Capital Project Management Support

Contact Information:  Thomas E. Wolf, LLC

                                        Tom Wolf




Project management support, information, education, and training material for the project manager/engineer in the refinery, petroleum, and petrochemical industries
The Delayed Coking Process

T.E. Wolf, Sugar Land, Texas

(Please note this is copyrighted material, it is provided for your information.  Please feel free to use it, but please don't abuse the copyright.  Thank you.)  

Below is a basic description of the delayed coking process for a typical refinery two coke drum Delayed Coker Unit (DCU). This document is intended to provide an overview of the delayed coking process, the equipment associated with the coke drums, and the basic operating conditions of the delayed coker unit affecting the design of coke drums.   

Click on the PDF link below.

The delayed coking process will be described by walking through the individual pieces of equipment with a brief description of the various process steps within the equipment.  Two diagrams are essential in this effort, Figure 1, the process flow diagram (PFD), and Figure 2, coke drum schematic.  The PFD depicts a very simplified two drum delayed coker, showing the major equipment, flow lines, and valves and the coke drum schematic illustrates a few vital parts of the coke drums/table top/drill derrick.  The Figure 3 and Figure 4, the temperature-pressure profile, will then be utilized to describe the basic process in an alternate manner.  Each of these basic description methods provide the same information but in a slightly different format.  Then both of these methods will be combined to describe the process in the context of a two drum concurrent, integrated operation with the aid of Figures 5 through 16.

This website’s goal is to provide a source for project management support, information, education, and training material for project managers and project engineers primarily in the refinery, petroleum, and petrochemical industries.  In the execution of these projects, the project manager or project engineer may find the need for additional information and support; most times this support will come from within his or her company.  But there are times additional sources are needed.  This website is intended to meet those additional needs.


Project success is a function of the people skills and a broad understanding of diverse subject matter of the project management team.  Scope definition, execution considerations, construction strategy, planning and schedule impact, resource utilization, overcoming difficulties and problem solving, etc, etc, etc, are just a few to enumerate even without addressing the technical side.  Then there is the cost, estimating, and estimate side, factor estimates, detail estimates, forced detail estimates, basis of estimate, construction wage rates, and so on.  Then there is the technical side, material issues, piping systems, equipment considerations, civil and structural, electrical and control systems, document control, specifications, standards, and regulations.  Then there’s the variety of processes both refining (hydrocrackers, delayed cokers, etc.) and petrochemical facilities, the list is almost endless.


Project management is as much art as science.  The key is to continue to learn and never stop learning.

Tom Wolf has over 40 years petroleum, refinery, and petrochemical experience, 25 years in project management, including delayed coker unit revamps and new coke drums.  He holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering.


© 2013 by Thomas E. Wolf.  All rights reserved.  No part of the information contained in these webpages may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system without written permission of the copyright holder, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.

Delayed Cokers - Coke Drum Basics

List Price:  $60.00

8" x 10", 292 pages

Available at Amazon.con and other retailers

One of a series for the person requiring more than just an answer.

The internet has greatly expanded the amount of information made readily available to essentially everyone, available at a keystroke.  With some knowledge, perseverance, patience, and determination a person can become quite knowledgeable on essentially any subject.  

What can be frustrating, however, in the internet environment is a lack of organization of the available information.  Such is the case for virtually all subjects one may have an interest.

Delayed coking is one such subject.

This document is intended to provide a desktop reference tool, an organized basic overview of the delayed coking process focusing particularly on the coke drum.