Fractionator Balance of Plant Piping and Equipment Installation—Pennsylvania


Riggs Distler was contracted to mobilize a fractionator unit on behalf of a natural gas client in Pennsylvania. A critical step in the refinery process, fractional distillation is useful for separating a mixture of substances with narrow differences in boiling points, allowing for the retrieval of residual substances and their storage for later re-use. Our work involved:

  • Installation of approximately 1,328 feet of pipe rack
  • Installation of 17,000 feet of large and small bore piping
  • Final tie-ins to existing spheres
  • Installation of 3 metering skids and 6 vertical pumps
  • Analyzer and PDC building installations
  • Transformer installations

Challenges Overcome

Due to its large size, the metering skid was provided in three separate pieces, but when assembled, these pieces were misaligned from a third party fabricator. Riggs Distler’s team cut, welded, and shimmed the metering skid components to fit until it was functional, saving valuable time.

The project’s major technical challenge was coming up with a plan to install piping around the fractionator spheres. This work required maximum coordination between our structural steel subcontractors and our pipefitters. Ultimately, our team built a scaffold from the top of each sphere down its side to field-fit the pipe in position. As each of the four to five levels of steel in the pipe rack was installed, pipe was laid in the rack prior to the next level of steel installation. This work required up to 62 pipefitters on-site every day at the project’s peak.

Due to a high volume of construction in the region, Riggs Distler also contended with a lack of local available employees. As a result, we shipped in workers from all over the country to assist us, spending extra time on training to get crews up to speed on our high standards of safety and efficiency.

Results Delivered

Despite the labor shortage and technical challenges, Riggs Distler completed the project on time and on budget. Our work greatly improved the function of the client’s plant and delivered expanded gas services to Pennsylvania citizens.