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Technical Services Department.


Cleaning at
Upstream &

Isomerization unit, March, 2015


Technical Services Department.

Table of Contents
1 Executive Summary:........................................1
2 Chemical Cleaning Procedure:.........................2
3 Description of Chemical Cleaning Activity:.......3
4 Lineup/Drawings:.............................................4
5 Lab results:......................................................6
6 Recommendations:..........................................6

Technical Services Department.

1 Executive Summary:
Chemical cleaning of lines is important to remove dirt, rust or scale
from ferrous metals which can cause corrosion, ultimately the loss of
equipments or lines. It is usually necessary when a new compressor
is to be commissioned. Prl is going to install a new makeup
Hydrogen gas compressor (701 JA/JB) for an isomerization unit. So,
it is recommended by the vendor to perform pickling at upstream &
downstream of compressor before commissioning of compressor. For
an implementation of this activity we took a tank of having 64 ft 3
volume (1800L) with a pump discharged the tank liquid in the closed
circuit & after filling the system with liquid completely the remaining
liquid returned to the tank. It became like a closed circuit so that the
maximum result of chemical cleaning achieved in less time. First of
all, we took raw water in the tank to check the pump performance.
After fully satisfied with the pump performance. We took a
condensate in the tank as per procedure & started the circulation
into closed circuit also to found out any leakage that might occur
before adding strong acids for pickling. After cleaning of lines at
upstream & downstream of compressor 701-JA with condensate
thoroughly for 2 hours. Added 22 cans of HCl (770 Kg) in the
tank with strength found 9.8 wt% in lab results & 7.0 kg of
corrosion inhibitor (Tomamine Inhibitor 60Q Surfactant) to
reduce the acid attack on the material. Circulation started at 10:40
hrs. The first sample send to lab at 11:15 hrs. & iron found 2850
ppm and ended at 13:50 hrs. when iron stabilized at 1400
took almost 3 hrs. HCl tank drained and filled with condensate,
circulation with condensate stopped after 45 minutes & tank again
drained. Caustic solution of 2.5 wt% prepared in fresh condensate
in order to neutralize spent acid in lines. Circulation with caustic
started at 15:10 hrs. & completed at 16:25 hrs. when HCl strength in
caustic solution found nil. In the end, made a solution in condensate
with 10 cans (300 Kg) of phosphoric acid having strength of 3
wt%. Phosphoric acid circulation started at 16:55 hrs. & stopped at
18:10 hrs. After completing task of chemical cleaning successfully.
Nitrogen purging carried out one by one from different points (local

Technical Services Department.

drain, dead ends) & it took almost one hours to finish the activity of
Nitrogen blanketing.

2 Chemical Cleaning Procedure:

1- The system to be pickled thoroughly filled with condensate water
through the available fill connection, and circulation of the circuit
established before adding the acid.
2- Added Hydrochloric acid (HCl) to the solution tank until 10 wt%
solution strength is obtained. 22 cans of HCl required. Added 7.0 kg
of corrosion inhibitor (Tomamine Inhibitor 60Q Surfactant) to reduce
the acid attack on the material.
3- The circuit was continuously circulated until rust and scale
removed and temperature which has considerable influence on
pickling time was maintained between 55 0 C and 650C. Circulation
continued for three hour.
4- The strength of circulating solution maintained at 10 wt% by the
addition of more concentrated acid as necessary and percentage
iron in solution should not rise above 7%, Initially, 2850 ppm iron
detected afterwards maintained at 1400 ppm.
5- After acid circulation, drained the solution tank and filled with
fresh water (preferably condensate water). Performed thorough
water flush in once through mode.
6- After water flushed, filled the solution tank with 2.5 wt% caustic
solution and circulated to properly neutralize the remaining contents
of acid.
7- Again water flushing to be done. The operation of filling with
water, circulating and draining repeated until a check for acid shows
a chloride content not exceeding 0.1 gram HCl per 100 cm 3. The
wash water maintained at 60 to 65 0C. The final water flush
circulated for one hour and while circulating the water the various
connecting lines thoroughly flushed out.
8- When the water flush completed, again filled the tank with water
(preferably condensate water) and added 300 kg (10 can) of
phosphate solution (SCgon 048).Established thorough circulation to
form an anti-rust skin for one hour.
9- Finally, the system dried out with Nitrogen blanketing.

Technical Services Department.

3 Description of Chemical Cleaning Activity:

Condensate Flushing:
Filled the tank up to 35 inch (1300 L) closed all the lower point
valves, switched on the pump & Circulation started at upstream &
downstream of makeup hydrogen gas compressor. Lineup found
cleared saved & secured, a minor tapping leakage found & resolved.
System was ready for chemical flushing.

10 wt% HCl solution Flushing:

Transfer of chemical from 35 kg can into 1800 L tank was done with
a motor transferring pump. Initially, 12 cans transferred into tank
after filling the tank with fresh condensate up to 35 inch. Further, 7
kg of corrosion inhibitor (Tomamine inhibitor 60Q surfactant) to
reduce the acid tank on the inner material of piping. Pump switched
on & circulation started. In the meantime, samples send to lab for
acid strength test & reported 5.5 wt% by lab. So, 10 more cans
transferred into tank to make a 10 wt% strength HCl solution, result
reported 9.8 wt% from lab. HCl circulation started at 10:40 hrs, when
the iron stabilizes after achieving two consecutive lab results of
1400 ppm. Circulation of HCl stopped at 13:50 hrs, it took almost 3

Condensate Flushing:
After draining the HCl tank completely & safely, filled the tank with
condensate & flushing the lines for 45 min.

2.5 wt% Caustic solution Flushing:

After draining the condensate, prepared a solution of 2.5wt% of
caustic in fresh condensate after adding 2 bags of caustic.
Circulation started at 15:10 hrs, sample taken sent to lab at 15:25
results reported 0.15wt% HCl , circulation remained till the
neutralization of HCl, it was achieved at 16:00 hrs reported by lab.
Consequently, Circulation stopped at 16:25 hrs.

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3 wt% Phosphoric acid circulation:

In order to form an anti-rust skin at inner pipe boundaries circulation
with phosphoric acid is necessary. After draining caustic from cube
tank, cleaned the tank with condensate & made up a solution of
phosphoric acid (SCgon 048) of 3 wt% strength in fresh condensate.
10 cans of 30 Kg (300 Kg) are used after filing up a tank with
condensate up to 36 inch mark. Circulation started at 16:55 hrs &
successfully completed at 18:10 hrs.

Nitrogen Purging:
At the end of all the activities of cleaning, Nitrogen purging planned
to dry the wet lines & the remaining liquid that might present in the
lines removed easily. A connection from Nitrogen storage vessel was
taken and set it at pump discharge gauge point by removing a
gauge. 16 Kg/cm2 pressurized Nitrogen was used to drain the liquid
from all low points of system. One by one all local drains & dead
ends opened to remove the liquid. When no liquid was coming out
from the lines but nitrogen. The activity completed, initial level of
Nitrogen in vessel was 1100 L. Consumption was nearly 500 L.

4 Lineup/Drawings:
Figure: 1

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Figure: 2

Figure: 3

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5 Lab results:


HCl Strength (wt%)

Iron (ppm)

















6 Recommendations:
The centrifugal pump used for circulation should maintain a
velocity of not less than 10 ft/sec.
Lines should be properly drained and dried enough to avoid
any chemical carryover.
Carefully checkout the lineup as acid leakage may result in
serious accident.
Chemical transferring pump should be properly checked before
using it to transfer concentrated acid.

Technical Services Department.

In short, the whole activity is important not only to remove the

scale, dirt or iron from carbon steel lines but also to save the
downstream equipments especially the compressor.