Project Synopsis

Develop a preliminary process design package for an oil field chemicals production plant to be built in the Middle East.

Project Summary


Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by the client, the corporate engineering group of a multinational energy services and production company, to provide a conceptual process design for a proposed batch chemical production facility to be located in Saudi Arabia.  This plant includes two batch reactors and two batch blenders.  The four batch units are used to produce a variety oil-field chemicals.  Due to the many potential products scheduled for production, the plant requires several raw material storage tanks and charge pumps along with ancillary utilities (steam, cooling water, nitrogen, etc.)

The two reactors are identical and contain internal coils, external jackets, recirculation coolers, overhead condensers, reflux pots, and vacuum pumps.  The two blenders are also identical and include external heaters and internal coils.  Process flow diagrams (PFDs) were produced for each reactor and each blender (4 total) showing the range of potential raw material connections.  However, heat and material balances (HMBs) for a few selected products were produced.  These products were used as the basis for preliminary equipment sizing and cost estimates.

PROCESS worked with the client to establish a process design basis that represented a range of potential products to establish equipment sizing for a cost estimate.  PROCESS utilized commercial computer process simulation software to prepare the heat and material balances (HMBs) for three batch reactor products and one blend product.  Preliminary reactor equipment sizing is based on the most stringent duties from the three HMBs.

The reactor product stream tables were for:

  • Nonylphenol-formaldehyde resin
  • Ethoxylate
  • Imidazoline.

One typical blend product HMB was completed and provided the basis for the blend equipment sizes and cost estimate.  The blend product was a Tall Oil Fatty Acid (TOFA) based product.

PFDs and HMBs were also completed for each raw material storage tank or vessel.  These included the raw material charge pump and any required heating units for a given raw material.  In addition, process data sheets were produced for all heat exchangers. The energy balance portion of the HMB was used to calculate utility usage quantities for cooling water, chilled water, and steam.

An equipment list and cost estimate were prepared based on the preliminary equipment sizes.

PROCESS also produced preliminary equipment layout diagrams with assistance from the client.

A complete Front End Loaded Stage 2 (FEL-2) package that included the above-mentioned documentation was issued to the client for the purpose of determining the project economic viability.

In addition to the FEL-2 documents, PROCESS assisted the client in completing several environmental and business-related forms required by the Saudi government.

Industry Type

  • Oil-Field Chemical Manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • Preliminary process design
  • Overseas plant design

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