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Fouling in Crude preheat and desalter brine heat exchangers is a very common phenomenon in all the crude units in the oil refinery. The severe fouling problems are being observed when refiners process heavy or incompatible crudes.

In the crude preheat exchangers, asphaltene deposition is the main cause of fouling, which is often mitigated by oversizing, redundant equipment and/or use of antifoulant chemicals. In addition to production loss, the fouling leads to drop in the furnace Inlet temperature (FIT) which in turn adds more fuel firing and hence higher energy cost to maintain effective crude column operations.

In many cases, due to malfunctioning of desalter operations, high oil under carry and/or suspended solids in brine causes fouling in the brine heat exchangers. In many cases, this heat exchanger heats fresh water which helps to remove salts from desalters and better desalting efficiency. The fouling of this system causes low inlet temperature of fresh water which in turn affects desalter operation and hence poor desalting.

We understand that, in the refining industry, the typical standard heat exchanger arrangement is horizontal. Please feel free to contact us for a feasibility assessment and detailed discussion.

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