Flow through two vertical combined feed exchangers (VCFEs/Texas Towers) at a middle eastern refinery of one of the world’s largest Arabian oil companies had become severely restricted. Just how restricted became apparent when Tube Tech’s cleaning teams started working on them. Original estimates of 400 to 600 tubes blocked out of 6,000 x 21M long x 14mm bore, vertical tubes, turned out to be 3,000 tubes. In five days of gruelling conditions, Tube Tech successfully cleaned every tube in the two VCFEs to inspection standard, except for just three that were blocked by metallic debris, thought to be fragments of jetting lances and nozzles left behind by previous contractors.
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Martin Byford, Operations Director: “Rarely do we encounter such a wide variety of deposits. We found literally everything – from a coke-like substance to rubbery gum-like full-length blockages. I am very proud of our teams for doing such a superb job in the limited time available, particularly considering the high working temperatures. We have completed several Texas Towers this year and we are confident that we can tackle such jobs successfully, no matter what we find when we get to site.”
Quote from Site Engineer: “Following the Tube Tech clean of the VCFEs, the heat transfer between the exchangers’ tubes and shell increased, thereby reducing the delta T between ROT and HIT. This is shown by the drop in temperature on the ‘after’ plot. The cleaning therefore led to hotter feed going to the downstream heater inlet. ”
Senior Shutdown Manager: “We negotiated carefully with Tube Tech’s local agent for many months in order to satisfy ourselves that the company could clean our Texas Towers to the required standard. We have used local and international contractors before, but with mixed results and the VCFEs have not performed as well as they could have, for nearly long enough following the clean, so we were willing to consider the Tube Tech alternative. For the first time since the refinery was commissioned, the Texas Towers on the CCR Platformer are giving us near-to-original efficiency and productivity.
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