GE's Predator program helps refineries reduce oil costs


Sep 11, 2006

GE Water & Process Technologies, a unit of General Electric Company, offers the Predator program, an innovative solution for reducing crude oil costs. With crude oil prices soaring to $60+ per barrel, oil refineries search for ways to effectively process discounted crudes. Predator allows refineries to detect problems more quickly; predict operating difficulties from crude slates; and assures chemical treatment to address the issues associated with discounted crudes.  This enables refineries to profitably process and market high acid (discounted) crudes while reducing risks to equipment, production and the overall product quality.

“Predator is a program designed to provide refiners with the flexibility to process discounted crudes without increased risk to process, product or equipment,” said Jeff Garwood, CEO of GE Water & Process Technologies.  “Predator brings new flexibility to purchasing and marketing crude oil, which translates to lower fixed costs and improved margins. GE’s imagination in developing Predator brought together the people, technologies and solutions that change how refiners and producers approach opportunity crudes. We’re like the pit crew that helps our customers finish first.”

Running high-acid crude oils poses a dangerous risk to refineries, as they are highly corrosive to the process equipment.  Left unchecked, high-acid corrosion can damage equipment, lower production and, in the extreme, create unexpected plant shutdowns and unsafe working conditions. Comprised of three distinct technologies -- Non-Destructive Testing, Knowledge Base/Predictive Engine and GE Advanced Chemistry -- Predator works to detect corrosion, predict process conditions, crude slates and refinery configurations, as well as ensure that running high-acid crude assist in improving profitability and reduce risks.

The Predator Knowledge Base/Predictive Engine exposes areas of concern, which could be impacted by processing a high-acid crude.  By focusing on the areas of potential risk before exposure to a high-acid crude, refiners can adopt a safe, conservative strategy for risk control before the crude is in the refinery. Predator also uses Non-Destructive Testing tools, such as digital radiography (DR) and resistance corrosion monitoring (RCM), in conjunction with traditional monitoring tools to gather quantitative data.  The data baselines key areas and enables assessment and modification of the corrosion control program. This information helps operators adjust the chemistry to ensure safe, effective processing.

Controlling the risk of corrosion is the primary function of the Predator system.  Despite the complexity of high temperature naphthenic acid corrosion, Predator’s advanced chemistry has proven effective in numerous refineries and over a wide variety of analytically diverse high-acid crudes.