NACE International, 2004
Authors: Sergio D. Kapusta, Alex Ooms, Andrew Smith, William C. Fort
Economic pressures on the refining industry are forcing many refiners to look at lower priced high acid crudes to improve margins. These crudes may be discounted because they are perceived to cause increased corrosion or fouling problems, or simply because they are new or unknown to the market. If these problems are not properly managed or understood, the benefits of lower price may be consumed by higher processing costs or by the deterioration of the assets caused by corrosion. To safely process these high acid crudes, a comprehensive multi-discipline service has been implemented to identify, assess and mitigate the corrosion, fouling and processing risks associated with these crudes. This service covers all the aspects that are necessary to optimize the economics of processing corrosive crudes, such as materials selection, corrosion inhibition, process control, corrosion monitoring, inspection, and scheduling. In addition to managing the potential corrosion problems, it also addresses key issues such as crude oil selection strategy, the true value and cost of processing the crudes, an evaluation of the refinery’s blending capabilities, the compatibility of various crudes, the quality of products, etc. This paper provides an overview of the strategic issues associated with processing high acid crudes and several case histories describing the benefits gained from using this approach.