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Coker Drum Fire after Hurricane Harvey

Presented By

Victor Corbella Torne - TOTAL Port Arthur


Hurricane HarveyHurricane Harvey caused a rapid shutdown of the delayed coker at the Total Port Arthur Refinery at the end of August, 2017. The shutdown was safely controlled by the operators despite adverse conditions. However, a number of secondary impacts resulted from this rapid, unplanned shutdown. The impacts to be reviewed are extensive piping plugging in resid circuits and coke combustion in an open, uncut coke drum. The team was able to get the unit unplugged in approximately 6 weeks after the incident. Due to drum damage, the operations unit was able to operate in 3 drum mode until a temporary drum repair could be made, approximately 5 months later. This story is an example of the DCU operations team’s ability to resolve problems and get the unit online as quickly as possible.

RefComm Q&A

Each session at RefComm® is an interactive experience with audience questions asked directly or through a real-time app (SLIDO).  Because of the high volume of questions during this session, not all of them were able to be addressed at the event. In a effort to provide you with as much information as possible, a few of those questions are posted here with answers from the presenter.

Question: Was the replacement section of the coke drum cladded?

Answer: No

Question: Did train 2 stay down during repairs? 2 drum operation?

Answer: No, 3 drum operation. Train 2 came on and off (by-pass mode). On by-pass when drum 4 needed to be decoked. On Coking mode after drum 4 was warmed up with super-heated steam.

Question: Do you send Ops to top of drum to turn on top water when top of drum is on fire?

Answer: No, top water was already lined up since the drum was being cut when we lost power.

Victor CorbellaChemical Engineer by Universitat Rovira i Virgili (2002 Tarragona, SPAIN). Master of Sciences in Oil Refining, Engineering and Gas by ENSPM (2004 IFP, France). Over 15 years held several positions in Process Engineering and Operations at Normandy Refinery (Total France), Lindsey Oil Refinery (Total UK), Grandpuits Refinery (Total France) and Port Arthur Refinery (Total USA). Involved in Operating and troubleshooting several refining units (Crude, Vacuum, Reformer, FCCU, DHT, NHT, Sulfur, Coker, etc…). Coker experience 2.5 years. Father of two boys (1 and 4), enjoys photography and traveling with family.

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