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Refinery news (merged)

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Flaming Refineries

Unread postby pastthepeak » Tue 12 Oct 2004, 19:20:13

I used to live in the Four Corners area of New Mexico, and they had a number of refineries in the area (natural gas I believe).

Could someone tell me the function of the tall towers at these refineries with flames coming out their tops? I wish I had a picture, but I'm sure the description will do, for anyone who's seen one :)





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Unread postby BabyPeanut » Tue 12 Oct 2004, 19:36:50

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Unread postby BabyPeanut » Tue 12 Oct 2004, 19:38:47

Wells Chang wrote:During normal operation, the system should be capable of recovering between 70% and 90% Propane , Propylene, Butene and Butane by means of the absorbent rectification process. The other oil gases such as HsS and Di. Oleofin, etc. are treated as flare gases and are sent to the torch for burn off with other flare gases from other sources. As an alternative the HsS can be transported to the de-sulfide column, at which point sulfide is extracted by means of the de-sulfide process.


http://www.opec.co.uk/casestudies_jr03.html
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Unread postby MarkR » Tue 12 Oct 2004, 19:59:43

Refining oil causes production of gases like methane (natural gas), propane and butane.

In the past, the cost of recovering the gas was too high, and so it was simply burned off on these massive towers. Simply dumping it into the atmosphere would cause too much pollution - burning it dramatically reduces its polluting effects. Similarly, by burning it as high from the ground as possible, it causes less ground-level pollution and reduces the risk of setting fire to the refinery itself.

Nowadays, these gases are recovered and used as fuel for the refinery. The towers still remain, but are now mainly used for emergency purposes - if there is an unexpected surge in gas production, or the process gets backlogged or blocked so that the gas needs to be removed, then it can be vented into one of these towers for burning.

There is normally a small 'pilot' flame which burns continually at the top of the towers and is used to ignite the main flare (which can be several hundred feet high) when needed.

A link:
http://www.chevron.com/about/elsegundo/downloads/refinery_flares_sheet.pdf
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Unread postby pastthepeak » Tue 12 Oct 2004, 20:06:49

Thanks, your replies were helpful.
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Today the PO story: High prices and a refinery fire

Unread postby Eli » Mon 08 Aug 2005, 17:29:28

Today is the day that PO story will break out imho. My local news is already talking about how we have hit record high gas prices in the state the funny thing is the article came out today and they are of by about .10$. Gas has already moved higher.

If something does not stop gas and oil prices and nothing seems to be showing up to do that Gas and oil prices are going to start swamping the airwaves. Followed by bad economic news.

Did you see that there was another refinery fire this time in Philly? Another 300,000 barrel facility down. What is the current amount of production already offline because of fires. I heard it was the wee heavey curde they are processing is this true?
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Unread postby Cyrus » Mon 08 Aug 2005, 17:30:47

I heard it was the wee heavey curde they are processing is this true?


Yep. 8O
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Unread postby Raxozanne » Mon 08 Aug 2005, 17:33:31

The evening BBC national news at 6 'o' clock reported on record petrol prices across the nation. The subject was third on the list, after the conviction of the 4 terrorist bomb suspects and the Discovery space shuttle. They also reported the prices were predicted to go higher. Maybe that managed to wake a few people up. :lol:
Hello, my name is Rax. I live in the Amazon jungle with a bunch of women. We are super eco feminists and our favourite passtimes are dangling men by their ankles and discussing peak oil. - apparently
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Re: Today is the day that PO story will break out.

Unread postby emersonbiggins » Mon 08 Aug 2005, 17:34:16

Eli wrote:Today is the day that PO story will break out imho.

My local news is already talking about how we have hit record high gas prices in the state the funny thing is the article came out today and they are of by about .10$. Gas has already moved higher.


If something does not stop gas and oil prices and nothing seems to be showing up to do that Gas and oil prices are going to start swamping the airwaves. Followed by bad economic news.

Did you see that there was another refinery fire this time in Philly? Another 300,000 barrel facility down. What is the current amount of production already offline because of fires. I heard it was the wee heavey curde they are processing is this true?


Nah, more than likely the gas prices will be blamed on curtailed refinery capacity *plus* a fear of supply disruptions abroad, e.g. U.S. Saudi embassy abandoned. There will probably be a resurgence of interest in bringing new refineries to the U.S., not knowing that the odds of that happening are slight-to-none. NIMBYism will take over, and once again, the poorest of the poor will probably get screwed again.

On a related note, did the provision to allow refinery construction to commence on former military bases pass with Bushco's energy plan?

If so, then we'll just sit back and wait on the cranes, right? :roll:
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Unread postby Eli » Mon 08 Aug 2005, 17:47:17

My heading is kind of misleading. What I mean is I think we are off to the races from here as far as oil and gas prices go and media coverage.

I edited it a bit for you MQ

I think it is going to go like this we will see another spike on Wednesday day after another bad report comes out about gas supplys. A hurricane will form anywhere in the Atlantic ocean and we will see another spike. And someone will fart in Saudi and we see another spike.

Next thing you know we will be heading north of 100 dollars then they will talk about maybe we have hit PO. Simmons will be booked on meet the press. That is what I am thinking anyway is a likely outcome.


Emmersome, you are so right I forgot about that energy bill whew.....that was a close one. All hail are brilliant leaders with a one finger salute. :)

The story of PO will have broken once Simmons is on a nationally sindicated show on the majors or cable.
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Unread postby emersonbiggins » Mon 08 Aug 2005, 17:56:10

There's so much inertia involved with keeping the world economy at status quo that if PO took off in the presses, you might as well be yelling 'fire' in a crowded theater. OTOH, if few know about PO, then few will be adequately prepared for its effects.

My guess is that we'll hear plenty about the 'warning signs' of PO like shortages, refinery incidents and OPEC news bulletins, but no one will dare mention the elephant in the living room causing all of it.
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Unread postby Eli » Mon 08 Aug 2005, 18:02:06

That is the other option that I think may happen, but right now I am leaning towards PO becoming mentioned more and more but will take constant talking about gas and oil prices and shortages and the whole lot.

That is my hope anyway.

I think it makes sense for the majors to avoid the topic of PO and to not talk about it until it is virtually indisputable. If a major organization talked about po happening right now and they were wrong it could cuase substantial damage to the economy and that particular news organization.
Last edited by Eli on Mon 08 Aug 2005, 18:03:33, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby seldom_seen » Mon 08 Aug 2005, 18:02:14

Even as oil sores towards 100/barrel, I think we will still be told that war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength.

Anyone with an inquisitive nature will surely look beyond the propaganda and discover the 10,000 pound oil depletion gorilla staring them in the face.

However, the people at the control panel of the megamachine will be desperate to keep the wheels of the machine spinning, so they will go to great lengths to divert, confuse and muddle the issue.
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Unread postby emersonbiggins » Mon 08 Aug 2005, 18:05:51

Indeed. The emperor certainly has no clothes, but dares not tell anyone about it.
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Unread postby zceb90 » Mon 08 Aug 2005, 18:49:35

Raxozanne wrote:The evening BBC national news at 6 'o' clock reported on record petrol prices across the nation. The subject was third on the list, after the conviction of the 4 terrorist bomb suspects and the Discovery space shuttle. They also reported the prices were predicted to go higher. Maybe that managed to wake a few people up. :lol:


Oil prices was promoted to #1 item on BBC TV news at 2200 hrs but again focus was on petrol (gasoline) prices where the rises are modest in percentage terms due to taxation. There was little mention of impacts on industry and tax exempt users such as farmers and shipping or fuel oil where the %age rise more fully reflects the underlying crude price rise.

My biggest problem with BBC's reporting of this story is that they are coming up with the 'usual suspects' as to the underlying cause i.e. rapid growth in US and China. They are not picking up on the real reason, that of depletion.
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Unread postby Free » Mon 08 Aug 2005, 21:41:51

seldom_seen wrote:Even as oil sores towards 100/barrel, I think we will still be told that war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength.

Anyone with an inquisitive nature will surely look beyond the propaganda and discover the 10,000 pound oil depletion gorilla staring them in the face.

However, the people at the control panel of the megamachine will be desperate to keep the wheels of the machine spinning, so they will go to great lengths to divert, confuse and muddle the issue.


That is my take as well. Although I am not thinking it is really deliberate propaganda by TPTB, the people just have no clue, especially the media, the journalists. And if they don't get it at $65, why should they get it at $100?

The only people that know what's the score are in the oil-industry itself, and they have the smallest interest in trumpetting it around. They are making their biggest profits now and don't want the emergency brakes with rationing etc.

The thing is, for the media there will always be a good enough reason for the oil price being high, terror, hurricans, wars, farts, so there is no need to look into it.

They take it as god-given. Although the one thing I started to notice recently that now they at least mention that there is very little spare capacity. But in the next interview some "expert" confidently states that we will be seeing $30 again when new sources go online in the next couple of years. No, they won't get it.

And even if the word got out - so what? All you have to do to keep people sleeping is to make the IMPRESSION that there is at least a debate if PO is real, just look at climate change, all you need is one pseudo-scientist in your pocket who utters his scepticism and the media will give him 50% coverage because they want to be "balanced".
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The coker is the key to all these refinery fires.

Unread postby Eli » Wed 10 Aug 2005, 23:34:50

My dad was an instrumentations engineer in the Oil and gas business for 25 years and my uncle designs industrial heaters used in the oil and gas industry, after talking to them I did some digging.

Well I have found some information that explains why we are having all these fires in the refinerys and why we can expect more the article predicted this would happen way back in 1999 8O .

Anton Riecher, editor of Industrial Fire World, addressed the subject of coker fires in a May 1999 article: "It is almost certain," he wrote, "that fires and explosions involving coker units will continue into the new millennium with disturbing frequency." The reason is that the crude stock now sent to coking units has a greater sulfur and heavier metal content than in years past. At high temperatures, these materials promote corrosion of the tanks.

Additionally, the coking process is inherently destructive of tanks. Though catastrophic structural failures of coking units are practically unknown, the frequent heating and cooling cycles tend to promote cracking and bulging at discontinuities. When a leak occurs and the superheated, pressurized product escapes from the tanks, it expands rapidly and is easily ignited.


My father and uncle are in the oil and gas business and he also pointed out something Simmons has said as well that the oil and gas workforce lacks experience and that they have let allot of good people go. He said that most of the guys he saw were kids and did not understand simple stuff to keep a plant up and running safely.

Anyway all these fires add up to pretty damning evidence that the refinerys are not able to handle all this heavy crude in this quantity.

link
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Re: The coker is the key to all these fires.

Unread postby seldom_seen » Wed 10 Aug 2005, 23:43:54

Eli wrote:all these fires add up to pretty damning evidence that the refinerys are not able to handle all this heavy crude in this quantity.

And all this heavy crude hitting the refineries is evidence to me that we have peaked.
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Unread postby backstop » Wed 10 Aug 2005, 23:48:12

That makes absolute sense.

The stuff at the bottom of the oil reserve is not only more expensive to find and extract, it's also going to be more expensive at each stage of the supply chain, from more poisonous coastal pollution, to more destructive impacts on refineries, to worse corrosion of road-tankers, to worse sulphur pollution when it's burned.

The share-price-driven "rationalization" of skilled manpower is another factor that's new to me, and one they're going to regret bitterly I think.

regards,

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Re: The coker is the key to all these fires.

Unread postby eric_b » Thu 11 Aug 2005, 00:02:22

*sigh*

Thanks for the info.

More depressing news. Never would have imagined things would be moving this quick.

Seems we are starting to hit the 'dregs'.

I liked the analogy of the stoner running out of bud and being forced to scrape the
black, sticky, sinky, gooey resin from his smoking paraphernalia to get high.

Just the fact there's more sulpher and heavy metals in the 'heavy' crude should give
everyone pause. It's stuff you don't want to go up in smoke, yet it will be.

Wasn't there some legislation in the works to 'relax' the sulpher content of diesel fuel?

Get used to the stink.
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