Mid Continent Refinery ExpansionCase Study

KPE assisted in expanding this refinery by providing upgrades and hydraulic improvements to the existing Crude Distillation Unit (CDU), Vacuum Distillation Unit (VDU), Saturated Gas Unit (SAT), Naphtha Hydrotreater (NHT) and Diesel Hyrotreater (DHT).

The Need

The Mid Continent Refinery needed to increase crude oil processing capacity from 62,500 to 75,000 BPD, while enabling a lighter crude slate. This increase in crude charge rate cascaded to a need for more throughput in both the diesel and naphtha hydrotreaters, both of which were already operating at maximum capacity. To increase their diesel production, the facility needed to expand in size before a mandated plant turnaround in the near future.

Our Solution

Combining experience and innovation, KPE and an industry consultant developed a new process scheme utilizing Owner’s existing equipment for maximum effect to minimize costs in an already compressed schedule. We performed complete overhauls on several pieces of equipment including the Vacuum Tower, the Diesel Hydrotreating train, the NHT and SAT Gas units, among others, with work split efficiently between three major work areas, each staffed with its own dedicated design team.

What We Learned

Reconfiguring and revitalizing an entire plant is highly labor intensive. To achieve even greater efficiency in the future, we began to utilize 3D laser scanning for data collection. Having a fully accurate model of the existing facility at our disposal allows us to work faster and with fewer potential design errors.


The client’s revamped facilities were delivered on time and the project exceeded performance expectations. The crude unit experienced no significant start-up issues, even when tested at an 82,000 BPSD charge rate.  The units ran so well at design capacity that the plant had to subsequently cut charge rates to allow transportation to catch up with operations.