Aramco refinery cutting cost by 2/3 with in-house patented technology

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The FINANCIAL — With a cost only 30% of a conventional dewatering system, Saudi Aramco’s Riyadh Refinery comes with a considerable financial upside.

Being the brainchild of two Saudi Aramco engineers, Fawaz Al-Sahan and Omar Al-Zayed, the so-called Sound Velocity Dewatering System enables the safe control of a water stream exiting a dewatering tank system.

The innovation works by calculating the velocity of the sound energy as the sound travels through the water stream flowing through the drain line connected to a dewatering tank, according to Saudi Aramco.

Through monitoring the velocity of the sound energy for a period of time, the reading is used to automatically operate a control valve to a precise position, enabling the draining of the water.

The system, which has been described as simple and cost-effective, has the following standout features:

There is no need to cut and weld to install it because it is a clamp-in device

Its cost is only 30% of what the conventional Dewatering System cost

It uses the variation of the sound velocity between water and hydrocarbon

Because it eliminates hydrocarbon from going to the oily water lift station, it greatly minimizes the risk to a system that previously has been involved in a number of occurences over the past few years.

“The real benefit of any patent is applying it commercially,” says Abdulrahman Al-Fadhel, manager of Aramco’s Riyadh Refinery. Thanks to proper planning and timing, we managed to include the installation of this system in 31 tanks, resulting in $8 million in cost avoidance”.


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