Project Synopsis

Perform a revamp study of a topping refinery that would enable the production of naphtha, diesel, and vacuum gas oil.

Project Summary


Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by the client, a provider of refinery services as well as refined petroleum products, to investigate the changes needed to allow a topping refinery to generate naphtha, diesel, and vacuum gas oil in certain quantities.  As a part of this revamp study project, the following tasks were accomplished:

  • Used process simulation software to develop a mass and energy balance for the major unit operations in the client’s topping refinery.  These units included a crude oil distillation column, a naphtha splitter, and a vacuum gas oil distillation column.
  • Determined the ability of the crude distillation column (CDU) to operate at higher crude feed rates while meeting the boiling ranges required for the naphtha, diesel, and gas oil streams, as well as the energy required from the crude heater.
  • Determined the ability of the vacuum gas oil (VGO) distillation column to operate at the higher crude feedrates without flooding.  A new set of operating parameters (pressure and pumparound rates and temperatures) was recommended to prevent flooding and reduce energy consumption.
  • Determined the ability of a naphtha splitter, which had previously been out of service, to generate heavy straight run (HSR) naphtha.  Also determined the yield of HSR to be expected while using the splitter’s distillate as reflux for the crude tower.
  • Used CHEMCAD’s CCTHERM heat exchanger evaluation package to calculate the performance to be expected from the crude tower reboiler and the naphtha splitter reboiler.
  • Determined the heat duty required for a new fin fan heat exchanger to be installed as an overheads cooler for the naphtha splitter.

PROCESS supplied the client with a report summarizing the results of the revamp investigation, as well as provided a new mass balance showing the product flowrates to be expected under the new operating conditions.

Industry Type

  • Petroleum Refining

Utilized Skills

  • Process revamp evaluation study
  • Refinery simulation
  • Distillation design

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