Isomerization Unit Upgrade


heat exchanger in an oil refinery, large size

A natural gas liquids (NGL) client needed to upgrade their existing isomerization unit and increase its capacity from 6,000 to 9,000 bpd. This project needed to be divided into two phases and fast tracked to accommodate an upcoming turnaround and a time sensitive completion incentive. This project consisted of an upgrade to the Butamer feed pumps, Hydrogen Cleanup and Recycle, and iC4 Recovery.


Valdes prepared a detailed engineering package and total installed cost (TIC) estimate that divided the projects into two phases, including the modification of the existing area and design of the new area. The first phase was driven by the scheduled turnaround and the second phase was driven by meeting an expected market window. The fast-track schedule required the use of preliminary information in cases where the rework risk was agreed to be low. This project required flexibility in the engineering execution process and diligence in updating documents once the final information became available. Valdes developed the process models to evaluate the capacity increase and upgrade the unit.


Although the process technology belonged to the client, Valdes developed a HYSYS model to evaluate the capacity increase and upgrade at each step of the process. Some of the more notable uses of the established Valdes model were the required number of trays in the stripper column and the operating parameters for the two compressor systems.The client met its goal to upgrade the isomerization unit within the given time constraints.







Instrumentation & Controls

Pipe Stress Analysis

Piping & Plant Layout

Project Management

Project Controls