Renting oil filtration equipment helps significantly reduce costs

Online Editor

Shadi Aladarbe delves into how a Canadian oil refinery has saved US$10 million by renting filtration equipment.

Oil refineries are increasingly looking at renting filtration equipment for downstream processing to reduce capital expenditure. Many are also assessing the suitability of equipment prior to purchasing and are seeing the benefits of faster delivery and installation, with reduced downtime, which limits the loss of production revenue.

One Canadian refinery saved around US$10 million by renting filtration equipment from Pall Corporation – the facility remained operational rather than suffering a 10-day shutdown. As well as saving on lost sales revenue, it was able to avoid replacing a catalytic reactor bed.


The refinery noted a rise of pressure drop in its hydrocracker reactor bed due to particulate contamination. Contemplating an early catalytic reactor bed change, the refinery risked a 10-day facility shutdown which could have resulted in lost production revenues of $1 million per day.

To solve this, they opted to lease a high-flow filter vessel to handle the entire oil flow of the hydrocracker and stabilise pressure drop.


A key factor in hydrocracking efficiency is to maintain a consistent pressure drop across the reactor bed, ensuring proper fluid flow through the reactor. If the pressure drop is too low, undesirable reactions such as carbon formation occur, leading to a decrease in quality. If the pressure drop is too high, operators risk the reactor bed becoming plugged, reducing the overall efficiency of the process.

Common causes of higher-pressure drop include a decrease in the size of the catalyst particles which, in turn, increase the resistance to flow. This also causes fouling of the catalyst particles by contamination, decreased bed porosity, and poor contact between the catalyst particles.

Refineries must monitor and maintain the correct pressure drop regularly to ensure optimal performance and product quality.


Throughout the hydrocracking process and conversion of low-value heavy crude oils into higher-value light products such as diesel fuel; contaminants such as sulphur, oxygen, nitrogen, and metals must be removed. This is critical for reducing emissions during combustion and preventing contamination of downstream catalysts.

To comply with fuel emissions regulations, refineries must consider the appropriate filtration media to best suit their needs. Liquid particle filters, liquid/liquid coalescers and liquid/gas coalescers perform various functions throughout the refinery from input into the hydrotreater feed to output of the final petrochemical product.


By renting, refineries can have equipment quickly delivered and installed, avoiding both the need for lengthy internal approvals of funding for new equipment and further delays for building and delivering equipment.

Renting also allows refineries to test filtration media without risk of a high-value purchase. They can take advantage of support during installation as well as post-installation technical assistance, on-site and in the lab. Monitoring ensures the filter solution is achieving the desired results – operators can make adjustments and perform filter cleaning when required.

Once the equipment meets the necessary requirements and can be shown to improve operations, many refineries then buy it with no loss of production, safe in the knowledge that their purchase is valid.

Shadi Aladarbe is senior manager of industrial services at Pall Corporation

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