Project Synopsis

Provide designs, specifications and cost estimates for an Alkylation unit closed KOH blowdown system, a Crude Distillation unit overhead system and a Fuel Gas Knockout system for the refinery fuel supply.

Project Summary


The client owns and operates an independent refinery. In support of a capital projects planning schedule, the client hired Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) to provide specific process designs for selected refinery systems.  These included:

  1. An Alkylation Unit (Alky Unit) closed KOH blowdown system to replace the existing open sewer system
  2. A Crude Distillation Unit overhead system revamp to decrease tower overhead pressure and debottleneck column operation
  3. A fuel gas knockout system for combining refinery fuel sources and facilitating a more consistent and stable refinery fuel supply.

For each specific system design, the following project tasks were executed:

  1. Process design basis development
  2. Unit operations computer process simulation (as applicable) and process design
  3. Process flow diagrams (PFDs) preparation
  4. System process control design
  5. Equipment specifications preparation
  6. Instrument data sheets preparation
  7. Capital cost estimate development.

The Alkylation Unit blowdown system was designed to replace an open sewer system that currently exposes refinery operators to process fluids.  The Crude Unit debottlenecking design included computer process simulation of the atmospheric distillation tower, fired heater, and overhead system using PROCESS’ licensed commercial process simulation software.  The simulations supported an alternatives evaluation that identified a low-cost alternative of relocating the water-cooled overhead exchangers and upsizing some overhead piping that reduced the operating pressure at the top of the atmospheric column by 11 psig.  This in turn reduced the required crude heater duty by 14%, thereby resulting in significant operating cost savings for the client.  The fuel gas knockout system design also involved locating the knockout drum such that piping costs are minimized as well as evaluating the new fuel gas composition on the operation of various refinery fired heaters.

This project was on a tight execution schedule in order to meet a scheduled capital projects planning cycle. PROCESS was able to meet all schedule milestones. The engineering deliverables resulting from this project were compiled into project reports that were submitted to the client.

Industry Type

  • Petroleum Refining

Utilized Skills

  • Design basis development
  • Front end engineering design (FEED)
  • Computer process simulation
  • Refinery de-bottlenecking
  • Refinery process control and instrumentation
  • Equipment specifications
  • Cost estimation
  • Basic engineering design package (BEP)

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