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Delaware Refinery Restart Comes in Under Budget

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Best Industrial/Manufacturing

Courtesy of Nooter Construction
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After having been shut down for more than a year, the Delaware City Refinery in Delaware is once again refining crude oil. PBF Energy Co. purchased the idle 190,000-barrel-per-day refinery, an associated terminal and pipeline as well as a powerplant complex in June 2010 from Texas-based Valero Energy for $220 million. It hired Nooter Construction of Philadelphia to upgrade the refinery's fluid catalytic cracking unit.

“Coming into a facility that had been shut down—and not knowing the condition of it when it was shut down—was a challenge in reopening the equipment,” says Jack Burke, senior contracting engineer with Nooter. “We were going to totally rebuild the internals of the unit—the regenerator and reactor, demoing the entire internals of both vessels and then [we had] a total new design and equipment to put in place.”

Nooter replaced major components as part of the $31-million project, including the 12 single-stage reactor cyclones and 18 pairs of new regenerator cyclones, associated plenums, the regenerator air grid distribution system and a riser line.

Developing a strategy that optimized the six-month construction schedule and that was workable within plot plan limitations of the fluid catalytic cracking unit presented challenges. The traditional approach of lifting off the full regenerator head onto a jig stand would have required a much larger crane and a much larger plot space than was available.

To make it easier to remove the old and install the new equipment, Nooter worked with in-house rigging engineers to come up with an approach involving removal of only the top “cap” with the plenum and inner ring of cyclones.

Nooter completed the job, putting in 190,000 hours with no recordable or lost-time accidents. More than half of the stainless-steel welding was performed outside the reactor. “The safety and quality are the key ingredients,” Burke says. “With all of these man hours and the site conditions, to do that without any injuries was a feat.”

Nooter completed the project under budget and on schedule.

Delaware City Refinery Restart Project, Delaware City, Del.

Owner/Developer: PBF Energy Co., Greenwich, Conn.

CM & GC: Nooter Construction Co., Philadelphia

Lead Designer: RMS Engineering, Huntington, N.Y.

Submitted by: Nooter Construction Co.

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