Emulsion Formation via Surfactant Contaminants in Amine Unit LPG Contactors

Presented By

David Engel - Nexo Solutions

Cody Ridge - Nexo Solutions

Scott Williams - Nexo Solutions

Conference: Galveston 2020

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) can differ in numerous ways depending on the type of process unit it is produced, the crude feedstock and most importantly the contamination present from those sources and along with its transmission. In refineries, LPG is predominantly produced in the crude distillation unit and the fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU), while processing takes place in the amine unit and the caustic treating unit. Recently it has been observed that in various refineries, the LPG has posed significant processing challenges in the amine units. The main problem detected is emulsion formation, which not only causes a lowering in processing rates but also considerable losses in amine solvent and associated downstream impacts.

This paper discussed the various challenges amine units experience when contaminants ingress with the feed LPG. Also, the sampling and analysis of complex contaminants such as surfactants will be presented. In many cases it’s direct analysis is cumbersome, and special techniques and methods are required for its detection and identification. Countermeasures to mitigate the effect of contaminants will also be discussed and illustrated with real cases.

Refining Community