Conversations with an Expert: How Retrofitting this Plant Increased Productivity Without Extensive Downtime

July 24, 2020

Rick, what was the problem our client was facing?

When our client’s gas plant was designed, they did not consider an upstream amine plant which was subsequently added to the site.  The upstream amine plant carried over a lot more water to the inlet of the client’s facility than it was able to handle, making productivity very difficult.


How could Startec help?

After reviewing the original design, as well as additions made to the plant, our team resized their existing reboiler to allow it to boil off the extra water content while maintaining the same Ethylene Glycol (EG) flow rate (heat medium). Our retrofit work included modifying some of the reboiler internals while maintaining the vessel shell the same.  A custom-designed flanged reducer was provided to allow a newly sized column to fit with the original reboiler nozzle connections. By fabricating as much as possible in-house and conducting stress and support analysis’ our team was able to provide a full solution with minimal disturbance at site.


What was the result for our client?

Following these modifications, the EG regeneration system was able to handle a much larger water content in the 100MMSSCFD inlet gas stream with up to 53.7 lb H­2O/MMSCF. This was a large increase from the original design point of 8.6 lb H2O/MMSCF.

Startec also added new valves and instruments on the heat medium piping, which gave the client the ability to calculate the true duty of their reboiler to confirm the modifications were effective, something they were unable to do before the retrofit.

Since we did the majority of the fabrication, QC, painting, and insulation at our facility, were able to minimize the amount of time and labour spent in the field installing the modifications. The end result was our client was able to save money and at the same time, minimize the downtime of the facility to under two weeks.