Piping and pressure vessel decontanimation at large oil refinery in Aruba

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April 28, 2022

The Situation


One of the largest oil refineries in the Caribbean is located on the island of Aruba. This refinery, which processes 235,000 barrels a day of lower-cost, heavy sour crude oil, had suspended operations citing "unfavorable refinery economics and the outlook for continued unfavorable refinery economics." Taking advantage of the down time, they commenced a turnaround to bring it back up to its optimal efficiency levels for the eventual date when it would resume operations. A crucial part of the turnaround process involves the decontamination of the piping and pressure vessels. One of the most efficient methods for this cleaning process requires the use of high pressure steam. Luckily, the owners had previously worked with Powerhouse on a boiler project, so they had experience with their equipment, service and expertise. Powerhouse had previously provided two (2) 650HP steam boilers that were used to heat up the heavy crude they produced, so it could be pumped via pipe and used to fire the Web Power Plant steam turbines on the island of Aruba. According to the customer, Powerhouse provided equipment that was "very straightforward and easy to operate" and "service was very good and responsive".

The Solution


In addition to not having a steam source close to the area of the plant it was needed for, that location was not equipped with any of the required ancillary equipment that is needed for a standard boiler. Since a Portable Boiler Rooms (PBR) can make high pressure steam, low pressure steam and hot water without the need for any on-site ancillary equipment, it was the ideal solution. Additionally, since the Powerhouse PBR have been custom designed to fit within a standard ISO shipping container, they can be easily transported around the world on standard cargo ships. So regardless of where the refinery needed a solution, Powerhouse had the ability and expertise to move equipment in the most efficient and cost effective way. As they moved forward with the project, it was decided that based on the steam required to support the cleaning process, two (2) 800HP PBRs would be leased and brought in so the refinery owners could continue on with their plans to prepare the plant for recommissioning, or eventual sale. Additionally, the ownwers were able to eliminate the capital required to purchase the equipment, and construct the building necessary to house a permanent boiler room assembly. In doing so, they also eliminated the potential delays that are so often associated with that type of project.

Why Powerhouse Was Chosen


Powerhouse provided the engineering, certifications, service and expertise required in a timely fashion. With over 30 years experience in building, servicing and sales of boilers, Powerhouse continues to be the go to source for turnarounds, outages, increased demand and emergencies.

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