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While loading asphalt, a refiner was repeatedly confronted with high hydrogen sulfide (H2S) concentrations that exceeded the recommended exposure limit of 10 ppm, set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

In an effort to safeguard their employees and avoid costly fines and penalties, the refiner asked Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE), to develop an H2S mitigation program that met regulatory guidelines and minimized exposure risks.

BHGE performed a comprehensive evaluation of the refinery operations focusing on asphalt handling and production to identify the best way to reduce H2S generation. Concurrently, the BHGE team determined baseline H2S concentrations and developed detailed dose response curves for various SULFIX™ H2S scavengers. Combining the baseline data with the dose response curves, the team was able determine the optimal dosage rate to protect the employees, meet NIOSH guidelines, and maintain product quality.

Implementing the recommended program, the refiner was able to reliably handle asphalt without unnecessarily exposing employees and customers to toxic concentrations of H2S and to avoid fines and penalties resulting from environmental noncompliance.

After the program had been in place for a time, BHGE recommended a newly commercialized, metal-based hydrogen sulfide scavenger—specifically formulated for fast reaction time in residual and asphaltene hydrocarbons.

New performance tests indicated that the new SUFLIX scavenger would perform as well or better than the incumbent product and result in a lower treatment cost. After a successful field trial, the refinery quickly migrated to the new scavenger.

Download the PDF to read the full case study.

Challenges & Results
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Challenges

  • Repeated incidents of excess H2S in asphalt loading
  • Potential significant risk to personnel
  • Potential for significant fines and penalties
  • Mitigate hydrogen sulfide release to meet regulatory requirements

Results

  • Reduced hazards caused by H2S exposure
  • Met regulatory guidelines
  • Saved refinery more than $400,000 USD