Sulzer GTC Europe Successfully Delivers New CDU Column

Column rolling off the barge on SPMTs

In June 2017, Sulzer GTC Technology Europe won a crude distillation unit (CDU) revamp project from INA (Industrija Nafte Rijeka Refinery) in Croatia. INA, a stock company with MOL Plc. (along with the Republic of Croatia as its biggest shareholder), is a leading refiner in the Croatian oil industry, having a strong position in the region.

Column crossing a bridge using “fly-over” system

The main goal of the project was crude distillation expansion to process three different crudes along with improved energy efficiency and a higher capacity of 600 tons per hour (90,500 bpd). The project’s scope included a Process & Feasibility study, followed by a complete FEED package, preparation of documentation for building permits, manufacturing, delivery and installation of the main fractionation column (ID 5,600 mm, length 44,130 mm), including new internals and outside accessories and various on-site technical services.

Column at pre-dressing area being equipped with external accessories

Kamil Paruzek, Director EPCm, reported that the biggest challenge was the manufacturing, transportation and lifting of an almost 300 ton column. Due to short refinery turndown time and space limitation inside the refinery, the column had to be delivered by sea in one piece with internals already pre-installed in a horizontal position. For this purpose an Italian manufacturer (Walter Tosto), having its shop in the port of Ortona, was selected as the most suitable vendor. The manufacturing took 18 months.

The column was transported by a barge through the Adriatic Sea and arrived at the Rijeka refinery port on January 16th.

Column being erected using LR 1750 crawler crane at front and tilting frame at rear

Transportation within the refinery was another big challenge due to narrow roads and many bridges to cross, although the distance was just 1.5 km. It took more than a year to study and simulate various transportation strategies using self-propelled modular transporters to avoid any obstacles on the road.

For most of the 11 bridges on the road, a unique “fly-over” system was used to avoid big civil reinforcement works.

Column at its final position

The column was temporarily stored inside the refinery for six weeks and dressed with external accessories and some piping waiting for finalization of the new foundation. After almost 22 months from the contract award, the column was successfully lifted on March 3 by a 1750 tons capacity crawler crane. It now proudly stands shining on the same spot as the previous 40-year old column.

This project was the first of its kind for GTC’s EPCm department. Its successful execution enhances the reputation of Sulzer GTC Technology Europe and its EPCm team inside MOL Group and provides an important reference for future endeavors.