Client Oil refinery

Location United Kingdom

Sectors Petrochemical and refining

The challenge

Cooling hydrocarbon rundown during summer heat to optmise production

A large UK oil refinery needed to optimise production to meet increased market demand. However, the dry coolers were under-performing in the summer heat, which pushed up temperatures of its hydrocarbon rundown in the alkylation unit.

This produced a build up of water vapour that could over-pressurise the butamer tank. It was also passing through to the next refining stage where vessels risked being corroded and the refining process damaged.

The excess water vapour had to be flared off, which was wasteful and not environmentally friendly.

We needed to find a way to cool the hydrocarbon rundown stream to stop flaring vapour and to ensure production could be optimised to meet demand.

Project fact file

1.4 MW

Additional cooling capacity


Cooling tower


Shell and plate heat exchanger

0 hours

Time lost in production

The solution

Additional cooling to prevent vapour pressure build-up and flaring

Aggreko Process Services (APS) specialists designed a bespoke supplementary cooling package to support the refinery’s existing dry coolers.

We found a suitable tie-in point to the rundown stream and connected our specialist shell and plate heat exchanger. We then connected this to a cooling tower to reject large quantities of heat, while taking up minimal space onsite.

Our package provided up to 1.4 MW of extra cooling capacity. It also reduced the temperature of the iC4 coolant and build-up of pressure and vapour in the butamer tank.

The equipment ran throughout the hotter summer months to supplement the existing plant – all without halting the refinery’s production.

the aggreko difference

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The impact

Flaring was halted and production was optimised

Our supplementary cooling package meant that the refinery could carry on as usual, without worrying about its under-performing dry coolers. They had no need to flare built-up vapour, so were able to reduce that wastage and maintain their environmental footprint.

There was no break in production either – in fact the refinery was able to continue to increase its production to meet the growth in market demand.

"Our cooling tower and heat exchanger package was a great solution to solving the refinery's cooling challenge".

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