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A commitment to critical project execution that borders on the obsessive

At AltairStrickland, obsessing over the smallest details is an enormous part of who we are—and a huge benefit for our clients. Ours is a culture of innovation.We are not content to do things the same way they have always been done. AltairStrickland has been executing turnarounds, ...


A single integrated vacuum system

Failure to design the vacuum unit as an integrated system will invariably result in unsatisfactory yield and poor product quality (high vanadium, nickel, microcarbon, or asphaltenes), and ultimately, an unscheduled shutdown. To avoid these revamp problems the charge pump, fired heater, ...


A time for grass roots thinking ?

Within the past year or two spiking crude prices and surging refinery margins have led to overheated talk about increasing refinery capacity worldwide. Plans for construction of as many 60 grass roots refineries have been discussed. But stretched out lead times for major equipment and ...


About Axens

Axens is an international provider of process licensing technologies, catalysts, adsorbents and services, with a global reputation for basic engineering design excellence. The main scope of Axens' business is focused on the conversion of oil, coal, natural gas and biomass to clean fuels ...


AltairStrickland from start-up to success

Even though I’m a Chemical Engineer by education, I found myself veering off into marketing. I worked for Timet, a company that produced Titanium. I also worked for the Polaroid Corporation’s marketing group. Remember those cameras with the film that gave you instant photographs? ...


AltairStrickland turnaround planning management & execution

An Early Start… You can count on us to perform pre-project planning. This is often the most overlooked step in project execution but it can be the ultimate budget buster. Our pre-work planning and pre-work engineering services help eliminate costly surprises. Using Experience to ...


Axens overview

Axens is a leading global provider of technologies, catalysts, adsorbents, services and equipment. From oil refining, petrochemicals and gas processing, to renewable & alternative fuels and water treatment, Axens solutions are used at major industrial plants around the world. SOLUTIONS ...


Celebrating a century of innovation in the oil & gas industry

UOP celebrates its 100th year in business in 2014, and in many ways our history is analogous to the development of the world’s oil and gas industry. We have accomplished many great things during the last century. For that, we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our customers, who ...


Designing deepcut vacuum units that really work

Every barrel of vacuum gas oil (VGO) you can save from being reduced to coke in the delayed coker unit is a barrel more that can go to the FCCU. That’s a good reason to raise HVGO cutpoint. But how to do it? Some people think the job can be done just by running computer models in ...


Distillation and separation technologies

Improve performance and minimize expenditure. Refinery operators want to improve their distillation performance to optimise their assets, minimise their expenditure and capital investment, and debottleneck their operations. Through the licensing of bulk crude distillation units, high-vacuum ...


Equipment design matters

Many attractive projects fail to meet expectations at startup. Disappointing performance often results from bad simulation practices and/or poor equipment design rather than faulty execution. Refineries are currently considering FCC revamps to increase olefins for more alky unit feed, ...


Expert response to your turnaround, single tower needs

Just as tigers are on the endangered species list, so are companies with the knowledge, skill and experience of Tiger Tower Services. We provide all the specialized skills you need for tray/packing installation, tower maintenance and plant turnaround projects. We’re responsive, cost ...


Gas processing

ProMax® is a powerful and versatile process simulation package that is used worldwide to design and optimize gas processing, refining and chemical facilities. Totally integrated with Microsoft Visio®, Excel® and Word®, ProMax is the best simulation tool for designing gas ...


Is pinch enough?

Back in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s when fuel gas prices were high, energy utilization assumed major importance. A new method of calculating heat exchanger networks was developed. It was called Pinch Technology. Today pinch has been rediscovered by engineers who have access ...


ITW Online Cleaning

Will revolutionize turnaround operations and operational excellence by optimizing: productivity, operability, safety health and environment, reliability, product quality, energy efficiency, CO2 SOX NOX VOC emissions, maintenance and repair and operational requirements. An entire Unit can ...


Maximize reliability in grassroots crude units

Crude unit operators are far too familiar with a long list of crude unit reliability problems including fouling in heat exchangers and fired heaters, poor desalting, corrosion of piping and equipment, and coking in the vacuum column wash zone. Many millions of dollars have been spent fighting ...


MECS® - Thermo Z™ the optimum–H™ system

The ideal design solution for MECS–Thermo Z gas to gas heat exchangers to eliminate cold end corrosion. When gas temperatures and dew point conditions require maximum corrosion protection from cold spots, the Optimum-h™ System can provide a value engineered approach to raising ...


MECS®–Thermo Z™ welded plate heat exchangers

Plant engineers in the know choose MECS®–THERMO Z™ for maximum waste heat recovery and the best delivered value. MECS®–ThermoZ™ is a highly efficient heat exchanger suitable for many industrial processes where gas temperatures may be up to 1500°F (816°C). ...


Modern crude distillation, modularized

Global interest in modular refinery construction is surging. Small modular refineries are attractive to investors for several important reasons: SPEED: Project time from contract execution to start-up can be as short as 18-24 months. LOGISTICAL ADVANTAGES:Modular refineries can be built ...


Myth of the 1000°F vacuum unit cutpoint

Canadian Synbit and Dilbit crudes will come to make-up a substantial fraction of feedstocks to North American refineries. Today, however, for the most part refiners both north and south of the 40° parallel seem to be unaware of the extreme challenges this change will present. To run ...


Nasty stuff

Heavy crudes are here to stay. As longs as oil prices remain high, Canadian, Venezuelan, Deep Water Gulf of Mexico, Mexican and other low API gravity crude oils will play an ever more important role in supplying world refineries. And prices promise to remain high because gainsayers notwithstanding, ...


Oil sands crude – profits and problems?

Canadian bitumen production currently runs about 1 MMbpd, with some being sold as Synbit and Dilbit. Over the next 10-12 years output is expected to increase to 3.5 MMbpd and more refiners will begin investing to process it and come to depend on the Synbit and Dilbit for a significant ...


On budget, on time, offine

Flawless project execution will not prevent a unit shutdown due to selecting the wrong metallurgy for a challenging crude slate. No matter how well it is fabricated and installed, a shell and tube exchanger with cold, high viscosity vacuum resid on the tube side will have poor heat transfer ...


Operating a fouled process unit? What is it costing you?

ITW Online Cleaning Technology, applied proactively during a run, restores unit performance to near start of run conditions in as low as 24 hours oil-to-oil without the need for opening equipment. By utilizing ITW’s patented asphaltene stabilization and/or polymer modification technologies, ...


Opportunity knocks

A group of interesting articles* deals with opportunity crudes, a mixed breed that includes very heavy, sour and high total acid number types as well as those with unexceptional naphthenic acid content but which do have significant concentrations of aliphatic acids or possess the ability ...


Opportunity or Annoyance?

Price differentials between conventional and opportunity crudes compel refiners to process increasing percentages of lower valued opportunity crude. However, as many refiners have learned the hard way, opportunity crudes are tied to unique processing challenges. Furthermore, existing crude ...


Processing heavy Canadian crude

Reducing crude oil cost is the major incentive driving crude and vacuum unit projects to handle heavy Canadian crudes. But such crudes–Albian Heavy, Christina Lake, MacKay River and others derived from oil sands–today present refiners with a unique set of problems not just ...


ProMax®

ProMax is built on over 40 years of continual research and development efforts. Our team of development engineers has consistently found innovative ways to model processes so that the end results accurately refl ect the actual operating conditions of gas processing, refi ning and chemical ...


RVP in process: ensure safety, comply with specifications, optimize profits

Pipeline operators, offshore platforms, terminals, fuel depots or oil tankers detect the vapor pressure, before transporting crude oil or other petrochemical products such as Gasoline or LPG for subsequent processing. It is absolutely necessary to know the vapor pressure of the transported ...


S, Ni, V, and Fe analysis of crude oil using HDXRF®

Test methods for measuring sulfur content, like ASTM D4294 and ISO 8754, have become critical for assessing the value of crude oil. The blending of crude oils from different sources has become more commonplace within the industry to meet specifications for the classification of sweet crude ...


Selecting the best solvent for gas treating

Selecting the best amine/solvent for gas treating is not a trivial task. There are a number of amines available to remove contaminants such as CO2, H2 S and organic sulfur compounds from sour gas streams. The most commonly used amines are monoethanolamine (MEA), diethanolamine (DEA), and ...


Tower field services

Cat Tech Tower Field Services offers bespoke mechanical services to oil refinery and petrochemical plants all around the world. Our team has vast experience in overseeing and undertaking the installation of all types of Tower internals. Our Tower tray, packing and other internals installation ...


Vapor pressure testing for petroleum, LPG, crude oil and Chemicals

Vapor pressure is an important physical property of volatile liquids especially of spark-ignition engine fuels. It provides an indication of how a fuel will perform under different operating conditions. For example, vapor pressure is a factor in determining, whether a fuel will cause vapor ...


Why do many crude/vacuum units perform poorly?

In many cases it’s because the original design was based more on virtual than actual reality. There is no question: computer simulations have a key role to play but it’s equally true that process design needs to be based on what works in the field and not on the ideals of the ...


Why produce diesel from the vacuum unit?

Look ahead five years. The economy is likely to keep tightening and the rush to control pollution will inevitably be accompanied by demands for greater energy conservation. Consequence? A growing market for diesel which yields more energy per unit volume. Yet many continue to believe that ...