By Sam Zaczepinski
If you are a typical refiner, your process units have likely been modified and/or expanded more than once. In addition, your units are likely operated to different product specifications using much different feedstocks and utilizing newer and more active catalysts. Hopefully, over time, these changes have resulted in significantly improved unit profitability.
You may wonder what else is left to do to squeeze the next increment of profit from your strained facilities. One inexpensive step you can take is to carry out an independent, experience-based, unit audit using industry experts who have participated in such reviews for much of their lengthy careers. Carmagen Engineering offers such experts who have performed similar audits at many locations worldwide.
A typical audit is normally carried out as a joint Carmagen Engineering/refinery team activity. Lasting anywhere from 2-5 weeks (elapsed time) and deploying 1-3 consultants, such audits yield recommendations in the areas of yield and product quality improvements, capacity expansion opportunities, operating cost reductions, and reliability improvements. More specific benefits may be associated with recommendations for catalyst selection and/or replacement, steps to mitigate catalyst contacting deficiencies, process monitoring suggestions, energy conservation opportunities, catalyst/equipment fouling mitigation techniques, and the like.
While the above example targets catalytic process units, the same methodology is applicable to all refinery units. The key to a successful audit is the ability to effectively channel the specialists' know-how into a refinery-specific situation. We believe that, based on their experience, the Carmagen Engineering specialists are uniquely qualified to deliver such service to any refiner interested in extracting added profitability from their plant facilities.