BP was dreading pulling their FCC heat exchangers.

Every floating head, shell and tube heat exchanger generally gets pulled from its shell In order to clean and inspect

This is primarily done for insurance purposes and of course to improve production throughput and reduce energy consumption. The benefits of cleaning and inspection are high but the associated costs to extract bundles is also extremely high.

For example to extract one heat exchanger bundle and take it to the cleaning bay incurs the following costs and risks.

• Risk of de- bottlenecking issues
• Critical path over run
• Bundle damage
• New gaskets
• New bolts
• Scaffolding
• Cranes
• Bundle puller
• HGV’s
• 3rd party costs etc.
• Extended downtime.

With over 200 global shutdowns worth of experience, Tube Tech suggested performing all cleaning and inspection in-situ “without” pulling the heat exchangers which would reduce downtime and associated costs by ca. 50%.

The Challenge

  • Avoid exchanger bundle pulling to reduce downtime and costs.


  • Tube Tech carried out BP’s first ever in-situ heat exchanger cleaning, enabling the refinery to avoid pulling multiple 10 ton bundles.
  • The improved quality of clean in all FCC exchangers extended run times of the catalytic cracker.
  • Actual downtime reduced by 57% and overall costs by 33%.

Client Comment

BP’s Refinery Planning Team Leader said: “Tube Tech’s method and systems produced brilliant results. It saves on mechanical work and cranes as well as cutting down on the cost of spare parts such as bolts and gaskets.

Images and videos associated with this project are available via Tube Tech International
Click here to request to see them.


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