Greg Savage - Nalco Champion
Crude preheat and furnace fouling is an observed problem in processing price advantaged crudes like light tight oils (LTO) and heavy Western Canadian crudes. Paraffinic crudes blended with asphaltenic crudes can reduce crude stability and precipitate asphaltenes.
In addition, when thermally stressed, some crudes like LTO form particles that are unstable in the bulk fluid. Also, high inorganic solids levels bound with organic foulants deposit on heat transfer surfaces. Consequently, crude preheat and furnace fouling are increasing problems in processing price advantaged crudes. Contaminants that cause fouling are frequently not identified in conventional crude assays, crude diets frequently change and unit operations can be very dynamic. Therefore, a systematic approach is recommended to evaluating mechanical, operational and chemical root causes and solutions.