CCR Efficiency Increase Project Delivers Major Benefits for a Refinery

Continuous Catalytic Reforming Unit (CCR) Efficiency Increase

Project Background

The Saudi Arabian refinery is a joint venture between a Saudi and French multinational integrated energy and petroleum company. It has been operating since 2013. Integrated Global Services (IGS) first engaged with the refinery in 2016 to evaluate its Continuous Catalytic Reforming Unit (CCR) fired heater, a unit that forms the very heart of the refinery. In 2021, IGS conducted evaluations showing that significant radiant efficiency performance could be regained by applying the Cetek high emissivity coating solution in the CCR radiant section.

The CCR Efficiency Challenge

The CCR fired heater tubes were suffering from severe oxidation and scaling, causing a 15% efficiency loss after just eight years of operation: a rapid degradation. The scaling restricts heat transfer, requiring higher fuel usage to maintain throughput. It also put the tube asset integrity at risk, with tubes losing fireside wall thickness to oxidation.

Fired Heater Optimization

CCR Efficiency Solution

IGS applied its Cetek high emissivity coating technology to the radiant section of the CCR during the 2023 turnaround to restore the heat transfer efficiency. The onsite application took 12 days working around the clock, executed flawlessly to avoid affecting the critical path.

Continuous Catalytic Reforming Unit Efficiency Increase Achieved

The project delivered its projected +15% efficiency increase for the CCR unit. For the refinery, the primary goal was protecting the fired heater tubes to extend asset life, with the increased production capacity as an additional benefit. Calculations showed:

immediate payback on the increased throughput and fuel savings

More than $37 million/year profit uplift after payback

The refinery was extremely satisfied with IGS’s execution, highlighting its excellent performance in meeting all scheduled dates on this critical path operation.


I’m here to help

Larry Emch

IGS Subject Matter Expert


Fired Heater