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Some folks called it the devils rope, but theres no

denying that barbed wire revolutionized the American


west in the 1860s. And RENTECH Boiler Systems has revolutionized the boiler industry
with its direct fired boilers, headered membrane waterwall design, and customer service. We think
you will cotton to our boilers because they will lower operating costs, reduce shutdowns and cut
emissions. So carve G.T.T. (gone to Texas) on your door and head to Abilene to discover solutions
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AUGUST 2010
HPIMPACT SPECIALREPORT SPECIALSUPPLEMENT
FLUID FLOW AND
ROTATING EQUIPMENT
Pumps, valves, drives
and compressors
MIT studies natural
gas future
PLC market to
rebound
PROCESS CONTROL AND
INSTRUMENTATION
Report includes 2010 trends
and spending forecasts
Select 83 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com
AUGUST 2010 VOL. 89 NO. 8
SPECIAL REPORT: FLUID FLOW AND ROTATING EQUIPMENT

29
Prevent electric erosion in variable-frequency
drive bearings
Here are the reasons and remedial actions
H. P. Bloch
37
Valve design reduces costs and increases safety
for US refineries
The goals were achieved by using alloys with superior corrosion resistance
R. D. Johnson and B. Lee

41
Pump aftermarket offers solutions for abrasive services
Upgrades substantially increased MTBR
S. McPherson
45
How the inertia number points to compressor system
design challenges
It facilitates predicting compressor system performance
M. Kapadia, R. Tellez-Schmill and I. Ajdari
Cov e r L . A. Tur bi ne pr ov i de s
Turboexpander service for clients
worldwide. Here on location at Totals
LPG NKossa Offshore Processing Plant
in the Republic of Congo, L.A. Turbine
remanufactured two Turboexpanders
with Active Magnetic Bearings which
are being re-installed supervised by
experienced field service personnel.
Photo courtesy of L.A. Turbine
HPIMPACT
15 MIT studies the
future of natural gas
15 PLC and PLC-based
PAC market poised
to rebound
COLUMNS
9 HPIN RELIABILITY
Consider bearing
protection for small
steam turbines
11 HPIN ASSOCIATIONS
International Refining
Conference debuts
in Rome
13 HPIN CONTROL
Process control
practice renewal
2010purpose
86 HPIN AUTOMATION
SAFETY
Cyber security certification
for automation products
and suppliers
ENVIRONMENT/LOSS PREVENTION

51
Gas refineries can benefit from installing
a flare gas recovery system
Take a look at these environmental and economic paybacks
O. Zadakbar, A. Vatani and S. Mokhatab
STORAGE/LOSS PREVENTION

55
Estimating tank calibration uncertainty
Use these calculations for a specific tank calibration
S. Sivaraman, A. Bertotto and D. Comstock
GAS PROCESSING DEVELOPMENTS

63
Optimize operating parameters of absorbers/strippers
in gas plants
Better recovery definition of C
3
s and C
4
s from gas absorber/stripper can lower costs
J. Nava
PROCESS CONTROL AND INSTRUMENTATION 2010SUPPLEMENT

67
Process Control and Instrumentation 2010
Report includes trends and spending forecasts
HEAT TRANSFER

79
Increase crude unit capacity through better integration
In revamp projects, better energy integration provides more benefits with less capital
investment and lower operating costs
A. S. Aseeri, M. S. Amin and M. S. Ibrahim
DEPARTMENTS
7 HPIN BRIEF 17 HPINNOVATIONS 21 HPIN CONSTRUCTION
25 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 26 HPI CONSTRUCTION BOXSCORE UPDATE
82 HPI MARKETPLACE 85 ADVERTISER INDEX
HP ONLINE EXCLUSIVES
Petrochemical Processes 2010
Just released, HPs Petrochemical Processes 2010 handbook is an inclusive catalog of established
and leading-edge licensed technologies for existing and grassroots facilities. Over 191
petrochemical technologies from 40 licensing companies are presented in this handbook. Features
include flow diagrams, process descriptions, economic data and more. A free PDF copy is available
to subscribers for a limited time at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com.
4
EDITORIAL
Editor Les A. Kane
Senior Process Editor Stephany Romanow
Process Editor Tricia Crossey
Reliability/Equipment Editor Heinz P. Bloch
News Editor Billy Thinnes
European Editor Tim Lloyd Wright
Contributing Editor Loraine A. Huchler
Contributing Editor William M. Goble
Contributing Editor Y. Zak Friedman
Contributing Editor ARC Advisory
Group (various)
MAGAZINE PRODUCTION
DirectorEditorial Production Sheryl Stone
Manager Editorial Production Angela Bathe
Artist/Illustrator David Weeks
ManagerAdvertising Production
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HYDROCARBON PROCESSING (ISSN 0018-8190) is published monthly by
Gulf Publishing Co., 2 Greenway Plaza, Suite 1020, Houston, Texas 77046.
Periodicals postage paid at Houston, Texas, and at additional mailing office.
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Hydrocarbon Processing, P.O. Box
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Other energy group titles include:
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www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com
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Integrated plant engineering and design technology
AVEVA Plant
technology
Find out how AVEVA Plant can make your business more competitive
Visit www.aveva.com to learn about the AVEVA Plant solutions, or www.aveva.com/events
for opportunities to see them in action.
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HYDROCARBON PROCESSING AUGUST 2010

I

7

BT@HydrocarbonProcessing.com
BILLY THINNES, NEWS EDITOR
HPIN BRIEF
A diamond
in the rough
Although problem-free pump oper-
ation is the primary goal of all pump
operators, achieving that goal is not a
simple matter. The key components of
a pumpmechanical seals, impellers,
couplings, roller bearings and hous-
ingsare all subject to wear. Keeping
a pump in good working condition is
essential for cost-effective and reli-
able operation of plants and systems.
Unplanned downtime can ruin pro-
duction schedules and adversely affect
a facilitys bottom line.
Mechanical seals are recognized
to be responsible for most pump
failures and consequently represent
the highest cost for pump repairs.
Therefore, reducing the mean time
between failure (MTBF) or the mean
time between repair (MTBR) can sig-
nificantly improve pump operations
and save money.
Industry surveys have shown that
dry running and inadequate lubrica-
tion are responsible for more than
50% of all mechanical seal damages;
consequently, it is safe to state that
approximately 20% of all pump fail-
ures are due to poor lubrication or dry
running of the mechanical seal faces.
To combat the problem of dry run-
ning, EagleBurgmann has developed
a seal face coating based in diamond.
Diamond is the hardest natural miner-
al known and offers excellent chemi-
cal and thermal resistance. The new
technology is a synthetically manufac-
tured, ultra-pure diamond with the
same characteristics as the natural
stone. It has a microcrystalline coating
of 8-m thickness on a silicon carbide
seal face extends the life of the seal,
reducing maintenance costs and mini-
mizing life-cycle costs for pump users.
In an analysis of the service life
of pump components, it was found
that mechanical seals, with an aver-
age service life of only 1.2 years, are
the weakest link in terms of pump
components, compared to the next
weakest component, bearings, with
an average service life of three years.
It is thought that by using mechanical
seals coated with diamond, the aver-
age service life of mechanical seals
substantially increases. HP
Curtiss-Wright Corp. has received an order from Petrobras for
12 top and bottom fully-automated coke drum unheading systems. The units
are expected to be delivered to the Petrobras Abreu e Lima refinery located in
Pernambuco, Brazil. During the opening of a coke drum, known as unheading,
extreme temperatures can be present. Curtiss-Wrights system safely opens the top
or bottom of a coke drum during the delayed coking process. Unlike traditional
unheading systems, this remotely operated device creates a totally enclosed, fully
automated coking system, from the top of the coke drum down to the coke pit,
minimizing safety risks to personnel.
Total Petrochemicals has successfully demonstrated UOP
technology that will enable the use of feedstocks other than petroleum to pro-
duce plastics and other petrochemicals. A demonstration unit built by Total
Petrochemicals at its complex in Feluy, Belgium, used UOPs methanol-to-
olefins (MTO) technology to convert methanol to ethylene and propylene. The
propylene was then successfully converted to polypropylene product. This dem-
onstration proves that propylene produced from methanol at a semi-commercial
scale is suitable for plastics production.
The demonstration unit has run consistently for more than 150 days since its start-up
last year and has met product yield expectations. The unit has processed up to 10 metric tpd
of methanol to produce the light olefins ethylene and propylene. The demonstration plant
integrates MTO process technology with Total Petrochemicals and UOPs olefin cracking
process (OCP). Use of the OCP could boost the total yield of usable ethylene and propylene
while minimizing hydrocarbon byproducts. The OCP unit is scheduled to start up later this
year after initial testing of the MTO unit is completed.
The demonstration plant was designed to assess, on a semi-commercial indus-
trial scale, the technical feasibility of the integrated MTO and OCP processes
with full product recovery and purification.
ProSep Inc. was awarded a $2 million contract to provide process
engineering and specialized internals for crude separation. This contract was awarded
through a commercial alliance with the engineering and manufacturing company
Thermo Design and will be installed at an oil and gas producers steam-assisted gravity
drainage facility located in Albertas oil sands. The crude separation equipment will
be built using ProSeps vessel designs and internals, allowing for efficient separation of
crude, natural gas, water and solids from the production stream.
Refineria de Cartagena SA (REFICAR) has selected Merichem to
provide multiple technologies for treatment of hydrocarbons and spent caustic
at its refinery in Cartagena, Colombia. Merichem will license its technologies
and supply modular equipment to treat coker LPG and saturated LPG at the
facility. Merichem will also license other technologies to supply modular equip-
ment, including salt and clay beds for treatment of kerosene/jet fuel. In addition,
REFICAR has also selected Merichems technology and equipment for the treat-
ment of spent caustic generated by new and existing units.
CPFD Software LLC, which created the Barracuda simulation
package for particle-fluid systems, announced the signing of a distribution agree-
ment with Hi-Key Technology to distribute and support Barracuda in China.
Barracuda is used by oil and gas, chemical, petrochemical and power equipment
manufacturers for simulating, understanding and optimizing the operation of
fluidized systems. Common applications are fluidized catalytic cracking (FCC)
reactors and regenerators, fluidized bed reactors (FBRs) for chemical manufactur-
ing and circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boilers in coal-fired power plants. HP
THE ORIGINAL
BEARING ISOLATOR
STRONGER THAN EVER
www.inpro-seal.com
As part of Waukesha Bearings and Dover Corporation, Inpro/Seal is
stronger than everwith the horsepower to deliver our high-performing solutions
and superior customer service around the globe. Industry-leading bearing protection,
unmatched experience and same-day shipments only with Inpro/Seal.
So dont lay awake at nighttrust Inpro/Seal to design and deliver your custom-engineered
bearing isolator, right when you need it; our installed base of over 4,000,000 speaks for itself.
Trust Inpro/Seal, the clear leader in bearing isolators.
Select 78 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
HEINZ P. BLOCH, RELIABILITY/EQUIPMENT EDITOR
HPIN RELIABILITY
HB@HydrocarbonProcessing.com
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING AUGUST 2010

I

9
In most small machines there is a need to limit both contami-
nant ingress and oil leakage. Inexpensive lip seals are sometimes used
for sealing at the bearing housing, but lip seals typically last only
about 2,000 operating hoursthree months. When lip seals are too
tight, they cause shaft wear and, in some cases, lubricant discolor-
ation known as black oil. Once lip seals have worn and no longer
seal tightly, oil is lost through leakage. This fact is recognized by the
API-610 standard for process pumps, which disallows lip seals and
calls for either rotating labyrinth-style or contacting face seals.
Small steam turbines often suffer from steam leakage at both
drive- and governor-end sealing glands. Each bearing housing (Fig.
1) is located adjacent to one of these two glands, which contain
carbon rings. It is a well-known fact that, as soon as the internally
split carbon rings start to wear, high-pressure and high-velocity
leakage steam finds its way into the bearing housings. Traditional
labyrinth seals have proven ineffective in many such cases and only
solidly engineered bearing protector seals now manage to block
leakage steam passage.
The bearing housing protector seal in Fig. 2 was designed for
steam turbines. It incorporates a small- and a large-diameter dynamic
O-ring. This bearing protector seal is highly stable and not likely to
wobble on the shaft; it is also field-repairable. With sufficient shaft
rotational speed, one of the rotating (dynamic) O-rings is flung
outward and away from the larger O-ring. The larger cross-section
O-ring is then free to move axially and a micro-gap opens up.
When the turbine is stopped, the outer of the two dynamic
O-rings will move back to its stand-still position. At stand-still,
the outer O-ring contracts and touches the larger cross-section
O-ring. In this highly purposeful design, the larger cross-section
O-ring touches a relatively large contoured area. Because Contact
Pressure = Force/Area, a good design aims for low pressure. Good
designs differ greatly from technologically outdated configurations
wherein contact with the sharp edges of an O-ring groove will
cause O-ring damage.
Fortunately, concerns as to the time it might take to upgrade
to advanced bearing protector seals have been alleviated. In June
2009 Total Raffinaderij Nederland (TRN) asked for the installa-
tion of the bearing protector seal shown in Fig. 2 in one of its 350
kW/3,000-rpm steam turbines. No modifications were allowed on
the existing equipment and installation of three LabTecta-STAX
seals on the first machine had to take place during a scheduled
plant shutdown in June 2009.
With no detailed drawings of the bearing housings available,
the exact installation geometry could only be finalized after dis-
mantling the Turbodyne turbine. One of the main problems was
the short outboard length: less than 0.25 in. (6.35 mm) was avail-
able due to the presence of steam deflectors and oil flingers. But
the manufacturers engineers were able to modify the advanced
design in Fig. 2 to fit into the existing OEM labyrinth seal groove.
Delivery was made within one week of taking steam turbine and
bearing housing measurements and the turbine has been running
flawlessly since June 2009.
Our point is that highly cost-effective equipment upgrades
are possible at hundreds of refineries. However, superior bearing
protector products for use in steam turbines must be purposefully
developed. The type described here has important advantages
compared with standard products typically used in pumps:
It is suitable for high temperatures.
It incorporates Aflas O-rings as the standard elastomer.
Extra axial clearance is provided to accommodate thermal
expansion.
High-temperature graphite gaskets are incorporated in this
design.
There should no longer be any reason for water intrusion into
the bearing housings of small steam turbines at reliability-focused
HPI facilities. HP
Consider bearing protection for small steam turbines
The author is HPs Equipment/Reliability Editor. A practicing consulting engineer
with close to 50 years of applicable experience, he advises process plants world-
wide on failure analysis, reliability improvement and maintenance cost-avoidance
topics. Mr. Bloch has authored or coauthored 17 textbooks on machinery reliability
improvement and over 470 papers or articles dealing with related subjects.
Drive-end
outboard
Drive-end
inboard
Governor-end
inboard
Small steam turbine cross-section view
(Source: Worthington-Turbodyne S.A.).
FIG. 1
Cross-sectioned half-view of a bearing housing protector
seal for small steam turbines (Source: LabTecta-STAX,
AESSEAL Inc., Rotherham, UK and Rockford, TN).
FIG. 2
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Select 73 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
HPIN ASSOCIATIONS
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING AUGUST 2010

I

11

BT@HydrocarbonProcessing.com
BILLY THINNES, NEWS EDITOR
Hydrocarbon Processings International
Refining Conference (IRC) debuted
June 2123 in Rome, Italy. Hosted by
eni, the event included a two-day, two-
track technical conference as well as an
exhibition. Attendance surpassed initial
projections and the conference received
a good to excellent rating from over
80% of the delegates.
The first IRC in Rome has dem-
onstrated that this event gathers highly
qualified speakers who provide leading-
edge presentations that cover a wide
array of technical matters, said Sim-
berto Senni Buratti, senior vice president
for technical development and projects
at eni. Overall, IRC is an outstanding
gathering of elite professionals from the
global refining industry.
The two track (technology and main-
tenance and operations) format proved to
be a hit with attendees. One gentleman
remarked, A two day, two track confer-
ence is the sweet spot. It isnt overloaded,
but its not slim on time, either. Those
present were also quite receptive to the
focus of the presentations, which zeroed
in on technology, lessons learned and
prognostications about the future.
Speaking of the present and looking
to the future, all at the IRC agreed that
energy demands will be met by crude oil
and natural gas. However, the manner in
which the HPI will meet future energy
demand growth will evolve from meth-
ods and policies under development.
Francois Paul Goarin, senior director
for energy with Accenture, presented
several key messages that describe how
the hydrocarbon processing will take
shape in the future. He said to expect a
future that combines biochemical and
thermochemical processes as new man-
dates require refiners to include more
renewable/biofuels for transportation
fuel supplies. Existing and developing
technologies can and will be leveraged
across multiple pathways. To be viable,
biofuels must find a way to be included
inside the battery limit (ISBL) of the
refinery, not blended at terminals before
distribution.
Markets will optimize around their
own domestic agendas, resources and
economic development opportunities,
Mr. Goarin said. In other words, use what
you have or what you can get in order to
make it work.
IRC attendees agreed that, globally
speaking, crude oils are becoming heavier.
New refinery feedstocks will include a
greater share of unconventional oils such
as Canadian oil sands. Such feeds will
entail revising refinery operations to yield
cleaner products with less residuals.
As the global appetite for energy
shifts to lighter products, refiners must
likewise find opportunities to upgrade
residuals into distillates. Such dilemmas
look at hydrogen addition or carbon
reject. Hydrogen addition is making
new advances with proven and develop-
ing technologies. In a presentation by
KBRs Dr. Anand Subramanian, it was
revealed that KBR and BP have developed
improvements to the veba combi cracking
(VCC) process, which is a slurry-phase
resid hydrocracking process. Originally,
the VCC was developed to process coal.
Advances enable this existing process to
yield blendable product streams that do
not require further treatment and can
compete against coking processes.
eni, too, is developing an advanced
slurry-phase hydrocracking process
known as the eni slurry technology (EST).
This process is based on a nano-dispersed
(slurry) non-aging catalyst, and a homo-
geneous and isothermal slurry bubble-
column reactor. EST can process residual
products, heavy oils and bitumen. With
successful results from the 1,200-bpd
commercial-demonstration plant at enis
Taranto, Italy, refinery, the first full-scale
industrial unit using EST will be con-
structed at enis Sannazzaro d Burgondi
refinery in Pavia.
Better catalyst systems were also a
hot topic of conversation at the confer-
ence, as refiners plan their strategy to
convert more of the barrel into distil-
lates, especially ultra-low-sulfur diesel.
Albemarle Catalyst BV, Axens, Criterion
Catalysts Technologies (Shell) and Grace
are making advances in catalyst structure
and activity. The goal is producing more
diesel while destroying fuel oil, which
is experiencing demand decline. In par-
ticular, drop-in catalyst solutions that
will yield more diesel over gasoline make
in fluid catalytic cracking units are of
high interest.
IRC was supported by 25 sponsors
and exhibitors. The major sponsors were
eni, Walter Tosto and Ansaldo. Exhibitors
included Shell Global Solutions, Ametek,
Grace, Flowserve, United Labs and other
global suppliers to the downstream indus-
try. The IRC Advisory Board was made
up of representatives from eni, Shell, BP,
Axens, Technip, Walter Tosto, Hydrocar-
bon Processing and Foster Wheeler. HP
International Refining Conference debuts in Rome
Networking was a jovial affair in the
Walter Tosto booth.
The IRC Advisory Board was happy to be in
Rome for the new two-day conference.
GE Oil & Gas
This is
Innovation Now
Enhancing
performance for the
most demanding
applications
GE Oil & Gas turboexpander-compressors
have been created with the most advanced
computational tools to ensure optimal
refrigeration and energy recovery for plants
on land and at sea, with a wide selection of
frame sizes to match virtually any application.
Over 60 years of turbomachinery experience
and an operational database from the
industrys largest installed eet guarantee a
robust design, smaller footprint and a long
mean time between maintenance. Available
with either active magnetic or oil bearings,
our turboexpander-compressors are leading
the way in providing increased efciency for
refrigeration applications around the world.
geoilandgas.com
GE imagination at work
Select 59 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
HPIN CONTROL
The author is a principal consultant in advanced process control and online
optimization with Petrocontrol. He specializes in the use of first-principles models
for inferential process control and has developed a number of distillation and reactor
models. Dr. Friedmans experience spans over 30 years in the hydrocarbon industry,
working with Exxon Research and Engineering, KBC Advanced Technology and since
1992 with Petrocontrol. He holds a BS degree from the Israel Institute of Technology
(Technion) and a PhD degree from Purdue University.
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING AUGUST 2010

I

13

clifftent@hotmail.com
PIERRE R. LATOUR, GUEST COLUMNIST
HPIN CONTROL
In April 2010, I followed Allan Kerns automation reassessment
editorial
1
with a call to renew the practice of process control and
IT in the HPI. Now I follow his thoughtful July 2010 editorial
2
on
continuous improvement or core competency. After 50 years, it is
time to restart with a reminder of the purpose of instrumentation,
control systems, IT and CIM, critique weaknesses and offer ways
to strengthen their financial performance.
As I write this, BP is struggling to contain its Deepwater Horizon
well and operate its Texas City, Texas, Refinery. Refiners are strug-
gling for profitability and survival worldwide. The current HPI
operating problem is not instruments, valves, control algorithms,
tuning, modeling, alarm management, displays, computers, KPIs,
best practices, Six-Sigma, ISO9000, SQC, software, informa-
tion, technology, maintenance, training, management, organiza-
tion, awareness or culture. These are useful ideas that should be
converted to mathematically based actions with the appropriate
performance measure.
Its KNOW HOW. Lack thereof. Insufficient competency. The
HPI needs the knowhow to identify, capture and sustain maximum
expected value profits to always operate right.
Situation. HPI plants are operated by adjusting process oper-
ating conditions: setpoints, specs and limits on controlled vari-
ables (CVs) and key performance indicators (KPIs). All we can
do is specify a CV mean and reduce its variance. While process
control does the latter, there is no standard method for the
former, so it is done by human experience. Therefore, the pro-
cedure for assessing the value of reduced variance or dynamic
performance is incomplete and invalid. Process control, IT and
CIM continue to suffer from a lack of a rigorous standard finan-
cial performance measure. People do not agree on the purpose
of systems and how to keep score; like whether a touchdown is
worth 6 points or 5.
Purpose. The purpose of tools, products, layers and systems
is to operate plants better: safely and efficiently, as measured
by long-term profitability. This is done by identifying CV/KPI
measurements that affect profitability, specifying setpoints that
optimize the risky financial tradeoffs associated with each and
controlling them tightly about those optimum setpoints. My
assumption is the only thing operators can affect are process
operating conditions (mean and variance), encompassed by suf-
ficient CVs/KPIs. While the knowhow for step 3 has been com-
mercialized since 1960, the failure to adopt a standard method
3,
4
for step 2 impedes our ability to relate CVs/KPIs to financial
performance. This causes confusion for step 1, inability to specify
appropriate models and IT, ad hoc estimates of financial value of
step 3 and inability to capture benefits from step 2 with IT.
In April 2010 I blamed flawed logic used to quantify the
financial value of all process control and IT since 1970 as a basic
cause of the crippling disconnects between the layers, compo-
nents and technologies.
Kern writes about core competencies for operational excel-
lence.
2
The method for establishing setpoints to optimize risky CV
tradeoffs shows what those core competencies should be and pro-
vides the information requirements they should provide for operat-
ing excellence. The important inputs are near-term forecasts of CV
uncertainties (variance from data historians), process and economic
sensitivities to CV means and limit violation consequence cliffs
(from models and business). This is the framework for IT require-
ments and continuous improvement to determine and maintain
this information in real time and act upon it faithfully.
New idea. The basic idea is to direct the attention of HPI oper-
ations management to the rigorous way
3
to determine setpoints
to maximize expected value profit from risky tradeoffs for every
meaningful CV/KPI. This is essential to deal with disasters plagu-
ing the HPI like refinery explosions, drill-hole well leaks and
environmental damage, while maximizing real profit potential.
Focusing on subcategory objectives like energy, yield, capacity,
quality, inventory, safety, manpower and technology, rather than
optimizing the risky financial tradeoffs among them is a basic
handicap to success because they are all connected. While safety
violations can never be eliminated permanently, surprises can
be reduced, remedy plans deployed and learning from mistakes
strengthened. Taking intelligent calculated risks is preferable to
taking unintelligent uncalculated risks.
Adopting the rigorous method
3
for setpoints that optimize
risky tradeoffs provides the way to evaluate the value of instru-
ments, components, layers, models, IT and solutions. This is
the proper path to renewal and success. In the end, Kern
1, 2

and Latour
3, 4
will unite to provide guidelines for renewing the
practice of process control engineering during refinery golden
ages and downturns. HP
LITERATURE CITED

1
Kern, Allan, Back to the Future: A Process Control Strategy for 2010,
Hydrocarbon Processing, February 2010.

2
Kern, Allan, Continuous improvement or core-competency, Hydrocarbon
Processing, July 2010.

3
Latour, P. R., Process control: CLIFFTENT shows its more profitable than
expected, Hydrocarbon Processing, December 1996, pp. 7580. Republished
in Kane, Les, Ed., Advanced Process Control and Information Systems for
the Process Industries, Gulf Publishing Co. 1999, pp. 3137.

4
Latour, P. R., Demise and keys to the rise of process control, Hydrocarbon
Processing, March 2006, pp. 7180 and Letters to Editor, Process Control,
Hydrocarbon Processing, June 2006, p. 42.
Process control practice renewal 2010purpose
The author, president of CLIFFTENT Inc., is an independent consulting chemical
engineer specializing in identifying, capturing and sustaining measurable financial
value from HPI dynamic process control, IT and CIM solutions (CLIFFTENT) using
performance-based shared riskshared reward (SR2) technology licensing.
Reliability has
no quitting time.
Think about ITT.
Conoow | Enidine | Fabri-Valve | Fiberbond | Goulds | ITT Standard | Midland-ACS | Neo-Dyn
In oil and gas facilities around the world, ITT delivers pumps, valves, composite piping, switches,
regulators and vibration isolation systems that can handle harsh conditions and keep going.
After all, in the 24/7/365 renery business, the last thing you want is a piece of equipment that
fails. With ITT, your processes stay upand your total cost of ownership stays down. For more
information, and to receive our Oil and Gas catalog, visit www.ittoilgas.com or call 1-800-734-7867.
Select 86 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING AUGUST 2010

I


15
HPIMPACT
MIT studies the
future of natural gas
Natural gas will play a leading role in
reducing greenhouse-gas emissions over the
next several decades, largely by replacing
older, inefficient coal plants with highly effi-
cient combined-cycle gas generation. Thats
the conclusion reached by a comprehen-
sive study of the future of natural gas con-
ducted by an MIT study group comprised
of 30 MIT faculty members, researchers
and graduate students.
The two-year study, managed by the
MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI), exam-
ined the scale of US natural gas reserves
and the potential of this fuel to reduce
greenhouse-gas emissions. The report
examines the future of natural gas through
2050 from the perspectives of technology,
economics, politics, national security and
the environment.
The report includes a set of specific pro-
posals for legislative and regulatory policies,
as well as recommendations for actions that
the energy industry can pursue on its own,
to maximize the fuels impact on mitigating
greenhouse gas. The study also examined
ways to control the environmental impacts
that could result from a significant expansion
in the production and use of natural gas
especially in electric power production.
The study found that there are significant
global supplies of conventional gas. How
much of this gas gets produced and used,
and the extent of its impact on greenhouse
gas reductions, depends critically on some
key political and regulatory decisions.
Key findings. The US has a significant
natural gas resource base, enough to equal
about 92 years worth at present domestic
consumption rates. Much of this is from
unconventional sources, including gas
shales. Globally, baseline estimates show that
recoverable gas resources probably amount
to 16,200 trillion cf, enough to last over 160
years at current global consumption rates.
In the US, unconventional gas resources are
rapidly overtaking conventional resources as
the primary source of gas production. The
US currently consumes around 22 trillion
cf per year and has a gas resource base now
thought to exceed 2,000 trillion cf.
In order to bring about the kind of sig-
nificant expansion in the use of natural gas
identified in this study, substantial addi-
tions to the existing processing, delivery and
storage facilities will be required in order to
handle greater amounts and the changing
patterns of distribution (such as the delivery
of gas from newly developed sources in the
Midwest and Northeast).
Environmental issues associated with
producing unconventional gas resources are
manageable but challenging. Risks include:
shallow freshwater aquifer contamination
with fracture fluids; surface water contami-
nation by returned fracture fluids; and sur-
face and local community disturbance, due
to drilling and fracturing activities.
Natural-gas consumption will increase
dramatically and will largely displace coal
in the power generation sector by 2050 (the
time horizon of the study) under a model-
ing scenario where, through carbon emis-
sions pricing, industrialized nations reduce
CO
2
emissions by 50% by 2050, and large
emerging economies, e.g. China, India and
Brazil reduce CO
2
emissions by 50 percent
by 2070. This assumes incremental reduc-
tions in the current price structures of the
alternatives, including renewables, nuclear
and carbon capture and sequestration.
The overbuilding of natural gas com-
bined cycle (NGCC) plants starting in the
mid-1990s presents a significant oppor-
tunity for near term reductions in CO
2

emissions from the power sector. The cur-
rent fleet of NGCC units has an average
capacity factor of 41%, relative to a design
capacity factor of up to 85%. However,
with no carbon constraints, coal generation
is generally dispatched to meet demand
before NGCC generation because of its
lower fuel price.
Modeling of the ERCOT region (largely
Texas) suggests that CO
2
emissions could
be reduced by as much as 22% with no
additional capital investment and without
impacting system reliability by requiring a
dispatch order that favors NGCC genera-
tion over inefficient coal generation; pre-
liminary modeling suggests that nation-
wide CO
2
emissions would be reduced by
over 10%. At the same time, this would
also reduce air pollutants such as oxides of
sulfur and nitrogen.
PLC and PLC-based PAC
market poised to rebound
The global programmable logic con-
troller (PLC) and PLC-based programma-
ble automation controller (PAC) market
declined significantly across all regions of
the world in 2009. The market declined in
emerging economies as well, but the decline
was much less severe in those regions due
to substantial infrastructure stimulus fund-
ing, fewer financial institutional issues and
a more rapid turnaround in local consumer
demand for goods and services. While it is
difficult to view any market growth through
the lenses of the recent economic environ-
ment, there are many dynamics that will
drive market growth over the next five-year
forecast period.
Industries will continue to invest in auto-
mation. As a result, the worldwide market
for PLCs and PLC-based PACs is expected
to grow over the next five years.
Growing demands for energy savings,
higher infrastructure productivity, increased
production accuracy, better product qual-
ity, greater machine agility, tighter process
control and additional safety are some of the
crucial factors that will fuel market growth,
according to Himanshu Shah, a senior ana-
lyst at ARC Advisory Group.
New stimulus packages from various
governments added more investments in
the infrastructure industries, including new
road construction, water and wastewater
infrastructure and electric power generating
plants. Globalization has also created a large
demand for modern infrastructure, especially
in emerging economies. Airport facilities and
new road construction are driving demand
for products from the oil and gas and metals
and mining industries. Emerging economies
know that their current infrastructure is a
huge bottleneck for their continuing high
economic growth. PLCs and PLC-based
PACs will benefit in this environment as it
is a key component for any infrastructure
development and operation.
Europe, the Middle East and Africa
(EMEA), the largest PLC and PLC-based
PAC market, was particularly hit the hardest
compared to other world regions.
For more information on this study, go
to: www.arcweb.com/res/plc. HP
BILLY THINNES, NEWS EDITOR
BT@HydrocarbonProcessing.com
Select 55 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
HPINNOVATIONS
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING AUGUST 2010

I


17
SELECTED BY HYDROCARBON PROCESSING EDITORS
editorial@gulfpub.com
Stackable reactor enables
superior heat transfer
The stackable structural reactor (SSR)
from Catacel Corporation is a direct
replacement for the loose ceramic catalyst
media traditionally used in the station-
ary steam-reforming process by industrial
plants to produce hydrogen from natu-
ral gas. The heat transfer increase gained
from advanced SSR catalyst technology
can enable an approximate 25% through-
put improvement from most reformers to
create significant energy and capital sav-
ings in hydrogen production as well as fuel
cell, biofuel, alternative energy and solid/
gas-to-liquid applications.
Conventional steam reforming.
Typically, ceramic catalyst beds must be
replaced every three to five years due to
mechanical degradation of the media. The
ceramic media tends to crush to powder
after several startup/shutdown cycles.
Accumulating powder in the tube leads to
the reactor plugging. This creates material
replacement and hazardous waste disposal
costs as well as downtime. Initial equip-
ment expenses might also be higher due
to built-in design provisions for changing
out the catalyst.
Catacels SSR solution. The SSR is a
honeycomb made from a special grade of
high-temperature stainless steel foil coated
with a reforming catalyst. Individual reac-
tors are approximately the size and shape
of a one-pound coffee can and are stacked
vertically to fill the reaction tube. Because
it is made from metal foil, the SSR elimi-
nates primary problems, such as crushing,
plugging and replacing conventional loose
ceramic media. Furthermore, its high sur-
face area inhibits catalytic deterioration,
potentially tripling a continuous opera-
tion lifespan over ceramic media.
The corrugation/flow channels in the
SSR are unique. They are positioned such
that conductive, convective and radiant
heat from the reformer tubes is efficiently
transferred to all working catalytic sur-
faces. This improved surface utilization
results in increased capacity and/or lower
system cost. By contrast, catalyst surfaces
near the center of ceramic systems are dif-
ficult to heat, which compromises their
effectiveness. Alternatively, the higher
heat transfer of the SSR promotes lower
furnace temperatures with consequent
energy savings and extended tube life
(Fig. 1).
Select 1 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
New technology analyzes
difficult water samples
New technology from GE will make
it easier for the water process industry to
analyze difficult industrial water samples.
Expanding GEs capabilities for process,
environmental and wastewater analysis,
the Sievers InnovOx online total organic
carbon (TOC) analyzer will allow users
to analyze challenging water samples on a
routine basis without requiring excessive
preventive maintenance. Monitoring the
levels of TOC in the water is an impor-
tant step for industrial users to control
processes that are critical to their opera-
tions and to comply with regulations.
The Sievers InnovOx offers increased
uptime and instrument reliability, two
important features when it comes to ana-
lyzing difficult industrial samples. It has
been designed by GE Power & Waters
analytical instruments unit, petroleum,
pulp and paper, and food and beverage
markets, as well as environmental organi-
zations and municipalities.
The InnovOx online, like its InnovOx
laboratory model predecessor, uses an
innovative supercritical water oxidation
(SCWO) technique that offers enhanced
reliability, greater ease of use and lower
maintenance than other TOC analyzers.
By utilizing SCWO, the InnovOx is the
TOC instrument most capable of cost-
effectively analyzing difficult industrial
process, environmental and wastewater
samples on a routine basis. SCWO has his-
torically been used to treat large volumes
of aqueous-waste streams, sludges and con-
taminated soils. GE is the first company
to use this technique in a commercially
available TOC analyzer.
The first commercial application for
the new InnovOx online TOC analyzer is
monitoring seawater in Taiwan. The sea-
water, which contains about 3% sodium
chloride, is used as industrial-process
water, and both incoming and outgoing
water streams need to be monitored for
environmental protection. A main source
of contamination can be hydrocarbons
As HP editors, we hear about new products,
patents, software, processes, services, etc.,
that are true industry innovationsa cut
above the typical product offerings. This sec-
tion enables us to highlight these significant
developments. For more information from
these companies, please go to our Website
at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/rs and
select the reader service number.
Ceramic pellets
coated with
nickel catalyst
Metal ns
coated with
nickel catalyst
Natural gas + steam
CH
4
+ 3H
2
O
Temperature, C
Furnace Tube Reaction
New 1,036 918 824
5 years 1,062 939 837
Change +26 +21 +13
Temperature, C
Furnace Tube Reaction
New 983 877 824
5 years 998 885 824
Change +15 +8 0
~50% hydrogen + ....
H
2
+ CO + CO
2
+ CH
4
+ H
2
O
Natural gas + steam
CH
4
+ 3H
2
O
~50% hydrogen + ....
H
2
+ CO + CO
2
+ CH
4
+ H
2
O
A traditional ceramic delivery method vs. a Catacel SSR delivery method. FIG. 1
HPINNOVATIONS
18
coming from a petrochemical refining
process. The InnovOxs robust handling
of the brine sample was a significant factor
in the analyzers selection.
The TOC market demanded technol-
ogy with greater reliability and uptime,
two critical needs that were not being
met, said Stephen Poirier, vice president
of business development for the analytical
instruments unit of GE Power & Water.
Select 2 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
Advanced technology converts
CH
4
and CO
2
into gasoline
Carbon Sciences, Inc., the developer of
a breakthrough technology to transform
greenhouse gases into gasoline and other
portable fuels, announced the filing of the
first of a series of patent applications for
its highly scalable clean-tech CO
2
-based
gas-to-liquids (GTL) fuel technology for
transforming a combination of natural gas
and CO
2
directly into gasoline.
This first patent application discloses
the design and manufacturing of a novel
chemical catalyst that converts methane
gas and CO
2
directly into gasoline. These
greenhouse gases can be sourced from
natural gas fields or human-made coal-
fired power plants, landfill gas, municipal
waste and even algae.
This heralds a new era for Carbon Sci-
ences and it means that our plan for deliv-
ering a market-ready technology could
be delivered as soon as next year, said
Byron Elton, CEO of Carbon Sciences.
The ongoing tragic events involving
BPs unchecked flow of oil into the Gulf
of Mexico further underscores the urgent
need to reduce and eliminate our addic-
tion to petroleum, foreign and domestic.
Carbon Sciences breakthrough technology
takes us closer to a world without petro-
leum by essentially transforming pollution
into energy.
The announcement is related to the
most important module of the companys
previously announced end-to-end CO
2
-
to-fuel system that recycles raw CO
2
flue
emissions from carbon emitters like coal-
fired power plants directly into gasoline
and other portable fuels. The new mod-
ule under development is designed to
be a stand-alone system to substantially
shorten the timeline to commercialization,
and reduce the overall systems and operat-
ing costs and produce a fuel that can be
used in the existing infrastructure, supply
chain and vehicles.
Dr. Naveed Aslam, the companys chief
technology officer, commented, We are
very excited about the stand-alone com-
mercialization of our CO
2
GTL gaso-
line module. This system will provide a
sizable part of the energy industry with
an immediate clean-tech solution for
the energy and climate challenges we
face. Unlike other technologies, such as
those for algae biofuels, that may require
decades for commercial deployment, our
plan for delivering a market-ready tech-
nology may be available as soon as early
next year. Within a short period of time,
we believe that the world can stop drilling
for oil and start converting natural gas and
greenhouse gases to gasoline.
Mr. Elton added, The clear and short
path to commercialization with this new
CO
2
-based gas-to-liquids technology makes
it our singular focus for the next 12 to 18
months. The companys Website has been
updated to reflect this strategy and focus.
Select 3 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
Better performance, less downtime, better proftability
everyone approves of that.
Call 1-866-335-3369 or visit sentron.ca to begin your trial.
Petro-Canada is a Suncor Energy business
TM
Trademark of Suncor Energy Inc. Used under licence.
Sentron LD5000
Field Tested. Field Proven.
GEJ Type-6 Approved.
LUB2659
Select 152 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
HPINNOVATIONS



19
Revolutionary new
industrial insulation product
Visionary Industrial Insulation recently
announced that it has commenced sales as
the master distributor what is claimed to
be a revolutionary new insulation product
(Fig. 2), high-temperature layered insula-
tion (HITLIN), to industrial clients across
North America. Typical clients include
power plants, refineries, petrochemical
plants, geothermal units and concentrat-
ing solar power plants. HITLIN is used in
process applications up to 1,400F.
HITLIN insulation is being hailed as
the new generation of industrial insulation
for the many advantages it provides over
traditional products offered by competitors.
Energy savings, durability, reusability, labor
savings and eco-friendliness. Together, these
add up to significant cost savings, 50%
or more, for HITLIN users and Vision-
ary Industrial Insulation customers. Total
installed costs and lifecycle costs can be
much lower than competing products.
HITLIN is made of continuous fila-
ment e-glass fibers that are bound through
an enhanced mechanical needle-punching
process then mandrel-wound into various
pipe cover sizes. When compared to previ-
ous industry standards calcium silicate and
perlite, HITLIN is proven to offer 49% less
heat loss than Calcium Silicate and 57%
less than perlite due to its low thermal con-
ductivity properties.
The patented manufacturing pro-
cess yields a high-density product that is
extremely durable and reusable. HITLIN
is manufactured without using hazardous
organic chemical binders that are tradi-
tionally used with fiberglass and mineral
wool products. HITLIN is available in
two-piece preformed standard piping sizes
from in. to 44 in. in diameter. It is also
available preformed to fit the curvature of
any tank, vessel, exchanger or other equip-
ment. Thicknesses up to 6 in. are available
often eliminating the need for multiple
layers. With its durability and reusability,
HITLIN can outlast the pipes on which it
is installed.
HITLIN insulation sections can be
removed and reinstalled; that it can be
reused makes the product eco-friendly and
the absence of hazardous chemical binders
also cuts down on bio-waste. Low chloride
content makes HITLIN a preferred prod-
uct for reducing the possibility of stress cor-
rosion cracking in stainless steel piping.
Select 4 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
Visionary Industrial Insulations
new product.
FIG. 2
See us at ONS Exhibition
Stavanger, Norway
24-27 August 2010
Booth # J1022
Select 153 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
a
i
_
a
l
l
g
_
1
8
.
2
_
e
n


a
i
k
Outstanding availability, efciency and high
accuracy are key priorities in oil & gas tech-
nology and turbomachinery applications. We
are your reliable partner when it comes to
systems competence, quality and innovative
products.
Voith variable-speed drives efciently con-
trol speed of compressors and pumps. They
convince by low life cycle costs and long
service lifetimes. They offer signicant en-
ergy savings.
Voith Turbo BHS sets the standards in qual-
ity, technology, safety and reliability for turbo
gearboxes. Operators of gas and steam
turbines worldwide rely on BHS integral,
parallel shaft and epicyclic gearboxes to
transmit up to 80 MW or up to 60 000 rpm.
Voith actuators and control systems accu-
rately and reliably dose gas and steam mass
ows of gas turbines, steam turbines and
compressors.
We have service locations all over the world.
So we are nearby, in case you need us.
www.voithturbo.com/industry
Certainty that everything is running smoothly.
Thats what moves us.
Hairmann Hayak,
Regional Service Manager
Variable-Speed Drives,
Voith Turbo Singapore
Visit us
Booth D1
Visit us
Booth 731
Select 52 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING AUGUST 2010

I


21
TREND ANALYSIS FORECASTING
Hydrocarbon Processing maintains an
extensive database of historical HPI proj-
ect information. Current project activity
is published three times a year in the HPI
Construction Boxscore. When a project
is completed, it is removed from current
listings and retained in a database. The
database is a 35-year compilation of proj-
ects by type, operating company, licen-
sor, engineering/constructor, location, etc.
Many companies use the historical data for
trending or sales forecasting.
The historical information is available in
comma-delimited or Excel

and can be cus-


tom sorted to suit your needs. The cost of
the sort depends on the size and complex-
ity of the sort you request and whether a
customized program must be written. You
can focus on a narrow request such as the
history of a particular type of project or
you can obtain the entire 35-year Boxscore
database, or portions thereof.
Simply send a clear description of the data
you need and you will receive a prompt
cost quotation. Contact:
Lee Nichols
P. O. Box 2608
Houston, Texas, 77252-2608
Fax: 713-525-4626
e-mail: Lee.Nichols@gulfpub.com.
HPIN CONSTRUCTION
BILLY THINNES, NEWS EDITOR
BT@HydrocarbonProcessing.com
North America
Enterprise Products Partners refined
products storage facility in Port Arthur,
Texas, which was built to support the expan-
sion of a nearby refinery, has commenced
commercial operations and received its first
deliveries. The new tank farm serves as the
sole distribution point for output from the
refinery as part of a 15-year throughput
and volume dedication agreement. Enter-
prises storage facility, which represents an
investment of approximately $330 million,
features 20 storage tanks with 5.4 million
barrels of capacity for gasoline, diesel and
jet fuel. In addition, five pipelines transport
the various products from the refinery to
the storage site.
Indorama Ventures Public Co.s
432,000 tpy PET resin plant, known as
AlphaPet Inc., recently completed con-
struction and opened for operation in Deca-
tur, Alabama. The plant, which is co-located
on the site of BP Chemicals PTA facility
in Decatur, will serve North America with
PET resin. AlphaPet employs melt-to-resin
(MTR) technology provided under license
by Uhde Inventa Fischer of Germany.
South America
PERU LNG recently completed con-
struction and has successfully produced its
first cargo of LNG. The project is located
in the remote Pampa Melchorita area, 170
kilometers south of Lima, Peru. The plant,
with capacity of approximately 4.5 million
tpy, cools the natural gas to 160C, reduc-
ing the volume by approximately 600 times
to facilitate storage and transportation.
The liquefaction plant utilizes a propane
pre-cooled mixed component refrigerant
process, four refrigeration compressors,
two gas turbines and associated systems.
In addition, CB&I constructed a gas treat-
ment plant, power generation utilities, two
130,000-cubic meter LNG storage tanks,
the topsides of the 1,300-meter trestle and
the ship loading facilities.
Petrobras and Refinaria de Petrleos
de Manguinhos SA are discussing the pos-
sibility of modernizing the Manguinhos,
Brazil, refinery to enhance its production
of gasoline, diesel and other products,
including biodiesel. The modernization
would include upgrading transportation
and logistics services.
Mustang has been chosen by Corval
Group as a partner in its study to deter-
mine the feasibility of increasing oil refin-
ing capacity in North Dakota. Mustangs
scope of work includes preparation of a site
selection basis and plan, refinery emissions
estimates, construction schedule, utility
balances and process descriptions for all
major systems. The genesis of this study
was an April 2008 report issued by the US
Geological Survey that said North Dakota
and Montana have an estimated 3 to 4.3
billion barrels of undiscovered, technically
recoverable oil in the Bakken formation.
The US Department of Energy, through
the National Energy Technology Labora-
tory, is funding the study, which is sched-
uled to be completed by July 2010, and the
North Dakota Association of Rural Electric
Cooperatives is the project administrator.
Europe
Gazprom JSC and Siemens AG plan
to construct a demo plant for LNG pro-
duction based on liquefaction technology.
They will also study the possibility of the
joint manufacturing of components for
Russian LNG plants.
Middle East
Foster Wheeler AGs Global Engineer-
ing and Construction Group has a feasibil-
ity study and front-end engineering design
(FEED) contract with the Iraqi Ministry
of Oil for a new grassroots refinery at Nas-
siriya, Iraq. The proposed refinery will have
a capacity of 300,000 bpd.
Borouge has awarded several major
engineering, procurement and construction
(EPC) contracts valued at approximately
$2.6 billion for its Borouge 3 expansion
project in Abu Dhabi, UAE. These signifi-
cant investments will expand the produc-
tion capacity of the plant to 4.5 million
tpy by 2013, making it one of the largest
integrated polyolefins sites in the world. A
contract worth $1.25 billion was awarded
to the joint venture consortium of Tecni-
mont and Samsung Engineering for the
construction of two enhanced polyethyl-
ene units and two enhanced polypropylene
units, as well as a contract worth $400 mil-
lion for the construction of a 350,000-tpy
low density polyethylene (LDPE) unit.The
annual capacity of the polyethylene units is
1 million tpy and the polypropylene units
capacity is 960,000 tpy.
Foster Wheeler AGs Global Engineer-
ing and Construction Group has contracts
with SOCAR & TURCAS Rafineri A..
(STRAS) for its planned grassroots refinery
to be built within the Petkim Petrokimya
A.. (PETKM) facilities at Aliaa, Tur-
key. The contracts cover overall front-end
engineering design for the new refinery and
the license and basic design package for
the delayed coker, which will use Foster
Wheelers delayed coking technology. The
planned new facility will have a capacity of
214,000 bpd. Naphtha and fuel oil from
the hydrocracking unit will be delivered
to PETKM for petrochemical use. The
refinery will include crude and vacuum
distillation units, naphtha hydrotreating, a
40,000-bpd delayed coking unit, a 66,000
bpd hydrocracking unit, kerosine and die-
sel hydrotreaters, LPG caustic treatment
TREND ANALYSIS FORECASTING
Hydrocarbon Processing maintains an
extensive database of historical HPI proj-
ect information. The Boxscore Database is a
35-year compilation of projects by type, oper-
ating company, licensor, engineering/construc-
tor, location, etc. Many companies use the his-
torical data for trending or sales forecasting.
The historical information is available in
comma-delimited or Excel

and can be cus-


tom sorted to suit your needs. The cost of the
sort depends on the size and complexity of
the sort you request and whether a custom-
ized program must be written. You can focus
on a narrow request such as the history of a
particular type of project or you can obtain
the entire 35-year Boxscore database, or por-
tions thereof.
Simply send a clear description of the data
you need and you will receive a prompt cost
quotation. Contact:
Lee Nichols
P. O. Box 2608, Houston, Texas, 77252-2608
Fax: 713-525-4626
e-mail: Lee.Nichols@gulfpub.com
HPIN CONSTRUCTION
22

units, a 28,000-bpd continuous catalytic
reformer, a saturated gas unit, an amine
and sour water stripper, sulfur and tail gas
treatment units and a 160,000-Nm
3
/h
hydrogen unit, as well as utilities, auxiliary
systems and offsite facilities.
CB&I has a contract valued in excess
of $70 million with Daewoo Engineer-
ing and Construction Co., Ltd. to pro-
vide the propylene storage tanks for the
Ruwais refinery expansion project in Abu
Dhabi, UAE. CB&Is scope of the project is
expected to be completed in 2013.
Africa
Foster Wheeler AGs Global Engi-
neering and Construction Group has
an engineering, procurement, and con-
struction management (EPCm) services
contract with Socit Nationale de Raffi-
nage (SONARA) for Phase 1 of the Limb
refinery upgrade and modernization proj-
ect in Cameroon.
KBR has received final change order
agreements with its joint venture partners
Technip and JGC Corp. for the Yemen
LNG plant. The contract for this lump-
sum turnkey project, valued at more than
$2 billion, was first announced in Septem-
ber 2005. Train 2 of the Yemen project was
ready for startup status on March 12 and
care, custody and control of the project has
been turned over to the client.
Foster Wheeler AGs Global Engi-
neering and Construction Group has
a contract with GDF SUEZ to carry out
the pre-front-end engineering design (pre-
FEED) for the development of an onshore
LNG plant and offshore gas gathering infra-
structure. The project seeks to establish a
national gas transportation network linking
Cameroons offshore gas resources with the
state-sanctioned onshore site near Kribi on
the southern coastline of Cameroon.
Asia-Pacific
Technip has three lump sum turnkey
contracts from Mangalore Refinery & Pet-
rochemicals Ltd. (MRPL). The contracts
are worth a total value of approximately 25
million. They are for an expansion project at
MRPLs refinery located in Mangalore, India.
This project will increase the refinerys crude
refining capacity to 15 million tpy. The con-
tracts cover the design, engineering, supply
and installation of fired heaters in four major
units of the MRPL refinery: the crude distilla-
tion, vacuum distillation, delayed coking and
petrochemical fluid catalytic cracking units.
Air Products joint venture company
based in Sichuan, China, has signed a long-
term agreement to build a hydrogen produc-
tion facility for PetroChina Co. Ltd. The
steam methane reformer will produce hydro-
gen and syngas to support PetroChinas Sich-
uan refinery and petrochemical facilities.
The facility will produce over 90 million
standard cfd of hydrogen and is targeted to
be on stream in early 2012.
Enersul has a contract from Hyundai
Engineering Co., Ltd. to provide sulfur
granulation technology for a new gas plant
in Turkmenistan. These granulation units
will be a part of the gas plants sulfur facil-
ity operated by state-owned Turkmengas
which produces, processes and exports all
gas reserves. HP
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING AUGUST 2010

I


25
editorial@HydrocarbonProcessing.com
Chemical process safety chat
Thank you for publishing the process
safety-related article by Mr. Shah about
layers of protection (p. 67, April 2010). I
am a long-time reader and have seen very
few, if any, articles in Hydrocarbon Processing
that I would classify as pure process safety.
Mr. Shahs article is a very good high-level
overview of LOPA and I hope it prompts
readers to make the effort to learn more
about this valuable risk-management tool.
I am a process safety professional and teach
several process safety related classes. LOPA
is included in most of them as a tool for
improved risk management. Reading Mr.
Shahs article gives me the incentive to offer
process safety-related articles for publication
in Hydrocarbon Processing.
There is one minor correction to the arti-
cle that should be made. Mr. Shah references
CCPS as Center Chemical and Process
Safety. That is not the correct title. CCPS
is the Center for Chemical Process Safety
and was formed in early 1985 by AIChE
after the Bhopal tragedy. The mission was
(and still is) to eliminate catastrophic pro-
cess incidents by advancing state-of-the-art
technology and management practices, serv-
ing as the premier resource for information
on process safety, supporting process safety
in engineering, and promoting process
safety as a key industry value. Originally,
there were 17 members. CCPS now has over
120 member companies in 19 countries. To
learn more about CCPS, go to http://www.
aiche.org/ccps/.
Adrian L. Sepeda, P.E.
A. L. Sepeda Consulting Inc.
Plano, Texas
A dual-temperature
control challenge
In his March 2010 HPIn Control
column (p. 17), Y. Zak Friedman chal-
lenged me to write an article showing a
real column having stable dual-temperature
control. I have written many such articles
in the past, so the history of success is well
established. For example, see the applica-
tion to a styrene-ethylbenzene column (Oil
& Gas J., July 14, 1969), to an alkylation
deisobutanizer (Oil & Gas J., July 28, 1969)
and to a series of columns in an NGL sepa-
ration unit (Chem. Eng. Progr., June 1975).
Obviously, this is not news.
Out of respect for client privilege, I am
not at liberty to present recent success sto-
ries of stable dual-temperature controls.
Those who are interested should not draw
any conclusions from Friedmans one-page
editorial without first reading my entire
10-page article, Multivariable Control of
Distillation, appearing in Control in May,
June and July 2009.
F. G. Shinskey
Process Control Consultant
Wolfeboro, New Hampshire
Authors response
Mr. Shinskeys 1969 and 1975 papers
are not relevant to the current argument.
The papers are about mass balance control
structure with analyzer feedback, sometimes
with a single tray temperature controller.
Neither paper contains any process data
to support Mr. Shinskeys position, but in
any case, the argument that mass balance is
sometimes a useful control technique is not
controversial. What is controversial is dual
composition control implemented on top of
unstable dual-temperature control.
I would repeat that the only reasonable
way to promote a theory is to show that it
works in practice. I am actually surprised to
hear that clients have declined to release Mr.
Shinskeys technical papers. In my experi-
ence, clients who are proud of their APC
applications are eager to publish papers and
participate as authors.
Y. Zak Friedman
Correcting a misperception
There was misinformation in the Janu-
ary 2010 issue. I am referring to the HPIn-
novations section (p. 19) which indicates
that Curtiss-Wrights pressure-relief software
has now been awarded a US patent. How-
ever, the title gives an incorrect impression
to your readers (Pressure-relief software
awarded first US patent). The title implies
that Curtiss-Wright has obtained the first-
ever US patent that was awarded for pres-
sure-relief software. We wish to point out
that Siemens Pressure Protection Manager
was the first software for which the US
Patent Office granted a patent. This pat-
ent was granted in 1995. As such, the title
of the article should read, Pressure-relief
software awarded a US patent. This change
removes the ambiguity for your readers and
is grounded in the aforementioned facts.
Eva-Maria Baumann
Siemens AG Energy Sector
Erlangen, Germany
A plastics fan
I want to thank you for publishing the
article, Plastics enable better automobile
designs in your April 2010 issue (p. 43).
As someone who has been involved in the
automotive and petrochemical industries
for over 20 years, I cant tell you how much
advances in polymers have made vehicles
safer, lighter, more responsive and pro-
portionally less expensive. The fact that
automakers can use plastics in fenders and
bumpers, instead of more expensive met-
als, ups profit margins for producers and
lowers sticker prices for consumers. By my
reckoning, thats a good deal for everyone.
While the world may not know how much
it depends on plastics, this community does
and we should continue to develop even
more advanced polymers.
Peter Sanderson, P.E.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
An expression of love
I just love this statement by Heinz P.
Bloch, Dont employ the nonteachable,
from his May 2010 HPIn Reliability col-
umn. Sorry but it had me and our engineers
in stitches. If this rule were applied at the
CEO, COO and CFO levels, we might
begin to get somewhere!
Harry J. Gatley, Chem.E., P.Eng, P.E.
West Jordan, Utah
Hydrocarbon Processing welcomes
and encourages feedback from its
readers. Send your comments to:
Hydrocarbon Processing
Attention: Letters to the editor
P.O. Box 2608, Houston, Texas 77046
editorial@HydrocarbonProcessing.com
26

I
AUGUST 2010 HYDROCARBON PROCESSING
HPI CONSTRUCTION BOXSCORE UPDATE
Company City Plant Site Project Capacity Unit Cost Status Yr Cmpl Licensor Engineering Constructor
UNITED STATES
Illinois Air Products Granite City Granite City Air Separation Unit (1) 500 tpd P 2012 Air Products
Illinois Air Products Granite City Granite City Air Separation Unit (2) RE 500 tpd P 2012 Air Products
Kentucky Marathon Petroleum Catlettsburg Catlettsburg Hydrocrack, Gasoil 70 Mbpd C 2010 Shaw
Michigan FRONTIER RENEWABLE RES Kinross Kinross Bio-ethanol 40 MMgal F 2013
Utah PM Petroleum Green River Green River Refinery 25 Mbpd P 2014
LATIN AMERICA
Brazil Petrobras/BG/Repsol/Galp Energia Santos Santos LNG Floating (FLNG) 2.7 MMtpy F 2013 Technip Chiyoda|SBM Offshore|Technip
Brazil Petrobras Tres Lagoas Tres Lagoas Ammonia 2.2 Mm-tpd F 2013 KBR
Colombia Ecopetrol Barrancabermeja Barrancabermeja Coker, Delayed 54 Mbpd E 2013 FW
Colombia Ecopetrol Barrancabermeja Barrancabermeja Coker, Naphtha 30 Mbpd E 2013 FW
Colombia Ecopetrol Barrancabermeja Barrancabermeja Crude Unit 100 Mbpd E 2013 FW
Colombia Ecopetrol Barrancabermeja Barrancabermeja Hydrocracker 50 Mbpd E 2013 FW
Peru PERU LNG Pampa Melchorita Pampa Melchorita LNG Liquefaction Plant 4.5 MMtpy 3800 C 2010 CB&I CB&I
Peru PERU LNG Pampa Melchorita Pampa Melchorita Storage Train, LNG (1) 130 Mm3 3800 C 2010 CB&I CB&I
Peru PERU LNG Pampa Melchorita Pampa Melchorita Utilities None 3800 C 2010 CB&I CB&I
Venezuela Petronas/PDVSA/ONGC/Repsol/IOCL Jv Anzoategui Anzoategui Upgrader, Heavy Oil 200 Mbpd P 2014
ASIA/PACIFIC
China Ningbo Heyuan Chemical Ningbo Ningbo Methanol-to-Olefins (MTO) 600 Mm-tpy F 2012 CB&I
China Ningbo Heyuan Chemical Ningbo Ningbo Olefins Conversion 90 Mm-tpy F 2012 CB&I
China Xinwen Mining Group Xinjiang Yili Coal to SNG Plant 6 MMNm3/d P 2012 Davy Process
India Mangalore Rfg & Petrochemicals Mangalore Mangalore Heater, Coker None F 2011 Technip
India Mangalore Rfg & Petrochemicals Mangalore Mangalore Heater, Crude None F 2011 Technip
India Mangalore Rfg & Petrochemicals Mangalore Mangalore Heater, FCC None F 2011 Technip
India Mangalore Rfg & Petrochemicals Mangalore Mangalore Heater, Vacuum None F 2011 Technip
AFRICA
Cameroon GDF SUEZ Kribi Kribi LNG 3.5 MMtpy F 2012 FW
Egypt Carbon Holdings Ain Sokhna Ain Sokhna Polyethylene (1) 450 Mtpy F 2012 Univation
Egypt Carbon Holdings Ain Sokhna Ain Sokhna Polyethylene (2) 450 Mtpy F 2012 Univation
Egypt Carbon Holdings Ain Sokhna Ain Sokhna Polyethylene (3) 450 Mtpy F 2012 Univation
Nigeria Nigerian Natl Petr Corp Lekki Lekki Free Trade Zone Refinery 500 Mm-tpy S 2014
MIDDLE EAST
Iraq Iraq Ministry of Oil Basra Al Basrah Cracker, FCC 55 Mbpsd 17.9 F 2011 APS Eng Co Roma
Turkey Petkim/SOCAR/Turcas JV Aliaga Aliaga CCR 28 Mbpsd F 2014 FW
Turkey Petkim/SOCAR/Turcas JV Aliaga Aliaga Coker, Delayed 40 Mbpsd F 2014 FW
Turkey Petkim Petrokimya Hldg Aliaga Aliaga Hydrocracker 66 Mbpsd F 2014 FW
Turkey Petkim/SOCAR/Turcas JV Aliaga Aliaga Hydrogen 160 MNm3/h F 2014 FW
Turkey Petkim/SOCAR/Turcas JV Aliaga Aliaga Offsites None F 2014 FW
Turkey Petkim/SOCAR/Turcas JV Aliaga Aliaga Refinery 214 Mbpsd F 2014 FW FW
UAE Borouge III Ruwais Ruwais Polyethylene, LD 350 Mtpy 400 U 2013 Tecnimont Samsung Eng
See http://www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/bxsymbols for licensor, engineering and construction companies abbreviations,
along with the complete update of the HPI Construction Boxscore.
THE GLOBAL SOURCE
FOR TRACKING HPI
CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY
BOXSCORE DATABASE ONLINE
For more than 50 years, Hydrocarbon Processing
magazine remains the only source that collects and
maintains data specically for the HPI community,
publishing up-to-the-minute construction projects
from around the globe with our online product,
Boxscore Database. Updated weekly, our database
helps engineers, contractors and marketing personnel
identify active HPI construction projects around the
world to:
Generate leads
Market research
Track trend analysis
And, decide future budget planning.
Now, weve made our best product even better!
Enhancements include:
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Designing customized construction reports for your
company using our 50 years of archived projects.
For a Free 2 -Week Trial, contact Lee Nichols at
+1 (713) 525-4626, Lee.Nichols@GulfPub.com,
or visit www.ConstructionBoxscore.com
Select 155 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
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Select 69 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
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FLUID FLOW AND ROTATING EQUIPMENT SPECIALREPORT
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING AUGUST 2010

I


29
Prevent electric erosion in
variable-frequency drive bearings
Here are the reasons and remedial actions
H. P. BLOCH, HP Reliability/Equipment Editor
T
he problem of electric current pass-
ing through electrical machine roll-
ing bearings and causing damage in
the inner and outer ring ball or roller and
raceway contact areas has been known for
decades. In addition to the bearing element
damage, it was also understood that the
lubricant structure might change under
the influence of a passing current. Both
AC and DC motors potentially suffer from
the electric-current passage phenomenon.
However, since the 1990s, increasing use of
variable-frequency drives (VFDs) has had a
measurable effect on the number of motor
bearing failures. This article examines the
reasons and recommends remedial action
to be considered.
Modern induction machines are con-
trolled via fast-switching voltage-source
frequency converters that, in motors,
provide the possibility for precise con-
trol and adjusting rotational speed and
torque as well as energy regeneration at
braking operations. The power-switching
semiconductor devices used in frequency
converters have changed from thyristors
to gate turn-off transistors (GTOs) and
further to the insulated-gate bi-polar tran-
sistors (IGBTs) that dominate the VFD
market today. While IGBTs are used to
create the pulse-width-modulated (PWM)
output voltage waveform and thereby
improve drive efficiency and dynamic
performance, these advantages are not
achieved without certain drawbacks.
New effects have been observed when
power is supplied from a PWM converter.
Depending on the power range, switching
frequencies of several kHz are employed
and associated voltages and currents are
encountered apart from the classic volt-
ages and currents generated by the motor
itself. Bearing damage is now caused by a
high-frequency (spanning a relatively wide
kHz to MHz range) current flow that is
induced by these fast-switching (100 ns)
IGBT semiconductor devices.
1
The basic causes and sources for bearing
currents are:
Electrostatic charging
Magnetic flux asymmetries in the
motor
Frequency converters and their com-
mon-mode voltage in combination with
high-slew-rate voltage pulses.
The first two phenomena are well known
and considered classical reasons for bearing
currents. All electric motors and generators,
whether they are main- or converter-fed,
are at risk with respect to the first two phe-
nomena. This would explain that insulated
bearings were used by risk-averse reliabil-
ity professionals decades ago. However,
common-mode voltages in combination
with high-slew-rate voltage pulses, the third
bearing current cause or source, only exists
for converter-fed motors and generators.
Current damage explained. When
an electric current passes through a roll-
ing bearing, electric discharges take place
through the lubricant between the inner
and outer ring raceways and the rolling ele-
ments. Spark discharge then causes local
bearing metal surface melting. Craters are
formed and molten material particles are
transferred and partly break loose. The
crater material is rehardened and is much
more brittle than the original bearing mate-
rial. An annealed material layer lies below
the rehardened layer and the annealed layer
is, of course, softer than the surrounding
material. In rolling bearings three major
types of current damage: pitting, fluting
and microcratering have been identified
and characterized by their appearance.
One prominent type of electric cur-
rent damage is called electric pitting. It
is mostly related to single-crater damage
and was, in the past, typically seen in
DC applications such as railway traction
motors. The crater diameter is typically
from 0.1 up to 0.5 mm and can be seen
with the unaided eye. The predominant
source of such craters is a very high volt-
age; it can be extremely powerful.
Fluting (electric erosion) in rolling-element bearings (SKF USA, Kulpsvlle,
Pennsylvania).
FIG. 1
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FLUID FLOW AND ROTATING EQUIPMENT SPECIALREPORT



31
Fluting or washboarding is another
frequently encountered type of current
damage (Fig. 1). It consists of a multiple
grey line pattern across the raceways that
then appear both shiny and darkly dis-
colored. The reason for this fluting is a
mechanical resonance vibration caused by
the rolling element dynamic effect when
they are moving over smaller craters. Note
that fluting is not a primary failure mode
produced by the current flow through the
bearing itself. Instead, fluting represents
secondary bearing damage that becomes
visible only after some time and has small
craters as points of initiation.
Because frequency converters are com-
mon, the third type of defectmicrocra-
teringis by far the most common type
of current damage. The damaged surface
appears dull and is characterized by molten
pit marks. Multiple microcraters cover the
rolling element and raceway surfaces. Cra-
ter sizes are small, mostly with diameters
from 5 to 8 m, regardless of the craters
being found on an inner ring, outer ring
or a rolling element. The true crater shape
can only be seen under a microscope with
very high magnification.
Electric current discharges also cause the
bearing lubricant to change its composi-
tion and degrade rapidly. Localized high
temperatures promote a reaction between
additives and the base oil; base oil burn-
ing or charring can result. Additives will be
used more quickly and the lubricant tends
to harden and turn black. Rapid grease
breakdown is thus a typical failure mode
that results from current passage.
Technology and failure avoidance.
A number of bearing failure avoidance mea-
sures exist, including reasonable steps such
as insulating the bearings, ceramic bearings
and certain mechanical contact-type shaft-
grounding devices. Flawed measures include
so-called electrically conductive greases.
It turned out that electrically conduc-
tive greases do not represent a suitable
solution, especially under high-frequency
currents due to their too-high electrical
resistance. Moreover, the conductive par-
ticles contained in the grease will often
affect the bearing tribological properties.
Shaft grounding devices usually con-
nect the rotating shaft and stationary motor
parts by a sliding contact. This sliding con-
tact is made by carbon or graphite brushes
located outside the motortypically at
the drive-end side. The brushes are often
directly sliding on the shaft and varying
degrees of contamination and malfunction
risk exist with some designs. In general, a
measure of predictive or preventive brush
maintenance is needed with some of these
devices. Besides, the electric resistance of
conventional brushes may become too
high with respect to the electric regime,
especially at high frequencies. To what
extent purchase of these components and
combination with countermeasures, such
as insulated or hybrid (ceramic) bearings,
make sound economic sense is influenced
by train considerations that extend to the
driven equipment.
2
Shaft currents can
travel across certain coupling types or styles
and, unless protected, may thus damage the
driven equipment bearings.
Hybrids have been available for a num-
ber of years. They definitely solve prob-
lems with electric current and handle many
issues traceable to poor lubrication. They
are ideally suited for many VFDs and
other industrial electric-motor applica-
tions. Even more prevalent are electrically
insulated bearings, i.e., bearings provided
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FLUID FLOW AND ROTATING EQUIPMENT
with an electrically insulated coated outer
ring. The coatings supplied by one of the
most widely known bearing manufacturers
consist of aluminium oxide and are applied
by a special process using plasma-spraying
technology. The insulating properties are
specified with a minimum electric resis-
tance of 50 M up to 1,000 V DC. These
bearing dimensions and tolerances are the
same as for standard bearings.
Induction motors, special bear-
ings and motors. Nonvanishing com-
mon-mode voltages in combination with
high-slew voltage pulses became problem-
atic with the introduction of modern, fast-
switching frequency converters. Problems
arise due to high-frequency bearing cur-
rents that can be theoretically categorized
according to their paths through the elec-
tric machine.
Ch 1 PkPk
30.4 V
Trigd
M 100s A Ch1 E 16.2V
T640,000s
Ch1 E 5.00V~
1
TaK Run 1
T
Shaft-current activity without shaft-grounding rings (EST, Mechanic Falls, Maine). FIG. 2
Ch 1 PkPk
3.90 V
Trigd
M 100s A Ch1 E 1.80V
T640,000s
Ch1 5.00V~
1
TaK Run 1
T
Shaft-current activity with well-engineered shaft-grounding rings (EST, Mechanic
Falls, Maine).
FIG. 3
Select 157 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
FLUID FLOW AND ROTATING EQUIPMENT SPECIALREPORT



33
High-frequency shaft grounding cur-
rents are induced because the sum of the
three-phase voltages does not equal zero. If
the return cable impedance is too high and
the stator grounding is poor, the current
will take a path from the stator, through
the bearings and the shaft, via ground back
to the converter.
Due to the asymmetry between the
three phases in the stator windings, the
sum of the current over the stator circum-
ference is not zero. A high-frequency flux
variation surrounds the shaft, creating a
high-frequency shaft voltage. This results in
a potential risk for high-frequency circulat-
ing currents flowing axially along the rotor,
through one bearing and back through the
other bearing.
In a rolling bearing that is working well,
the rolling elements are separated from
the rings (the raceways) by the lubricant
film. From the electric point of view, this
film acts as a capacitor and its capacitance
depends on various parameters such as the
lubricant type, temperature and viscosity,
plus film thickness, generally on the actual
operating conditions. If the voltage reaches
a certain limit, the lubricant breakdown
or threshold voltage, the capacitor will be
discharged and a high-frequency capacitive
discharge current occurs. In this case, the
current is limited by the motor internal
stray capacitances, but it will occur every
time the converter switches.
Shaft grounding rings (SGRs). Ini-
tially focused on mitigating static charges
in the printing and imaging markets, one
leading manufacturer has been manufac-
turing conductive microfiber grounding
rings for rotating equipment since about
2005. This proprietary technology pro-
vides shaft grounding rings to mitigate the
electrical erosion issues in motor bearings
when electric motors are controlled by
PWM VFDs.
SGRs are perhaps of prime importance
when the user or motor manufacturer
decidesfor whatever reasonsnot to
use insulated bearings on both driver and
driven VFD equipment. It can be shown
that a well-designed SGR provides the
path of least resistance to ground for
VFD-induced shaft voltages. If the shaft
voltages are not diverted away from the
bearings to ground, and unless the user
and manufacturer select the right bearings,
currents may discharge through bearings
regions and cause the types of damage
explained earlier as electrical discharge
machining (EDM), pitting and fluting.
Shaft grounding rings can be adapted
as an integral part of the motor design.
A well-designed product meets both
spirit and intent of the NEMA MG1
Part 31.4.4.3 specification,
3
aimed at
preventing bearing fluting failure in elec-
tric drive motors as well as in the coupled
equipment. This specification identi-
fies induced-shaft voltage in VFDs as a
potential cause of motor failure and rec-
ommends shaft grounding as a solution to
protect both motor bearings and attached
equipment. Figs. 2 and 3 show oscillo-
scopic traces of voltages prevailing with
and without SGRs.
Circumferential rows of fibers.
Properly designed shaft grounding rings
provide a large number of small-diameter
fibers to induce ionization and discharge
voltages away from motor bearings and to
ground. Selecting carbon fibers of specific
mechanical strength and electrical charac-
teristics is critically important to providing
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Select 158 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
FLUID FLOW AND ROTATING EQUIPMENT SPECIALREPORT
34

break-free and nonwearing service. These
carbon fibers must be allowed to flex within
their elastic limit and while contacting the
shaft with the proper overlap. Long-term
reliable fibers are placed in an engineered
holder or channel that protects against
breaking and mechanical stress.
As of 2010, the most reliable design is
to arrange one or more rows of fibers in a
continuous ring inside a protective chan-
nel completely surrounding the motor
shaft. This design ensures that there are
literally hundreds of thousands of fibers
to handle discharge currents from VFD-
induced voltages at the various prevailing
high frequencies. One SGR brand has two
full rows of fibers and its continuous cir-
cumferential ring design and fiber flexi-
bility allows them to sweep small amounts
of oil film, grease and dust particles away
from the shaft surface.
There are indications that using just a
few fiber bundles is a less reliable design.
An optimal placement in the protective
channel is thought to ensure that the
fibers overlap and maintain electrical
contact with the shaft while preventing
breaking and contamination problems.
The best available designs no doubt
optimize fiber density to maintain the
required fiber flexibility. If too many
fibers are bundled together (as may be
the case in less-than-optimal designs) the
fibers will break.
While there are compelling reasons
to specify insulated (actually, aluminum
oxide-coated) rolling-element or ceramic
(hybrid) bearings for VFDs, there may
be instances where bearing protector rings
are well justified and further reduce the
risk of shaft current-induced bearing dis-
tress. When specifying such shaft ground-
ing rings, steer clear of knock-off prod-
ucts that use carbon fibers and mounting
methods that compromise long-term reli-
able service.
One can see that an induction motor
fed by a frequency converter is a very
complex drive system that is influenced
by many parameters. The whole drive,
including supply, DC link, switching ele-
ments, cables, motor and load, has to be
regarded as a total system. In short, elec-
tric currents are often an unavoidable fact
of life in bearing applications. Currents
have potentially damaging consequences
when they pass through rolling bearings.
Damage mainly occurs in the inner and
outer ring ball or roller and raceway con-
tact areas.
Summary of recommended user
practices. Logic tells us that bearing
selection for VFDs must be based on
applying proven reliability engineering
principles. Accordingly, we would encour-
age thoughtful professionals to work with
VFD and motor suppliers that will have
a thorough knowledge of insulated and
ceramic (hybrid) bearings. Hybrid tech-
nology affords a measure of superiority in
insulating along with the added tribologi-
cal benefits. We would consider adding
shaft grounding rings in instances where,
for well-explained reasons, insulated or
hybrid bearings cannot be used or present
some definable risk.
On SGRs or other externally-added
rotating grounding devices, reliability-
focused users are mindful of the unques-
tionable merits of overlapping carbon fiber
designs placed in retainer structures that act
as a protection. Relevant literature sources
are available and some of these let us under-
stand electrostatic technology parameters.
6

Others will thoroughly explain the decade-
old use of insulated bearings in protecting
VFD bearings from these currents.
1
Recall
that hybrid bearings
2
could be an impor-
tant solution for VFD applications since
ceramic rolling elements made of silicon
nitride are excellent electric insulators. We
would also pay attention to advertisements
and commercial literature
4,5
and review the
science that supports or generates questions.
When in doubt, science and peer-reviewed
publications
6
can provide us with answers
regarding competing designs. HP
LITERATURE CITED
1
http://evolution.skf.com/zino.aspx?articleID
=336&lan=en-gbn.
2
Consider Ceramic Bearings for Screw
Compressors, Hydrocarbon Processing, August
2009.
3
National Electrical Manufacturers Association
(NEMA) Specification MG1 Part 31.4.4.3 (MG 1
pertains to Definite-Purpose Inverter-Fed
Polyphase Motor bearings, section 31.4.4.3
pertains to Shaft Voltages and Bearing
Insulation).
4
Commercial literature, Electro Static Technology
Company (EST), Mechanic Falls, ME 04256; also
sales@est-static.com.
5
Commercial literature, INPRO/Seal Company,
Rock Island, lL, 61201; also www.inpro-seal.com.
6
Muetze, Annette and H. Will Oh; Design
Aspects of Conductive Microfiber Rings for Shaft
Grounding Purposes, Proceedings of the IEEE,
September 2007, pp. 229236.
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FLUID FLOW AND ROTATING EQUIPMENT SPECIALREPORT
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING AUGUST 2010

I


37
Valve design reduces costs and
increases safety for US refineries
The goals were achieved by using alloys with superior corrosion resistance
R. D. JOHNSON and B. LEE, Flowserve Flow Control Division, Cookeville, Tennessee
I
n the 1980s and early 1990s, methyl tertiary butyl ether
(MTBE) was seen as an economical blending component that
would eventually replace processes like hydrofluoric (HF) acid
catalyzed alkylation (Fig. 1). However, MTBE was eventually
banned in the US due to public health concerns after the chemi-
cal compound was detected in groundwater. As a result, refineries
shifted their focus from MTBE back to established processes like
HF alkylation to continue to produce high-quality gasoline.
HF catalyzed alkylation is a long-proven process that refineries
use to produce clean-burning, high-octane gasoline. However, HF
units required frequent maintenance that can result in downtime
and significant costs for refineries. This has prompted the industry
to look for ways to increase the time between HF unit shutdowns.
The solution that one supplier found was a valve design that not
only saved refineries money, but also helped mitigate safety risks
associated with hydrofluoric acid.
MTBE background. MTBE is a volatile, flammable and color-
less liquid chemical compound created by the chemical reaction
of methanol and isobutylene, and is used commercially to raise
gasoline oxygen content. According to the US Environmental
Protection Agency, refineries started using MTBE at low levels in
1979 to replace lead as an octane enhancer, which helps prevent
automobile engines from knocking.
In 1992, refineries started adding higher concentrations of the
compound in some gasoline to fulfill oxygenate requirements set
in 1990 by the Clean Air Act Amendments. Increasing the oxygen
content by using MTBEs helps gasoline burn more completely
and reduces harmful tailpipe emissions from pre-1948 vehicles.
However, emission reduction in modern vehicles is negligible.
In 1995, the US Geological Survey reported finding MTBE
in shallow groundwater throughout the country, which raised
public health concerns. All states now ban MTBE use, though
most refineries voluntarily removed the compound from their
products before the bans went into effect.
MTBE removal from gasoline resulted in several challenges
for refineries. The bans caused a volumetric reduction in the US
gasoline supply and octane levels and emissions to the atmosphere
were both adversely impacted. Refiners were left to find a viable
oxygenate to replace MTBE to keep their gasoline quality high.
Ethanolnot a perfect substitute. Some refineries turned
to ethanol as an oxygenate substitute. Ethanol is commonly used
in gasoline blendsaccording to the American Coalition for
Ethanol it is blended into about 70% of the US gasoline supply.
Adding 10% ethanol to gasoline raises the fuels octane rating by
two or three points, which improves performance.
The task forces findings were used to develop a superior
HF alkylation plug valve design. Features include the
availability of an advanced stem seal design. The findings
also led to developing a design that allows for repairing
the valve in line.
FIG. 1
Recycle isobutane
Propane
Alkylate
Fresh acid
Acid oils
Reactor
Settler
Acid
purier
Caustic washer
Deisobutanizer
Depropanizer
Feedstock
(olens,
isobutane)
Improved valve designs reduces costs and improves safety. FIG. 2
FLUID FLOW AND ROTATING EQUIPMENT SPECIALREPORT
38

However, 10% ethanol blends have a Reid vapor pressure
(Rvp), a common measure of gasoline volatility, well above the
levels allowed in most states. To meet Rvp requirements, 10%
ethanol blends require removing lighter components such as
butane and pentane, which adds to the refinerys costs and com-
plicates the production process.
Alkylates help create high-quality gasoline. Alkylates
are high-octane, low-Rvp blending components produced by
reacting C
3
and C
5
olefins and isobutene. The alkylation process
does not contribute any additional aromatics, sulfur or olefins
into the gasoline pool, and has been found to be an ideal blending
component.
There are two processes for producing
alkylates: sulfuric and HF acid-catalyzed
alkylation. HF alkylation is more common
in US refineries because it is a more effi-
cient process. It does not require refrigera-
tion to maintain a low reactor temperature
and has a significantly lower acid consump-
tion rate.
HF alkylation produces clean-burning,
high-octane gasoline. However, due to the
corrosive nature of the process, most HF
units historically operated with turnaround
times of just two years, which required
refineries to shut down production so they
could repair and upgrade the unit.
The downtime for repairs and upgrades
resulted in significant revenue loss for refin-
eries, and the industry looked to suppli-
ers to help increase the time between HF
unit shutdowns. To accomplish this goal,
suppliers needed to develop products that
required less maintenance and provided
longer service life (mean-time-between-
failures) in HF environments.
One of the key concerns for the refiner-
ies is valves used in HF units. Valves were
among the components that needed the
most repair and maintenance, and required
the most attention and scrutiny during
operation and shutdown. One supplier
rose to the challenge by developing a valve
design that required significantly less main-
tenance, saving the refinery money while
also helping them mitigate safety risks asso-
ciated with HF leaks.
HF alkylation task force. Because
valves were among the most difficult com-
ponents requiring frequent repair, a special
task force was created by the valve supplier
and charged with lengthening the process
capability of its valves to reduce the mean-
time- between-maintenance-intervals. In
certain unit areas, valves were experiencing
higher corrosion levels than anticipated.
The task force also found several valves
with stem leaks that created an environ-
mental hazard, and some valves were being
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Zyme-Flow is a mark of United Laboratories International, LLC. 2010 United
Laboratories International, LLC. All Rights Reserved
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One of the key concerns for the
refineries is valves used in HF units.
Valves were among the components that
needed the most repair and maintenance,
and required the most attention and
scrutiny during operation and shutdown.
Select 160 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
FLUID FLOW AND ROTATING EQUIPMENT SPECIALREPORT



39
fouled by buildup of iron fluorides that would wash down from
the adjacent carbon-steel pipe, inhibiting valve operation.
The task force recognized that the key to improving valve func-
tionality was gaining a better understanding of the HF alkylation
process. They spent the next five years collecting information
from two turnarounds at two different refineries. They were able
to observe unit maintenance first hand, including why valves were
replaced or repaired.
This investigation led the team to identify the circuits within
the HF unit that put the most strain on the valves; the most dif-
ficult being the acid rerun circuit. Valves in this circuit operate
in the highest temperatures, acid concentration and water levels
found in the HF unit. These extreme con-
ditions cause accelerated valve corrosion
and result in decreased turnaround time
and increased maintenance costs.
One of the key findings of the task force
was understanding that oxygen in the unit
causes nickel to leach from the materials
used to manufacture the valvesASTM
A 494 M35-1 (monel). Monel is a nickel-
based alloy composed of 60% nickel and
35% copper, with 5% trace elements.
Where oxygen is present in the system,
the nickel is leached out of the alloy at an
unacceptable rate and leaves behind copper
and the other components of the original
monel.
Because this chemical attack degrades
the monel quality, the surface characteristics
are compromised. As a result, the valve may
begin to leak hydrofluoric acid. Therefore,
it was found that many of the applications
in the difficult unit areas, such as the rerun
circuit, required using alternative alloys for
the valves.
The valves are constantly being exposed
to HF acid. In cases where HF can become
trapped in crevices where the acid is not
allowed to refresh, it can cause pocket cor-
rosion. In those cases, the team found that
HF might permeate through the stem seal.
When it meets the atmospheric moisture, it
becomes very corrosive, causing valve stem
pitting. This pitting can cause the stem to
leak acid into the atmosphere.
Iron fluoride is created in the HF unit
when the carbon steel in the pipes reacts
with the acid. The iron fluoride creates
a desirable protective barrier that retards
further pipe corrosion in the system. The
valves used in the unit are generally made
of monel or a similar alloy, which does not
react with hydrofluoric acid. However,
iron fluoride from the piping can wash
into valves and other components. Because
many of the valves are not operated fre-
quently, these iron fluoride deposits can
build up inside the valve, increasing the
turning torque to make it more difficult
to open and close the valve.
Improved valve design saves money. Using findings
from the task force, the valve supplier sought to improve prod-
uct design to achieve higher mean-time-between-failure and
mean-time-between-repairs (Fig. 2). This goal was achieved by
using alloys with superior corrosion resistance to manufacture
valves used in highly corrosive HF unit areas such as the rerun
circuit. An advanced stem design option was introduced to
handle areas where stem leaks were a problem. These features
were integrated into a plug-valve design that refineries preferred
because of superior sealing capability and longevity compared
to the gate valves originally specified for HF units.
The valve supplier offered the option of using an alternative
Creating Value.
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2415 Park Avenue
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563.263.3410
Fax: 563.262.0510
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FLUID FLOW AND ROTATING EQUIPMENT SPECIALREPORT
40

material in the valves that is more resistant to the combination of
challenges in the HF units. The new material eliminated nickel
leaching from the monel, which significantly reduced corrosion.
The supplier addressed the possibility of acid permeation that
causes corrosion and eventual leakage. In those cases where per-
meation could be excessive, it developed a new stem design with a
welded-metal diaphragm seal to prevent any primary fluoropolymer
seal permeation from reaching the environment. The design incor-
porates additional outboard stem seals to prevent stem pitting.
To prevent iron fluoride deposits from building up inside the
valve, the team recommended refineries run partial-stroke tests
periodically to wipe away the deposits and ensure the valve is
functional. To help refineries comply with its recommendation,
the supplier identified new products, such as positioners and
asset management, to make running partial-stroke tests simple
and less costly.
Many refineries are now welding valves into the pipeline to
eliminate potential leak paths. This practice led the supplier to
make recent improvements to the valve design that allows the
refinery to repair the valve inline. This simplifies the maintenance
process and saves significant time when maintenance must be
performed. Other valve designs must be cut out of the pipeline
and sent to a shop with special tools when any repairs are needed,
which is costly and time-consuming.
Safety concerns. Using the best equip-
ment possible in HF alkylation units makes
sense, not only because it saves money but
also because it improves plant operator
safety and protects the environment. In
1993, the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) released a bulletin
warning of the potential safety and health
risks posed by HF acid. OSHA has estab-
lished a permissible exposure limit of three
parts per million (ppm) averaged over an
eight-hour work shift.
Depending on the release conditions,
HF acid can form a vapor cloud that can
be dangerous to humans. The OSHA
report sites a number of accidental HF acid
releases from HF alkylation units at major
petroleum refineries in the US.
Valves designed for HF units have made
great strides over the years to reduce the
incidences of HF acid leaks that can be
extremely dangerous to personnel and the
environment. By utilizing the suppliers
superior valve design, refineries have been
able to significantly lengthen the time
between turnarounds to four to five years,
greatly reducing costs. The supplier contin-
ues to look for ways to improve plug valve
design to increase safety and lower costs for
customers. HP
Roy Johnson is the director of
marketing for the process/chemical
sector of the Flow Control Division of
Flowserve. In his 30-year tenure with
the company, he has served in many
management and supervision roles for the valve and
automation businesses for the company. Mr. Johnson
holds a business management degree from Tennessee
Technological University.
Ben Lee has been with Flowserve
for 29 years working as a sales engi-
neer and product manager. His cur-
rent position is product manager for
Durco plug and butterfly valves at the
Flowserve facility in Cookeville, Tennessee. Mr. Lee
holds a BS degree from Queens University and a bach-
elor of education degree from University of Toronto.
Manufactured by
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Pressure to lower maintenance costs and reduce environmental
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Proven benefits include:
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FLUID FLOW AND ROTATING EQUIPMENT SPECIALREPORT
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING AUGUST 2010

I


41
Pump aftermarket offers solutions
for abrasive services
Upgrades substantially increased MTBR
S. McPHERSON, Sulzer Pumps (US) Inc. Service Center Houston, La Porte, Texas
T
he need to transport low-grade feed stocks containing
varying amounts of abrasives such as catalyst and coke
fines is part of the refining economic picture. Accord-
ingly, abrasion and erosive wear can limit centrifugal pump
component life.
However, many other factors influence centrifugal pump life
in an abrasive service: fluid velocity (a consequence of higher
flow and pressure demands met by increased operating speeds
and impeller diameters), curve fit, geometric design and material
selection. Yet, in an aftermarket situation, geometric design and
material selection are typically the only parameters that can be
optimized due to time, cost and infrastructure constraints.
Roadmap for increasing throughput and uptime.
To address the need for improved throughput with existing
pumps, major pump manufacturers and one or two competent
non-OEMs have compiled large portfolios of proven proprietary
design guidelines and upgrade recommendations. With its full
line of state-of-the-art pump designs, one such OEM can help
its customers achieve increased throughput, boost efficiency and
improve reliability of most pumps. In one case, challenged with
the hot, dirty operations of coker-heater charge pumps and pro-
cess pumps in Canadian oil sands, the manufacturer completed
upgrades that improved mean-time-between-repair (MTBR) from
the mere weeks and months typical of such operating conditions
to years. Mature technology successfully fights sand-laden water
erosion in high-speed, high-energy water-flood pumps.
Case histories confirm uptime extension. At a refining
company in the US Gulf Coast area, accelerated wear on an API-
BB5 double-case diffuser-style coke-cutting jet pump resulted in
costly downtime on an average seven-months cycle. Application
requirements necessitated a pump capable of producing high dif-
ferential head while accommodating varied fluid compositions
and significant abrasive fines.
The pump manufacturers engineers analyzed the recurring
material wear patterns. Damage was generally characterized by
impeller erosion and balance device wear surfaces (Fig. 1A), at the
exposed impeller waterways and impeller abutment shoulders on
the shaft (Fig. 1B), abrasive wear of the diffuser vane tips (Fig. 1C)
and corrosion-erosion of the discharge head (Fig. 1D).
After a thorough analysis, the OEMs engineering team defined
and discussed possible solutions and actions with the customer.
Proven proprietary design guidelines were combined with the
reverse-engineering capabilities of the companys rapid-response
center and advanced coating technology affiliates. The result was
a life-expectancy increase in excess of 300%.
Steps responsible for dramatic pump operating life improve-
ment. Three principal steps were pursued by this OEM:
A high-velocity oxygen fuel (HVOF) hard-surface coating
was used liberally throughout the upgrade. This coating was spe-
cifically selected from the broad and experience-based pump coat-
ing portfolio for its proven abrasive wear resistance and chemical
compatibility with the varying constituents found in recycled
plant and coke-cutting water.
Smooth profile geometries were incorporated in the rede-
signed wear surfaces within the pump for abrasive service.
Efficiency-enhancing small grooves were removed after a thor-
ough rotor-dynamic analysis to ensure pump rotor critical speed
changes would not become a problem.
A corrosion-resistant welded overlay was applied to the dis-
charge head in addition to the HVOF coating (Fig. 2).
This pump upgrade was carried out at the OEMs service cen-
ter and the pump sent back to the customer on time.
After more than two years of operation, the upgraded pump
was removed from service and inspected. All running clearances
were found to have increased by no more than 27%, a substantial
improvement over an average of three times design clearance
increase in seven months prior to the design upgrade.
Material wear problems. FIG. 1
FLUID FLOW AND ROTATING EQUIPMENT SPECIALREPORT
42

I

AUGUST 2010 HYDROCARBON PROCESSING
Reverse engineering modernizes a 1960s pump. A
refinery on the US West Coast had experienced numerous prob-
lems with its fluid catalytic cracking bottoms pumps. Primarily,
the failures were the result of the abrasive and erosive nature of the
service; however, the 1960s vintage API OH2 end-suction-style
pump had inherent design faults notorious in that era:
A small B gap (impeller discharge vane tip to volute tongue
gap) resulted in high vane-pass frequency vibration.
The thin-case feet and flanges were not able to withstand
the high nozzle loadings applied to this hot-application pump.
Reverse engineering modeling showed that permanent distortion
in the flanges and feet resulted in misalignment and shaft deflec-
tion at the mechanical seal.
Large L
3
/D
4
(the industry standard indicator of shaft deflec-
tion), as well as inadequate cooling features, resulted in less than
optimum mechanical-seal and bearing life.
To provide its customer with an expedient solution, the OEM
brought together a team that would draw on various divisional
expertise. The manufacturers rapid response center delivered
exact replications of non-OEM components, such as the volute
and impeller. Engineers from the pump service center made the
design review and determined the upgrade implementation steps
Diffuser/stage casing with installed smooth profile wear
surface.
FIG. 2 End cover includes integral wear surfaces and antiswirl
breaks.
FIG. 3
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FLUID FLOW AND ROTATING EQUIPMENT SPECIALREPORT
44

I

AUGUST 2010 HYDROCARBON PROCESSING
for the pump; the OEMs affiliate again assisted with the selection
of suitable hard-face overlays.
The OEMs pre-engineered API 10th edition OH2 upgrade
package was applied to adapt the pump to latest standards. It
included such upgrade features as:
API 610/API 682-compliant seal chamber
Improved cooling features: axial-flow flan, inboard heat sink,
finned carbon-steel bearing housing
API 610 latest edition compliant antifriction bearings and
housing isolators
Upgrade to controlled compression spiral-wound gaskets
Improved shaft stiffness (L
3
/D
4
)
Bearings selected for improved life.
To address abrasion and erosion problems, the OEMs upgrade
solutions included several abrasive-service features:
Heavy case-wall thickness for increased corrosion-erosion
allowance
Volute and cover redesigned specifically for abrasive service,
including integral wear surfaces, removal of sharp corners and
substitution with generous radii, antiswirl brakes added to reduce
rotational velocities
Proprietary HVOF hard-surface coatings applied at all acces-
sible areas.
In addition, the OEM upgraded the 300# ANSI flanges to
900# ANSI thickness for increased nozzle-loading capability. The
pump casing foot thickness was also increased to meet API latest
edition nozzle-load capabilities. The pump volute was completely
redesigned with new volute layout to accommodate a 6% B gap
for reduced vibration severity at vane-pass frequencies (Fig. 3).
Since its installation in late 2007, the upgraded pump has
been in continuous and highly satisfactory operation. It should
be pointed out that this upgrade closely matches the features of
a new API 610 10th edition pump without the infrastructural
changes and costs of a new pump installation (e.g., foundation
modifications, new base plate, modified piping, etc.).
People are the agents of change. Using a pump rebuilder
that agrees to work in close partnership with its customers pays
huge dividends. A company dedicated to delivering customized
service solutions that improve reliable performance in even the most
demanding hydrocarbon processing operations quite obviously goes
well beyond a simple repair and understands that reliability depends
on the quality of both design and replacement part upgrading. Top-
tier service providers must be committed to doing the job right,
the first time, every time. They will likely be among the leading
global suppliers of reliable products and should explain innovative
pumping solutions to end users. These solutions will concentrate
on diagnostic and consulting services that lead to tangible upgrades.
Such upgrades prove their value through greater operating efficiency
and demonstrable extension of equipment run times. HP
Scott McPherson is a field engineer for Sulzer Pumps (US)
Inc. working within the Customer Support Services division at
the Houston Service Center in La Porte, Texas. His responsibilities
include centrifugal pump design, rerate, upgrade, retrofit and
root cause-failure determination. Mr McPherson has been work-
ing within the pump manufacturing industry since 1996, and has been with Sulzer
Pumps since 2005. He has a B.Eng. (hons) degree from the University of Strathclyde
in Glasgow, Scotland.
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FLUID FLOW AND ROTATING EQUIPMENT SPECIALREPORT
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING AUGUST 2010

I


45
How the inertia number points to
compressor system design challenges
It facilitates predicting compressor system performance
M. KAPADIA, R. TELLEZ-SCHMILL and I. AJDARI, SNC-Lavalin Inc., Calgary, Canada
A
faulty compressor system design could result in poor
machine selection and incorrect antisurge valve sizing.
Flawed designs of compressor systems could lead to erro-
neous determination of the relief loads for flare network design.
This article presents a comprehensive methodology to design
a compressor system considering all potential constraints and
challenges to protect the compressor from abnormal operation
and emergency shutdowns. In particular, this methodology
emphasizes the influence of various components in the compres-
sor loop, including rotating equipment performance curves,
antisurge-valve dynamics, piping layout and mechanical design.
The use of the inertia number provides an anticipated quanti-
tative insight into the performance of the entire compressor
system. This article also discusses the use of commercial simula-
tion tools for compression system analysis. These tools are very
useful to evaluate the results of various shutdown scenarios and
their implications on the system mechanical integrity as well
as the interconnecting systems such as the flare network. The
methodology presented herein was applied to the design of a
real compressor system.
Introduction. By definition, a compressor is a machine
designed to increase the gas pressure. Compressors are required
mainly for gas transmission in pipelines and within a gas pro-
cessing plant, and for gas re-injection into oil reservoirs. Gas is
drawn into the centrifugal compressor through a suction nozzle
and moves through impellers mounted on a rotating shaft. These
impellers impart kinetic energy to the gas that is then converted
to static pressure in the discharge volute. Compressors are an
essential part of a gas transmission system and the systems resis-
tance to flow dictates the compressor performance. Moreover,
the entire systems dynamic behavior is very important since the
compressor itself is sensitive to flowrate changes. Among the most
important dynamic characteristics to be considered in a compres-
sor system analysis are the compressor performance curves at
different rotating speeds, the inertial effects of the compressors
moving parts (rotor, shaft, associated gears and couplings, electric
motor or steam turbine), gas velocity in the pipelines and control
valve activation or stroke times, etc.
For a process design engineer, it is very important to take into
account all the factors that ensure systems to be safe and opera-
tional, as well as environmentally friendly. With many constraints
such as piping layout, flare network design and environmental
impact, a complete design methodology has to be considered.
The important process and layout parameters needed for the
compressor system are:
Suction operating conditions, such as flowrate, gas composi-
tion, temperature and pressure
Discharge pressure
Discharge temperature
Discharge cooler type and the desired cooler outlet
temperature
Primary driver type (fixed speed or variable speed)
Suction-drum design
Settling-out pressure
Layout of the antisurge control valves, which involves their
takeoff location from the discharge line and connection with the
compressor suction
Discharge check valve type and location
Approximate compressor system volume.
Other factors to be considered for compressor system design are:
Control philosophy for surge and capacity regulation
Load-sharing philosophy (applicable to parallel compressors)
Shutdown scenarios
Flare capacity for accommodating compressor blowdown or
depressuring volume.
Based on these design considerations, and by following sound
engineering practices and industry standards, design engineers
.
Suction
scrubber
Compressor
Driver
Cooler
Anti-surge valve (cold recycle)
Anti-surge valve
(hot recycle)
Blow down valve
Check
valve
Outlet isolation
valve
Inlet
isolation
valve
Complete compressor system. FIG. 1
FLUID FLOW AND ROTATING EQUIPMENT SPECIALREPORT
46

I

AUGUST 2010 HYDROCARBON PROCESSING
can ensure that the compressor system
will perform properly. However, there is
a practical and easy-to-use dimensionless
number of interest that provides important
quantitative information, the inertia num-
ber.
1
Although the inertia number requires
some detail information about the rotating
equipment and pipeline dimensions, its
magnitude gives important clues regarding
the appropriateness of the parameters that
make up a compressor system.
Inertia number. The inertia number is
defined by Eq. 1.
N
1
=
IN
2
wH
(1)
where:
I = Effective compressor + driver rotor
inertia, kg-m
2
N = Operating Speed, rpm
w = Normal operating mass flowrate,
kg/s
H = Normal operating compressor head, J/kg
= Valve prestroke time in millisec (ms)
As Mohitpour et al. point out, if the inertia number is less
than 3, the compressor will surge during any abnormal operating
situation. This will require re-evaluating the compressor system
ensuring a shorter recycle system, the use of a hot recycle or a
blowdown valve to prevent compressor surge. A detailed dynamic
simulation of the compressor system will confirm if such situa-
tion exists. If the inertia number is between 3 and 10, a detailed
dynamic simulation is highly recommended. A value larger than
10 indicates the compressor system is appropriate to guarantee no
surge during operation upsets.
Based on the information derived from the inertia number
and the dynamic simulation, design engineers can decide the best
strategy to protect the compressor. From Fig. 1, the following
options are available for the compressor system design:
The preferred and also most common option is to have only
a cold-recycle system.
Another option is to have a hot-recycle system, as long
as both suction and discharge temperatures do not exceed the
machinery design temperatures. This option is recommended for
small compression ratios. A combination of both cold and hot
recycles is recommended if required.
A combination of cold-recycle and blowdown line. However,
this has an impact on the flare system performance.
Addition of rotor mass, to increase its inertia values. This
has to be considered as a last resort, since it requires analyzing
the mechanical implications on the machinery and input from
the vendor.
Practical application case. The compressor system discussed
in this article is part of an upstream oil and gas central processing
facility in Saudi Arabia. The plant gas-gathering and compression
sections consist of four compressors in series and a gas dehydration
unit (Fig. 2). The gas comes from an oil-gas separation train work-
ing at three different pressure levels. The centrifugal compressor
train is used to reinject the produced gas into the oil reservoir and
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6
P
o
l
y
t
r
o
p
i
c

h
e
a
d
Flowrate
Normal operating
conditions
Surge region
Surge curve
ESD dynamic behavior with cold-recycle and blowdown
valves.
FIG. 4
HPPT IPPT LPPT
Injection
compression
HP
compression
IP
compression
LP
compression
Gas cap injection
Fuel gas
HPPT
Crude to downstream units
To disposal wells
SWD pumps
Dehydrator Desalter
Crude shipping
pumps
WOSEP
Gas
dehydration
Gas-oil separation process flow diagram. FIG. 2
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6
P
o
l
y
t
r
o
p
i
c

h
e
a
d
Flowrate
Normal operating
conditions
A
B
Surge region
Surge curve
ESD dynamic behavior with only cold-recycle valve. FIG. 3
FLUID FLOW AND ROTATING EQUIPMENT SPECIALREPORT

47
is comprised of one low-pressure, one intermediate-pressure, one
high-pressure and one injection compressors. The last compressor
reaches a discharge pressure above the gas mixture critical pressure.
A gas dehydration system is located between the intermediate- and
high-pressure compression stages. All compressors are driven by an
electric motor and the high-pressure compressor dynamic analysis
results are presented further.
All of the system compressors were designed on the same
philosophy basis for surge and capacity control. The original
compressor system consisted of a cold-recycle valve for surge pro-
tection and a blowdown valve for venting the gas after shutdown.
The air coolers were located on a pipe rack and the cold-recycle
valve was located near the air coolers.
From an earlier study using the inertia
number criterion, it was found that the
compressor would undergo a surge cycle
during the initial compressor shutdown
period. This implied that a change in the
present physical setup was required. As
information became available, the inertia
number was also calculated for each com-
pressor, at which time it was confirmed
that all systems were having the problems
predicted by the inertia numbers, which
ranged between 3 and 10. Therefore, a
detailed study was initiated for ensur-
ing robust compressor surge-protection
designs. Several options were scruti-
nized and the most viable were found to
include:
Blowdown valve with cold recycle
operating together during emergency
shutdown (ESD). Both valves open at the
same time. The blowdown valve is expel-
ling mass off of the compressor system,
while the isolation valves close completely
and the cold-recycle valve depressurizes
the compressor system high-pressure sec-
tion. As soon as the isolation valves close
completely, the check valve opens and
the cold-recycle valve allows gas from
the compressor discharge to go to the
compressor suction. This option has two
major implications: first, the blowdown
valve specification had to be revised. Its
size and, most importantly, its actuator
type had to be changed. This blowdown
valve was required to have a size and stroke
time similar to the cold-recycle antisurge
valve. Secondly, the maximum blowdown
flowrate could not be accommodated by
the existing flare system.
Hot and cold recycle operating
together during ESD. This required an
extra analysis consisting of monitoring the
discharge temperature making sure it does
not exceed the compressor design temper-
ature. Again, both hot- and cold-recycle
valves open at the same time. The hot-
recycle valve initially keeps the compressor
safe from surging and this period can be
seen when the suction temperatures rising with time. Eventually
the cold gas coming from the cold recycle will take over, and that
moment can be seen when again the suction temperature starts
to decrease with time. To avoid a discharge temperature increase
beyond the design value, it is very important to determine the
appropriate hot-recycle return location on the suction line to
the compressor.
In response to the analysis a combination of hot- and cold-
recycle valves and a blowdown system with a restriction orifice
was conceived as a potential solution. The complete com-
pressor system was simulated. The simulation results were
checked by experienced personnel and against other software
The VEGAMAG Vantage utilizes VEGAPULS
through-air radar to report level by
tracking the oat, which is also coupled
to the magnetic level indicator. An
optional full port ball valve provides
isolation in order to take the gauge out of
service without interrupting the process.
Constructed in a 2 schedule 40 pipe as
standard, the Vantages small prole ts
into nearly any mounting arrangement.
The Vantage is ideal for processes with
low dielectric constant values, ashing,
foaming, or in light hydrocarbons.
Key Specications
-328 to 842F (-200 to 450C)
operating temperature
Up to 2,320 psi (160 bar)
operating pressure
Visual indication from up to 200 ft
SIL2 Qualied (IEC 61508/61511
Standards)
Compliant with ASME B31.1/31.3
Standards
Combination MLI/Bridle
Measurement in a Single Chamber
Introducing The
Vantage

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Select 165 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
FLUID FLOW AND ROTATING EQUIPMENT SPECIALREPORT
48

available for compressor dynamic simulation. All were found
to be consistent.
Dynamic simulation studies. The information required for
dynamic modelling for this particular compressor system is:
Performance curves at different compressor speeds. These
curves are required to be extended to flowrates below the surge
point
1
with the purpose of having a very detailed dynamic com-
pressor simulation
Inertia information on both the compressor and the electric-
motor sides
Electric-motor synchronous speed and full-load power
Electric-motor speed-vs-torque curve
Control valve pre- and full-stroke times of all (both cold
and hot recycles and blowdown valve)
Isolation valve closing time
Nonslamming check valve dynamic behavior
Pipe sizes (diameters and lengths)
Suction scrubber dimensions
Air-cooler tube volume and length.
Fig. 3 shows the compressor system dynamic behavior with
solely the cold-recycle antisurge valve during an ESD; it confirms
the predictions of the inertia number. As can be observed, the
cold-recycle valve cannot save the compressor from surge. The
compressor surges approximately 2.4 sec-
onds after the electric motor is shut down.
The path followed by the compressor from
the initial normal operating conditions to
surge is represented by the series of points
between A and B in Fig. 3. A compressor in
the surge region displays erratic behavior of
its developed head with respect to flowrate.
Unfortunately, the dynamic simulator used
for this analysis cannot model negative
flow rate and thus, any potential recovery
from surge cannot be predicted. However,
Botros
2
has shown that compressor recovery
from surge can be predicted by specialized
and robust dynamic simulators.
Fig. 4 shows the compressor dynamic
behavior using the combination of blow-
down and cold-recycle valve. As can be
observed, the blowdown valve protects the
compressor from surge. In this case the flare
system resistance to flow is low compared
to the compressor recycling system resis-
tance. This results in a rapid compressor
head decrease in time due to the loss of mass
and the resulting compressor system depres-
suring. During the first 6.5 seconds of the
ESD, the check valve was closed. As soon
as the isolation valves completely close, this
check valve opens, and then the cold-recycle
valve is then able to keep the compressor
out of the surge region. Fig. 4 confirms that
during the first seconds of the ESD, flowrate
though the blowdown valves is higher than
the flowrate in the compressor suction line,
and this condition will be maintained as
long as the check valve is closed. As men-
tioned before, this option was declined
because of its impact on the flare system. In
this particular case, it was anticipated that
the flare system had to accommodate flow
only during depressurization from settling-
out pressure, and not from blowdown dur-
ing ESD. Moreover, during a global plant
ESD, two trains of four compressors had
to be blown down and this huge amount of
mass represented 200% of the maximum
flare system capacity.
Fig. 6 shows the developed compressor
head dynamic behavior for the combination
Select 166 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
FLUID FLOW AND ROTATING EQUIPMENT SPECIALREPORT
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING AUGUST 2010

I


49
of hot- and cold-recycle valves. Again this combination protects the
compressor from surging. In this case, while the isolation valves
closes, the flowrate from the hot-recycle valves takes over to decrease
compressor head. Fig. 7 shows the flowrate dynamic behavior in
the compressor suction and the hot-recycle lines. During the first
seconds of the ESD, flowrate in the hot-recycle line increases the
flowrate in the suction line, keeping the compressor safe from surge.
One major constraint is not to exceed the design temperature, and
this can be accomplished by determining the right hot-recycle
return line location. The check valve closes and the cold-recycle
depressurizes the compressor system high-pressure section. Fig.
8 shows both the suction and discharge temperature dynamic
behaviors. When the isolation valves are completely closed, the
check valve opens and the fresh cold gas flow mixes with the hot gas,
whereupon a decrease in system temperatures is observed. Eventu-
ally, because of the low compression ratio, the compressor discharge
gas temperature will not increase too much. Fig. 8 also shows that
throughout the ESD the discharge temperature is safely below the
compressor design temperature. HP
LITERATURE CITED
1
Mohitpour, M., K. K. Botros and T. van Hardeveld, Pipeline Pumping and
Compression SystemsA Practical Approach, ASME Press, New York,
2008.
2
Botros, K. K., P. J. Campbell and D. B. Mah, Dynamic Simulation of
Compressor Station Operation Including Centrifugal Compressor and Gas
Turbine, J. Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power, Vol. 113, April 1991,
pp. 300311.
3
Botros, K. K., W. M. Jungowski and D. J. Richards, Compressor Station
Recycle System Dynamics During Emergency Shutdown, J. Engineering for
Gas Turbines and Power, Vol. 118, July 1996, pp. 641653.
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6
P
o
l
y
t
r
o
p
i
c

h
e
a
d
Flowrate
Normal operating
conditions
Surge region
Surge curve
ESD dynamic behavior with cold- and hot-recycle valves. FIG. 6
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
T
e
m
p
e
r
a
t
u
r
e

d
i
f
f
e
r
e
n
c
e
,

C
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Time, s
Suction
Discharge
Design
Dynamic temperature behavior in compressor suction
and discharge lines.
FIG. 8
Hot recycle line
Suction line
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
1.2
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Time, s
M
a
s
s

o
w

r
a
t
e
Mass flowrate dynamic behavior with cold- and
hot-recycle valves.
FIG. 7
Maheen Kapadia is a supervisor process engineer at SNC
Lavalin Inc., Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He has 19 years of experi-
ence in SMR hydrogen, cryogenic operations and gas processing
working with EPC and operating companies in Canada and India.
Mr. Kapadia holds a BSc in chemical engineering from the Gujarat
University, India. He has also worked for GSFC Ltd, Vadodara, India. He is registered
Professional Engineer in the Province of Alberta, Canada
Rodolfo Tellez-Schmill is a senior consultant with WS
Atkins Inc., in Houston TX, and has 15 years of experience in pro-
cess design, quality control, project management, research and
development. Prior to joining WS Atkins, he worked with SNC
Lavalin as a senior process engineer. Dr. Tellez-Schmill received his
B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and
his Ph.D. from the University of Calgary. He is a registered Professional Engineer in
the Province of Alberta, Canada.
Iraj Ajdari is the deputy chief process engineer at SNC-Lavalin
Inc., Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He has more than 20 years of expe-
rience in the oil & gas industry working with EPC and operating
companies. Mr. Ajdari received his B.Sc. in chemical engineering
from the University of Tehran, Iran in 1985, and his M.Sc. in petro-
leum engineering from the University of Wyoming, USA in 1995. He is registered
Professional Engineer in the Province of Alberta, Canada
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
1.2
1.4
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Time, s
M
a
s
s

o
w

r
a
t
e
Blowdown line
Suction line
Mass flowrates dynamic behavior with cold-recycle and
blowdown valves.
FIG. 5
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ENVIRONMENT/LOSS PREVENTION
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING AUGUST 2010

I


51
E
conomic and environmental considerations increase when
using flare gas recovery systems (FGRSs) to reclaim gases
from flare header systems for other uses. An FGRS reduces
flaring noise; thermal radiation; operating and maintenance costs;
air pollution and emissions; and fuel gas and steam consumption
while increasing process stability and flare tip life without any
impact on the existing safety relief system. The article details
installing an FGRS at the Khangiran gas refinery in Iran and how
the system was involved in the reduction, recovery and reuse of
flare gases. The systems operation, design guidelines and process
economics will also be covered.
Introduction. Flaring is used to consume waste gasesinclud-
ing hydrogen sulfide (H
2
S) rich gases and gases burned during
emergenciesin a safe and reliable manner through combustion
in an open flame. It is used routinely to dispose of flammable
gases that are either unusable or uneconomical to recover. Often,
gas plant workers must do emergency flaring for safety purposes
when equipment is depressurized for maintenance.
Worldwide, final product costs for refinery operations are
becoming proportionally more dependent on processing fuel
costs, particularly in the current market where reduced demand
results in disrupting the optimum energy network through slack
capacity. Recovering hydrocarbon gases discharged to the flare
relief system is probably the most cost-beneficial plant retrofit
available to the refinery. Flare gas use to provide fuel for process
heaters and steam generation leaves more in fuel processing, thus
increasing yields. Advantages are also obtained by reducing flare
pollution while extending tip life.
In spite of the advantages, suitable projects for flare gas reduc-
tion and recovery have not yet been planned. Therefore, there
is an essential need to emphasize installing FGRSs into the gas
refinery to recover and reuse flare gases.
Khangiran gas refinery. Due to the large amount of flare
gases produced in the Khangiran gas refinery (21,000 m
3
/hr),
operational conditions were investigated, especially in the units
that produced flare gases.
1
Based on the existing data, it was found
that the methyl diethanolamine (MDEA) flash drum, MDEA
regenerator column and MDEA regenerator reflux drum, residue
gas filter and inlet gas separator into the gas treating unit (GTU)
were the most critical when looking at producing flare gases. Flare
gas composition in the flare header during three tests is given in
Table 1. Regarding the results of the data analysisthe mean
value of the molecular weight of the flare gas is 18.16 and the flow
discharge rate modulated between 2,500 m
3
/hr and the maximum
of 10,000 m
3
/hr. The average temperature is 30C and the average
pressure is 6 psig.
Advised practical methods to reduce, recover and reuse flare
gases for the Khangiran gas refinery are presented in Table 2.
Gas refineries can benefit from
installing a flare gas recovery system
Take a look at these environmental and economic paybacks
O. ZADAKBAR and A. VATANI, University of Tehran, Iran;
and S. MOKHATAB, Consultant, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
TABLE 1. Flare gas composition in flare header
Test No. 1 No. 2 No. 3
composition % mole % mole % mole
C1 86.327 75.723 85.682
C2 0.461 0.759 0.58
C3 0.104 0.212 0.076
i-C4 0.03 0.062 0.012
n-C4 0.05 0.124 0.018
i-C5 0.028 0.07 0.028
n-C5 0.022 0.089 0.022
C6+ 0.218 0.212 0.218
CO
2
8.2 14.575 8.713
H
2
S 3.3 5.265 3.393
N
2
1.26 2.909 1.258
Total 100 100 100
TABLE 2. Advised practical methods to reduce,
recover and reuse flare gases
Objective Advised practical methods
Reduce and/or reuse flare gases Improving structure of MDEA flash drum
to reduce CO
2
and H
2
S to send gases to
the fuel gas header
Improving equipment with predicted
streams to send gases to the fuel gas
header
Improving inlet gas separator internals
Recover and reuse flare gases Installing the flare gas recovery system
for the MDEA flash drum
Installing the overall flare gas recovery
system
ENVIRONMENT/LOSS PREVENTION
52

I

AUGUST 2010 HYDROCARBON PROCESSING
In addition, the flame igniter system, flame safeguards and the
existing flare tip needed to be replaced. The existing flare control
system was not compatible with the distributed control system
(DCS) of the refinery and needed to be upgraded.
FGRS design considerations. The design considerations
include: flare relief operation and liquid seal drum, flare gas flow
and composition, and refinery fuel systems. The considerations
led to the unit design for normal capacity up to 21,000 m
3
/hr at
25C30C and 5 bar.
The proposed flare gas recovery system is a skid-mounted
package, located downstream of the knockout drum since all
flare gases from various units in the refinery are available at this
single point. It is located upstream of the liquid seal drum, as
pressure control at the suction to the compressor will be main-
tained precisely by keeping the increased height of the water
column in the drum. The recommended system has a modular
design, composed of three separate trains capable of handling
varying gas loads and compositions. It consists mainly of com-
pressors that take suction from the flare gas
header upstream of the liquid seal drum,
compresses the gas and cools it for reuse in
the refinery fuel gas system.
The compressor selection and design
is crucial to the system capacity and turn-
down capability.
2,3
During the project
design phase, the most appropriate type
and number of compressors were selected
for the application. Liquid ring compressor
technology is commonly used due to its
rugged construction and resistance to liq-
uid slugs and dirty gas fouling. A number
of factors that must be taken into account
when compressing flare gas are as follows:
the gas amount is not constant, the gas
composition varies over a wide range, the
gas contains components that condense
during compression, and the gas contains
corrosive components.
4
The recommended
system includes three liquid-ring (LR)
compressors, three horizontal three-phase
separators, three water coolers, piping and
instruments. The FGRS that used an LR
compressor at the Khangiran gas refinery
is illustrated in Fig. 1.
The compressed gas is routed to the amine treatment system
for H
2
S removal. Some hydrocarbon vapor is condensed and
discharged into the separator together with motive liquid. The
condensate is separated from the motive liquid in the three-
phase separator and routed to storage.
Fuel gas consumption. The expected effect of a devised
FGRS on flaring in the Khangiran gas refinery is shown in Fig.
2. The fuel gas at the Khangiran gas refinery is supplied by sweet
gas. Using flare gases as an alternative fuel gas resource can sig-
nificantly eliminate using sweet gas. The recommended FGRS
can reduce 21,000 m
3
/hr of gas flaring and provide 4,810 m
3
/hr
of sweet gas as an alternative fuel gas resource based on conditions
of the FGRS outlet stream. This is similar to conditions of a fuel
gas stream. Therefore, sweet gases that are used as fuel gas can be
injected again into the GTU outlet stream.
Another advantage of using an FGRS is that gas emissions
are reduced. The recovery and use as an alternative fuel source
will not only offset fuel consumption but also reduce gas emis-
sions, a potent greenhouse gas.
57
This waste put into fuel system
significantly or entirely reduces the facilitys emissions (such as
NO
x
, SO
x
, H
2
S, CO, CO
2
and other hazardous air pollutants/
greenhouse gases) and the emissions are converted into a rev-
enue stream and profit center.
810
By installing an FGRS at the
Khangiran gas refinery, gas emissions were decreased by 90%.
Thermal radiation. An important factor when installing
an FGRS is the reduction of thermal radiation. Installing an
FGRS not only reduces gas flaring but also decreases the harm-
ful impacts of flaring. Thus, some safety considerations in pre-
liminary flare design can be neglected. When investigating the
thermal radiation from the flame at the Khangiran gas refinery,
the radiation fluxes that vary with distance from the flame were
measured. Once the FGRS was installed, a simulation software
was used to predict thermal radiation from the flame.
11
Fig. 3
0
1 2 3
Max aring before installing FGRS, m
3
/hr
Max aring after installing FGRS, m
3
/hr
4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
5,000
10,000
15,000
20,000
25,000
Maximum monthly gas flaring before and after installing
an FGRS at the Khangiran gas refinery.
FIG. 2
CB HC
CB HC
FC
PI
LC LC
FI
FI
FC
PI
TI
To second
and third
FGRS
units
Three-phase
separator
Cooler
KO drum
Compressor
To amine
unit
FGRS Unit 1
To are Feed gas from are
Recommended FGRS. FIG. 1
ENVIRONMENT/LOSS PREVENTION



53
shows the distribution of the radiation fluxes that were calcu-
lated using reduced flowrate of flare gas from the flame, before
installing an FGRS. Each black line in Fig. 3 indicates a 10 m
distance from the flare stack. In addition, the impact of wind
direction and wind speed is obvious.
The results of thermal radiation reduction due to installing
an FGRS are illustrated in Fig. 4. Comparing the results of our
modeling before and after installing an FGRS shows that thermal
radiation flux will be significantly reduced at the specific distance
from the flame. The reduction of radiation fluxes increases the safe
area around the flare stack.
Noise level. Just as portions of energy released in burning waste
gas go to thermal radiation other portions of energy go to sound
and light. In some cases, the sound level becomes objectionable
and is considered noise. Flaring noise is generated by at least three
mechanisms:
From the gas jet as it exits the flare burner and mixes with
surrounding air
From a smoke suppressant injection or mixing
From combustion.
12
The noise generated by the first two, especially the second, can
be mitigated by the use of low noise injectors, mufflers and careful
distribution of a suppressant.
The third important component when installing an FGRS is
noise-level reduction. Flaring noise was investigated in a specific
area, 100 m diameter from the stack. Comparisons between the
results of modeling flare noise level at the Khangiran gas refinery
before and after installing an FGRS are illustrated in Fig. 5. The
results show that noise level will be significantly reduced at the
specific distance from the flame. Also, reducing radiation fluxes
creates an increase in the safe area around the flare stack.
Economics. The FGRS includes three separate trains capable
of handling varying gas load and compositions. Thus, three LR
compressors, three horizontal 3-phase separators, three water
coolers, piping and instruments are needed. Finally, capital
investment to install an FGRS is approximately $1.4 million.
This estimate includes maintenance, amortization and taxes cor-
responding to a payback period of approximately four months.
These results have been obtained based on $0.15/m
3
for fuel gas,
$6/ton for steam and $0.05/KWH for electricity. HP
LITERATURE CITED
1
www.khangiran.ir
2
Fisher, P. W. and D. Brennan, Minimize flaring by flare gas recovery,
Hydrocarbon Processing, pp. 8385, June 2002.
3
Ibragimov, E. R. and R. N. Shaikhutdinov, Use of Screw Compressor Units
for Flare Gas Recovery, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Vol. 36,
Nos. 56, pp. 290291, 2000.
2.29
1.8
1.6
1.4
1.2
1
2
The distribution of the radiation fluxes from the flame
before installing an FGRS in the Khangiran gas refinery.
FIG. 3
10
0.01
0.10
1.00
10.0
15 20 25 30 35 40 45
Distance, m
Before installing FGRS
After installing FGRS
T
h
e
r
m
a
l

r
a
d
i
a
t
i
o
n
,

k
W
/
h
r
50 55 60 65 70 75 80
Comparing the results of modeling before and after
installing an FGRS (logarithmic scale).
FIG. 4
G
J
P
4
.
6
e
1
0
Jet Mixer System
Liquid jet mixers are used to mix and circulate liquids. With the
jet mixers a three dimensional ow is achieved in the tank without
producing a rotating motion.
Advantages: high eciency, high operating safety,
long life time, no turning parts so little wear and
tear, simple construction, available in any material
used in the equipment, resistant to fouling.
GEA Process Engineering
GEA Wiegand GmbH
Einsteinstrasse 9-15, 76275 Ettlingen, Germany
Telefon: +49 7243 705-0, Telefax: +49 7243 705-330
E-Mail: info.gewi.de@geagroup.com, Internet: www.gea-wiegand.com
Select 167 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
ENVIRONMENT/LOSS PREVENTION
54

I

AUGUST 2010 HYDROCARBON PROCESSING
4
Alcazar, C. and M. Amilio, Get fuel gas from flare, Hydrocarbon
Processing, pp. 6364, July 1984.
5
Tarmoom, I., Gas Conservation and Flaring Minimization, SPE Middle
East Oil Show, Bahrain, February 2023, 1999.
6
Akeredolu, F. A. and J. A. Sonibare, A Review of the Usefulness of Gas
Flares in Air Pollution Control, Management of Environmental Quality:
An International Journal, Vol. 15, Issue 6, pp. 574583, 2004.
7
Sharama, R. K., Y. B. Prasad and V. Harishbabu, Minimize your refinery
flaring, Hydrocarbon Processing, February 2007.
8
Cain, J., A. Lee and A. Mingst, Developing and Using Technologies to
Manage and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, SPE International
Conference on Health, Safety and Environment in Oil and Gas Exploration
and Production, Abu Dhabi, UAE, April 24, 2006.
9
Veerkamp, W. and W. K. Heidug, A Strategy for the Reduction of
Greenhouse Gas Emissions, SPE International Conference on Health, Safety
and Environment in Oil and Gas Exploration and Production, Abu Dhabi,
UAE, April 24, 2006.
10
Misellati, M., The Path to Zero Flaring in ZADCO, SPE International
Conference on Health, Safety and Environment in Oil and Gas Exploration
and Production, Abu Dhabi, UAE, April 24, 2006.
11
FLARES Simulation Software, Enviroware (www.enviroware.com), Italy.
12
Schwartz, R. E. and J. W. White, Flare Radiation Prediction: A Critical
Review, 30th Annual Loss Prevention Symposium of AIChE, New Orleans,
Louisiana, February 28, 1996.

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EVENT
Ali Vatani is a professor and head of the petroleum engineering department
at the University of Tehran, Iran. He has written many research papers on various
petroleum and natural gas engineering related topics and has conducted research
on multiphase flow transmission and natural gas processing.
Omid Zadakbar is a researcher at the Institute of Petroleum Engineering (IPE)
at the University of Tehran, Iran. He earned an MSc degree in chemical engineering
from the University of Tehran and a BSc degree in chemical engineering from Iran
University of Science and Technology. Mr. Zadakbar has been involved with research
concerning a wide range of energy related topics, including oil and gas process
modeling and simulation.
Saeid Mokhatab is an internationally recognized expert in the field of natural
gas engineering with a particular emphasis on raw gas transmission and process-
ing. He has been involved as a technical consultant in several international gas-
engineering projects and has published over 180 academic and industry oriented
papers and four books on related topics. As a result of his work, Mr. Mokhatab
has received a number of professional awards and is listed in several international
biographical listings.
81.8
81.4
81
80
79
78
77
76
66
65
64
63
62
61
Noise level (dB) around the stack before (left) and after
(right) installing an FGRS at the Khangiran gas refinery.
FIG. 5
The recommended system has a
modular design, composed of three
separate trains capable of handling
varying gas loads and compositions.
Select 168 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
STORAGE/LOSS PREVENTION
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING AUGUST 2010

I


55
T
he volume of a vertical cylindrical storage tank in custody
or inventory service for crude and refined products is estab-
lished by tank calibration. The calibration process simply
involves using a calibrated tape with a given tension to measure
the tank circumference of each and every course on the tank by a
manual method as detailed in API and ISO standards.
1, 2
Tank external circumference may be measured with a tape in one
single strap (i.e., using a tape that can traverse the entire tan circum-
ference). The tape handling becomes extremely difficult due to its
weight as the tank diameter increases. It becomes more and more
difficult to maintain the tape in perfect contact with the tank shell,
at a given tape tension. The tanks may also be strapped in successive
segments, using a tape that is easy to handle, that can maintain full
surface contact with the tank shell and yet maintain the tape in a
truly horizontal plane for a given tension of the tape (Fig. 1).
Three cases relating to the uncertainty of manual
strapping:
1. 50 ft small strapping tape
2. 100 ft strapping tape
3. Single tape that covers the circumference in one segment
n = Number of successive straps or number of strapping
segments
= (for partial-length strapping tapes)

Integer
* D
L

+1

= (for full-length strapping tape)

* D
L

where D = Tanks nominal diameter


L = Strapping tape length
=
22
7 assumed
The thickness of each course is also measured from the circum-
ference and tank course thickness. The internal diameter is com-
puted which is the basis for calculating tank volume. In addition,
the deadwood (miscellaneous piping and structures) is deducted
from the computed volume to give the net tank volume. The vol-
ume computed is the basis for custody transfer calculations.
There are two major factors that account for more than 70%
to 80% of the total uncertainty and they are:
Circumference measurement by successive segmental strap-
ping
Shell plate thickness measurement.
These two parameters will be discussed further. A simple meth-
odology is presented to estimate the impact on the calibrated
volume of a vertical cylindrical storage tank for the three tape
lengths previously discussed.
Uncertainty in diameter due to strapping procedure.
The tank strapping process that measures the circumference is
subject to significant uncertainties due to the nature of the field
procedures involved. These factors are broadly summarized:
Variations in tape tension at each segment
Variations in successive strap location (end point of the first
and the start of the second strap)
Number of straps or segments involved
Non-uniform surface contact between the tape and the tank
shell wall
Maintaining the tape in a true horizontal plane at any given
level in a course or ring
Weather conditions such as wind or rain and lack of ade-
quate light
The shells non uniformity resulting in gaps between the
tape and the tank wall.
All these factors result in random uncertainty in the strapped
circumference, hence, the diameter at each course. The net uncer-
tainty in circumference and diameter due to a strapping procedure
at each course is computed as follows:

CS
=
S
n (1)

DS
=

CS

=

S
n

(2)
Estimating tank calibration uncertainty
Use these calculations for a specific tank calibration
S. SIVARAMAN, SS Tech Services, Setauket, New York; A. BERTOTTO, Soft Lab Inc., Buenos
Aires, Argentina; and D. COMSTOCK, Comstock Consulting LLC, Houston, Texas
Three-segment tank strapping circumference
measurementan example.
FIG. 1
Segment 1
Segment 2
Segment 3
Starting
point 1
End point 1
Starting point 2
End point 2
Starting point 3
End point 3
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STORAGE/LOSS PREVENTION
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING AUGUST 2010

I


57
Uncertainty in diameter due to thickness measure-
ment:

D
1
= D
o
2t
D
1
= 2 t (absolute value)
Total tank volume uncertainty calculation (per
course and all courses)
Thickness measurement impact per course. This can
be calculated as follows:

V
C
=
D
2
1
4
=
(D
o
2t )
2
4
, for unit height (3)
V
C
=
2(D
o
2t ) (2t )
4
Expressing V
C
as a total volume fraction for a given course
leads to:

V
C
V
C
=
2(D
o
2t ) (2t )
(D
o
2t )
2
4

1
4
V
C
V
C
=
(4t )
(D
o
2t )
, in absolute units (4)
Since 2*t is very small, compared to D
O
, Eq. 4 may be reduced
to the following:

V
C
V
C
=
(4 t )
D
o
, for a given course (5)
Or, in more general terms, the thickness uncertainty as a % of
the course volume is simply expressed as:
U
TC
V
C
V
C
100 =
4 t
D
100, for a given course (6)
Segmental strapping impact per course. By analysis similar
to Eq. 6 with regards to diameter only and assuming that thick-
ness is constant, the following equation is derived for uncertainty
in diameter per course due to strapping procedure:

V
C
=
D
2
1
4
=
(D
o
2t )
2
4
, for unit height (7)
V
C
=
2(D
o
2t ) (D
o
)
4
V
C
V
C
=
2(D
o
2t )(D
o
)
(D
o
2t )
2
4

1
4
Since D
o
>>>> 2*t, Eq. 7 reduces to:
V
C
V
C
=
2D
o
D
o
=
2D
D
(8)
U
DC
=
V
C
V
C
100 =
2D
D
100, or a given course (9)
where D is computed using Eq. 2, based on the number of seg-
ments and the uncertainty associated with each segment.
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STORAGE/LOSS PREVENTION
58

I

AUGUST 2010 HYDROCARBON PROCESSING
Total course volume uncertainty (U
CV
%). Total impact
of uncertainty in diameter due to successive straps and due to
thickness uncertainty on course volume is the statistical sum of the
two individual uncertainties (%) as computed in Eqs. 3 and 5.

U
CV
= U
2
DC
+ U
2
TC
, % for a single course (10)
U
CV
=
(2 D)
2
(D)
2
100
2
+
(4 T )
2
(D)
2
100
2
(11)
Total tank volume uncertaintyall courses. Total tank
volume uncertainty is the statistical sum of all individual course
uncertainties and is computed in Eq. 6. Since all course volumes
are assumed equal (= U
CV
) for the current analysis, Eq. 12 is sim-
plified and may be used directly in percentage.
U
TOV
=
U
CV
(%)
N
(12)
where N = the number of courses (6 or 8 courses typical).
It is generally good practice to use absolute volume units for a
statistical sum. However, as long as the course volumes are almost
equal, one can statistically add the percentages.
Impact of deadwood and other parameters on
tank uncertainty. Deadwood reflects the components
within the tank such as inlet and outlet piping, heating coils,
roof drain piping and other support structures. The space occu-
TABLE 1. Parameters used for development
of uncertainty
Tank diameter (ft) 50, 100, 200, 250 and 300
Number of courses or rings 6 for each tank diameter under
consideration (C
1
through C
6
)
Calibration tape length (ft) 50, 100 and full length tape
(strap circumference in full)
Maximum target limit of uncertainty 0.05%
Desirable value of calibrated 0.01% to 0.05%
volume uncertainty
Strapping uncertainty in mm (s) 5 mm to 20 mm for segmental tapes and
floating up to 50 mm
10 to 50 mm for full length tapes and
floating up to 160 mm
TABLE 2. Tape length and number of segments
Tank diameter (ft) 50 100 150 200 250 300
50 ft tape 4 7 10 13 16 19
100 ft tape 2 4 5 7 8 10
Full length tape 1 1 1 1 1 1
TABLE 3. Tank calibrated volume uncertainty: U
TOV
( %): 6 Courses
Tank diameter (ft)
50 100 150 200 250 300
Tank Volume %
Tape length, ft s mm t 1 to 3 mm t 1 to 3 mm t 1 to 3 mm t 1 to 3 mm t 1 to 3 mm t 1 to 3 mm
50 5 0.020.04 0.010.02 0.01 0.01 0.010.02 0.01
50 10 0.040.05 0.020.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.03
50 15 0.050.06 0.030.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.02
50 20 0.070.08 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.03 0.03
50 25 0.05
50 30 0.05
50 35 0.05
50 40 0.05
100 5 0.020.03 0.010.02 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01
100 10 0.030.04 0.02 0.010.02 0.01 0.01 0.01
100 15 0.040.05 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.02
100 20 0.050.06 0.030.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.02
100 30 0.05
100 40 0.05
100 45 0.05
100 50 0.05 0.05
Full-length 10 0.020.04 0.010.02 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01
Full-length 20 0.040.05 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.01
Full-length 25 0.05 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.01
Full-length 50 0.09 0.040.05 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.02
Full-length 80 0.05
Full-length 110 0.05
Full-length 140 0.05
Full-length 160 0.05
STORAGE/LOSS PREVENTION
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING AUGUST 2010

I


59
pied by these components is measured and excluded from the
tank volumes.
1
When the tanks are newly constructed, the volume occupied
by the deadwood is measured as entry into available tanks. The
volumes are computed accurately using physical measurements
with some residual deadwood uncertainty. Tanks undergo recali-
bration once every 10 to 15 years. Such recalibration is generally
carried out using the deadwoods original value since the tanks
may be in service. Thus, the original uncertainty, if available, will
be carried over.
In addition, the deadwood is unique to each tank. To account
for uncertainty, a safety or an experience factor of about 30 to
50% may be applied to the total tank volume uncertainty com-
puted, using Eq. 12. This takes into account all other miscella-
neous factors such as temperature correction, density correction,
deadwood, etc.
Total tank volume uncertainty including deadwood.
From Eq. 12, U
TANK
is computed and includes deadwood uncer-
tainty.
U
TANK
= 1.3U
TOV
to 1.5 U
TOV
(13)
U
TANK
= 1.3
U
CV
(%)
N
to 1.5
U
CV
(%)
N
(14)
Basic parameters used for development of uncertainty are listed
in Table 1.
A typical application of the calculation methodology is illus-
trated under Example 1 for a 100 ft diameter tank using a 100 ft
tape. Using the same procedure illustrated, estimated tank volume
uncertainties (U
TOV
%) are presented in Table 2.
Analysis of uncertainties. Table 1 provides a ready correla-
tion between three parameters, namely, strapping uncertainty (s in
mm), thickness uncertainty (t in mm) and overall calibrated tank
volume uncertainty for diameters ranging from 50 ft to 300 ft.
The following observations were deduced from Table 2 and are:
The resulting volume uncertainty (U%), for any given tank
diameter is more or less the same for all three tape applications
within the specified range of strapping uncertainties (s)
The choice of tape length, therefore, is not that critical as
long as one can handle the larger tape length with the same level
of precision (i.e., t, s) at all course heights from the bottom to
the top of the tank.
It must be emphasized that a 50 ft or 100 ft tape is much
easier to handle than the full length tape at all elevations.
The chance of random error propagation is also reduced
with shorter lengths of tape.
Smaller tanks inherently are subject to higher volume uncer-
tainty (%) since the divisor is small. A full-length tape under con-
trolled condition provides the best option for smaller tanks
One can target for a 5mm best achievable segmental uncer-
tainty for shorter-length tape or a 10 mm best achievable segmen-
tal uncertainty for full-length tape if the following conditions
are met:
Maintain absolute contact between shell and the tape at
all levels
Maintain the tape in true horizontal position at all levels
Compensate for the tapes weight with proper supports
Maintain constant tension on the tape at all times and at
all levels which requires sliding the tape to transmit equal tension
across the tape
Carry cut calibration at stable ambient conditions with
no wind or rain.
If the tank owner permits overall uncertainty around 0.05%
for all diameters, then the corresponding strapping uncertainty
(s) could be proportionately larger for varying diameters as
illustrated under the shaded area of Table 3.
Using a full-length tape while difficult to handle espe-
cially on large diameters (e.g., 300 ft)gives more flexibility in
strapping to achieve the same desired level of volume uncertainty
of 0.05% for all diameters (e.g., for a full-length tape for 300 ft
diameter, one can tolerate a strapping uncertainty of 160 mm
to achieve a volume uncertainty of 0.05%).
The calibrated tank volume uncertainty compares very
favorably with meter calibration residual uncertainty (allowable
meter factor variation 0.025%).
Conclusion. The primary objective in calibration or recalibra-
tion is to ensure that the uncertainty due to the field procedures
is maintained and controlled at a minimum level. The guide-
lines presented will enable one to estimate quickly the overall
volume or strapping uncertainty prior to calibration start. The
methodology presented is simple and straight forward for quick
evaluation and facilitates easy application of basic principles to
estimate the uncertainty values and it does not call for compli-
cated computer skills or tools. It will also help in controlling
the segmental uncertainty (mm) for a given tank or the volume
uncertainty (%) or vice versa.
A full-length tape offers the best option as long as proper pre-
cautions are taken for its application as outlined. This does apply
to the measurement of a reference strap on the bottom course
which requires a master tape that is directly calibrated by a national
metrological institute of the country (e.g., NIST in the US).
Finally the calibration uncertainty is always systematic in
nature and that will eventually manifest itself as a net loss or
gain in mass balance in refining and chemical plants, as well as in
pipeline terminal systems.
3
This is why the calibration quality of
a tank is so critical to subsequent measurement accuracy.
Notations
U
TANK
= Overall tank calibration volume uncertainty %
(includes deadwood)
U
TOV
= Uncertainty in the total volume (%)
U
DC
= Uncertainty in course volume % due to
segmental strapping
U
TC
= Uncertainty in course volume % due to thickness
measurement
V
C
= Course volume per unit height
t = Thickness of tank shell wall
D = Nominal tank diameter (ft)
D
o
= External diameter of the tank shell (ft)
D
I
= Internal diameter of the tank shell (ft)
t = Uncertainty in thickness of tank shell wall (mm)
s = Strapping uncertainty per strap segment (mm)

CS
,
DS
= Computed uncertainty in circumference and
diameter due to segments (mm)
D
t
= Uncertainty in tank diameter due to thickness
(mm)
n = Number of strapping segments for a given
circumference (3 to 19 segments)
N = Number of courses (6 and 8 courses typical)
C = Course or ring
STORAGE/LOSS PREVENTION
60

I

AUGUST 2010 HYDROCARBON PROCESSING
Example 1 calculation
Tank data:
Nominal tank OD 50 ft
t, thickness uncertainty 3 mm
Number of courses 6
Per segment uncertainty 20 mm
Tape length 50 ft
Step 1: Thickness impact
U
TC
=
43 mm
50 ft 12
in.
ft
25.4
mm
in
100 (6)
U
TC
= 0.08%
Step 2: Segmental strapping impact

DS
= 20 mm
4
22
7 = 12.7 mm (2)
U
DC
=
212.7 mm
50 ft 12
in.
ft
25.4
mm
in
100 (9)
U
DC
= 0.17%
Step 3: Course volume uncertainty

U
CV
= 0.08
2
+ 0.17
2
(10, 11)
U
CV
= 0.19%
Step 4: Total tank volume uncertaintyall courses
Assume course volumes are all equal = V
C
(for any single
course)
Total tank volume TOV = 6 * V
C
(for 6 courses)
First course V
C
= V
C
* (0.19/100) in volume
units
Second course V
C
= V
C
* (0.19/100), etc.
Total tank V
T
=


% Uncertainty
% Uncertainty
U
TOV
= 0.08%
Step 5: Total tank volume uncertainty including
deadwood, etc.
U
TANK
= 1.3 * 0.08 % to 1.5 * 0.08% (12, 13)
U
TANK
= 0.10% to 0.12% or an average value of 0.11%
All net values are rounded off to the second decimal place. Its
recommended to round off at the completion of the total tank
volume uncertainty calculation. HP
V
2
C1
+ .....V
2
C6

U
TOV
=
V
C
6 V
C
0.19
100
6
( )
100
U
TOV
=
0.19
6
= V
C

0.19
100

6
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61
LOSS PREVENTION
NOTES
1. Table 3 reflects the impact of strapping and thickness measurements
only.
2. As illustrated in Table 3, smaller tanks require a higher level of precision in
strapping to maintain U
TOV
values within 0.05%.
3. Recommended not to exceed a level of 0.05% uncertainty
4. Values for eight courses almost similar to the above and slightly less
5. Full-length is the tape length long enough to span the tank circumference
in one segment
6. Multiply the above values by a factor of 1.3 to 1.5 to compute for U
TANK

(accounting for deadwood, etc.)
7. All values rounded off to second decimal place after complete calculation
of the total tank (U
TOV
)
8. Rounding off uncertainty 0.01%
LITERATURE CITED
1
Measurement and Calibration of Upright Cylindrical Tanks by the Manual
Strapping Method, API Chapter 2.2A.

2
Calibration of Vertical Cylindrical TanksPart 1: Strapping Method, ISO
7507-1.
3
Sivaraman, S. and A. Bertotto, Determine unknown loss in refineries and
terminals, Hydrocarbon Processing, March 2006.
Srini Sivaraman retired from Exxon after almost 25 years of
service and now manages his own consulting company (SS Tech
Services). It specializes in the fields of custody transfer measure-
ments, mass balance and oil-loss control in the petrochemical
industryfrom production to marketing and distribution. During
his tenure with Exxon, he participated in many research projects in development
and/or application of new technologies for custody transfer such as tank calibration
technologies, automatic tank gauging systems, automatic sampling systems, etc. Mr.
Sivaraman has authored more than a dozen papers in international journals. He has
been very active within API and ISO for the past 20 years, and more than a half-dozen
standards have been produced under his leadership. Mr. Sivaraman presently serves
as Convener of the ISO tank calibration working groups and co-chair of the API tank
calibration working group.
Ariel Bertotto is a reservoir engineer with 30 years of expertise,
mainly in the upstream oil industry, transport and yield accounting.
He has worked on petroleum thermodynamics, rheology, PVT analy-
sis, laboratory special core tests, nodal calculation in wells and ducts,
data reconciliation, custody transfer surveys, oil loss control, data
acquisition, etc., having founded a core laboratory, with PVT capabilities, and a software
house, SoftLab SRL, dedicated exclusively to developing oil databases and technical
applications. Mr. Bertotto is general manager and CEO of SoftLab, a company with 20
years of consulting in the oil markets, having implemented more than 120 systems and
different jobs, with a very well-known name in the South American markets. He is also
a lead auditor in quality certification, both American and European licences, referee of
papers and publications; and a member of SPE.
Dan Comstock has over 35 years field and management expe-
rience in petroleum and petrochemical measurement. He worked
for Halmor Services Inc. and other service companies on meter
provers, and measurement systems, waterdraw prover calibration,
startup activities, etc. at domestic and foreign sites. Mr. Comstock
served as project manager for the first successful introduction of ballistic provers in
the hydrocarbon industry with Basic Resource Services, Inc. by taking an early model
to the North Sea after extensive testing in Oklahoma. For many years he served as
head of the measurement and instrumentation group for SGS North America Inc. in
the US, whose activities included tank calibration, shipboard sampling by automatic
inline sampler, meter proving (onshore and offshore), prover calibration, natural gas
orifice meter inspection, chart integration, natural gas sampling and analyses. Mr.
Comstock has served on many API committees on liquid, gas and marine measure-
ments and presently serves as chairman of the API tank calibration working group.
He regularly serves as a special advisor to the International School of Hydrocarbon
Measurement (affiliated with the University of Oklahoma). Mr. Comstock currently
works as a petroleum measurement training specialist for Petroleum Extension Ser-
vice, continuing education (PETEX) at the University of Texas, and provides petroleum
measurement consulting services through Comstock Consulting, LLC. He studied at
Benedictine Heights College and the University of Tulsa.
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Selecting the Best Solvent for Gas Treating
PROCESS INSIGHT
Selecting the best amine/solvent for gas treating is not a
trivial task. There are a number of amines available to
remove contaminants such as CO
2
, H
2
S and organic sulfur
compounds from sour gas streams. The most commonly used
amines are methanolamine (MEA), diethanolamine (DEA),
and methyldiethanolamine (MDEA). Other amines include
diglycolamine

(DGA), diisopropanolamine (DIPA), and


triethanolamine (TEA). Mixtures of amines can also be used
to customize or optimize the acid gas recovery. Temperature,
pressure, sour gas composition, and purity requirements for
the treated gas must all be considered when choosing the most
appropriate amine for a given application.
Primary Amines
The primary amine MEA removes both CO
2
and H
2
S from
sour gas and is effective at low pressure. Depending on
the conditions, MEA can remove H
2
S to less than 4 ppmv
while removing CO
2
to less than 100 ppmv. MEA systems
generally require a reclaimer to remove degraded products
from circulation. Typical solution strength ranges from 10 to
20 weight % with a maximum rich loading of 0.35 mole acid
gas/mole MEA. DGA

is another primary amine that removes


CO
2
, H
2
S, COS, and mercaptans. Typical solution strengths are
50-60 weight %, which result in lower circulation rates and less
energy required for stripping as compared with MEA. DGA
also requires reclaiming to remove the degradation products.
Secondary Amines
The secondary amine DEA removes both CO
2
and H
2
S but
generally requires higher pressure than MEA to meet overhead
specications. Because DEA is a weaker amine than MEA, it
requires less energy for stripping. Typical solution strength
ranges from 25 to 35 weight % with a maximum rich loading
of 0.35 mole/mole. DIPA is a secondary amine that exhibits
some selectivity for H
2
S although it is not as pronounced as for
tertiary amines. DIPA also removes COS. Solutions are low
in corrosion and require relatively low energy for regeneration.
The most common applications for DIPA are in the ADIP

and
SULFINOL

processes.
Tertiary Amines
A tertiary amine such as MDEA is often used to selectively
remove H
2
S, especially for cases with a high CO
2
to H
2
S ratio
in the sour gas. One benet of selective absorption of H
2
S is a
Claus feed rich in H
2
S. MDEA can remove H
2
S to 4 ppm while
maintaining 2% or less CO
2
in the treated gas using relatively
less energy for regeneration than that for DEA. Higher weight
percent amine and less CO
2
absorbed results in lower circulation
rates as well. Typical solution strengths are 40-50 weight % with
a maximum rich loading of 0.55 mole/mole. Because MDEA
is not prone to degradation, corrosion is low and a reclaimer is
unnecessary. Operating pressure can range from atmospheric,
typical of tail gas treating units, to over 1,000 psia.
Mixed Solvents
In certain situations, the solvent can be customized to
optimize the sweetening process. For example, adding a
primary or secondary amine to MDEA can increase the rate
of CO
2
absorption without compromising the advantages of
MDEA. Another less obvious application is adding MDEA to
an existing DEA unit to increase the effective weight % amine
to absorb more acid gas without increasing circulation rate or
reboiler duty. Many plants utilize a mixture of amine with
physical solvents. SULFINOL is a licensed product from
Shell Oil Products that combines an amine with a physical
solvent. Advantages of this solvent are increased mercaptan
pickup, lower regeneration energy, and selectivity to H
2
S.
Choosing the Best Alternative
Given the wide variety of gas treating
options, a process simulator that
can accurately predict sweetening
results is a necessity when attempting
to determine the best option.
ProMax

has been proven to accurately


predict results for numerous process
schemes. Additionally, ProMax can
utilize a scenario tool to perform
feasibility studies. The scenario
tool may be used to systematically
vary selected parameters in an
effort to determine the optimum operating conditions and the
appropriate solvent. These studies can determine rich loading,
reboiler duty, acid gas content of the sweet gas, amine losses,
required circulation rate, type of amine or physical solvent,
weight percent of amine, and other parameters. ProMax can
model virtually any ow process or conguration including
multiple columns, liquid hydrocarbon treating, and split ow
processes. In addition, ProMax can accurately model caustic
treating applications as well as physical solvent sweetening
with solvents such as Coastal AGR

, methanol, and NMP. For


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GAS PROCESSING DEVELOPMENTS
HYDROCARBON PROCESSING AUGUST 2010

I


63
S
everal factors affect the recovery of
C
3
s and C
4
s in gas recovery refinery
type plants, typically found in delayed
cokers, fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) and
other downstream gas processing units.
These factors include: flowrates, stream
compositions, pressures, recovery specifica-
tions, solvent temperatures and volume of
solvents required.
1,2
Operating efficiency
of the absorber/stripper gas plant section
also involves the amount of lean oil enter-
ing the secondary absorber and the volume
of stabilized naphtha recycled back to the
primary absorber.
3,4
A sensitivity study was
done to optimize the design of an absorber/
stripper gas plant section to improve recov-
ery of C
3
s and C
4
s. Recovery targets of the
evaluation are to be based on balancing
an assumed refinery sour gas streams with
liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) production
while controlling both capital investment
and operating costs.
C
3
s and C
4
s recoveries. Varying the
amount of lean oil entering the secondary
absorber and stabilized naphtha in the pri-
mary absorber directly impacts C
3
s and C
4
s
recoveries.
5
This article reports a study devel-
oped to evaluate the economic impact of a
grassroots design for an absorption/stripping
gas plant applying variations in C
3
s and C
4
s
recoveries. Fig. 1 shows a simplified pro-
cess scheme used in this sensitivity analysis.
Absorption/stripping sections of this type
of gas recovery unit can be adapted for dif-
ferent configurations depending on process
conditions and operating preferences. The
chosen process configuration is a simple one;
it uses a typical composition and common
operating conditions to expedite the data
generation and analysis.
5
Simulation. To evaluate the effect of lean
oil and recycled naphtha on C
3
s and C
4
s
recoveries, 11 different options were con-
sidered using a model developed in a com-
mercial simulator (see Table 1) for a process
scheme proposed in Fig. 1. For evaluation
purposes, the same process scheme is con-
sidered for all options presented here.
Optimize operating parameters
of absorbers/strippers in gas plants
Better recovery definition of C
3
s and C
4
s
from gas absorber/stripper can lower costs
J. NAVA, SNC Lavalin, Energy and Infrastructure Division, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
TABLE 1. Recovery factors for C
3
and C
4
in LPG product and naphtha streams
Option Recycle Lean oil C
3
vol% C
4
vol% C
3
vol% C
4
vol%
naphtha reduction
reduction Without considering Considering recovery
recovery in naphtha in naphtha
Base Case 1 1 98.13 93.68 99.07 98.84
1 0.59 0.59 81.14 92.26 90.57 97.15
2 0.55 1 77.02 93.59 88.51 98.48
3 0.63 1 85.12 93.63 92.56 98.58
4 0.71 1 90.39 93.65 95.19 98.64
5 0.80 1 93.59 93.67 96.79 98.69
6 0.88 1 95.48 93.68 97.74 98.72
7 1 0.74 97.88 93.05 98.94 98.13
8 1 0.59 97.79 92.40 98.90 97.46
9 1 0.44 97.71 91.81 98.85 96.85
10 1 0.29 97.62 91.34 98.81 96.34
11 0.55 0.29 76.21 91.04 88.11 95.83
Primary
absorber
Secondary
absorber
Sour gas
Lean oil
Rich oil
C
3
/C
4
Naphtha
Stripper
Stripper
reboiler
Reux to
fractionator
Wet gas
Side
stripper
reboiler
CW CW CW CW
CW
Stabilizer
Simplified gas plant processing scheme. FIG. 1
GAS PROCESSING DEVELOPMENTS
64

I

AUGUST 2010 HYDROCARBON PROCESSING
To estimate the C
3
s and C
4
s recover-
ies, two different recoveries are calculated.
The first approach considers C
3
s and C
4
s
recoveries only in the LPG product; C
3
s
and C
4
s in the naphtha product are consid-
ered lostLPG is the only reference. The
second approach considers the amount of
C
3
s and C
4
s in LPG, as well as in the naph-
tha streams, as recovery.
Figs. 2 and 3 show the recovery changes
of C
3
s and C
4
s for the Base Case and
Options 26. For these options, only the
rate of recycled naphtha changes and the
rate of lean oil stream is constant, which is
the same as the Base Case. Fig. 2 shows that
changes for C
3
s recovery are not linear with
equal variations of recycled naphtha sent to
the absorber. These changes are more signifi-
cant at lower flow rates. As illustrated in Fig.
3, C
4
s recovery does not vary significantly.
Figs. 4 and 5 illustrate the recovery
changes of C
3
s and C
4
s for the Base Case
and Options 710. In these options, only
the rate of lean oil is changed, and the rate
for recycled naphtha is constantit is the
same as the Base Case. As shown in Fig.
5, C
4
s recovery is lowered by reducing the
amount of lean oil stream sent to the second-
ary absorber (also referred to as a sponge oil
absorber or B-B absorber).
1
By using a commercial process simula-
tor, the effects from these changes for the
two streams is used to size key equipment
for each option. By considering Figs. 25
with a simplified cost analysis, four options
are selected for further analysis, i.e., Base
Case, Option 1, Option 2, Option 4 and
Option 8.
C
3
s and C
4
s in fuel gas. With lower
recovery efficiencies, more C
3
s and C
4
s are
routed to fuel gas. Consequently, the heat-
ing value of the fuel gas increases. Fig. 6
shows the volume changes of the sour fuel
gas for the different cases.
0.99
1.00
1.01
1.02
1.03
1.04
1.05
1.06
1.07
1.08
Base Case Option 8 Option 4 Option 1 Option 2
S
o
u
r

f
u
e
l

g
a
s

i
n
c
r
e
a
s
e
r
a
t
i
o
,

v
o
l
u
m
e

r
a
t
i
o
Fuel gas production rate using various absorber/stripper
designs.
FIG. 6
Without considering
recovery in naphtha
With considering
recovery in naphtha
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
100
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2
Recycle naphtha reduction, %
C
4
,

v
o
l
%
C
4
s recovery efficiencies with varying absorption rates
of naphtha.
FIG. 3
Base Case Option 8 Option 4 Option 1 Option 2
0.20
0.00
0.40
0.60
0.80
1.00
1.20
N
e
t

p
r
e
s
e
n
t

l
o
s
s

r
a
t
i
o
Loss of revenue
Loss of revenue with various absorber/stripper designs. FIG. 7
97.4
97.6
97.8
98.0
98.2
98.4
98.6
98.8
99.0
99.2
C
3
,

v
o
l
%
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2
Lean oil reduction, %
Without considering
recovery in naphtha
With considering
recovery in naphtha
C
3
s recovery efficiencies with varying absorption rates
of lean oil.
FIG. 4
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
100
C
4
,

v
o
l
%
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2
Lean oil reduction, %
Without considering
recovery in naphtha
With considering
recovery in naphtha
C
4
s recovery efficiencies with varying absorption rates
of lean oil.
FIG. 5
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2
Recycled naphtha reduction, %
C
3
,

v
o
l
%
Without considering
recovery in naphtha
With considering
recovery in naphtha
C
3
s recovery efficiencies with varying absorption rates
of naphtha.
FIG. 2
GAS PROCESSING DEVELOPMENTS
Cost estimate. Based on selected
options, capital and operating costs (+/
50%) are estimated:
Capital expenditure. The changes in
the amount of recycled naphtha and lean
oil streams have effects on the equipment
sizing. Table 2 lists the changes related to
the major equipment and related capi-
tal costs. The capital cost for the original
design is kept as 1 as a reference, and the
remaining options are evaluated based on
the Base Case (Base Reference of 1).
As shown in Table 2, Option 2 has the
lowest capital cost for this specific study
case. In this case, by reducing almost 12%
in C
3
s recovery, the capital cost savings is
approximately 34%. In Option 4, a 5%
reduction in C
3
s recovery can yield a 28%
savings in capital costs. For this option,
there is a higher capital cost reduction with-
out significant cuts in C
3
s recovery.
Operating expenditure. Table 3 sum-
marizes the operating cost for cooling
water and horsepower requirements for
five selected options. Since this calcula-
tion applies a multiplier, the table shows
the ratios for both cooling water consump-
tion and horsepower needs that are used by
each option. This ratio applies to operating
costs. Option 2, which has the lowest capi-
tal cost, consumes 38% less cooling water
and almost 50% less horsepower than the
Base Case. Option 4, which also has signifi-
cant capital cost savings, consumes 29% less
cooling water and 34% less horsepower as
compared to the Base Case.
Cost analysis. As illustrated earlier,
options with lower recovery efficiencies for
C
3
s and C
4
s recoveries (mainly C
3
s) require
lower capital investment and operating
costs but with reduced LPG production.
Consequently, higher heating value of the
fuel gas produced from the gas plant is pos-
sible. Table 4 summarizes presented issues.
Of all of the scenarios considered, Option 2
offers the highest savings. A simplified eco-
nomic evaluation was done to determine
the net present loss (NPL) at an interest
rate of 9%. NPL was calculated based on:
NPL = Net present incremental sale
Net present incremental operating cost
where incremental sale is equal to LPG pro-
duction minus the energy added (lost) to
the fuel gas.
The incremental capital expenditure is
evenly allocated in the first two years, and
TABLE 2. Capital cost analysis for varying lean oil and recycled naphtha
flowrates in the absorber/stripper unit
Service Option 8 Option 4 Option 1 Option 2
Cost ratio
Columns
Primary absorber 1.00 0.81 0.73 0.81
Stripper 1.00 0.70 0.70 0.70
Secondary absorber 0.69 0.84 0.69 0.84
Stabilizer 1.00 0.67 0.59 0.55
Vessels
Compressor discharge drum 1.00 0.78 1.39 0.63
Pumps
Stripper feed pump 1.00 0.74 0.67 0.64
Stabilizer bottoms pump 1.00 0.68 0.59 0.56
Lean oil booster pump 0.73 1.00 0.74 1.00
Stabilizer reflux pump 1.00 0.72 0.63 0.61
Heat exchangers
Compressor discharge trim cooler 1.00 0.81 0.72 0.69
Stabilizer bottoms trim cooler 1.00 0.70 0.59 0.57
LGO-lean sponge oil trim cooler 0.73 1.00 0.75 1.00
Stripper bottom reboiler 1.00 0.78 0.70 0.67
Stripper side reboiler 1.00 0.86 0.82 0.80
Stabilizer reboiler 1.00 0.51 0.51 0.83
Air cooler
Stabilizer bottoms air cooler 1.00 0.64 0.56 0.52
Total ratio to original cost 0.98 0.72 0.70 0.66
Note: Based on Base Case as 1.00
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GAS PROCESSING DEVELOPMENTS
the income is assumed to start during the
first year of the 20-year life cycle. Major
maintenance turnarounds were considered
every five years and it is considered as a
fraction of the incremental income for that
year. Fig. 7 shows the NPL values for five
different operating options. The results are
reported as a ratio to the Base Case. As illus-
trated in Fig. 7, Base Case and Option 8
show very high revenue losses as compared
to Option 2. This value was significantly
reduced for the other two options.
Design considerations. It was proved
that lean oil flowrate changes going to the
secondary absorber does affect the amount
of C
4
s recovery. The amount of C
3
s recovery,
as reported in different designs, is affected
by varying recycled naphtha volume sent to
the primary absorber. Lowering recoveries
of C
3
s and C
4
s, as a result of reduction of
the mentioned streams, can significantly
decrease both capital investment and oper-
ating costs while keeping economically via-
ble recovery factors. This type of analysis
should be done on a case-by-case basis in
conjunction with the fuel gas balance, as
this fuel gas balance may impose restrictions
to the recoveries of C
3
s and C
4
s.
By comparing the costs and the percent-
age of recoveries, Option 4 could be selected
as probably the best case. For this case, the
C
3
recovery is almost 95% and the C
4

recovery is almost 99%. NPL is lower than
the Base Case. Although Options 1 and 2
show lower capital cost, the recoveries of C
3

and C
4
are also lower. The NPL is very close
to Option 4. HP
LITERATURE CITED
1
Nelson, W. L., Petroleum Refinery Engineering,
McGraw Hill Book, Second Ed., 1941.
2
Green, D. W. and R. H. Perry, Perrys Chemical
Engineers Handbook, Seventh Ed., McGraw-Hill.
3
Golden, S., Case studies reveal common design,
equipment errors in revamps, Oil and Gas Journal,
April 1997.
4
Golden, S., Simple engineering changes fix
product recovery problems, Oil and Gas Journal,
April 1997.
5
Kaes, G. L., Refinery Process Modeling, Kaes
Enterprises, Inc., First Ed., March 2000.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
The author thanks Dr. Shiva Habibi for guidance
and technical review of this article. Dr. Habibi is a for-
mer researcher for the University of Toronto, and now
she works for Ontario Power Generation, Canada.
Joe Nava is Manager of process
engineering in SNC Lavalin, Energy
and Infrastructure Division, Toronto,
Canada. He has 19 years of experience
in process engineering and design in
refining, production, gas processing and renewable
fuels. He holds a BS degree in mechanical engineering
and an M. Eng. degree in chemical engineering. He is a
professional engineer registered in Ontario.
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TABLE 4. Cost comparison of possible operating scenarios for the absorber/
stripper in the gas plant
Base Case Option 8 Option 4 Option 1 Option 2
TIC ratio 1 0.981 0.724 0.699 0.660
Incremental capital cost, % 51.5 48.5 9.7 5.8
Operating cost ratio 2 2 1.5 1 1
Incremental operating cost, % 100.0 100.0 50.0 0.0
Differential energy added (lost) to fuel gas, % (4.7) (4.2) (2.3) (0.27)
Incremental LPG production, % 5.7 5.3 2.0 0.82
TABLE 3. Cooling water and horsepower requirements and related
operating cost ratios
Base case Option 8 Option 4 Option 1 Option 2
CW requirement ratio or cost ratio
Compressor discharge trim cooler 0.68 0.68 0.50 0.45 0.44
Stabilizer bottoms trim cooler 0.26 0.26 0.16 0.13 0.12
LCGO-lean sponge oil trim cooler 0.06 0.04 0.06 0.04 0.06
Total 1.00 0.98 0.71 0.62 0.62
(BHP/BHP total) or cost ratio
Stripper feed pump 0.27 0.27 0.18 0.16 0.15
Stabilizer bottoms pump 0.53 0.53 0.32 0.26 0.25
Lean oil booster pump 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01
Stabilizer reflux pump 0.19 0.19 0.13 0.11 0.10
Total 1.00 1.00 0.64 0.53 0.51
Select 173 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
Special Supplement to
CONTENTS
Process control and instrumentation
trends and spending forecasts P68
Corporate Proles
Emerson Process Management P71
Yokogawa P73
Micro Motion P75
Honeywell P77
PROCESS CONTROL
INSTRUMENTATION
A
N
D
P68

I

PROCESS CONTROL AND INSTRUMENTATION 2010 HYDROCARBON PROCESSING
Two line caption
Headline
(2 lines)
PROCESS CONTROL AND INSTRUMENTATION


2010
Process control and instrumentation
trends and spending forecasts
LES KANE, Editor
According to the 2010 HPI Market Data Book, worldwide
hydrocarbon processing industry (HPI) spending for process
control systems and instrumentation is forecast to be nearly
$10 billion in 2010. This is about 20% of all HPI equipment
spending and is the largest equipment spending category.
Table 1 shows the percentage of expenditures for various
instrumentation categories.
HPI process control and instrumentation requirements are so
large because of the industries size and the many automa-
tion levels implemented (Fig. 1).
These include:
Frontline instrumentation
Advanced regulatory control
Advanced process control
Real-time optimization
Planning and scheduling
Business information systems.
Fieldbus. One of the main focus areas is fieldbus, which is
an all-digital communications protocol that enables micro-
processor-based field instruments to communicate with each
other and the control systems via a single network bus. The
information provided includes not only the condition of
the instrumentation and valves, but also the status of the
monitored process equipment. This enables potential fail-
ures to be detected early so actions can be taken to avoid
shutdowns and safety and environmental issues. Fieldbus is
Days
Planning and
scheduling
Optimization
Advanced process
control
Analyzers and online inferentials
Regulatory layer PIDs, cascades, ...
Instrumentation layer valves, I/Ps, sensors, ...
Hours
Minutes
Minutes
Seconds
FIG. 1. Typical plant process control hierarchy showing
differences in timing requirements.
Source: Mitchell, M. P., and Shook, D. P., 2003 ERTC Computing Conference
0
500
1,000
1,500
2,000
2,500
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
FIG. 2. Worldwide market for fieldbus solutions in
the process industries (millions of dollars).
Source: OBrien, L., Hydrocarbon Processing, May 2007
Item Percent
Process control systems 25
Control valves and actuators 27
Purchased application software 15
Online process analyzers and sample systems 10
Flow transmitters and elements 6
Pressure transmitters 5
Temperature transmitters 5
Level transmitters 4
Miscellaneous (tubing, fittings, gauges, etc.) 3
Note: Spending does not include control rooms, laboratory and portable
analyzers, plant information/management computer systems, and engineering and instal-
lation costs. Process control system spending includes hybrid DCSs, operator displays, I/O
systems and instrument cable.
TABLE 1. HPI process control instrumentation spending,
% dollars
Superior return on assets
Reduced maintenance cost
Reduced unplanned downtime
Abnormal situation avoidance
Knowledge workforce creation
Source: OBrien, L., Hydrocarbon Processing, April 2005
TABLE 2. Five pillars of fieldbus justification
PROCESS CONTROL AND INSTRUMENTATION

2010
also enabling better asset management. Table 2 shows some
of the benefits of implementing fieldbus.
According to ARC Advisory Group (Dedham, Massachusetts),
fieldbus adoption in the process industries is growing rapidly
(Fig. 2).
Alarm management. Alarm management practices are
also attracting a lot of attention as HPI companies strive
to improve safety. It is easy and cheap to include alarms in
modern distributed control systems, so many alarms are
included that are not critical. This results in operator alarm
overload and confusion. Thus, HPI companies are rethink-
ing their alarm strategies and including only those alarms
that are crucial to plant safety and operation. Table 3 shows
some of the benefits of implementing better alarm man-
agement strategies.
Wireless sensors. The use of wireless instrumentation
is also starting to take off. Because there is no need to run
wires to the instruments, measurements that were too
expensive to obtain before can now be obtained cost-effec-
tively. Table 4 and Fig. 3 show some of the applications for
wireless sensors in the process industries.
More details are available. More details on process con-
trol and instrumentation use in the hydrocarbon processing
industry are provided in our 2010 HPI Market Data Book.
The publication also covers energy, refining, petrochemi-
cals, gas processing, alternative fuels, biofuels, environ-
ment health and safety, maintenance and retrofitting, and
construction trends. In addition, capital and maintenance
spending, and spending for various types of equipment and
services, are forecast.
The Market Data Book also includes a CD ROM that shows
over 10 years of construction activity, includes a worldwide
plant directory and selected articles from Hydrocarbon Pro-
cessing. To purchase a copy contact Bill Wageneck, publisher
at e-mail: bill.wageneck@gulfpub.com.
FIG. 3. A self-organizing field network.
Source: Marin, G., Hydrocarbon Processing, March 2009
Area Benefits
Safety Reduced risk of human injury and incidents
Unplanned downtime Avoid plant shutdown, lost product and
associated costs
Information management Avoid nuisance alarms, improved fault
tracing
Role of the operator Give operator more time to focus on the
process, creating knowledge workforce
Source: OBrien, L., Hydrocarbon Processing, April 2008
TABLE 3. Key areas of alarm management justification
Process measurements can be taken from wireless transmitters.
Wireless video cameras can be used for perimeter security.
Radio frequency identification can be used for plant inventory
or asset tracking.
Sensors can be used for real-time monitoring of equipment
deterioration.
Wireless networks can enable technicians and engineers to
process in-field work immediately rather than manually later
back at their desks.
Source: McPherson, Hydrocarbon Processing, October 2007
TABLE 4. Applications for wireless sensors
Process Control and Instrumentation Webinar Part I
WEBCAST
H y d r o c a r b o n P r o c e s s i n g . c o m
Live Event August 17th 10 a.m. CST, 11 a.m. EST
Sponsored by |
One-Hour Live Webinar and Question & Answer Session
Les Kane
Editor,
Hydrocarbon Processing
Y.Zak Friedman
Contributing Editor,
Hydrocarbon Processing
Select 174 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
A critical pump fails.
Production grinds to a halt.
You werent really sleeping, were you?
Theres never a good time for downtime. But now, with Smart Machinery
Health Management, PlantWeb

extends to your critical rotating


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faults and pump cavitation. Which means youll be able to deal with these problems
on your terms. Learn more at Emerson Process.com/Smart Machinery
The Emerson logo is a trademark and service mark of Emerson Electric Co. 2005 Emerson Electric Co.
Select 67 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
SPONSORED CONTENT HYDROCARBON PROCESSING PROCESS CONTROL AND INSTRUMENTATION 2010

I


P71
Two line caption
PROCESS CONTROL AND INSTRUMENTATION

2010 CORPORATE PROFILE: EMERSON PROCESS MANAGEMENT
Pump failures can be predicted
and avoided
TIM OLSEN, Emerson Process Management
When a process pump fails in a refinery, the impact can
range from an operational slowdown to a catastrophic shut-
down of the entire plant. If flammable or hazardous fluids
are involved, the health and safety of employees may be at
risk as well as the ensuing environmental reporting and
potential fines. Having a spare inline pump may not help
when the failure is sudden and unexpected. Warning signs
almost always exist, but they must be recognized and the right
people informed in time to act. In short, an automated moni-
toring program is essential for critical process equipment.
For example, a few years ago the inboard bearing of a
high-speed centrifugal pump at a large overseas refinery sud-
denly seized, leading to significant lost production and expen-
sive repairs. The evidence indicated extreme overheating in
the bearing housing due to a lack of bearing lubrication.
The failure that followed could easily have been predicted
and avoided, since one of Emersons Machinery Health
Transmitters had been installed on this very pump four
months earlier. When a series of alerts were issued by this
automated motor-pump train monitoring and analysis sys-
tem, they were overlooked by plant operators. The pump
was at risk of failing, but several days passed before the
actual failure plenty of time for action to prevent the disas-
ter that followed. Finally, the health value trend deteriorated
rapidly from about 60 to 0 in just 10 minutes, at which point
it was too late to prevent the failure.
Motor-pump train defects tend to have similar failure
patterns across a variety of pump installations, and these
patterns are used as the basis for automated vibration analy-
sis. Each machine is continually scanned for indications of
common malfunctions like bearing misalignment, pump
cavitation, or motor electrical faults. With Emersons Smart
Machinery Health Management, continuous vibration moni-
toring is combined with the diagnostic and communication
capabilities of smart, microprocessor-based instrumentation
and advanced software to automatically determine the con-
dition of rotating machinery.
For essential pumps that are not being automatically mon-
itored and considered not economically justified for a wired
solution, accurate vibration data can be obtained using the
CSI 9420 Wireless Vibration Transmitter and Emersons Smart
Wireless network. Emersons wireless solutions extend the
PlantWeb digital plant architecture to enable new informa-
tion access and mobility for improved decision-making and
plant performance.
The Smart Wireless field solutions integrate smart monitor-
ing instruments wirelessly in a self-organizing network that
delivers greater than 99 percent reliability by automatically
adapting as devices are added or removed, or obstructions
encountered. Smart Wireless products are supported and fully
compliant with the IEC 62591 (WirelessHART) standard.
Automated monitoring of critical and essential process
pumps provides timely information to both control room
operators and maintenance, thus allowing the opportunity
to take action before a pump fails. Operation, safety, and
environmental incidents can be avoided, thus increasing the
reliability of the refinery and profitability through the use of
automated pump monitoring.
Learn more at www2.emersonprocess.com/en-US/brands/
csitechnologies/vt.
Tim Olsen has been with Emerson Process Management for 12 years as
a consultant within the PlantWeb global refining industry group. Before
Emerson, Tim was with UOP for eight years as a Technical Advisor for the
start-up of refining units around the world. He is active with the AIChE
National Fuels and Petrochemicals Division and is currently an executive
officer of the division. Contact him at Tim.Olsen@Emerson.com.
Contact information
835 Innovation Drive
Knoxville TN 37931
Phone: 865-675-2400
Fax: 865-218-1401
E-mail: mhm.info@emerson.com
Website: www.assetweb.com/mhm
Select 72 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS
SPONSORED CONTENT HYDROCARBON PROCESSING PROCESS CONTROL AND INSTRUMENTATION 2010

I


P73
Two line caption
PROCESS CONTROL AND INSTRUMENTATION

2010 CORPORATE PROFILE: YOKOGAWA
Since Yokogawas founding in 1915, it has been help-
ing customers improve their quality, optimize throughput,
reduce energy costs and increase plant safety. Yokogawas
global business spans 54 countries and generates over $3
Billion annually. Our cutting-edge research and innovation,
resulting in 7,200 patents and registrations have helped our
customers continual drive to improve their processes. These
innovations include the worlds first digital sensors for flow
and pressure measurement introduced in 1998. Since the
1975 introduction of Yokogawas Centum System, we have
supplied over 20,000 Distributed Control Systems worldwide
providing our customers with the lowest lifecycle costs and
highest reliability (seven 9s) system in the industry. Industrial
Automation, Measurement, Control and Business System Inte-
gration are the foundation of Yokogawas global business.
OUR PRODUCTS:
Systems
Integrated Process Control System
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Network Control Systems including intelligent
RTU systems
Solution Packages
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Historians and SER Solutions
Transaction Management Solutions
Real-time Production Organization and
Production Management
Integration and Interface Solutions
Simulation
Advanced Process Control and Optimization
Pressure, Temp and Flow
Coriolis, Vortex & Magnetic Flowmeters
Pressure & Temperature Transmitters
Analytical
Gas Density Analyzer and Detector
Zirconia Oxygen Analyzers and Detectors
Process Gas Chromatograph
Tunable Diode Laser Spectroscopy Analyzer
Liquid Analyzers and Sensors
Data Acquisition
Data Acquisition and Display Station
Single Loop Controllers
Wireless DAQ Recorders
Services
System & Process Optimization
Lifecycle Effectiveness Services
Alarm Analysis
Cybersecurity
Training
INDUSTRY BASED SOLUTIONS:
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AGA Flow Metering
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Modular Procedural Automation including
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Contact information
Yokogawa World Headquarters
Phone: (81)-422-52-5535
Yokogawa Corporation of America
Phone: (1)-800-888-6400
Yokogawa Europe B.V.
Phone: (31)-88-4641000
Website: www.yokogawa.com
The clear path to operational
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SPONSORED CONTENT HYDROCARBON PROCESSING PROCESS CONTROL AND INSTRUMENTATION 2010

I


P75
Two line caption
PROCESS CONTROL AND INSTRUMENTATION

2010
Micro Motion Coriolis meters, from Emerson Process
Management, provide mass and volume flow, liquid density
and temperature measurements all from a single device.
Sustained measurement performance under challenging
and varying process conditions involving liquids, slurries and
gases has made Micro Motion Coriolis the meters of choice
for a broad range of refining applications.
Field proven, accurate and reliable flow/density
measurements with Micro Motion Coriolis technology
have contributed to:
Responsible operations for safety, health and
environmental compliance
Increased reliability of operations
Reduced unplanned shutdowns and extend the time
between turnarounds
Maximizing throughput of the refinery and its key
processes
Reduced operational and maintenance related costs
Achieve improved furnace efficiency and benefit from
better management of CO2e emissions
Approximately 10,000 US facilities, including refineries,
must begin collecting data and complying with all EPA
40 CFR Part 98 Greenhouse Gas guidelines starting from
January 1, 2010. Better accuracy flow measurement enables
compliance while achieving furnace optimization for the
refinery industry:
Refineries can achieve a $1.8 to $3.9 M margin improve-
ment per year for a 100,000 BPD refinery with improved
furnace efficiency
Heater tuning results in 1- 4% efficiency improvement
1% fuel savings / 100,000 Btu/hr heat release = ~$50,000
per year savings
Micro Motion meters are used in a range of Refining
industry applications:
Process unit mass balance
Refinery loss control
Custody transfer of crude oil and refined products
Process evaluation & optimization
Feed characterization and product quality control
Concentration measurement, including acid for
alkylation
Fuel gas measurement
Hydrogen production
Chemical additives
Gasoline, distillate, lube, and asphalt blending
Leak detection
Interface detection
The advantage of Emersons Micro Motion Coriolis meters
is clear:
Measure mass flow, volume flow, density, and tempera-
ture with a single device
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Install anywhere with no flow conditioning or straight
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to optimize plant efficiency
Repeatable, direct mass flow measurement eliminates
problems of volume measurement
Improved measurement performance under entrained
gas conditions
Advanced diagnostics for in-line meters integrity
Safety certified flowmeter for use in up to SIL 3 loops,
per IEC 61508
Learn more about Micro Motion at www.MicroMotion.com.
Contact information
Micro Motion Inc. USA
Emerson Process Management
Worldwide Headquarters
7070 Winchester Circle
Boulder, Colorado 80301
T +1 303-527-5200
+1 800-522-6277
F +1 303-530-8459
CORPORATE PROFILE: MICRO MOTION
Emersons Micro Motion refining
measurement solutions
all-in-one safety
The XNX Universal Transmitter
supports all Honeywell gas sensing
technologies and works with virtually
all communication protocols.
The XNX can be easily integrated with
Honeywells leading gas detection sensing
technologiescatalytic bead, electrochemical
and Infrared. It also supports HART

Communication Foundations latest


digital communications protocol and provides optional MODBUS

, or up to
three relays for alarm and fault. This interoperability gives manufacturing plants
a wider range of transmitter options for their gas monitoring applications.
In addition, the unit offers faster startup and commissioning and better
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Honeywell Analytics. Experts in gas detection.
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our 84-page guide to gas detection, call 1-800-538-0363,
visit www.XNXHoneywellAnalytics.com or email detectgas@honeywell.com
2010 Honeywell International Inc. All rights reserved.
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Two line caption
PROCESS CONTROL AND INSTRUMENTATION

2010 CORPORATE PROFILE: HONEYWELL
XNX Universal Transmitter from Honeywell
AnalyticsThe all-in-one transmitter
for all your gas detection needs
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3 versions - supports mV (Catalytic Bead and IR Cell),
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Large, backlit, easy-to-view LCD display offers multi-
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79
P
inch analysis and process integration techniques are estab-
lished methods to increase process heat recovery, thereby
limiting overall plant energy requirements. Pinch analysis
proceeds in two basic steps: 1) targeting possible energy savings,
and 2) developing design based on pinch principles to achieve the
identified targets. To attain the defined targets, changes to the heat
exchanger network (HEN) may be extensive and complicated. Such
excessive changes may lead to extremely high costs and hamper the
feasibility of the project.
In regions where refining profit margins are low, revamp proj-
ects requiring very high capital investment cannot be justified.
Therefore, minimizing modifications becomes critical to justify
such projects economically.
Case study. In this example, a study was conducted regarding the
expansion of a refinery crude distillation unit (CDU). The targeted
CDU capacity was 20% more than the current operating capacity.
The unit was already operating at 30% over the original design
capacity. Some modifications were done previously in the heat
exchanger network to improve heat recovery. Previous attempts for
further expansions with traditional solutions, such as adding a new
preheat train, were not successful due to high capital costs.
Maximizing energy opportunities. Most heat exchang-
ers are already low minimum approach temperatures; thus, there
is little scope to increase the heat duty of the existing exchangers
by merely adding surface area or intensifying heat transfer. Also,
the sequence of heat exchangers is thermodynamically correct
with higher-temperature hot streams providing heat to crude at
higher temperature.
The project goal was to achieve the required throughput targets
with minimal modifications in the existing equipment and piping.
It was very critical to the project to minimize capital investment
and keep the modifications simple.
Since the primary objective of this study was debottlenecking
issues rather than energy conservation, an increase in furnace load
within its limits was considered to minimize modifications.
Crude preheat train. The primary focus of this study was
the crude preheat train. To minimize necessary modifications, the
crude preheat train was divided into three sections for analysis.
The preheat train heat exchangers were installed in groups that
were placed at considerable distances. These groups formed the
basis to divide the crude preheat train in different sections for this
evaluation, as shown in Fig. 1.
The first section is between the crude surge drum and the
desalter. The second section is the area between the desalter and
the flash drum, and the third section is between the flash drum
and the heater. Once each section was defined, the section was
analyzed beginning with the third section (between the flash drum
and furnace).
An iterative procedure was adopted. The first step was to ana-
lyze each section separately, and then analyze the whole train
collectively. In the analysis of the whole preheat train, the thermal
sequence of the exchangers, i.e., heating crude at higher tem-
peratures using higher temperature stream was investigated and
changes were made accordingly. Only the major heat exchangers
with high heat duties were considered in the retrofit, as minor heat
exchangers would not yield much benefit.
The heat duty was added not by conventional methods of
installing new shells, but by replacing the tube bundles with
twisted-tube bundles as well as by adding new shells with twisted
Increase crude unit capacity
through better integration
In revamp projects, better energy integration provides
more benefits with less capital investment and lower operating costs
A. S. ASEERI, M. S. AMIN and M. S. IBRAHIM,
Gulf Advanced Process Technologies (GAP-Tech), Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Crude from
surge drum
45C 100C 85C 120C
245C
245C 250C 325C
230C 165C
120C 95C 95C
135C
E4 E3 E2 E1
E6 E7 E5
E9
Q
E8
80C
180C 200C 150C 125C
140C
95C
190C 250C
280C 380C
55 MMKcal/h
230C
190C
140C
250C 210C
350C 325C
TPA Kero IPA-A
Desalter
Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
LDO
IPA-B RCO-2 HDO
BPA RCO-1
RCO-2
Heater
Vapor
to column
Flash
drum
Original crude preheat train for the case study refinery. FIG. 1
HEAT TRANSFER
80

I

AUGUST 2010 HYDROCARBON PROCESSING
tube bundles where needed. The units with high-performance
tube bundles can help reduce or, in some cases, eliminate the
need of more exchanger shells. Furthermore, the increased duty
was achieved by maintaining a reasonable approach temperature.
Fig. 2 shows the overall procedure for the study.
Section 3, between the furnace and the flash drum being the
most critical, was analyzed first. This section has two exchangers.
These heat exchangers already had low minimum approach tem-
peratures; there was not much scope to add more duty to the heat
exchangers by any means. Therefore, to have higher approach tem-
peratures and to create scope for additional heat duty or recovery,
the crude stream between the flash drum and furnace was split.
Now, the two exchangers in this segment are in parallel rather than
in series. The stream splitting provided two benefits:
1. An increase in approach temperatures
2. Improvement in pressure drop performance on the cold
side of the heat exchangers from lower crude oil flow.
Since the approach temperature has increased due to splitting,
adding duty to the heat exchangers enabled better energy recov-
ery in the crude preheat train. Around 20% additional duty was
achieved with reasonable approach temperatures through heat
transfer intensification and additional area. The splitting in Section
2 was proposed due to the same reason.
Heat from one of the product streams is used in two exchang-
ers located in two separate sections successively, 3 followed 2.
Now that more heat will be recovered and streams temperatures
are lower than two of the streams in Section 2, it us recommended
to be used in Section 1. Also, two streams from section 1 shall
be used in Section 2, while one of them shall be used in Section
1 successively. These modifications would correct the thermal
profile of the preheat train.
Benefits. For this project, the recommended changes will
improve the units economics greatly, as more crude (20% extra)
will be processed for the same energy cost. This is a direct benefit
for the refiner. The capital investment for the final design will be
much lower as compared to the conventional expansion solution.
Is thermal
sequence
correct
?
No
No
Yes
Yes
Re-sequence heat
exchangers
Split streams to
increase approach
temperatures
HEN OK ... Evaluate
other process units
and equipment
Are
required
duties
achieved
?
Addition of duty to HXs
(twisted tube bundles add
shells, tube inserts, etc.)
Simulation of base
case with HXs in
rating mode
Simulation at increased
throughput with HXs
in rating mode
Addition of pseudo
heaters to achieve
target T at the inlets
of major process nodes
Logic tree to analyze possible heat duty improvements for
the crude preheat train.
FIG. 2
Process Control and Instrumentation Webinar Part I
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Two main distillation control handles: yield of the top product (or cut), and column loading by reux and reboiling (or fractionation)
The use of cut and fractionation in two possible control congurations: heat balance or mass balance
The use of tray temperature controllers to stabilize product qualities in the face of feed and weather changes.
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I


81
The final proposed structure design was not very different
from the original. No additional heat exchanger units (matches)
were proposed. Only additional shells were needed to some of
the exchangers instead of a new preheat train. Also, the layout
of heat exchangers was kept consistent with the original design;
no exchangers were moved between the sections. Therefore,
due to the simplicity of the design, this project will have better
operability and safety implications, as well as economic feasibil-
ity. The environmental impact from these modifications is also
positive, as the ratio of flue gases to production capacity will
greatly be reduced. HP
48C 100C 80C 100C
210C 230C 165C
135C 94C 85C
130C
E4 E3 E2 E1
E6
E7
E5
Q
70C
200C
125C
125C
230C
325C
325C
165C
245C
190C
190C
125C 190C
140C
90C
195C
140C
380C
60 MMKcal/h
TPA Kero RCO-2
Desalter
Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
LDO-2
HDO
LDO
IPA
E7
E5
190C
190C
210C
245C
290C
235C
190C 295C
210C
BPA
RCO
Furnace
Vapor
to column
Flash
drum
Proposed revamp of the crude unit preheat train to
conserve energy and increase processing capacity by 20%
with minimal capital investment.
FIG. 3
Mahmoud Samy Ibrahim is a process engineer in GAP-Tech. He is a gradu-
ate in chemical engineering from Suez Canal University. Mr. Ibrahim began his
engineering career as a process engineer for hydrocracker and hydrogen units at
the MIDOR refinery in Egypt. His interests include process modeling and simulation
of chemical processes.
Ahme Saleh Aseeri is the founder and general manager of GAP-Tech, which is
a consulting firm in the field of process optimization. He worked with Saudi Aramco
for 11 years as a process engineer. Mr. Aseeri has led and participated in 10 energy
assessment studies. In 2003, he obtained his M.Sc. degree in chemical engineering
with a research focus on process optimization under uncertainty. He also participated
in the development of three new methodologies in energy efficiency optimization.
Mr. Aseeri also led the development of two energy optimization software applications
for CHP and pumping systems load management.
Mohammed Shahid Amin is a process optimization engineer at GAP-Tech,
Saudi Arabia. His primary focus is on process Integration and optimization. Mr. Amin
has done studies for process improvements and debottlenecking projects. He holds a
BTech degree in petrochemical engineering from AMU, Aligarh, and an MSc degree
in refinery design and operation from UMIST, Manchester.
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AUGUST 2010 HYDROCARBON PROCESSING
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AUGUST 2010 HYDROCARBON PROCESSING
PROCESS EQUIPMENT AND MATERIALS
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Altair Strickland. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 (56)
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Aveva AB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 (54)
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Axens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88 (53)
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BJ Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 (69)
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HP Marketplace . . . . . . . . . . . . 8284
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Weir Minerals France . . . . . . . . . . . .60 (170)
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Wood Group Surface Pumps . . . . . .40 (162)
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HPIN AUTOMATION SAFETY
The United Steelworkers Union (USW) issued a press release
chastising the oil industry for the series of fires and explosions that
keep happening at US refineries. USW pointed out that there has
been nearly one fire per week at US refineries in 2009 and thus
far in 2010. Six of the fires and explosions this year resulted in 10
injuries and 9 deaths. Regrettably, these are not good statistics.
What does this have to do with cyber security?
According to the USW, most of the incidents were caused by
malfunctioning equipment, and several of the incidents involved
control system equipment. While Im not suggesting that these
incidents were the result of deliberate cyber attacks, I am confi-
dent that several could have been prevented by improvements in
control system cyber security practices.
Today, digital control and safety systems operate the majority
of refinery processes. Interference with the proper functioning of
these systems can have catastrophic results. Such interference does
not have to be deliberate (such as a hacker). A study published
in March 2009 by the Security Incidents Organization reported
that more than 75% of industrial cyber security incidents were
unintentional. Yet, these incidents lead to the same consequences
(production losses, downtime, equipment damage, and even
injury and death) as deliberate attacks.
What if? While we have safety systems that are designed to
protect us should the control system fail, what happens if the
safety system itself is compromised? Functional safety standards,
such as IEC 61508 and IEC 61511, define how products and
systems meet safety integrity level (SIL) targets but they do not
address cyber security. Thus, cyber security management must be
addressed alongside or in addition to process safety management.
In process safety terms, one can view cyber security as a critical
layer of protection in the overall protection scheme for a facility.
Borrowing from IT. Various organizations have been work-
ing since the early 2000s to provide standards and guidance on
control system cyber security. Most of this work was borrowed
from the more developed discipline of information technology
(IT) security, but it has been adapted for the unique needs of
industrial control systems. A very important body of work is the
series of standards dedicated to Security for Industrial Automation
and Control Systems being developed by the SP99 committee of
the International Society of Automation (ISA).
Several key sections of this standard have been released and pub-
lished as both ANSI/ISA and IEC standards. There is more work to
be done, but it is anticipated that these industry sector independent
standards will become globally accepted as best practices for control
system cyber security, much like IEC 61508 and the series of appli-
cation specific sub-standards (e.g. IEC 61511, etc.) have become
the globally accepted best practices for functional safety.
During the interim, asset owners are anxiously seeking assur-
ance that their automation products, systems and suppliers meet
an industry recognized baseline for cyber security so that they can
use this information to improve the overall security of their opera-
tions. Since they dont have the resources necessary to perform
such evaluations themselves, they have been supporting the devel-
opment of standardized cyber security certification programs.
Certification programs. With that in mind, we have recently
seen some big news on two different but complementary programs
to help end users evaluate the security capability of automation
products, systems and suppliers.
In March the WIB International Instrument Users Association
(http://www.wib.nl/) plant security working group announced
the completed Process Control Domain-Security Requirements
for Vendors after more than two years of effort. Based on this
cyber security standard, there is also a certification program being
developed by the Canadian company, Wurldtech. Many interna-
tional end users are expected to mandate this certification.
Then in April, the ISA Security Compliance Institute (ISCI)
announced that it released key elements of the ISA Secure Embed-
ded Device Security Assessment (EDSA) certification specification
on its website (www.isasecure.org). ISCI is a consortium of asset
owners, suppliers and industry organizations formed in 2007 to
establish specifications and processes for the testing and certifica-
tion of critical control systems products. The EDSA certifica-
tion program incorporates a combination of communications
robustness testing, functional security assessment and software
development assessment to evaluate the security capability of an
embedded automation device.
What this means is that there are now independent, interna-
tionally recognized programs to quantifiably evaluate the cyber
security practices of automation system suppliers and the security
capability of the products they produce. As we all know, simply
buying certified products from quality suppliers does not guar-
antee the safety and security of the overall system, but it is an
important step. The proper design, implementation and opera-
tion of the system are equally important, but that is a topic for
another column. HP
Cyber security certification
for automation products and suppliers
86

I

AUGUST 2010 HYDROCARBON PROCESSING
jcusimano@exida.com
JOHN CUSIMANO, GUEST COLUMNIST
The author is the director of exidas security services division. A process auto-
mation safety systems expert with more than 20 years of experience, he leads a
team devoted to improving the security of control systems for companies world-
wide. Prior to joining exida, he led market development for Siemens process
automation and safety products and held various product marketing positions at
Moore Products Co. Mr. Cusimano holds a CFSE certification.
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