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STEAM-HYDROCARBON REFORMER FURNACE DESIGN Introduction Direct-fired steam hydrocarbon reforming furnace is the work-horse of gas production processes.

Steam reforming process is a well-established catalytic process that convert natural gas or light hydrocarbons in a mixture containing a major portion of Hydrogen. The Steam reforming process has gained more and more importance with the increasing demand of various type of syngases for the chemical and petrochemical industries. Its application are in the production of: Ammonia Methanol OXO Alcool Hydrogen

In particular Hydrogen has become a very important product for the refinery desulphurisation and hydrocracking process units. The furnace may stand alone, or operate in conjunction with a prereformer, post-reformer, or other schemes. In the furnace, the reforming of steam-hydrocarbon mixtures is accomplished in catalyst-filled tubes. In hydrogen plants, in-tube fluid pressures are typically 25 30 kg/cm2 with outlet temperatures up to 860C (and even higher) depending on the process requirements. The reformer reaction process is endothermic, requiring high level heat input. A variety of catalyst (nickel-based) are available for a given feed and product requirement. Safe, reliable and efficient operation is needed to meet the users product demands. Radiant section arrangement As the process requires high heat input levels, the catalyst-filled tubes are placed vertically in the radiant firebox section of the furnace. The steamhydrocarbon mixture is typically preheated outside the radiant section to 500C 650C to minimize the radiant heat load and, therefore, the furnace fuels requirement. Excessive preheat will effect coke formation of
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the feed, resulting in carbon deposits on the catalyst causing degradation and/or pluggage, and also potential tube failure in the preheat section. Properly located combustion equipment (burners) assures heat input as the mixture passes through the catalyst tubes and is reformed to the required outlet conditions. The catalyst tube arrangement consists of a multiple of once-through parallel passes, typically with the preheated inlet mixture entering the top of each catalyst tube, and exiting at the bottom. Once the reformed gas exits the catalyst tubes, it is collected in a header system and cooled in an external process gas waste heat exchanger. The effluent from this equipment is typically cooled to 320C 370C to permit further reaction in downstream equipment. Safe and reliable operation of the reformer furnace depends on the disposition of the catalyst tubes and the burners that supply the heat to the catalyst tubes. In theory, complete control of heat input along the vertical catalyst tube length will maximize catalyst reactivity, minimize tube temperatures, and minimize tube or catalyst damage during operating upsets such as process steam interruption, or wide load swings. Such a design requires an excessive number of burners and be difficult to operate. Several well-proven configurations are available which, each in their own way, provide a practical approach towards meeting the requirements of this process. Two particular designs are considered. FIGURE 1

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Side Fired (Terrace Wall) Foster Wheeler Fired Heater Division developed its patented Terrace Wall reformer furnace in the early 1960s and continuosly improves it to incorporate the desired process requirements and provide a safe, operable, and economic design. This design (Figure 1) typically locates a single, in-line row of catalyst tubes in the middle of the radiant firebox, and locates burners on both sides to provide uniform heat distribution around the catalyst tube circumference. The burners fire vertically upward along the refractorylined walls of the radiant section, essentially parallel to the catalyst tubes, to assure flame stability and avoid flame impingement. The burners provide a flat-shaped flame and are suitably spaced along the length of the firebox, assuring uniform heat input to the catalyst tubes; essentially the refractory wall becomes a uniform heat radiating plane. (See figure 2) Operating flexibility is built in to allow trimming of burners in specific areas where minor hot spots may occur, since the burners serve a single row of tubes. With catalyst tubes typically 11 to 14 meters long, control of vertical heat distribution along the tube lengths is typically obtained by providing two (2) levels of burners. This permits controlled heat input as process conditions, catalyst activity or other factors varies during operation. As is the case with all fired process furnaces, the radiant section heat transfer is augmented by a convection component as hot flue gases recirculate, drawn downwards by the relatively colder tubes. In this design, the recirculation is essentially contained by the sidewalls on both sides of the tubes, and reheating (as the gases return upwards along the sidewalls past the up-fired bur ners) is predictable, resulting in efficient overall heat transfer.

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The upflowing hot flue gases exhaust naturally at the top of the firebox, entering the heat recovery section where feed preheat, steam generation, air preheat or post-combustion Nox reduction (SCRs) may be installed. FIGURE 2

Flat-shaped flame configuration The top of the firebox is the point of highest pressure (lowest negative pressure, or draft). This area must be controlled to be maintained at least 2.5 mm water column below atmospheric pressure to keep the furnace at negative pressure throughout, avoiding hot flue gas leakage through the various openings (tube penetrations, sight doors, etc.) and to prevent hot flue gas from contacting the furnace casing plate. The Terrace Wall design can frequently utilize simply a natural draft stack. Where very high fuel efficiency is needed (e.g., air preheat) or an SCR is installed, the pressure loss through this equipment usually dictates the use of mechanical draft equipment (induced draft fan). With firing at more than one level to reduce the vertical heat flux variation, and with a uniform radiating plane effected by firing along the side walls, the catalyst tubes can be spaced typically at a 1.4 to 1.7 ratio (center-tocenter divided by outside diameter) to obtain an optimal distribution of heat around the tube, minimizing peak tube metal temperatures. (using the API RP-530 curve, the circumferential heat flux factor or variation from average flux for calculating tube temperature is 1.31 to 1.25; see Figure 3).

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FIGURE 3

Ratio of maximum local to average heat flux. Single row of tubes with equal radiation from both sides. Source: API RP-530 Each catalyst tube is flanged on top to permit catalyst loading from walkways at the firebox roof (or arch). The firebox sidewalls are slopped at a small angle to optimize radiant heat transfer. This also creates a terrace shape, which provides a mounting space for the individual burner levels. Burner access for operation and maintenance is from essentially unrestricted platforms located along the sidewalls at each firing level. Burner noise plenums, ductwork supplying preheated combustion air or, in some cases, hot gas turbine exhaust, can be readily installed. Various fuels such as natural gas, refinery gas, or even liquid fuels (and associated atomizing steam) can be readily piped to the burners. The off-gas from a PSA (Pressure Swing Absorption) hydrogen purification system is used as fuel for the reformer furnace. This is low BTU fuel, and usually available at low pressure s. When properly integrated with hydrogen plant design itself, the PSA fuel can provide most or all of the fuel needed in the reformer furnace. Typically, the plant design prefers to limit the PSA off-gas to base-load at 90% or so of the total reformer fuel requirement, allowing the balance (refinery gas or natural gas) to be used for controlling the heat input.

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The burner arrangement on the Terrace Wall design (firing along the refractory sidewalls) allows stable burning 100% of PSA off-gas once the firebox is heated. Top Fired (Downfired) The down-fired design (Figure 4) locates from one to as many as ten or more rows (or lanes) of catalyst tubes (in-line) in a single radiant firebox enclosure, with rows of burners located in the roof (or arch) of the firebox between the tube lanes. The burners fire downwards, parallel to the hydrocarbon-steam mixture flow direction through the catalyst tubes. Burner flame and hot gas radiation provide heat input to the tubes. The combustion of low calorific value PSA gas produce long, lazy and uncontrollable flame patterns which will be creating down-flowing as well as side turning flames with impingement on catalyst tubes, since no hot refractory lining is present to retain the flame away from the catalyst tubes. FIGURE 4

Typical Downfired design This arrangement effects somewhat higher heat fluxes at the top of the tube (coldest fluid).

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The concentration of heat flux at catalyst tube inlet might result in local overheating of both tubes and catalyst in particular when operating at partial loads. Each row of burners provides heat input affecting two rows of catalyst tubes. The two lateral rows are subject in addition to flue gas radiation also to the radiation of the hot unshielded wall facing the tubes. This fact results in an overheating of one side of the lateral catalyst tube with consequent heat maldistribution. Flue gases are collected at the bottom of the firebox in refractory tunnels, properly sized and arranged to maintain a uniform flow pattern in the firebox. The flue gases exit the tunnels and are directed to the heat recovery section for process coil heating, steam generation services, and air preheating exchanger. To assure negative pressure at the firebox, mechanical draft equipment (induced draft fan) must be installed to overcome the draft gain in the firebox and the pressure losses in the various heat recovery coils and/or equipment. Having firing only at one level, there is no possibility of control of the heat input along the catalyst tubes, and the heat transfer mechanism more dependent on burner spacing (not by uniformly heated sidewalls). The catalyst tubes are spaced at a 2.0 to 2.5 ratio (center-to-center divided by outside diameter) to minimize peak tube metal temperatures. (Using the API RP-530 curve, the circumferential heat flux factor for calculating tube temperature is 1.20 to 1.15 at this spacing). Lane spacing (versus tube length) is established to assure proper heat transfer. Access for burner operating maintenance, is from the walkways located between the tube lanes and burner rows at the firebox arch.

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Also in case of a generous lane spacing particularly with multiple fuel headers and/or hot ducting to the burners, this area, which is very hot during natural operation, might be dangerous for operator. In case of failure of the induced draft flue gas fan, hot flue gases will be trapped at the top of the down fired radiant box since no draft is available and therefore the excessive heat concentration and the possibility to have slight positive pressure at the top of the downfired reformer is a risk of injury for operating personnel, present on top of radiant section under the penthouse. The downfired arrangement is more difficult to be operated since an uneven heat flux distribution caused by a maldistribution of the heat fired on the various lane of burners might effect heavily tube life. In addition during start-up and warm-up of steam reformer all the heat liberated by the downfiring burners will remain at the top determining a very hot area at arch level since the remaining radiant zone, still in cold condition and without vertical walls, are not suitable to provide the heat downwards. This can result in uncontrolled flame and detrimental after burning conditions between the catalyst tubes arranged in parallel lanes. Catalyst Tubes At a specified design point, a comparison can be shown (between the two design configurations) of the in-tube fluid and tube metal temperature profiles along a catalyst tube (Figure 5). The comparative profiles for typical hydrogen reformer conditions indicate the higher heat flux at the top of the tube on the downfired design, as evidenced from a steeper fluid temperature profile (and relatively hotter tube metal temperature). The Terrace Wall design has the advantage that with a proper split of firing between the two burner level the fluid/metal temperature profile can be modified and optimized in accordance with the actual operating condition while in the Downfiring design the temperature profile is only a consequence of the operating conditions. Operational upsets such as interruption of process steam or unexpected impurities in the hydrocarbon feed tends to result in greater catalyst temperature with possibility of tubes damages in the higher flux inlet zone of the downfired unit.

FIGURE 5

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Temperature profile vs. catalyst tube length Terrace Wall against Downfired design Outlet Header System The reformed gas outlet from the bottom of each catalyst tube is directed to the outlet collector header system, and then to the process gas heat exchange train (typically a waste heat boiler which generates steam). In the Terrace Wall design, each catalyst tube outlet is connected by an Incoloy 800H outlet pigtail, which is then connected to the outlet header. The outlet header is Incoloy 800H (or centrifugally cast equivalent material). This system is fully contained in an insulated enclosure to minimize heat loss and provide for expansion (see Figure 6). The outlet header is directly connected to the process gas waste heat boiler inlet channel in most cases. This arrangement also permits pinching of the individual pigtails (top inlet and bottom outlet) to isolate a failed tube without shutting down the whole unit. Experts skilled in this procedure have the equipment and know-how to safely pinch-off the tubes.

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FIGURE 6

Outlet pigtail and hot outlet header

Mechanical Features Proper installation and support systems for the catalyst tubes are critical to the successful long-term operation of the reformer furnace. Much work has been done over the years in learning the dos and donts of the systems. Experience is the best teacher, and use of that experience in todays reformer furnaces assures the most reliable product. In the Terrace Wall design with outlet pigtails and hot outlet header (Figure 6), the system provides full load top support (catalyst tube weight plus catalyst weight) with expansion of the catalyst tube upwards through the arch (typically 200 250 mm). Top support is provided with a simple, positive counterweights system, which allows for the necessary variation in expansion between adjacent tubes. (Figure 7). The hot outlet header expands along the furnace length, pulling the outlet pigtails and the catalyst tubes with practically no stress since all the weight is supported from the top.

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Although a single row of tubes fired equally from both sides should have little if any temperature difference from one side to the other, the outlet pigtail does provide flexibility to reduce any bending stresses which might develop due to tube bowing.

FIGURE 7

Top supporting system

Heat Recovery Arrangement With the Terrace Wall reformer, the flue gas heat recovery section (convection section) is placed on top of radiant firebox. This minimizes the plot requirements, and provides continued upflow of the flue gases. The convection coils are horizontally mounted with all the services: mixed feed preheat, prereformer preheat, feed gas preheat, steam superheater and steam generation, feedwater preheater in a proper sequence to optimize the heat recovery. Steam generation coils are designed for forced circulation to assure positive flow throughout start-up and off-load operation. The steam drum is mounted on the reformer.

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Combustion air preheat exchanger can be mounted either on top of the upflow convection section, or mounted alongside the reformer furnace. Figure 8 shows a typical 2-cell Terrace Wall reformer with the closecoupled process gas waste heat boiler, steam drum, and hot air ducts to the burners. On the downfired reformer design, the hot flue gas exiting the radiant section tunnels can be directed to a grade-mounted heat recovery section with either vertical or horizontal flue gas flow depending on coil services and auxiliary equipment. FIGURE 8

Typical Terrace-Wall design

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Miscellaneous Refractories Radiant section linings are exposed to firebox temperatures of 1000C and higher, and therefore necessitating high quality insulating refractory materials to withstand the environment and reduce the heat loss (lower the casing temperature). Insulating firebricks backed by lightweight insulating blanket is used. Convection sections are lined with insulating castable. Assembly Where shipping clearance is adequate, the Terrace Wall radiant section design lends itself to full modularization (steel and linings, catalyst tubes and outlet collectors, shop installed). (See figure 9). This feature is not possible with the Downfired design. Convection section is usually fully modularized with steel, linings and coils shop installed. FIGURE 9

Environmental

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Burner Nox levels can be effectively reduced using current low Nox burner designs. The low calorific value of PSA gas and the staged air design effectively reduces the Nox generated by the burner. This design is possible in the Terrace Wall reformer since the shape of the flames is controlled by the sloped wall design. Conclusion The steam-hydrocarbon reformer furnace can be designed to meet the specific needs of a hydrogen plant. Optimal design configurations are available; one will provide the best solution for a particular purpose. Based on the consideration mentioned above it is clear the Terrace Wall design has several advantages if compared with the Downfiring design for what concerns safety, reliability and operability, along with design experience and quality. These are important factors to be considered when selecting this important component in a hydrogen plant. Foster Wheeler Experience The attached pages show Foster Wheeler experience in the steam reformer heater design and the photos of some steam reformer heaters are herewith attached.

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Partial list of Hydrogen Steam Reformers built by Foster Wheeler JOB YEAR CLIENT CONTRACTOR OWNER COUNTRY SIZE (MMSCFD) NOTES

2-BE-0024A 2-BE-0023A 2-BE-0022A 2-BE-0020A 2-BE-0013A NA 2-BE-0008A 2-21-20070 2-BE-0002A NA 2-21-1830 2-21-1800 2-21-1780 2-21-1775 2-21-20035 NA 5-16-1130 5-16-1094 NA

WINTER 2005 AUTUMN 2005 AUTUMN 2005 SUMMER 2005 SPRING 2004 SUMMER 2003 SUMMER 2002 SUMMER 2001 SPRING 2000 1997 WINTER 1996 FALL 1996 SUMMER 1996 SUMMER 1995 SPRING 1995

AO MOZYR KBR/SNAM KOCH GLITSCH AO MOZYR TECHNIP ITALY PETROM FWI/ESSO FW/BOC TECHNIP ITALY FW CHIYODA CHIYODA SNAMPROGETTI ESSO FWEL RAYTHEON

AO MOZYR EGTL PNCHZ AO MOZYR ARAMCO PETROM ESSO HUNTSMAN REFINERIA ISLA LAGOVEN THAIOIL MRC PEMEX ESSO PERTAMINA PETROTRIN CENEX NEWGRADE ENERGY NEWFOUNDLAND

BELARUS NIGERIA KAZAKHSTAN BELARUS SAUDI ARABIA ROMANIA GERMANY ENGLAND NETH. ANTILLES VENEZUELA THAILAND MALAYSIA MEXICO SINGAPORE INDONESIA TRINIDAD MINNESOTA CANADA CANADA

22 27 15 22 20 22 10 37 22 50 35 15 85 15 75 40 12 60 42 TOP FIRED COMPLETE MODULE

1994 SPRING 1989

FW FW FW

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2-21-1760 2-21-1705 2-21-1655 2-21-1640 2-21-1585 5-16-1069 2-21-1570 5-16-1049 5-16-1034 5-16-1033 2-21-1565 5-16-1030 2-21-1540 5-16-1026 5-16-1020 5-16-1010 5-16-1003 (GTE) 2-21-1455 2-21-1405 5-16-964 5-16-956 2-21-1385 5-16-940 5-16-935

SUMMER 1996 FALL 1993 FALL 1993 SUMMER 1996 SUMMER 1987

SNAMPROGETTI SNAMPROGETTI JGC SNAMPROGETTI C.F. BRAUN ARAMCO

TUPRAS TUPRAS NIOC NIOC KNPC ARAMCO ADNOC UNOCAL PETROSAR SHELL KNPC (FUC) SNC / SUNCOR KNPC (RMP) PETROCANADA PHILLIPS POWERINE OIL CHEVRON ARAMCO TECHMASHIMPOR T KIPCO PGW NIOC AMOCO KNPC

TURKEY TURKEY IRAN IRAN KUWAIT SAUDI ARABIA ABU DHABI ILLINOIS CANADA CANADA KUWAIT CANADA KUWAIT CANADA TEXAS CALIFORNIA MINNESOTA SAUDI ARABIA RUSSIA KOREA PENNSILVANIA IRAN ALABAMA KUWAIT

52 44 50 50 50 50 65 14 3 UNITS 2 UNITS

SUMMER 1985 SUMMER 1984

SNAMPROGETTI FW FW

FALL 1984 SUMMER 1984 SPRING 1984 SUMMER 1983 FALL 1983 SPRING 1983 FALL 1982 SUMMER 1983 WINTER 1980 SUMMER 1980 WINTER 1979 WINTER 1979 SUMMER 1978 SUMMER 1977 SUMMER 1978

PBS JGC FE JGC BECHTEL FLUOR FLUOR FW CHIYODA SNIA FW FW SNAMPROGETTI PROCON KNPC

35 42 41 42 36 60 19 95 66 8,5 17,7 CONFID. 34 16 70

2 UNITS - TOP FIRED 2 UNITS

2 UNITS

2 UNITS

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5-16-926 5-16-903 5-16-886 5-16-883 5-16-863 2-21-60107 PRH 2940 5-16-853 2-21-1370 2-21-60095 5-16-851 5-16-847 5-16-824 5-16-818 5-16-802 2-21-1320 2-21-1275 2-21-60052 PRH 1805 5-16-801 2-21-60030 5-16-779 2-21-1295 5-16-762

1978

FW FW FLUOR FLUOR FW

PETROCANADA MOBIL TUCSON O & G BP CHEVRON BP RHONE POULENC

CANADA NEW JERSEY ARIZONA OHIO NEW JERSEY ENGLAND FRANCE VENEZUELA

17 21 6 42 7 48 7,6 29 34 32 1 5 35 10,5 9,5 ESSO DESIGN 17 40 29 1 30 1,9 ESSO DESIGN 31,1 2 UNITS NEVER ERECTED NEVER ERECTED NEVER ERECTED

1976 1976 SUMMER 1976 1975 1975 WINTER 1975

FWL FWF MCKEE FWI FWEL PROCON FLUOR

SIR NIOC AMOCO N.W. NAT GAS BORCO TRANSCO PUBLIC SERVICE G&E ISAB NIOC IRVING OIL BP LAVERA PUBLIC SERVICE G&E NIOC TOKAI DENKA ESSO CREOLE SHOWA YOKKAICHI

ITALY IRAN TEXAS OREGON BAHAMAS PENNSILVANYA NEW JERSEY ITALY IRAN CANADA FRANCE NEW JERSEY IRAN JAPAN VENEZUELA JAPAN

SUMMER 1975

BADGER FLUOR

SPRING 1975 SPRING 1975 SUMMER 1973 1973 SUMMER 1973 SPRING 1973 1972 FALL 1972 FALL 1972 SPRING 1972

FW FWI SNAMPROGETTI FWL FWF FW FWL IHI FLOUR IHI

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5-16-751 5-16-705 5-16-672 (GTE) 5-16-670 5-16-648 5-16-645 2-21-10273 5-16-625 5-16-622 5-16-611 5-16-608 5-16-604 5-16-555 5-16-535 2-21-10253 2-21-10239 2-21-10238 5-16-501 5-16-488 5-16-479 2-21-1075 2-21-10212 5-16-451 2-21-10197

SUMMER 1972 SPRING 1971 SPRING 1971 SUMMER 1972 SPRING 1972 SPRING 1971 1970 WINTER 1970 1967 FALL 1970 SUMMER 1969 FALL 1968 FALL 1968 SPRING 1969 1968 1968 1968 WINTER 1970 SUMMER 1968 SUMMER 1968 SPRING 1968 1967 SPRING 1967 1966

LUMMUS FW BECHTEL BECHTEL IDEMITSU-KOSAN KELLOGG FWL BECHTEL NOHON KIHATSUYU PROCON PRITCHARD DAIKYOWA JGC FW FWL FWL FWL AG MCKEE FLUOR FLUOR FWI FWL FLUOR FWL

CANADA PETROFINA PENNZOIL CHEVRON PEMEX IDEMITSU-KOSAN SHELL SAO PAULO MARATHON NOHON KIHATSUYU SHELL MOBIL DAIKYOWA KNPC MOBIL NATREF PETROBRAS BP SHELL KNPC NIOC MONTESUD NTGB ATLANTIC REFINING GULF OIL

CANADA PENSYLVANYA MINNESOTA MEXICO JAPAN TEXAS BRAZIL ILLINOIS JAPAN CANADA LOUISIANA JAPAN KUWAIT TEXAS SOUTH AFRICA BRAZIL ENGLAND ILLINOIS KUWAIT IRAN ITALY ENGLAND PENNSYLVANYA WALES

45,8 1,65 80 52,5 17 CONFIDENTIAL 4 26,5 28 35 26 12 39 60 22 220 80 55 70 33 2,2 50 50 12 2 UNITS 3 UNITS

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2-21-10186 5-16-444 5-16-437 5-16-397 5-16-388 5-16-328 5-16-315 5-16-290 5-16-248 5-16-242

1966 WINTER 1966 FALL 1966 SUMMER 1966 WINTER 1965 WINTER 1964 SPRING 1964

FWL PARSONS PARSONS FLUOR FW FW FW FWL

NIOC MOBIL ARCO BP CHEVRON KETONA CHEMICAL AMERICAN CYNAMID ESSO FAWLEY LINDE NASA BRITISH AMERICAN CHEVRON

IRAN CALIFORNIA CALIFORNIA OHIO CALIFORNIA ALABAMA NEW JERSEY ENGLAND CALIFORNIA CANADA MINNESOTA

30 50 55 26,9 67,5 2,3 2 1,6 26 11 20 2 UNITS

WINTER 1963 WINTER 1962 WINTER 1962

PARSONS FWL FLUOR

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Hydrogen SteamReformer for ISLA Refinery Curacao N.A. Capacity 26000 Nm3/h Single Cell Design

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Hydrogen Steam Reformer for PEMEX - Mexico Capacity 90,000 Nm3/h Double Cell Design

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Hydrogen Steam Reformer for AO Mozyr - Belarus Capacity 12,000 Nm3/h Single Cell Design

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Hydrogen Steam Reformer for NIOC - Iran Capacity 50,000 Nm3/h Double Cell Design

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Hydrogen Steam Reformer for KNPC - Kuwait Capacity 55,000 Nm3/h Double Cell Design Air preheaters and fans mounted on top of the heaters Seven Units supplied in three Refineries

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Hydrogen Steam Reformer for TUPRAS - Turkey Capacity 45,000 Nm3/h Double Cell Design

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