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I am doing some research on the Cameron acquisition of Natco and was interested in learning if desalters are sold in the United States. My understanding is that they are installed in refineries when the refinery is built and inasmuch as there is no new refinery construction there are no desalter sales in the USA. Is that correct?
 
Answers
10/08/2010 A: Christopher Turner, Snamprogetti Ltd, chris.turner@snampro.co.uk
Desalters are not just used in refinery but also widely used in the field at most crude processing facilities (on and offshore) to meet pipeline specs for crude (typically 0.5% BSW and 10 PTB salt). Cameron (Petreco) and Natco (as Natco and Axsia Howmar) sell many desalters for this purpose.
03/08/2009 A: Lindsay McRae, Pall Corporation, Lindsay_McRae@pall.com
New desalters would indeed be required in USA market from time to time. Although no new refineries are being built, debottlenecking of existing CDUs would mean existing desalter may need upgrading or replacing. Desalter debottlenecking or replacement may also be required due to the heavier and more difficult crudes now being increasingly processed as sweet light crudes decrease in availability, and increase in price. As crude quality becomes worse ( especially due to very heavy Canadian Oil sands crude, plus heavy crudes like some of the Mexican and Venezuelan crudes) this can make life very difficult for desalter operations and some refiners are seeing increased corrosion in CDU overhead due to increased salt carry-over due to desalter non-performance.
Also, environmental legislation is gradually tightening in USA and Canada which places increased pressure on desalters to perform as crude oil carry-under with brine going to waste water treatment plant can cause upsets in WWTP resulting in environmental emissions. Depending on licence requirements, this can actually limit refinery operations hence desalter operation may need to be modified. This may mean desalter debottlenecking, modification or even full replacement of the desalter.
02/08/2009 A: Sam Lordo, Nalco Company, salordo@comcast.net
No, there are a number of new desalters being constructed in the US, these are mainly to do with expanding capacity so the refinery can process increasing heavy crudes ... in addition there are a number of desalter retrofits/revamps that are done by Cameron.