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Debottlenecking Common Refinery Units

Incremental debottlenecking of existing units has many advantages(some of these are listed below). While the best debottlenecking option depends on the unit configuration and desired results, there are similar considerations for typical refinery units:

Crude Units

Saturates Gas Plants

FCCU's and Alkylation Units

Catalytic Reformers


Low Pressure Fractionating Towers

Hydraulic Bottlenecks


Advantages of Incremental Debottlenecking

Incremental debottlenecking of existing facilities always has been an attractive option to enhance a plant’s capacity and profitability. Relatively minor capital expenditures can lead to significant capacity and profitability increases. The small margins and tight budgets of the 90’s increase the importance of debottlenecking projects. Fortunately, the advanced simulation and higher capacity equipment options available now allow cheaper and better revamps than ever before. For example, there are a wide variety of high capacity fractionating devices especially suited for debottlenecking. This Web page discusses debottlenecking options for various refinery units.

Once a plant is built and operations has pushed its performance envelope, the next logical step for increased capacities is incremental debottlenecking. Usually an existing plant can be debottlenecked much cheaper than new facilities can be built. Some plants have been debottlenecked many times so that their actual capacity is several times their original design capacity! Maximizing your existing plant’s capacity with little capital expenditure can greatly increase profitability since fixed costs stay relatively constant while income increases.