Texas Refiner expands Aromatics Capacity with 20% Staged Revamp

Andrew W. Sloley
Glitch, Inc Dallas TX

Karl Kolmetz
Phibro Energy USA, Houston, TX

Oil and Gas Journal
March 28, 1994


In today's completive environment refiners no longer have the luxury of making large capital investments to implement "brute force" solutions to unit limitations. Phibro Energy, Inc., Houston, instituted a step-by-step revamp approach to increase the capacity of the UDEX Unit at the Houston Refinery. This scheme achieved a more than 20% capacity expansion with minimal investment.

UDEX is a solvent extraction process that uses poly ethylene glycol to extract aromatic products from hydrocarbon streams. The "C" Udex Unit at Phibro Energy, Inc.'s Houston Refinery produces Nitration Grade Benzene and Toluene from Reformer Products.

Changes in the reformulated gasoline and petrochemical markets enhanced the attractiveness of aromatics production. These changes prompted Phibro Energy to increase the capacity of the "C" Udex Unit and enhance its product quality.

Initially, the proposed revamp project proposed switching solvent to meet new production targets. This project was cancelled because of licensing fees and solvent cost involved.

After a detailed study, a low capital staged investment approach was chosen to meet project objectives. This approach has already increased capacity from 4900 bpd to 5900 bpd with minimal investment. Future work items that will allow additional capacity have been identified.

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