Inspectioneering
Inspectioneering Journal

Hydroprocessing Reactor Integrity

The Basics

By Dr. Brian Cane, and Julian Speck at TWI Ltd.. This article appears in the November/December 2004 issue of Inspectioneering Journal

Demanding Cleaner Fuels

Environmental regulators drive refiners to introduce bottom-of-the- barrel conversion hydroprocessing units, to produce cleaner fuels. These include hydrotreaters and hydrocrackers with reactors that operate at high temperature, and pressure and in the presence of hydrogen. (Catalytic reforming units are in the same category, with respect to the challenge of ensuring the integrity of reactor vessels).

The planning of reactor inspections is complicated because it requires consideration of the resistance to pressurised hydrogen, alloy stability at operating temperature, ambient temperature properties (for heavy- walled vessels), resistance to high temperature H2/H2S corrosion, and the resistance of austenitic alloys to stress corrosion cracking (SCC).

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