Examples of EPS consultancy services completed in 2019

Commissioning of an on-line wash system for a Platformer recyclegas compressor

An on-line naphtha wash system for the recyclegas compressor of a CCR Platformer, designed by EPS, has been successfully commissioned. The aim of the wash system is to reduce ammonium chloride fouling of the compressor.


Off-grade AVGAS due to a smell problem

An EPS customer refinery suffered from off-spec AVGAS (AViation GASoline) due to a mercaptan smell. EPS supported the refinery with the investigation and found that the cause has been a sulphur upset into the feed to the HF Alkylation unit and the operation of the alkylate defluorinators.


RFCC catalyst circulation problem

An RFCC unit in an EU refinery suffered from catalyst circulation problems. EPS supported the refinery in concluding from a high catalyst fines content in the bottom stream from the main fractionator that the problems were caused by a malfunctioning of the reactor cyclones.


Availability improvement program for CCR Reformer unit.

A CCR Reformer in an EU refinery unit operated by a major oil company needed a stepchange improvement of its operational availability. This company applied their Deep Dive methodology to achieve this improvement. Two EPS consultants (together having over 70 years of CCR Reformer operating experience) participated in the activity and brought international expertise into the program. It was found that several substantial improvements were possible by adapting operational procedures and relaxing unnecessary constraints, all easily implementable.


Visbreaker coking problem

EPS has supported an EU customer refinery with coking problems in the Visbreaker main fractionation column. Under EPS guidance a series of testruns have been carried out at different operating pressures in the soaker. Analysis of the testrun results revealed opportunities to improve the Visbreaker operation and reduction/elimination of the coking problems.  


Oil Accounting and Hydrocarbon loss review

EPS has carried out an Oil Accounting and Hydrocarbon loss review in a customer refinery in Australia. The novelty in this approach was that the review has been carried our remotely. Opportunities for improving the unaccounted loss have been identified.


Support with operation of gasturbine

EPS is providing ongoing support to a customer refinery in the Caribbean with the operation of their gasturbine. The support ranges from witness testing of critical components at the manufacturer site to on-site support with the start-up after an overhaul.


Turnaround Assurance Review

Two EPS consultants have carried out a Turnaround Assurance Review for an EU customer refinery. This review has been carried out 5 months ahead of the Turnaround. The objective of the TAR was to support the site and the TA team in optimising their TA preparedness and to provide independent assurance whether the TA is on-track. The TA activities covered the entire refinery site, with 46 days of mechanical work and about 2400 personnel on-site. Possible improvement were identified in the areas of communication, handover from operation to the TA team and back and the availability of materials.


Turnaround critical path optimisation

Two EPS consultants supported an EU customer refinery with the optimisation of two activities which were on the critical path of the Turnaround. During a workshop with the relevant refinery staff it appeared possible to reduce the critical path by several days.


Development of new Tube Wall Temperature correlation for Platformer heaters

An EU customer refinery is operating a CCR Platformer unit. During a Turnaround the process furnaces were retubed and the coil configuration substantially modified. This Platformer unit is using an on-line calculation method for the Tube Wall Temperature of the process furnaces. But the new coil configuration required an update of the calculation model. Two EPS consultants developed the update of this model which has been implemented into the refinery data supervisory system. As the refinery had suffered from tube failures by overheating in the past, the reliability of the new calculation model was considered vital. Therefore the refinery asked EPS to verify the model calculations of the TWT by a IR-survey once the revamped furnaces were on-line. The challenge was that all new tubes were provided with ceramic coating, which requires a correction on the IR-survey results.


LOPA workshops

LOPA (Layers Of Protection Analysis) is a methodology to assess the barriers in place to prevent the occurrence of incidents. For an EU customer refinery EPS has facilitated two on-site LOPA workshops. The purpose was to train the refinery staff in the principles of LOPA and the HEMP process. During the workshop several examples from the refinery were discussed. Each workshop had 10 participants.


Review of refinery firefighting facilities

EPS has carried out a review of the firefighting facilities of an EU customer refinery. The review included  the fire water pump facilities (fixed and mobile), firefighting strategy for several scenarios and the emergency response plans. This refinery has extensive cooperation with the firefighting brigade of the local municipality.


Investigation of a steam boiler tube failure

Two EPS experts in utility systems and combustion engineering have supported an EU customer refinery with the investigations following a tube failure in one of the steam boilers. It appeared that the failure had been caused by corrosion from the fluegas side.


Support with refinery QRA study

EPS has supported an EU customer refinery with the development of a QRA (Quantitative Risk Assessment) of the entire refinery. This study is conducted by a local contractor, under guidance from an EPS expert in QRA studies.


SOx emission problem

An EU customer refinery found out that the SOx emission measured by a new installed on-line analyser in one of their stacks did not match with the measured H2S content in the refinery fuelgas fired in the furnaces of that stack. Upon investigation it appeared that the off-gases from one refinery conversion unit contained a substantial amount of sulphur compounds other than H2S which were only partly removed in the amine unit. Testruns have been carried out to assess this effect and to identify cost effective options to reduced the actual SOx emission.


Coking in High Vacuum Unit

The HVU in an EU customer refinery has been revamped to achieve deeper flashing of the atmospheric residue. But ever since this revamp there is a build-up of coke in the bottom of the column. EPS has reviewed this problem but concluded that there are no easy and cheap solutions. The problem can be solved by the installation of new hardware, the costs of which are now being evaluated by the refinery.


Catalyst lifting problems in a CCR Platformer

The CCR Platformer in an EU customer refinery suffered from a persisting problem in the catalyst transport system. During a site visit, EPS identified the root cause, which was relatively simple to correct.


Support to a law firm

An EU customer refinery has a legal dispute with their harbour authorities. This dispute has been brought to an arbitration court, and EPS has been providing evidence in court as an independent expert.


Remote monitoring of process units

The remote monitoring of the CCR Platformer in an EU customer refinery is now ongoing for 5 years. For another customer refinery the remote monitoring support for their CCR Platformer and HF Alkylation unit is now ongoing for 3 years, while this refinery has started remote monitoring support for their FCC unit. Remote monitoring provides an external expert review of the unit operation and has proven to be a very useful addition to the unit monitoring by the refinery staff.

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