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TROUBLESHOOTING PETROLEUM REFINERY VACUUM TOWERS

Andrew W. Sloley

VECO USA, Inc. (current affiliation)
1313 Bay St
Bellingham, WA 98229 360-676-1500

Presented at the
Chemical Engineering Expo 2000
Houston
7-8 June 2000

Abstract copyright Andrew W. Sloley
2000
All rights reserved

With wildly fluctuating crude prices compressing refinery margins, stable and efficient vacuum tower operation is more critical than ever to refinery profits. Many refineries run up to five years with good vacuum tower yields. Others have consistent problems getting past an eighteen month run. Major sources of lost profits include coking, high pressure drops and internal leaks. Simple tools, costing less than $200 each, used correctly can identify and track these common vacuum tower problems. Knowing problems before a shutdown cuts maintenance costs. Unscheduled procurement and work may cost as much as ten times (or more) than scheduled work . Knowing what when and how a problem starts is key to solving it. Reliable operation increases overall plant profits. Two case studies of high vacuum tower losses are examined.

18 pages.
Electronic version available in Adobe Acrobat PDF format file 086.PDF 249k.

Request paper 086.

This page updated 19 January 2005.
© 2005 Andrew W. Sloley. All rights reserved.