Mega-Refinery: Keeping 20 Million Tons of Crude Oil Under Control

When an international project team plans and coordinates the manufacture and delivery of thousands of customized, high-performance seals, what can it accomplish? The Freudenberg EagleBurgmann Business Group team helped construct a Chinese mega-refinery at breathtaking speed.

From Peking, Dalian is an hour and a half to the east by plane. Over the years, a petrochemical industrial complex has gradually formed outside the city, which has a population of four million. Since 2019, the Hengli Group has operated a mega-refinery there, where the privately owned Chinese company processes roughly 20 million tons of crude oil a year. That represents some ten percent of total annual production in China, which is currently the seventh-largest oil-producing country in the world.

The construction of the refinery proceeded at breathtaking speed; the complex commenced operations after a mere 21 months. The fact that this could be achieved so quickly was due, in part, to EagleBurgmann. The company, a Freudenberg Group Business Group, is a specialist for industrial sealing technologies like those needed in Dalian. “We manufacture seals for particularly sensitive applications,” explains René Heilmann, Director Global Communications & Marketing. “Our customers include the operators of massive chemical plants and nuclear power plants around the globe.”

The Hengli Group’s goal is to always be ten years ahead of the market

René Heilmann, Director Global Communications & Marketing

In Dalian, the Hengli Group placed their confidence in EagleBurgmann’s expertise. The Chinese corporate group, which produces textiles, synthetic fibers and polyester, is one of the highest-earning companies in the world and has set its sights – just like EagleBurgmann has – on being among the best in its sector.

“The Hengli Group’s goal is to always be ten years ahead of the market,” says Heilmann. “This was also evident in the ambitious environmental and safety standards taken into account while planning the refinery.” To set these standards as high as possible, the quality of the technologies used had to be equally high – and the seals were no exception.

Excellent products meet international project management

This is where EagleBurgmann came in. “Our product range spans tens of thousands of special-purpose sealing solutions. These include standard products that are widely considered to be the best in their area of application, bar none,” says Heilmann. In addition to its excellent products, EagleBurgmann won over the decision-makers at the Hengli Group in another area: with project management focused on large-scale international projects. As such, the sealing specialist can guarantee its customers that the project heads and engineers assigned to them will keep the project moving forward and successfully bring it to fruition. All business is orchestrated from the headquarters in Wolfratshausen, a stone’s throw away from Munich.

Around 50 employees in ten countries were involved in the Dalian project, coordinated from the corporate headquarters by the project team. “Thanks to our ‘International Projects’ department, we can handle major cross-border projects, and address the customer with a unified, trustworthy voice,” Heilmann explains. “The department goes above and beyond to provide advice and support and drive projects forward. This level of customer focus, in addition to the quality of our products, has allowed us to make a name for ourselves, and sets us apart from the competition.”

LY9 product line advantages:

  • Suitable for higher speeds
  • Good setting and running behavior at non-circular or misalignment shafts or vibrations.
  • Low heat buildup and energy consumption thanks to the narrow sealing width of the seal face
  • Metal bellows also available in double-ply variant
  • Suitable for use at extremely high and low temperatures
  • No dynamic O-ring - reduces/prevents seal face hang-up
  • Bellows design minimizes fluctuation in seal face load produced by the pump shaft or wear
  • Resistant to abrasive particles in the medium - no friction wear on the shaft or shaft bushing

When it came to selecting seals, EagleBurgmann recommended that the Hengli Group use products that satisfy the latest requirements in compliance with the stringent API 682 standard. And with good reason, as Heilmann recounts: “API 682 has become a pioneering standard for safety and dependability in pump seals for the oil and gas industry. Components must deliver a service life of at least three years or 25,000 operating hours.” Since the applications need to work over a broad temperature range, the Hengli Group opted for EagleBurgmann’s innovative LY9 product line, co-developed by experts in Germany and Japan. The line is API 682 compliant and represents the next generation of metal bellows seals. The materials, design, and optimized manufacturing methods used make it particularly durable. “Compared to previous products and the competition, LY9 offers better longevity and dependability. The extended service life means fewer downtimes; production processes no longer have to be interrupted and then restarted,” Heilmann explains. “The excellent general reliability of our seals greatly reduces the chances of oil or gases leaking, helping to protect the environment.”

Thousands of customized seals

However, for major projects like refineries, it’s standard practice to individually adjust the seals, the largest of which can weigh roughly a ton. In fact, EagleBurgmann supplied more than 4,000 customized seals for the construction of the Dalian refinery. Heilmann points out: “For us, it goes without saying that we accompany the customer on this ‘last mile’ and down to the smallest detail, even in such a large-scale undertaking.” EagleBurgmann also delivered some 5,000 supply systems, which provide the sealing gas that helps prevent the escape of oil or gas. After all, at refineries, gas is often generated as an end product or byproduct. So the gas from supply systems ensures that even the smallest, microscopic cracks in seals can be reliably plugged.

Though the refinery is now up and running, the collaboration between the Hengli Group and EagleBurgmann continues. The sealing expert has a Service Center in the refinery complex – one of five worldwide that it operates directly at a major customer’s site. In Dalian, several employees work around the clock to dismantle, clean, repair and test their own components, including those from other providers. Here, too, we can see EagleBurgmann’s unique customer focus.