Stabilization Expertise Needed ASAP

by | Mar 9, 2006 | Downstream Hydrocarbons, Industry

Jim Cahill

Chief Blogger, Editor

I heard a story of a tremendous effort from our advanced applied technology experts to help a refiner stabilize his units after a restart. I went to the source, James Beall who is the team leader of our U.S. Control Performance team. It turns out that he is the one responsible for these successful efforts.
He received a call from one of our local business partners late on a recent Wednesday night to assist this U.S. based refiner with the startup of some of their units including three new distillation columns. This refiner had battled the startup for several days but could not stabilize the unit or produce on-spec product. The unit would have to be shut down within 48 hours due to limited storage if stable operation and in-spec product could not be achieved.
James arrived early Thursday morning and began to assess the situation. He installed Emerson’s EnTech Toolkit to be used for process control diagnostics, complex loop dynamics identification and advanced loop tuning. He reviewed the situation with the customer, prioritized and set the order of tuning of the control loops around the columns. Using DeltaV Tune and the EnTech Toolkit to provide coordinated loop tuning, the columns were stabilized by 10:30 pm, 12 hours after arriving on-site.
During this process, several measurement problems were identified and plant personnel began to troubleshoot and correct the problems. Once these instrumentation problems were resolved within a few days, James returned to the site to continue the control performance improvements.
The quantified results? The columns achieved 100% of design production 5 days after James first arrived and nearly another 20% after a total of 7 days.
Based on these results, the refiner is looking to set up a continual process performance improvements program with James and the Control Performance team.

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