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Stop Plugging Those Coker Lines!

with Sean Mathew, Controls Southeast, Inc.

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In today’s environment, refiners recognize the need for delayed coking to keep pace with the growing demand for transportation fuels, more stringent legislation, and the opportunity for significant improvement in refinery profit margins. The delayed coking process is a mature process, but improvements continue to be made in key areas such as operability, safety, and reliability.

One recent improvement involves applying an engineered approach to the heating of residuum lines to prevent plugging. Traditional approaches to line heating do not address the thermal strain of no-flow and restart conditions. As a result, refineries lose hundreds of thousands of dollars every year due to plugging-induced lost production and recovery efforts.

This paper will consider the performance and economic implications of plugged coker lines, discuss the real thermal requirements of the heating system, and evaluate the economic benefits of an improved system.

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