Norm Lieberman Quick Crude Distillation Pro Tip | RefinerLink

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Norm Lieberman Quick Crude Distillation Pro Tip

By Norm Lieberman

Jul 24, 2017

Key process monitoring tip for atmospheric crude distillation.


One of the most important aspects of crude unit monitoring is to measure the diesel content of the crude tower bottoms. Measure the 650 deg F (minus) (D-86 ASTM), which is basically diesel. Any number above 6% is excessive.

To reduce the diesel content of crude tower bottoms:


Reduce flash zone pressure -  A 2 psia reduction will have the same effect as raising flash zone temperature by 5 deg F. Increasing pumparound heat extraction will unload overhead condenser and reduce tower pressure. Next, try to increase tower bottoms stripping steam. A good number is 6 – 8 pounds of steam per barrel of atm resid.


Redesign stripping trays so that each tray develops 2” – 3” of dry tray pressure drop.


Raise flash zone temperature - A good heater outlet is 720 deg F - 735 deg F (max). A very low flash zone temperature is 680 deg F - 690 deg F, which equates to a heater outlet of 700 deg F.



Diesel losses to AGO are smaller than to atmospheric resid. 650 deg F minus (D-86) of 20%, or less, is excellent. 650 deg F minus in AGO of 35% plus is bad. Suggest using 10 – 12 lbs. per barrel of stripping steam. Much higher steam rates will accomplish little.


If LVGO and AGO are used as FCU feed, about 20% of diesel will be degraded to catalytic coke and fuel gas. The remainder will be LCO, with degraded cetane number.

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