Warren Kennedy

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Warren Kennedy
Senior Vice President/Marketing and Sales Director
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P: 816-822-3384
F: 816-822-3416

Hydrocracker Conversion Project

Hydrocracker Conversion Project

Location: Philadelphia

Client: Sunoco Inc.

Completion Date: June 2009

Sunoco hired Burns & McDonnell to inspect and evaluate the suitability of returning a hydrocracker unit and hydrogen plant to service. The equipment had been out of service for more than 10 years. A systematic inspection program determined that the hydrocracker could be economically returned to service, while the hydrogen plant could not. Burns & McDonnell demolished the hydrogen plant and the parts of the hydrocracker unit not required for diesel hydrotreating.

Burns & McDonnell studied several options for returning the unit to service, and ultimately Burns & McDonnell and Sunoco decided to recommission the unit as a 50,000 barrel/day (bpd) ultra-low sulfur diesel hydrotreater. Burns & McDonnell provided engineer-procure-construct (EPC) services to return the unit to service, including both the inside battery limits (ISBL) and the outside battery limits (OSBL) portions. The OSBL portion consisted of all required modifications to the existing refinery, while the ISBL portion included completely refurbished, modified and new equipment, piping and instrumentation. The end result was a 50,000 bpd hydrotreater at a lower cost than a new unit.

Read more: Million-hour safety milestone reached in Sunoco project

  • Equipment inspection
  • Asbestos abatement
  • Demolition
  • Engineering
  • Procurement
  • Construction services

The scope of work included inspection of the existing equipment and piping, demolition of equipment not being reused, front-end planning (FEP) required to define the project, all detailed design work required for construction, procurement services for materials and equipment, and construction services.

Burns & McDonnell provided the FEP-2, FEP-3 and a definitive cost estimate to secure project funding approval. Assigned to the field during FEP development, the Burns & McDonnell design team worked with operations personnel to collect pipe routing data, which better defined both the ISBL and OSBL work and contributed to the accuracy of the definitive cost estimate.

Sunoco employed multiple subcontractors during construction. In this approach, the job was divided into distinct parts with construction bid packages prepared for each. Multiple subcontractors were used to construct the individual packages, which allowed Sunoco to hire highly skilled and specific craft labor to construct
the project.

This project will reduce overall air pollution and lessen the environmental impact of diesel-burning vehicles. The economic considerations for Sunoco are significant. The cost savings achieved on this project by using the multiple-subcontractor approach allowed Sunoco to complete other capital projects. This project served as a benchmark for similar projects at other Sunoco refineries and changed the expectations of capital project success at Sunoco.

  • Systematic inspection of equipment and piping
  • Systematic cleaning of entire unit to prepare for demolition and refurbishment
  • Asbestos abatement of entire unit
  • Demolition of old hydrogen plant and select equipment in old hydrocracker unit
  • Process case studies to determine optimal restart configuration
  • Refurbishment of all reused piping and equipment
  • Installation of all new equipment, piping and instrumentation, including both the ISBL and OSBL portions