BPCL commissions FCCU filtration system at Kochi refinery

Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (BPCL), Mumbai, has completed installation and startup of a clarified oil (CLO) filtration system at the fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU) at subsidiary Kochi Refineries Ltd.’s 9.5 million-tonne/year (tpy) refinery near the city of Kochi, at Ambalamugal, Ernakulam district, in the Indian state of Kerala (OGJ Online, Oct 1, 2015).

Officially inaugurated on June 30, the CLO filtration is designed to reduce the catalyst fines content in FCCU CLO product to 100 ppm from 4,000 ppm to enable routing of CLO product directly to fuel tanks at the plant, BPCL said.

The filtration system features six skid-mounted modules with glass beads and electrodes where catalyst fines are separated from CLO by electrostatic process, allowing collected fines to be backwashed by heavy-cycle oil and recycled back to the riser.

Operation of the skid is controlled from a centralized programmable logic controller mounted in the refinery’s control room with solenoid valves, with the process skid supported by a power skid that houses six transformers, BPCL said.

The filtration system will be imperative to refining operations at Kochi following the refinery’s ongoing integrated expansion project (IREP) (OGJ Online, July 16, 2012), when fuels generated within the plant also will be routed for internal fueling needs, the company said.

Designed to boost the plant’s crude processing capacity to 15.5 million tpy by 2018, the Kochi IREP will include a new crude distillation unit, FCCUs, and a delayed coker to enable the production of fuels that meet Europe’s latest emissions standards (OGJ Online, Sept. 12, 2014).

The project additionally will enable the refinery to diversify its output of niche petrochemicals, which will be produced from polymer-grade propylene supplies resulting from increased crude processing at the site (OGJ Online, Dec. 9, 2014).

Originally scheduled to be completed in May 2016, IREP had achieved an overall physical progress of only 83.55% as of June 30, 2015, BPCL said in its latest available annual report.

In its latest project update issued in February, BPCL said it had made the following progress on IREP:

• Completed hydrotesting of more than 500 loops in the new crude distillation-vacuum unit.

• Began hydrotesting of piping loops in the new delayed coking unit.

• Completed hydrotesting of a reactor vessel for the FCCU’s reactor-regenerator package.

• Completed various incremental construction works at the new diesel hydrotreating, vacuum gas oil hydrotreating, and delayed coking units.

• Began lube oil flushing operations at new Gas Turbine III.

Both the expanded refinery and petrochemical components of the project are due to be fully on stream during 2018-19.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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