February 2014

Special Report: Clean Fuels

Case history: Characterization of shale oils and heat exchanger performance

LTOs are paraffinic, low in asphaltenes but high in filterable solids. Understanding the impact of these mechanisms can shed light on preheat exchanger performance and the prediction of fouling rates.

Sayles, S., Romero, S., KBC Advanced Technologies, Inc.

In North America, light tight oil (LTO), also known as shale oil, has provided a huge supply of light sweet crudes for US and Canadian refiners. Likewise, these crudes are located in other regions. LTOs present different processing problems. One area of high interest is heat-exchanger fouling due to processing LTOs. Fouling increases operating costs and reduces revenue by lowering unit throughput or requiring shutdowns for cleaning. Examples are crude and hydrotreater preheat heat-exchanger trains that have reduced heat transfer. The heat-exchanger fouling mechanisms are well documented, and the two primary concerns are organic (asphaltenes, waxes and gums) and inorganics (corrosion prod

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