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Anatomy of the Refinery – Are FCCU’s really the heart of the Refinery

FCCUThe Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) is considered to be heart of any modern refinery. I started hearing this since I started my career around 20 years back in early 1997. I started working on my First refinery and First Catalytic Cracking unit Project in the green field but was not very much convinced at that point of time how FCCU can be HEART of any refinery. But, now having spend almost my entire career on execution of Grass root and Revamps of World largest Crackers in the country am totally convinced that FCCU is heart of any refinery. So, like our heart which if taken proper care will lead us to have longer and healthy life, a well executed, operated and maintained cracking unit will have trouble free operation, require minimum shutdown, shorter shutdown duration’s and maximum refinery margins i.e. GRM leading to maximized overall profitability of the refinery.

In my professional career so far, I have worked on the following world largest crackers.

Green Field Projects:

  1. 200 KBPSD FCCU at Reliance DTA Refinery (FCCU-1) with UOP licensed Technology (1997 to 1999) at Jamnagar, Gujrat, India
  2. 200 KBPSD Rx-Cat (Rich Cat) at Reliance SEZ Refinery (FCCU-2) with UOP Licensed Technology (2006 to 2009) at Jamnagar, Gujrat, India
  3. 4.17 MMTPA INDMAX FCCU (maximising LPG) at IOCL Paradip with ABB-Lummus/ IOCL Licensed Technology (2010 to 2012) at Paradip, Orissa, India – First commercial unit with INDMAX technology.
  4. 1550 KTA, Refinery Off Gas Cracker at Reliance Jamnagar J3 Project with Technip Licensed Technology (2013 to 2015) at Jamnagar, Gujrat, India

Brown Field / Revamp Projects:

  1. Capacity upgradation from 180 KBPSD to 200 KBPSD and Revamp of FCCU-1 at Reliance DTA Refinery (2003 to 2005) at Jamnagar, Gujrat, India
  2. Second Revamp of 200 KBPSD FCCU-1 (2009 to 2010) at Jamnagar, Gujrat, India

Most Common FCC Problems:

  1. Poor Reactor Performance
  2. Poor Stripper Performance
  3. Poor Regeneration
  4. Poor Cyclone Performance
  5. Maintenance of Catalyst Properties
  6. Installation and maintenance of Refractory Lining.

Like our heart, FCCU operational and mechanical problems can be very widely due to the complexity and the dynamics of the process. There are common threads that link almost all units together such as Riser Cracking, full or complete combustion regeneration, stripping, reaction catalyst and fluidisation. The majority of the problems encountered are typically central to these shared elements. In most instances, problem resolution can be accomplished by a fundamental understanding of critical aspects in FCCU and application of some basic responses.

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Posted by: Virendra (Kumar) Singh

Insightful & qualitative experience of nearly 20 year’s Managing EPC Projects of Large and Mega Scale in Up-stream, Mid-stream and Down-stream in the Hydrocarbon sector. Handled project’s in Oil & Gas sector with the distinction of managing projects of diversified nature across the career span. An astute professional with EPCO experience which includes grass-root, green field and brown field units in FPSO, offshore platform, Group Gathering Stations, Gas Compression and Depletion Compression, Refinery, Petrochemicals, Cross Country Pipelines, LNG Regasification, Jetty and Breakwater. Managed 200 KBPSD FCC, PETRO FCC and INDMAX FCC (biggest in the World) both New unit and Revamp in capacity of Deputy Project and Project Manager. Handled Saih Rawl Depletion Compression (SRDC) project of PDO, Oman as Project Procurement Manager. Presently handling C2 Complex of Reliance Jamnagar Project as EP Contract Manager and as Project Manager of Furnaces of Ethylene Cracker (ROGC) Steering strategic sourcing through identification of cost effective vendors/suppliers for procurement with an aim of reducing cost & schedule while improving quality & reliability. Proficient in developing & streamlining systems with proven ability to enhance operational effectiveness and meet operational goals within the cost, time & quality parameters. Effective communicator & team leader with strong analytical, problem solving & organizational abilities and proven track record of forging business partnerships. Specialties: Program and Project Management, Project Engineering Management, Project Procurement Management, Project Contracts Management Supply Chain Management, Project Site Interface Management. Electrical & Instrumentation Erection and Commissioning Engineer Operational Excellence, Process Enhancements, Quality & Cost control, Peoples Management, Team Player.