Project Synopsis

Preliminary evaluation of an existing petroleum refinery crude distillation unit for potential revamp opportunities to increase throughput.

Project Summary


The client operates a petroleum refinery in the Western U.S.  Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted to execute a preliminary evaluation of the crude distillation unit capacity for potential revamp opportunities.  The crude distillation system consists of: pre-heat train, desalters, three distillation towers (Primary, Secondary, and Debutanizer), three fired heaters, and associated processing equipment.

Project tasks included:

  • Process simulation of the overall crude distillation unit for the current configuration and plant processing data
  • Preliminary distillation tower vapor capacity evaluation
  • Preliminary furnace (fired heater) evaluation
  • Rate dependent safety valve evaluation.

PROCESS’ licensed commercial process simulation software CHEMCAD was used for process simulation of the crude unit along with evaluation of the relief scenarios for the pressure safety valves (PRVs).

The evaluation identified a potential capacity expansion of 178% before the distillation column diameters becomes a major limitation.  This evaluation provided the client with the information needed to decide whether or not to conduct a more extensive revamp study based upon knowing the approximate limitations of the major equipment.

The documentation for the project submitted to the client included: process simulation output; heat and material balance (H&MB); safety valve evaluation files; and furnace evaluation output.

Industry Type

  • Petroleum Refining

Utilized Skills

  • Throughput evaluation
  • Preliminary revamp study

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