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Paul Orlowski

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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
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  • in reply to: #14710

    Paul Orlowski

    Agree with Michael, there is not enough information to even begin to write everything that could be a problem or issue. When was the last inspection and turn-around (I&T)??
    What type of unit is it? UOP? S&W? KBR? Other? as well as all of the questions/items that Michael listed.

    Ken Peccatiello
    President & Principal Consultant at Peccatiello Engineering Catalytic Cracking Solutions, LLC
    via LinkedIn


  • in reply to: #14709

    Paul Orlowski

    Any change in catalyst type (even if from same vendor) or operating conditions? Air rate, pressure, temperatures, cat circulation same? If these are all constant, you have mechanical problem. Many possible with FCC units, such as small hole from erosion in cyclones and the like. Did the problem start after recent shutdown? Or after long operations? Please specify details and we can start to think about reasons.

    From Michael Edwards
    Chief General Manager (Technology) at Dangote Industries Limited
    via LinkedIn

  • in reply to: Visbreaker and FCC naphtha cracking in a riser? #11599

    Paul Orlowski

    If you have naphtha columns, remove the benzene and toluene fractions, recycle the rest of light stuff. Chris Dean knows this stuff. Ask him. I know he “retired” but assume he still replies to emails.

    Michael Edwards
    FCC Expert for Reliance Industries

    Daniel, places inject FCC naphtha for recracking and in other locations in the world Coker Naphtha is inject for cracking. The amount of cracking will depend upon severity, and type of catalyst. There are primary and secondary effects of naphtha injection into the FCC Riser for cracking. There is the cracking of the naphtha plus the heat balance impact. The data I have seen shows a substantial increase in the C/O and other benefits beyond the cracking of the naphtha itself.

    So simplistically, stating cracking of a naphtha in the riser depends upon the market economics. The yield profile has to be viewed on the total feed / riser effluent basis to determine the change in the profitability profile.

    Mel Larson
    Principal Consultant at KBC Advanced Technologies


    The individual hydrocarbon component analyses of a given stream will provide helpful cracking guidelines. PIONA analyses of lighter streams like naphthas are quite common in most refineries. The previous comments by Michael and Mel can be evaluated more quantitatively by FCC models with better data inputs.

    William Reagan
    Retired, Refining Technology

  • Paul Orlowski

    Refinery Blast Casts Shadow Over Hugo Chavez’s Re-election Bid
    By Charlie Devereux – Aug 27, 2012 1:22 PM CT
    An explosion at Venezuela’s largest refinery that killed at least 48 people and injured dozens on Aug. 25 is threatening to cast a shadow over President Hugo Chavez’s re-election bid.
    The blast and ongoing fire at Amuay, 240 miles west of the capital, Caracas, adds to a number of events in recent weeks that have fueled concern over mismanagement, including a collapsed bridge connecting Caracas with the east of the country, deadly prison riots and protests by state workers over collective contracts.
    Chavez will need to divert blame from a poor refinery maintenance record to avoid political fallout ahead of the Oct. 7 vote, said Luis Vicente Leon, president of Caracas-based polling firm Datanalisis. The self-declared socialist, who is seeking to extend almost 14 years in power with another six-year term, trailed his opponent, Henrique Capriles Radonski, for the first time in a Consultores 21 poll earlier this month.
    “What’s risky for Chavez in terms of the campaign is that all of these events accumulate in the minds of voters,” Leon said in a phone interview. “One event can trigger off the perception that the government has lost control of the country.”
    Capriles had 47.7 percent of support against 45.9 percent for Chavez in a poll taken two weeks ago, Consultores 21 Vice President Saul Cabrera said Aug. 24. The survey of 1,000 people had a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points, he said.
    In a separate poll of 1,288 people by Datanalisis between July 16 and Aug. 9, Chavez had 46.8 percent support compared with 34.2 percent for Capriles. The survey had a margin of error of 2.73 percentage points.
    National Guard
    The explosion two days ago occurred after a gas cloud erupted into a ball of flames that engulfed a National Guard post as well as homes and shops in front of the refining complex. Chavez said he ordered an investigation into the causes and said they won’t discard any hypotheses.
    The blast is among the world’s deadliest at an oil refinery. Fifteen workers were killed at BP Plc’s Texas City refinery in 2005, while more than 50 people died in a fire at Hindustan Petroleum Corp.’s refinery in Visakhapatnam, India, in 1997.
    The National Guard members stationed at the refinery bore the brunt of the deaths, including 18 troops and 15 family members, according to Vice President Elias Jaua.
    The official death toll may rise further after El Universal reported that two burn victims who were flown to a hospital in nearby Zulia state died yesterday.
    No Negligence
    Chavez, who visited the site of the explosion yesterday, ruled out negligence as a cause and described as “impossible”reports that the gas leak had begun hours before the explosion and that state-owned oil producer Petroleos de Venezuela SA had failed to respond.
    Seven out of nine planned maintenance programs for the Amuay refinery were postponed last year because of a lack of materials, according to PDVSA’s 2011 annual report.
    The accident follows several events that have shone a spotlight on defects in Venezuela’s infrastructure. A bridge on the main highway connecting Caracas to the eastern part of the oil-producing country collapsed Aug. 15, restricting transit to cities including Puerto La Cruz.
    Four days later a prison riot at the Yare I prison in Miranda state killed 25 people after a confrontation between two armed groups.
    Capriles today called for a “serious, responsible”enquiry into the causes of the accident and highlighted the collapsed bridge and the prison riots as evidence of government negligence.

    ‘Country of Accidents’
    “A country of accidents isn’t the path Venezuelans want to take,” Capriles said in comments broadcast on Globovision.“There needs to be a serious investigation that honors the victims.”

    Chavez could use the explosion to his advantage, said Carlos Romero, a political analyst at the Universidad Central de Venezuela.
    “The president wants to convert this tragedy into a heroic narrative, obfuscating the principle problem which is the causes of why this happened,” he said.

    While Chavez’s popularity has fallen in recent years he still retains strong support and many people are prepared to forgive events as long as they continue to benefit from social programs such as subsidized food markets and health clinics in poor neighborhoods, said Gregory Weeks, director of Latin American studies at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte.

    Still, Capriles may be able to capitalize on Chavez’s poor record in maintaining the country’s infrastructure, Weeks said.
    “What Capriles needs to do is to create a narrative that connects all these things together that shows why this government needs to be defeated,” he said.

    To contact the reporter on this story: Charlie Devereux in Caracas at
    To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at

  • in reply to: Proposed new refinery in Kitimat, BC Canada #4599

    Paul Orlowski

    RE: Proposed new refinery in Kitimat, BC Canada

    He has no backers, partners or investors.

    But what David Black does have is a strong business pedigree to support his bold vision for a $13-billion oil refinery in northern British Columbia, putting him smack in the middle of the most divisive political issue in Western Canada.

  • Paul Orlowski

    Other companies are considering similar moves to ship Bakken crude to Pacific Northwest refineries to obtain the same cost benefit. BP Plc said it may ship Bakken crude to its 225,000 bpd Cherry Point refinery in Blaine, Washington, and Phillips 66 plans to do the same for its 100,000 bpd refinery in Ferndale, Washington.


  • Paul Orlowski

    Thanks for all the great posts and keeping us up-to-date on global refining.
    Paul Orlowski

  • Paul Orlowski

    Bravo Charlie,

    Very thorough explanation. People, send this link to your congressman. Tell them to kick it up a notch and do something about greedy speculators!

  • Paul Orlowski

    Alberta pays to get oilsands message to Washington

    A good neighbour lends you a cup of sugar.
    A great neighbour supplies you with 1.4 million barrels of oil per day.

    That was the opening remark in Alberta Premier, Ed Stelmach’s Washington Post ad.

    EDMONTON Albertas premier delivered his pro-oilsands message to a Washington Post audience Friday morning through a $55,800 half-page ad in the paper, instead of an opinion piece as originally intended.

    Premier Ed Stelmachs office learned Thursday afternoon that the high profile U.S. newspaper rejected the letter for its opinion pages, said spokesman Jerry Bellikka.

    We decided this is a message we needed to get out anyway, so we booked an ad, Bellikka said.

    The defense of the oilsands industry, which appeared today on A4 which is the fourth page of the Posts front section, comes after 50 U.S. congressmen made a case for the $12-billion Keystone XL pipeline expansions should be put on hold. The pipeline is expected to run from Hardisty, Alta., to Monchy, Sask., before heading into the U.S. Midwest. The U.S. politicians argued it would double consumption of Alberta crude and pay no heed to the potential impact on climate change.

    The Posts assistant editorial page editor Autumn Brewington said Friday the paper receives between 60 and 100 unsolicited opinion pieces a day, in addition to its 17 regular columnists.

    You can see from reading the piece, it does make a lot of interesting points, Brewington said of Stelmachs submission. But it focuses more on Canada Day than making a new point about energy usage.

    The paper ran two pages of opinion pieces Friday. They ranged from Thurgood Marshall Jr. reflecting on Elena Kagans nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court and the legacy of his father, who was the first African-American Supreme Court justice, to a piece arguing that the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will not lead to significant economic losses on a national scale.

    Another piece, from the founder of a venture capital firm, makes the case it is important to move toward cleaner technologies without getting hung up on a specific price for carbon.

    The money for the premiers ad came from the provinces public affairs bureau budget.

    Because of the discussions going on in Washington, we felt it was important to get out factual information about Albertas energy supply to the United States, what we are doing to deal with environmental issues in oilsands and just talk about the relationships between Alberta and the U.S., Bellikka said. Most Americans, and probably most Canadians, dont know we are the largest supplier of petroleum to the United States, bigger than Saudi Arabia, bigger than Venezuela.

    Stelmachs ad opens with the comment: A good neighbour lends you a cup of sugar. A great neighbour supplies you with 1.4 million barrels of oil per day.

    -With files from Trish Audette

    Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal

  • in reply to: Update- Keystone line fill boosts heavy crude demand #5557

    Paul Orlowski

    Alberta, June 30 (Reuters)
    – TransCanada Corp’s (TRP.TO) $5 billion Keystone pipeline began operating on Wednesday, delivering 435,000 barrels per day of Canadian oil sands crude to Illinois refiners.

    TransCanada, the country’s No. 1 pipeline company, said it has completed filling the Keystone line with oil and is making commercial deliveries to U.S. Midwest refineries, two years after construction began.

    The new line is just the first phase of a $12 billion program to increase market access for oil sands crude in the United States. TransCanada has already begun work on extending Keystone with a branch running from Steele City, Nebraska, to Cushing, Oklahoma, which will boost capacity to 591,000 barrels a day next year.

    The company is also in the planning stages of its $7 billion Keystone XL line, which will carry 510,000 bpd from Hardisty, Alberta, to the U.S. Gulf Coast refining hub. Construction of the line is expected to be complete in 2013.

    Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO), Canada’s No. 2 pipeline company, is also expanding its system to carry more Canadian crude to U.S. Midwest. Its 450,000 bpd Alberta Clipper pipeline is currently being filled with oil and should be in service by the end of September.

    Reporting by Scott Haggett
    Editing by Peter Galloway

  • in reply to: Update- Keystone line fill boosts heavy crude demand #5717

    Paul Orlowski

    by Edward Welsch Dow Jones Newswires
    March 23, 2010

    OTTAWA (Dow Jones)

    Canadian producers of crude from oil sands are making a big push into the U.S. Gulf Coast market, where refiners are paying the highest prices in decades for low quality, high-sulfur oil.

    Historically, Canadian high-sulfur, or “heavy,” crude, shipped by long-distance pipeline, has struggled to compete against cheaper, seaborne shipments of oil from Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. But Mexico’s heavy-crude output is declining and Venezuelan exports of the stuff to the U.S. have dropped amid a rocky political relationship between the two nations. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, has also cut exports of high-sulfur crude, which is less profitable than lighter varieties, as part of broader cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

    Reduced competition and higher prices for Canadian crude come at a good time for Alberta’s oil-sands industry, which is expected to double within the next 10 years to 3.1 million barrels a day and requires new markets to soak up the growing output. While Canada supplies a quarter of U.S. oil imports, only 2.2% of the crude refined in the Gulf Coast region–which has the lion’s share of U.S. heavy-crude refining capacity–came from north of the border last year.

    “We think there’s an opportunity for Canadian companies to gain more market share in the Gulf market,” said Alberta Energy Department Assistant Deputy Minister Mike Ekelund, who is in charge of the province’s resource strategy. “We’re a supplier that’s right next door, we’re relatively politically stable, and we think there’s a great deal of benefit for Americans in terms of having a secure access to supply.”

    Mexico’s heavy crude oil is in decline due to waning production from its giant Cantarell offshore field in the Gulf of Mexico, and U.S. exports declined to 1.24 million barrels per day last year, down 28% from their peak in 2006.

    In Venezuela, production has been in decline due to political instability and lack of new investment. President Hugo Chavez has also begun to send a fraction of his country’s crude exports away from the U.S. to the Chinese market, and has cut exports in recent months to meet OPEC mandates. Imports from Venezuela have dropped to under 900,000 barrels a day in recent months, cut in half from peak rates during the 1990s and down a quarter from 2008.

    Meanwhile, other OPEC exporters, mandated to cut production to keep prices high amid lower world demand, have cut production of less-profitable heavy crude first. Saudi Arabia reduced imports to the U.S. to under 1 million barrels per day, down a third from 2008, with most of the reduction in heavy crude.

    As the Gulf Coast’s regular supplies of heavy crude oil have declined, the price for it has shot up, as Gulf refiners–heavily invested in the heavy-oil cokers used to break the stuff into lighter grades–are willing to pay more to keep their facilities running.

    Canadian Natural Resources Inc. (CNQ), a large Canadian oil and gas company with significant production of heavy crude from the oil sands region, said the Canadian heavy oil discount to West Texas Intermediate crude dropped to an average of 16% during the fourth quarter.

    “Historically the heavy oil differentials have been in that 30% to 45% range, averaging about 32%,” Canadian Natural President Steve Laut said during the company’s fourth-quarter conference call earlier this month. “We think that has structurally changed and right now, as you know, Canadian heavy crude differentials are probably in that 10% range, very low.”

    Laut said high heavy crude prices were likely to drop a bit, but Canadian heavy crude would likely trade at a discount of 22% to 24% for the foreseeable future.

    As a result, Wall Street analysts have begun rewarding Canadian companies that are slanted toward heavy-crude production. Analysts at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Raymond James, Scotia Capital, BMO Capital Markets, and Canaccord Adams have all upgraded Canadian Natural to buy-equivalent ratings this year.

    Canada’s government is aiming to help heavy-oil producers expand in the U.S. Gulf market, too. Earlier this month, Canada’s national energy regulator approved the construction of TransCanada Corp.’s (TRP) Keystone XL pipeline, which is designed to eventually bring 900,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to the Gulf, and is the first of several major pipeline projects aimed at taking Canadian crude further south.

  • in reply to: Operating experience of Terrace Wall heater #5779

    Paul Orlowski

    I look forward to reading comments here in this forum. In addition, I encourage you to attend the Safety Seminar the week of April 19th.

    There’s a whole day focused on heaters. In the morning there’s heater and related presentations. In the afternoon, join in heater discussion groups with refiners and suppliers on whatever topics are most important to you. Throughout the day meet with heater experts in the exhibition hall. There’s also a Heater/Fractionator Training Class starting April 22.

    Here’s the confirmed presentations:
    1) FosterWheeler: Coker Heater Design-The Heart of the Coking Process.
    2) Sonomatic: Predicting and preventing carburization-induced failures of coker heater tubes.
    3) Increase Performance Inc: Improved Combustion Improves Heat Flux Distribution
    4) CSI-Controls Southeast Inc: Stop Plugging Those Lines – Areas in the coker most susceptible to plugging and the heating solution.
    and more presentations being finalized…
    5) Coker Heater Pilot Plant – An Improved Tool for Understanding Heater Fouling and Fouling Control.
    6) New Spalling Technology – Increase efficiency and run lengths, reduces fuel consumption and CO2 green house gases.
    7) Operational and Design Issues Faced by Low & Ultra Low NOx Burners for Delayed Coking Furnaces.
    8) Heater Best Practices

  • in reply to: Valero Tx City Refinery Explosion kills 1, injures 2 #5894

    Paul Orlowski

    A day after a deadly accident at Valero’s Texas City refinery, officials with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration arrived at the plant Saturday to begin an investigation into what went wrong.

    Tommy Mannis, 40, an instrument and electrical operator from Alvin, was killed in an explosion around 9 p.m. Friday night as a work crew was attempting to restart a boiler that had tripped offline earlier in the day. Another Valero employee and a contract worker sustained minor injuries.

    Investigations being conducted by Valero and the federal government will try to pinpoint why the boiler failed.

    “We know it was very cold yesterday, but it wasn’t necessarily related to the weather,” Valero spokesman Bill Day told reporters at a news conference at the plant Saturday afternoon. Mannis had worked at the refinery since March 2007.

    The 245,000 barrel-per-day refinery, Valero’s third largest, never shut down, and continued to run at planned rates Saturday. The damaged boiler, at the facility’s northwest corner, had provided steam to refining units, but the plant was able to run with other boilers on the site.

    Still, the accident cast a somber pall over the sprawling facility as workers went about their jobs Saturday.

    “Something like this affects all of us,” Day said, noting grief counselors had been made available to Texas City workers.

    San Antonio-based Valero, the nation’s largest oil refiner, has struggled in recent months amid a downturn in demand for gasoline, diesel and other petroleum-based fuels. Other major refiners have also felt the pinch.

    Valero recently said it would permanently close its Delaware City, Del., refinery. It has also indefinitely idled a plant in Aruba and reduced production at other sites.

    In Texas City, the company has tried to improve efficiency and install units that are less costly to operate, Day said, but it has not cut any of the plant’s roughly 500 employees and has kept safety a top priority, he said.

    Valero officials said they notified governmental and regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, of the incident.

    Officials with OSHA did not return calls Saturday seeking comment about the office’s investigation of the Valero Texas City incident.

    ‘Very challenging year’

    Daniel Horowitz, spokesman for the Chemical Safety Board, an independent federal agency charged with investigating chemical and refinery accidents, said his agency has not yet decided whether it will open a formal investigation.

    In part, that’s because the agency is stretched thin with eight other open investigations of incidents at U.S. refineries, not all of them fatal, he said.

    “It’s been a very challenging year for refinery safety,” he said.

    The Valero accident shines a light on the need for greater training for operators that work with boilers, said Charlie Singletary, business manager with the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 564, which represents workers in area petrochemical plants but not the Valero facility.

    “Boilers are not taken seriously in the state of Texas,” he said, noting that no state license is required for technicians as it is some other states.

    Valero workers have been extensively trained for their jobs, Day said. But the company plans to discuss safety issues with employees in the wake of the accident.

    by Brett Clanton Houston Chronicle December 07, 2009


    Paul Orlowski
    Co-founder and Community Builder

  • in reply to: Valero Tx City Refinery Explosion kills 1, injures 2 #5899

    Paul Orlowski

    The cause of the accident at Valero Texas City was a boiler failure. Valero spokesman Bill Day isn’t saying whether an explosion or a fire occurred, pending an investigation. Day said the fatality was the first at the refinery since Valero purchased the refinery from Basis Petroleum in 1997.

    Texas City Emergency Management coordinator Bruce Clawson said that the explosion was never a threat to the community. There was no release of any dangerous chemicals, he said.

    The refinery which covers 290 acres and employs about 480 people and is continuing operations. The refinery processes about 245,000 barrels of crude a day.

    The San Antonio-based Valero Energy Corp. is North America’s largest independent petroleum refiner and marketer, the site said. Once the closure of the Valero Delaware refinery is complete, Valero will revert to being the second largest with ExxonMobil moving into first.

    Paul Orlowski
    Co-founder and Community Builder

  • in reply to: Sour crude index #5917

    Paul Orlowski

    Gear up guys.

    The Energy Information Administration publishes official statistics from the U.S. Government. Check out their charts showing 25 years of increasing sulfur content. or


    Paul Orlowski
    Co-founder and Community Builder

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