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Merus Ring in Refineries

In refineries there are out of crude oil, all the different products based on hydro carbons, processed. This is more or less a "cooking process", where the crude is heated to different temperatures and the wanted product is extracted at a specific temperature. For this a lot of energy to heat the crude is required, but as well cooling has to be done in a lot of places. The process of refining is an old established technology. But one problem can still be found in almost all refineries, which is fouling in the various heat exchangers and processes.

MERUS is able to treat both problems, the fouling in water systems and as well the fouling happening in the hydro carbon process.

If there is enough supply of water in a good quality the problems in the cooling systems are less. But in parts of the world, where there is not enough water, the cooling water causes a lot of scaling, fouling and corrosion, in the heat exchangers and the pipe systems. As most of the refineries are located at the sea, seawater is used for cooling purposes. This seawater is causing a lot of additional problems in the cooling system. So only very few refineries are using the seawater direct for the cooling of their process, but have a battery of heat exchangers, where the sea water is used to cool down the cooling water, which is a closed loop cooling the machines.

We have identified the following major problems, where MERUS is able to help

  • Scaling of pipes and machines, including heat exchangers, but as well lube oil coolers or coolers for compressors

  • Corrosion of pipe and machines. If the corrosion is caused only by the cooling water, MERUS is normally able to get this corrosion under control. If there is corrosion caused by impurities in the water such as H2S coming from the process side, the corrosion management is far more difficult and can not in all cases brought fully under control.

  • Biofouling in the cooling system. This we find especially in warmer areas of the world and this is causing more and more problems. The biofouling start in the cooling tower and if not taking action, the biofilm or biofouling will happen in the entire cooling loop.

  • When using sea water, the known problems of the seawater appear as well. The biggest problem is the growth of marine life such as barnacles and seashells, blocking the flow of water.

  • Fouling on the hydro carbon side. Depending on the crude itself and the ingredients of the crude the fouling can be reduced a lot, which leads to better heat transfer and in the end of the day to save of a lot of energy.

MERUS has solved the following problems in water applications:

  • MERUS is treating single heat exchangers, known as to be critical for the process with a high tendency of fouling and therefore a lot of regular cleaning required.

  • MERUS is treating specific sections of a refinery, where a lot of heat exchangers are in operation.

  • MERUS is taking care of the entire cooling water system, starting from the cooling towers, the piping systems and the heat exchangers.

  • MERUS is taking care of the biofouling in a water system. This is only possible, if the entire cooling water system is treated by MERUS Rings.

  • MERUS is treating effluent water system, where there is found fouling caused by a mixture of scale from the water and from the hydro carbon processes.

  • MERUS is treating fire fighting systems to reduce the corrosion.

When using MERUS in cooling water applications, where the entire cooling system is treated, there is found a significant reduction of water treatment chemicals. In some cases there is no need for chemicals at all. Further we found, there is the possibility to save water, by running the cooling water system with less blow down.
In all cases we found, if the cooling water is chemically treated, or it is operating only with the MERUS Rings, there is far less to no fouling happening in the heat exchangers, which is giving constant high performance of cooling, less requirement for maintenance and the refinery is at the end operating saver.

For the Oil and Gas industry where we are treating the Hydro Carbons, MERUS has a separate division called MERUS Oil & Gas. The details about this applications is found at

MERUS has solved the following problems in hydro carbon applications:

MERUS has together with our clients identified a few more possible applications in refineries.

  • MERUS will treat so called tankfarms, where the crude is stored prior processing. In some cases there is still a significant amount of water solved in the crude. This water is causing later in the process problems, so it should be reduced as much as possible. MERUS Ring has shown in separation plants its ability to improve the separation of crude and water, so this should be possible as well in the tanks of a tank farm. Also this water might causes corrosion in the tanks, which can be reduced by MERUS.

  • MERUS might be able to help in the process of the crude as well. Customers face problem of iron in the process and similar problems. Here we discuss with customer and we think we will soon start some projects to gather data if and how much this can be improved.

The refineries are a growing sector of MERUS business. We have won a row of customers, some using MERUS in parts of the refinery, but more and more where we treat the entire cooling system. 
Just talk about a few of our customers, we are honored got contracts from Saudi Aramco, KNPC, PetroSA, Q8, Samref.