Refinery Desalter System

Gulf Coast Refinery, USA

Problem

Black Powder particulate contamination in the post-desalter water was driving unsustainable consumption of single use filters and operating costs of almost US $2 million. The related filter waste was excessive – and avoidable.
In order to save costs, the single use Pentair filters were changed from 10 microns to 30 microns in order to move from a 2 to 3 day replacement cycle to 7 days. The cost of each filter element change-out was $13,000, including disposal.
However, the 30 micron filters were unable to protect the MycelX VOC and crude removal system from the sub-30 micron contamination, rendering it out of service. The crude tainted water was then sent out for deep well disposal at a cost of $100K/month for 9 months.

Solution

Install 2 Magnetic Separators – 1 on each desalter water line downstream of the settling tank and upstream of the Pentair filter system.

Results

The Pentair filter elements were subsequently changed to 1 micron finishing separators and the separator element change-out interval went from 7 to 120 days. The solids loading dropped to within allowable limits and the MycelX unit went back into operation, eliminating the need for expensive underground disposal.

Currently systems catch ~20 lbs/day of Black Powder.

Black Powder collected on the first Magnetic Separator element after 18 hours of operation.

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