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NEIA member Suncor’s Montreal refinery embraces integrated energy management for impressive savings

“In such a competitive market as ours, the reduction in energy costs in conjunction with a production increase can make the difference,” says Jean-Simon Bourret, Leader of Energy Conservation at Suncor Energy’s Montréal refinery.

Bourret explains that during the October 2010 shutdown one of the two units was reconfigured for the addition of a new heat exchanger, which now pre-heats the crude oil from the vapour condensation at the head of the distillation column. This upgrade has increased the condensation and furnace capacity – both those factors had imposed significant limits to the distillation unit. Another heat exchanger was realigned to equalize heat recovery upstream and downstream of the desalter. Additionally, in May 2011, a new heat exchanger on a second distillation unit was installed to capture residual heat from the heavy vacuum gas oil refrigeration loop.

The total energy consumption recovered for the modifications to both units is about 40 MMBTU per hour, leading to natural gas savings of 370 000 gigajoules (GJ), an eight percent increase in distillation unit capacity and a reduction of 20 500 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. The total cost of the project was $4.35 million, after an incentive of $350,000 from Gaz Métro, resulting in a payback of less than two years.

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