Project Synopsis

Provide on-site process engineering support for plant turnaround and various other activities at a U.S. petroleum refinery.

Project Summary


The client owns a U.S. based oil refinery with a 100,000 BBL/day crude oil capacity and was in need of process engineering support to act alongside the in-house process engineers to assist with their yearly turnaround and for an extended period afterward.  Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was hired to provide one junior level process engineer on-site to perform the work.

The initial stages of the project all involved turnaround activities.  A large part of this was preparing for and supervising catalyst loading in the Tail Gas and Sulfur Recovery Units.  Preparations for loading included ordering and inventory checks of the catalyst itself and the support balls, interacting with vendors, and creating loading diagrams.  Supervision of the loading required close coordination with the catalyst handling field crew to make sure that the vessel was clean and loaded to match the loading diagrams as closely as possible.  Toward the end of the turnaround, supervision of the two Sulfur Recovery Units, the Hydrogen Unit, and the Mild Hydrocracker was performed as those units were brought back up from the shutdown.  The unit start-ups involved very close and careful tracking of temperatures and pressures throughout the units and a knowledge of the exact steps required for work to be done safely.

Once all turnaround activities were finished, the project transitioned into a more traditional staff augmentation position for the purpose of providing various process engineering support.  Work was done in several different units including the Crude Unit, Vacuum Unit, Hydrogen Unit, Sulfur Recovery Unit, Mild Hydrocracker, and Continuous Catalytic Reformer.  Responsibilities included:

  • Walking down and marking up P&IDs as needed
  • Relief device (PSV) sizing calculations
  • Pressure surveys
  • Performing heat and mass balances (HMB)
  • Revision of existing daily monitoring system
  • Process troubleshooting.

Near the end of the project, a request was made by the client for PROCESS to provide assistance to the Process Safety Management department at the refinery.  Help was given by assisting with daily PSM activities, statistical analysis of safety incidents in the plant, revision of some of the spreadsheets used to track incidents, and the creation of a new reporting form.

Industry Type

  • Petroleum Refining

Utilized Skills

  • On-site process engineering support
  • Turnaround support

Contact Us