Case studies

North American refinery saved over USD 2 million/year

After a typical start-up for a 300 kbpd refinery, an unscheduled shutdown led to significant fouling in several exchangers. The operator reached out to KBC to analyze the situation and offer a solution.

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The challenge

Fouling can cause in incremental expenses for online cleaning and increased energy usage that can significantly impact refinery profit margins. The refinery operator needed to rectify this situation to remain competitive.


To analyze the situation, KBC created an integrated digital twin of the entire heat exchanger network using Petro-SIM and HX Monitor simulation software. It monitored the amount of fouling over time for each exchanger and the whole network. The data the model collected enabled the KBC consultants to put together the time frame of when the incident occurred and the exchangers that fouled.

The results

The operator had immediate results. The digital twin provided workflow integration and employee collaboration at all levels and functions in the plant. The refinery improved their profit margins with an estimated savings of USD 2 million/ year and throughput offered much greater savings.

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