XERIC Heavy Oil Desalter Program Improves Effluent Quality, Tops Competition

Location: US Gulf Coast

A U.S. Gulf Coast refiner processing heavy Canadian and South American crude oils in two crude units was observing poor effluent quality from the desalters. The effluent water from the desalters of the two units was fed to two separate benzene strippers and API separators, then sent to the wastewater treatment plant. If the wastewater was off-color following the benzene stripper, it would be rerouted to a storage tank until it could be reprocessed to prevent costly processing problems at the wastewater treatment plant. The storage tank also served as the site’s storm water runoff tank and was reaching critical capacity as hurricane season approached.

A Baker Hughes competitor could not improve the effluent quality with its chemical program and Baker Hughes was invited to the site for a trial on one of the two crude units. Baker Hughes approaches desalting from a holistic view point, beginning with crude oil receipts, including impact of slops/rerun, and continuing down to encompass the desalting process. Using the Crude Oil Management™ approach to evaluate the streams entering the desalters, Baker Hughes found that very fine particles were entering the crude unit stream in heavy slop oils from the delayed coker unit. Baker Hughes recommended rerouting the heavy slop oil directly to the coker fractionator and avoid processing the slop oil at the crude unit.

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