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PROBLEMS AND

SOLUTIONS ENCOUNTERED
ON OIL REFINARIES
BY: TEAM POGI

TRAMP AMINES
PROBLEM:
Amine salts can form at, or even above, the
system dew-point, making it difficult to control
salt deposit-related corrosion.
when tramp amines are introduced,
uncontrolled acid neutralisation can occur and
further contribute to salt overhead system.
Because of the concentration of the tramp
amines and subsequent salt formation, total
system amine management is extremely critical
to equipment reliability.

TRAMP AMINES

TRAMP AMINES
The figure illustrates how and where these very

corrosive salts might begin to form. In addition to


H2S scavengers, there are several other sources
of tramp amines. They can enter the system via:
Steam neutralisers
Slop oils charged back to the desalter
Sour waters used as desalter wash water
Atmospheric tower reflux streams.

Cold, wet atmospheric tower reflux streams can

exacerbate this problem by recycling the various


amines in the overhead system.

TRAMP AMINES
SOLUTION:
First provide a hydrocarbon stream containing
at least ammonia and/or one amine.
Next, the ammonia or amine is contacted with
an amine scavenger in an amount effective to
react with the amine and forming a product of
increased molecular weight and thus
preventing the newly formed product from
distilling overhead.

TRAMP AMINES
The amine scavenger is reacted with the
ammonia and/or amine to form a reaction
product that distills with the heavier fractions
of the oil and remains in the bottoms. The
amine scavenger may be a carboxylic
anhydride and/or copolymer of carboxylic
anhydride, an aromatic anhydride, an
isocyanate and/or polyisocyanate and/or an
epoxide. The amine scavenger has an
absence of a reaction product of a hydrocarbyl
succinic anhydride and an amine.

FOULING
PROBLEM:
The cold train can experience wax
precipitation, with the resultant loss of heat
transfer causing low desalter temperatures in
addition to increased pressure drop across the
cold train heat exchangers. Also, increased
preheat and furnace fouling potential can be
experienced with these crudes due to
asphaltene precipitation, metal
catalysedpolymerisation and/or solids
deposition.

FOULING
The coke can result from asphaltene precipi

tation or polymerisation byproducts that fall


out of the bulk fluid onto the tube surfaces
and dehydrogenates.
Metal catalysedpolymerisation is somewhat
rare in crude oil, but does occasionally occur
due to sporadic spikes in the levels of reactive
metals. Finally

FOULING
Asphaltenes and asphalteneprecipitation

The resins are polyaromatic compounds


that are considerably lower in molecular
weight than asphaltenes, and help to suspend
the asphaltenes in the crude. When these
resins become destabilised, such as upon
heating or mixing with paraffinic crudes,
agglomeration can occur in the desalter, the
bulk fluid, the preheat train, or the furnace
and cause fouling.

FOULING
SOLUTION:
Refiners employ many performance
management strategies to reduce or mitigate
equipment fouling, including operational and
mechanical adjustments as well as anti-fouling
chemistries.

FOULING
Some of the common operational or
mechanical approaches are:
reducing solids and salts by optimizing desalter

performance
increasing fluid velocities to minimise
deposition potential
and modifying furnace flame patterns by
cleaning or changing burner tips to maximise
performance and minimise impingement that
can cause coking

FOULING

HYDROGEN
EMBRITTLEMENT
PROBLEM:
This is often a result of accidental introduction
of hydrogen during forming and finishing
operations. Because the solubility of hydrogen
increases at higher temperatures, raising the
temperature can increase the diffusion of
hydrogen. Hydrogen embrittlement causes
fractures and fractures are the cause of spills
and leaks.

HYDROGEN
EMBRITTLEMENT
SOLUTION:
Embrittling procedures such as acid pickling
should be avoided, as should increase contact
with elements such as sulfur and phosphate.
The use of proper electroplating solution and
procedures can also help to prevent hydrogen
embrittlement.
embrittlement can be reversed by removing
the hydrogen source and causing the
hydrogen within the metal to diffuse out
through heat treatment in the deembrittlement process, known as "baking.

HYDROGEN
EMBRITTLEMENT
In the case of welding, often pre- and post-

heating the metal is applied to allow the


hydrogen to diffuse out before it can cause
any damage. This is specifically done with
high-strength steels andlow alloy steelssuch
as the chrome/molybdenum/vanadium alloys.

STRESS CRACKING
Is characterized by cracks propagating either
transgranularly or intergranularly (along grain
boundaries). There are several types of stress
corrosion cracking (SCC), for example,
chloride-induced SCC and H2S-induced SCC.

STRESS CRACKING
Stress corrosion cracking (SCC) results from
the combined action of three factors:
Tensile stresses in the material
A corrosive medium - especially chloride-

bearing or hydrogen-sulphide (H2S) media.


Chloride-induced SCC normally occurs
above60C (140F)
The use of material susceptible to stress
corrosion cracking (SCC)

STRESS CRACKING
SOLUTION:
The risk of stress corrosion cracking (SCC) can
be minimized through plant and equipment
design. It is especially important to avoid any
mechanical tensile stress concentration, which
will occur at sharp edges and notches. In
many cases, problems with stress corrosion
cracking (SCC) can be solved by selecting a
suitable material.

STRESS CRACKING
H2S-induced stress corrosion cracking (SCC)
Process fluids in wet and sour service
within the oil and gas industry often contain a
certain amount of hydrogen sulphide, H2S.
When considering the corrosivity of a sour
process fluid, the partial pressure of H2S has
to be taken into account as well as the pH
value. Also the temperature, the oxygen and
chloride contents and the presence of any
solid particles, such as sand has to be
considered.

STRESS CRACKING
It has been shown that H2S-induced stress

corrosion cracking attack is worst at


temperatures around 80C (176F), but
cracking can occur also at temperatures below
60C (140F).

DESALTING OF TIGHT
OILS
PROBLEM:
Compatibility problems can result from
blending highly paraffinic crudes with
asphaltenic crudes, which lead to
asphaltenedestabilisation that can stabilise
emulsions, as well as accelerate preheat and
furnace fouling. Tight oils can cause wax
precipitation, which can degrade desalter
temperatures and plug cold train exchangers.

DESALTING OF TIGHT
OILS
SOLUTION:
As a result, GE Water & Process Technologies (GE
W&PT) recommends a new paradigm with regard
to treating desalters. It calls for the use of
multiple levers or select chemistries to address
issues specific to a refinery site. These levers may
include options such as split feed, which is
primarily injecting the primary emulsion breaker
into both the oil and the water, as well as using
crude stabilisers, wetting agents, reverse
emulsion breakers, amine/metals removal aids
and pH modifiers.

DESALTING OF TIGHT
OILS
Chemical programs have to be carefully
evaluated, taking into account several
considerations, including crude tank
dewatering, slop system management and
wash water quality.

Application technology is another variable


that can impact program performance.

Desalter treatment programs can be


combined or modified to enhance solids
removal.