Hydroprocessing (Hydrotreating / Hydrocracking)

Hydroprocessing occurs when hydrogen is added to petroleum. The two types of treatment it entails are hydrotreating and hydrocracking.

Application Overview

Recent volatile crude oil prices have lead to the growth of several alternative methods for crude oil extraction around the globe.  These extraction methods can often produce sour crude oil, crude oil with a high sulfur content.  At the same time, the demand for high sulfur products is disappearing as the understanding of the environmental effects of burning high Sulphur fuels grows.  This necessitates that refiners are now required to reduce the products Sulphur content before it can be sold.  This is most commonly done by hydroprocessing.  Hydroprocessing refers to two separate but similar processes, hydrotreating and hydrocracking.

Hydrotreating is a process of removing unwanted impurities such as sulfur, nitrogen, and metals by reacting with hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst.  There are several possible configurations for the process, but at the heart of hydrotreating is the reactor section, which features a high pressure reactor vessel and proprietary reactor internal technology and catalyst.  The configuration will be optimized to suit the requirements for tolerable limits of impurities.  Some typical hydrotreating processes in refineries are:

- Naphtha hydrotreating

- Kerosene hydrotreating

- Diesel hydrotreating

- Vacuum gas oil (VGO) hydrotreating

Hydrocracking is a process that breaks down complex hydrocarbon molecules into simpler ones by using a catalyst and an elevated partial pressure of hydrogen gas.  This is an established and reliable method for transforming low value heavy oil fractions into higher value products.  This is generally a more demanding hydrotreating process, but is rapidly emerging as the principle conversion technology to maximize diesel yield base on it's ability to produce ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD).

SAMSON Solutions

There are many control valves used in hydroprocessing within the SAMSON product portfolio. Three of these valves can be particularly challenging:

-> Hot High Pressure Separator (HHPS) and Cold High Pressure Separator (CHPS) Letdown Valves - The high pressure fluid consists of entrained catalyst and is both erosive and corrosive.  It is a mixture of several liquids as well as dissolved gases, and typically both outgassing and flashing will be taking place at the outlet of the valve.  SAMSON offers customized angle valve solutions with multi-stage trim to combat the effects of these harsh operating conditions.

-> Sour Water Letdown Valve - The sour water separated from the CHPS is sent to the flash drum through the sour water letdown valve.  This valve will see very high differential pressures and severe flashing conditions.  SAMSON offers customized angle valve solutions to provide a long term solution for this very erosive application.

-> Hydrogen Induced Cracking (HIC) - HIC can occur in certain metals when exposed to hydrogen sulfide rich solutions (sour gas).  To avoid this undesirable phenomenon, SAMSON offers a full range of products designed in full compliance with the latest NACE specifications.

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