Overcoming Severe Refractory Failure in a Saudi Arabian Refinery

IGS has developed a proprietary Hot-Tek solution for online hot-spot mitigation in industrial fired heaters .

The IGS team creates minimal openings to insert specially designed components and repair refractory material, delivering a semi-permanent repair lasting at least until the next planned turnaround. 


Refractory Failure Created a Hot Spot in a Fired Heater

Severe refractory failure and rapidly increasing hot-spot temperatures on the external shell of a Steam Methane Reformer of a Saudi Arabian refinery resulted in deteriorating conditions. 

On-Line Hot Spot Mitigation Without Stopping A Heater

IGS Hot-Tek team was invited to address the refractory failures using Hot-Tek Refractory Repair services, while the unit was running at full capacity. This solution ensured a continuing safe operation and prevented further deterioration.

Hot-Spot Discovery 

The leading Saudi Arabian Refinery, established in 1976, is a prominent base oil producer in Saudi Arabia and operates as part of one of the largest oil companies globally.

The refinery contacted IGS to address refractory failure and hot-spots on their Steam Methane Reformer (SMR). The hot-spot temperatures were initially around 250 °C and significantly increased to more than 600 °C by the time the repair took place. Unsuccessful chemical cleaning was a suspect root cause of the refractory failure. 

By the time the repair took place, the condition of the outer shell had severely deteriorated, and the number of hot-spots had multiplied compared to the initial assessment. 


Had the refractory failures not been addressed promptly, the Refinery would have had to shutdown the furnace for an emergency repair, as the time to the next planned turnaround was at least 18 months.

This would have resulted in very expensive, substantial production losses.

Hot Spot Mitigation

IGS provided Hot Refractory Repair services to address the refractory issues on the steam methane reformer (SMR). During the project, due to meticulous inspection, the repair scope had expanded from 5 hot-spots on the radiant section and 2 hot-spots on the transition duct, to 16 hot-spots on the radiant section and 8 hot-spots on the transition duct.

Hot Spot Mitigation
Hot spot mitigation Process

The objective was to prevent further deterioration and ensure the safe operation of the fired heater until the next planned shutdown.

The IGS Surface Solutions Package 

IGS delivers online fired heater services, including:

Hot Refractory RepairHot Convection Cleaning 

Hot Tube DescalingHot Vacuum ServiceHot Inspection Service

Decades of experience, unparalleled customer support and commitment to excellence solidifed our position as a global leader in fired heater maintenance. Over the last 10 years, over 50 fired heater hot spots have been successfully repaired with no additional impact to production.

IGS_170727-560-scaled copy

How can IGS’ Hot Refractory Repair Services keep you online?


I’m here to help

Larry Emch

IGS Subject Matter Expert


Fired Heater

Free Consultation with IGS Subject Matter Expert

IGS is here to provide information, answer questions and create an effective solution for your needs.

Contact Us