April 2015


Special Report: Petrochemical Developments

Top seven causes for lost olefin production
Cagnolatti, C. L., HSB Solomon Associates LLC

Long-term trends in production losses, showing total loss production measured in seven biennial studies, are discussed in this article to determine if these losses are increasing or decreasing over time.

Use multistage integrated chilling to increase ammonia production
Arora, V. K., Kinetics Process Improvements, Inc.

A new revamp approach for ammonia plants uses multistage integrated chilling (MIC). The MIC scheme provides an option that avoids expensive compressor upgrades for incremental improvements in ammonia production, with energy efficiency improvements up to 15%.

Use vapor distributors to improve fractionation column performance
Fewel, K. J., Technip Stone & Webster Process Technology

Vapor distribution has often been neglected in fractionation columns. Although the importance of liquid distribution is well understood and has been a consideration in column design from the early sta..

HPI Focus: New vs. Debottlenecking

Bolivia expands petrochemical capability with Bulo Bulo ammonia complex
Nogarin, M., Contributing Writer

The Bulo Bulo ammonia-urea facility will be Bolivia’s first petrochemical venture. This new facility is expected to produce sufficient urea/ammonia supplies for domestic demand and will provide surplus product for export.

Regional Report

US petrochemical construction boom and refining margins cushion profits
Blume, Adrienne, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Domestic refiners and petrochemical producers will face changing supply and demand conditions, particularly as the sharp decrease in oil prices influences drilling decisions.

Process Technology

How Cr compounds discolor refractory brick walls of an ethylene cracking furnace
Al-Meshari, A., Saudi Basic Industries Corp.; Maity, M., Al-Zahrani, E., SABIC Technology Centre

Unusual pink coloration was noticed on the entire refractory brick wall in the radiant section of an ethylene cracking furnace of a petrochemical plant. The problem was investigated by evaluating the ..

Refining Developments

Update on the catalytic cracking process—Part 2

One of the prime challenges in the operation of a fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU) is keeping the catalyst circulating. Compared to other challenges with FCC operations, correcting erratic catalys..


HP Editorial Comment: Accessing the value of methane and the North American petrochemical revolution
Romanow, Stephany, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

The North American (NA) petrochemical industry is experiencing a renaissance of new project announcements and manufacturing expansions. This wave of activity is supported by abundant, low-cost natural gas supplies. In particular, many ethylene projects are under various stages of development.

HP Reliability: The true cost of poor quality
Bloch, Heinz P., Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Knoxville, Tennessee-based System Improvements, Inc., has been in the forefront of teaching structured root-cause analysis throughout the world. System Improvements, Inc. has used its proprietary soft..

HP Project Management: Inside look at financing biorenewable projects
Cascone, R., Nexant

Financing biorenewables technology companies and their projects involves a unique set of challenges. The global emergence of biorenewable fuels, chemicals and polymers is driven by public policies, su..

HP Global: India’s fertilizer industry gathering strength
Nair, M. P. Sukumaran, Special Secretary to Government of Kerala, and Chairman, Chemical Engineering Division Board of the Institution of Engineers

The $2-T Indian economy is forecast to have an annual average GDP growth rate of 8%–9% in 2015 under the new government. The main drivers—agriculture and industrial manufacturing—need r..

HP Petrochemicals: US petrochemical revival slows amid weaker oil
Martin, S., Contributing Editor

Since the shale revolution, US oil and gas majors have run on all cylinders, drastically curbing US dependency on foreign resources. But the past six months changed it all. A 53% plunge in oil prices ..

HP Viewpoint: Methanex focuses on growth and expanding its operations across the globe
Floren, J., Methanex Corp.

As the world’s largest producer and supplier of methanol to major international markets, Methanex Corp. continues to focus on growing and expanding its operations across the globe. The most recen..

HP News
Rhodes, Mike, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Honeywell will maintain control systems for Sasol CTL complexHoneywell Process Solutions (HPS) has signed a five-year agreement to support Sasol’s synthetic fuels and chemicals facility in Secund..

HP Industry Metrics
Rhodes, Mike, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

US commercial crude oil inventories are at elevated levels and are expected to increase. Lower crude oil prices have supported consumption in developed economies, removed budgetary constraints in emer..

HP Innovations
Blume, Adrienne, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

A joint industry project (JIP) has been launched between Swagelining Ltd., Saudi Aramco and The Welding Institute (TWI) to conduct investigations into the use of polymer lining in carbon steel (CS) pipelines.

HP People
Rhodes, Mike, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Michele McNichol has been appointed CEO for Wood Group Mustang, succeeding Steve Knowles, who retired April 1. Ms. McNichol has been with WG Mustang since 2001 in roles that included executive VP, res..

HP Free Literature
Meche, Helen, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

IMI Sensors offers a data leaflet on its new series of mechanical vibration switches, models 685A09, 685A19, 685A29 and 685A39. The switches feature a unique, patent-pending design that is said to provide a better sensitivity adjustment than traditional designs.

HP New Developments
Meche, Helen, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

SPECTRO Analytical Instruments’ new SPECTRO ARCOS high-resolution ICP-OES spectrometer is said to be the first and only spectrometer featuring selection of axial plasma or radial plasma observation in a single instrument—without any optical compromise.