Fix Hydrocracker Revamp 

The client asked for a review of an in-progress design for a Hydrocracker revamp. The project gating was preventing quick project approval due to the project’s high capital costs. The goal of the study was to assess the project path and to recommend changes that would improve chances for approval.

Ascent performed a comprehensive review of the FEL-2 work package. In close consultation with the client, Ascent prepared a set of concerns and suggestions on the proposed revamp work. The plan, as presented to Ascent, included substantial rearrangement of equipment inside the high pressure loop. The impact of the extensive brown field work would have driven up the incremental cost per processed barrel well above that for a grass roots hydrocracking installation. Ascent’s cold eyes review challenged the licensor’s design path and proposed a revised approach to accomplish the project objectives. The client found value in the alternative approach, as it reduced the required capital expenditure.

Bottom Line:
Despite the client’s gated process, the crucial up-front process definition phase was shortchanged and critical concepts were not investigated, resulting in the wrong project being pursued. The revamp design would have cost more on a $/bbl basis than a new unit. The final project implemented matched Ascent’s recommendations with minimum unit changes and with only the addition of a post fractionator.

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