Successful Reversal of Deterioration in an Old Set of Coke Drums

Presented By

Pierre Du Plessis - Suncor Energy (Retired)

Dr. Mahmod Samman - Houston Engineering Solutions, LLC

Conference: Galveston 2017

Suncor U1 Cokers

One of the oldest and thinnest sets of coke drums in operation in the world suffered accelerated deterioration, unpredicted cracks, and loss of containment. After utilizing a rigorous strategy of inspections, assessments, and long-term repairs over the last nine years, the reliability and safety of operating these drums improved to the point that replacement plans were canceled and the time between turnarounds is being considered for an increase. In this presentation, we describe the management strategy that was used and show its impact on the reversal of deterioration trends which appears to be unique in industry.


Pierre du Plessis hi-resPierre Du Plessis is a retiree from Suncor Energy. He has been with Suncor for 15 years in Fort McMurray and Calgary. Coker life assessment and life extension has been a continuous focus throughout his career at Suncor. During winter months in Canada he enjoys retirement by snow birding in South Africa.



Dr. Mahmod Samman is the president of Houston Engineering Solutions. He has thirty years of Mahmod Sammanengineering experience mostly in the design, analysis, assessment, and repair of fixed plant equipment. For more than 25 years, he has conducted pioneering investigations of degradation patterns, structural failures, and post-repair performance of coke drums. His work in this area has resulted in novel design improvements and the development of state-of-the-art assessment, repair, and life extension techniques that are widely used at refineries and upgraders around the world.

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