June 2018


Special Focus: Process Optimization

Use advanced predictive analytics for early detection and warning of column flooding events

In this study, a methodology was implemented to predict crude distillation tower flooding events based on key process variables, including product yields, column pumparound (PA) flowrates, column temperatures and overhead reflux flowrate.

Use an Excel-based method to evaluate performance for the preheat train of a CDU
Moon, J., Chang, G. S., GS Engineering and Construction

A rigorous and accurate performance evaluation of existing equipment is a key factor for the success of a plant revamp study.

Remove carbonyls from gaseous hydrocarbon streams for ethylene plant service
Gondolfe, J., Kurukchi, S., Janus Technology Solutions LLC

Within the hydrocarbon processing industry (HPI), particularly the petrochemical sector, there remains an irritating series of reactions associated with acid gas removal (AGR) using dilute caustic soda—namely, aldol condensation reactions and their respective products.

Managing process contaminants in amine treating units—Part 1: Lean amine filtration
Engel, D., Nexo Solutions; Northrop, P. S., ExxonMobil Upstream Research Co.

Installation and operation of suitable contaminant removal systems, such as filtration, coalescing and adsorption equipment, have become key components in amine units.

Novel FCC technologies based on reaction chemistry of catalytic cracking
Xie C., Wei, X., Gong, J., Long, J., SINOPEC Engineering Inc.

The increased use of opportunity crude oils in refinery processing, the growing demand for light fuel, and the efficient conversion of petroleum resources to refined fuels and basic chemical raw materials have become the basis of green and low-carbon refining technology developments.

Process Control and Instrumentation

Advanced process control of debutanizers makes use of inferential predictions
Ferrari, L., Harrison, P., Total; Friedman, Y. Z., Petrocontrol

Following good experience with a generalized cut-point calculation (GCC) inferential package, which models main fractionators with side streams, French energy major Total decided to experiment with a generalized distillation shortcut (GDS) inferential package, which models simpler, two-product distillation columns.

Maintenance and Reliability

Simplification reduces risks and cuts costs
Bozick, A., Victaulic

A facility’s ability to operate safely is the determining factor in its success or failure.

Project Management

Creating a ‘win-win’ between construction contractor and project owner—Part 2
Berg, J., Shahani, G., ShureLine Construction

For large projects, construction represents the biggest cost component and the greatest risk.


Editorial Comment: What is the future role of the process engineer?
Nichols, Lee, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

During the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ (AIChE’s) Spring Meeting, held in Orlando, Florida in April, I was honored to sit on a panel discussion with Paul Durand from ExxonMobil and Sanjeev Kapur from Apex PetroConsultants.

Reliability: Consider today’s canned motor pumps
Bloch, Heinz P., Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

We often make the mistake of letting our equipment selection decisions be governed by old data, anecdotes and traditions.

Automation Strategies: Open process automation moves to the proof-of-concept stage
Miller, Paul, Forbes, H., ARC Advisory Group

Open process automation was once again a hot topic at the 2018 ARC Industry Forum in Orlando, Florida earlier this year.

Refining: German refining industry on the verge of consolidation and production cuts
Gerden, E., Contributing Writer

Germany produces very little domestic oil and natural gas, and relies on imports to meet 95% of its oil consumption.

Africa: Challenges facing harmonized fuel standards in East Africa
Oirere, S., Contributing Editor

East Africa developed coordinated fuel standards as early as January 2015.

Engineering Case Histories: Case 101: Preventing crankshaft failures in large reciprocating engines
Sofronas, A., Consulting Engineer

The gas processing and pipeline industries use many integral gas engine reciprocating compressors with crankshafts more than 20 ft long.

Viewpoint: Electric vehicles vs. the perfect battery
Liebert, R., Honeywell UOP

It is no surprise that electric vehicles (EVs) are getting a lot more attention, now that carmakers have announced plans to increase production of them.

Viewpoint: Toward a world of cleaner fuels
Pegler, J., Puma Energy

Fuel is a necessary requirement of global economic development.

Digital: Looking to boost safety? Reliable operations are the key
Carugo, M., Emerson Automation Solutions

Equipment failures are the thorn in every industrial plant’s side.

Industry Perspectives
Nichols, Lee, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Petrochemicals and gas processing/LNG sectors see largest increase in new projects.

Business Trends: Advent of cognitive applications and the IoT in process manufacturing
Krishnan, V., IBM Corp.

Process manufacturing, which typically includes refining, petrochemicals and commodities chemicals, has traditionally focused on stability, controllability and optimization.

Show Preview ACHEMA
Rhodes, Mike, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

ACHEMA is the world forum for chemical engineering, process engineering and biotechnology.

Industry Metrics

Reduced refinery output caused by planned and unplanned refinery outages, and record-breaking gasoline export levels and strong diesel inventory drawdowns, drove US margins to a record 3-yr high in April.

Global Project Data
Nichols, Lee, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

According to Hydrocarbon Processing’s Construction Boxscore Database, nearly 450 downstream projects are under construction around the world.

HP Crossword
Andrew, Bob, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

HP Crossword


The BASF board of executive directors has made several personnel changes.