Successful Engineering Support for Valero’s Benicia Turnaround

Successful Engineering Support for Valero’s Benicia Turnaround


Rich Basile joined Becht Engineering in June 2012, after his retirement from ExxonMobil Research and Engineering. During his career at EMRE, Mr. Basile was the Commercial Technology Owner for Pressure Vessels, Fluid Solids and Advanced Analysis/FFS, responsible for the mechanical design, analysis and technology development for ExxonMobil pressure vessels and other equipment in units such as Fluid Catalytic Cracking Units, Fluid Coking Units, and the Flexicoking and Hydroprocessing units. He also was the Lead Mechanical Engineer for ExxonMobil Gas-to-Liquids HCS unit development and other emerging technologies. Mr. Basile earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati, and now resides in New Jersey.

Rich Basile provided technical support and onsite assistance to the Valero Refinery in Benicia, California, for the 2014 Fluid Coker Turnaround.  He helped the refinery develop inspection and repair criteria for the Fluid Coker Reactor Cyclones and Anticoking baffle and the Burner Vessel internals (i.e. cyclones/plenum chamber, grid, risers, grid seal expansion joints, etc.).

During the Discovery Phase, Mr. Basile helped in the development of:

  • Repairs for the distorted and holed through inlet horn to the Reactor CycloneRepairs for the distorted and holed through inlet horn to the Reactor Cyclone
  •  Modified bracing for the hot solids line (scouring coke) and replacement of the failed bracing
  • Required repairs to the anticoking baffle cracks

beniciaHe also provided input on the minor cracking found in the Reactor Cyclone outlet tubes welds which led to the decision not to repair the welds during this turnaround, but to instead include these welds on the inspection list for the 2017 turnaround.  

Mr. Basile also provided recommendations for a new hot solids line guide/brace which should be engineered for installation during the 2017 turnaround. The new bracing design would attach to the shell to minimize the distortion of the anticoking baffle and provide flexibility to prevent failure of the guide due to the coking up of the clearances, which restricts the thermal expansion of the line.  

Finally, Mr. Basile reviewed the finite element analysis of the new Reactor Cyclone design and made recommendations for modifications to allow easier inspection of the highly stressed areas.  In particular, the inspection of the highly stressed areas of the cyclone support cone/cylinder would require the removal of the Scrubber pool refractory and the lower Snout shroud.  Modifications to the lower shroud and Scrubber pool refractory were recommended as it would better facilitate the inspection. 


About The Author

Richard Basile is a Senior Engineering Advisor for Becht.  He has over 38 years domestic and international experience in the mechanical design, analysis, troubleshooting and technology development of process equipment in the petroleum refining industry, based on his long-term career with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company.

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