describe causes of fouling including asphaltene precipitation, paraffinic accumulation, filterable solids accumulation, and corrosion. The roots of these issues are crude instability from blends, poor desalter performance, and amines for H2S scavenging for shipping. For heat exchangers that are manually monitored, the problem is that it’s done often after the fouling has advancedâ€”it’s just too late.
The key to online monitoring is to identify fouling problems early enough before they impact the performance and efficiency of the process. Things you can expect to take away from the webinar include identifying problems with heat exchangers in crude units, determining what causes fouling and how to detect it, and monitoring best practices.
Gary and Ashley have more than 45 years’ experience in midstream and downstream processing and can share their experiences and answer your questions. If your refinery is handling or looking to handle more opportunity crudes, you’ll want to join in the discussion.