Jerry Wilks - CITGO
Sulfur Units are actually one of the most important aspects of a refinery, but sulfur units don’t get a lot of credit because they don’t produce a product that is marketed to make money. The values associated with sulfur units are only realized when the unit or units are down, and the refinery has to be cut back because the remaining amine and sour water systems can’t handle what the refinery usually produces. This situation makes the reliability of sulfur units important to refinery operations, but spending money on sulfur units doesn’t get the appropriate level of importance. Therefore engineers and others working on sulfur units have to be very smart to keep their units operating at minimal cost. This presentation will review several sulfur unit equipment problems and solutions to those problems. Also, many of us have heard about the problems Chevron has had with low silicon carbon steel in a crude unit. The problems Chevron had weren’t new because information had been previously published on the enhanced corrosion that occurs with low silicon carbon steel. The low silicon carbon steels can corrode at a rate that is fifteen times higher than that of normal silicon carbon steels when exposed to high temperatures and reactive sulfur compounds. Therefore this phenomenon occurs in sulfur units too so failures of low silicon carbon steels will be reviewed in this presentation.