Posted On 18 Aug 2017
The Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCC) and a reactor of the Esmeraldas Refinery face overheating problems. The outside area of both devices reaches temperatures between 180 degrees Celsius (° C) and 418 ° C when the normal temperature should be less than 100 ° C. To lower those levels, a steam of 180 ° C is employed to cool the equipment. This procedure, in the opinion of the plant workers, puts at risk their lives.
Petroecuador’s Refining Manager Carla Arellano reported that there are eight hot spots detected in the equipment, operating since the end of 2015. Damage to the equipment, Arellano said, could be fissures inside the regenerator and refractory walls caused by the earthquake of 2016, and emergency shutdowns due to power outages. The most recent blackout occurred in June of this year. These disadvantages will force a new unscheduled shutdown. Nine non-planned shutdowns were recorded in October last year. The longest was from October 31 to May 31, 2017 due to the presence of solid sulfur in the S-T1 pool compartments. (I)