Specialty Furnace Engineering Firm Plays Major Role in Largest Refinery Expansion in US

Los Angeles, CA (July 15, 2010) San Dimas, Calif.-based OnQuest, Inc., a worldwide leader in furnace design and process technologies for the petrochemical industry, has substantially completed work on the Garyville Major Expansion (GME) project for Houston-based Marathon Oil, Inc.

All OnQuest-supplied furnace units at the refinery in Garyville, Louisiana are now working at or above the minimum capacities established by Marathon's specifications. This includes a three-cell, double-fired furnace on the CCR platformer capable of handling 80,000 BPD of feed, making OnQuest's installed furnace currently the largest of its kind in service anywhere in the world.

To allow flexibility in handling the heavy crude, the new expansion comprises integrated units including naphtha and kerosene hydrotreaters, a CCR platformer, a hydrocracker, a coker heater, and crude and vacuum heaters.

OnQuest supplied all heaters except for the two on the crude and vacuum unit, ranging from units with relatively low (˜30 million BTU/hr) to extremely high capacity (˜750 million BTU/hr). To accommodate this wide range of fired heating loads, OnQuest's designs for the geometries of its furnaces varied from natural-draft vertical cylindrical heaters to a complex balanced-draft multi-cell double-fired box design. Salient features include:

  • OnQuest's design for the CCR heater is a three-cell, double-fired furnace with a "double-I" coil arrangement, which allows for 100% floor firing, and is capable of handling 80,000 BPD of feed making it currently the largest of its kind in service. Due to the enormous size, the heater utilizes dual convection sections with a common stack. Another unique feature is the use of a forced draft blower (200HP) to purge the firebox prior to each start up and shorten purge time.
  • The OnQuest-supplied four-cell coker heater has ˜60,000 BPD capacity residual feed. Normal operation is in the balanced-draft mode, but OnQuest's design allows for full operation under natural draft as well. The design has the added flexibility to perform on-line spalling (i.e., a partial de-coke) on each pass, allowing for longer cycle-time between steam-air decoking.
  • The fractionator-feed heater on the hydrocracker unit is a split radiant vertical-tube box with an absorbed duty of ˜200 million BTU/hr. The convection section is integrated with both process pre-heat and dual level (medium- and low-pressure) steam super-heat coils. The natural draft design has a thermal efficiency of 88%.
  • All OnQuest's heaters at Marathon's GME were supplied with state-of-the-art ultra-low emission burners to meet stringent new EPA regulations. Specifically, a selective catalytic reduction unit on OnQuest's coker heater reduces NOx emissions to 0.01 Lb/MM BTU (HHV).

The GME project in Garyville, Louisiana represents the first major refinery expansion in the U.S. in the last decade. The expansion gives the refinery additional heavy crude processing capacity in excess of 200,000 barrels per day (BPD), making it one of the largest U.S. refineries at 435,000 BPD.