Best practices for tramp amine contaminated crude improves crude flexibility

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The situation 

A Gulf Coast refinery processing high rates of light-tight
 oils (LTO) was concerned about potential downstream
 impacts from tramp amine contamination. The site
 needed the data necessary to make informed decisions on appropriate mitigation strategies.

The main issue was the high potential for amine salt (MEA Chloride salts) formation in the top of the tower at current operating conditions. The refiner did not want to forego higher margin jet/kero production rates by raising the tower top temperature, or change the crude slate to a higher cost blend, that would avoid the salting potential.

Knowing the MEA loading leads to a more optimized acidification programme to ensure target amine removal rates are achieved, saving the refinery an estimated $4M. 

the results

Partnering with Nalco Champion, a step-wise approach 
was initiated whereby the refinery crude flexibility would
 remain intact. The first step involved the PAT to provide frequent amine data. The second called for acidification best practices that effectively remove the offending MEA.

Now armed with regular MEA data, a more optimized acid dosage could be set to ensure the target amine removal rates would be achieved, avoiding salting and moving out of the danger zone. The value of this approach is estimated at $4-5M in reliability gains.

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