Inspectioneering Journal

Crude Flexibility Management Threat Awareness

By Hearl E. Mead Jr., Pressure Equipment Manager - Shell Deer Park Site at Shell Oil Company. This article appears in the March/April 2013 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.

Over the past few years increased feedstock flexibility has become a growing reality for sustainability of the refining business, requiring processing of more difficult crudes, increased volumes of spot cargoes, and rapid response to crude acceptance requests. Equipment reliability and process safety threats have occurred in the industry from changes in crude supplies or varying crude blends and quality. Examples of these threats include:

  • Corrosion
  • Catalyst Poisinging
  • HSE Incidents
  • Fouling/Coking
  • Offspec Product
  • Operability Concern

These threats indicate that while crude flexibility is required today for refining profitability - just as much so - multidiscipline, end-to-end communications and management are needed for this to come to realize the full benefits and avoid losses. A high level view of this complex end-to-end process and a brief summary of the disciplines and tools involved are summarized the figure and text below.

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