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Horizon Primary Separation Cells

Project Name:



Services Provided:



Project Timeline

              Start Date: 2011

              Completion Date: 2015

Horizon Primary Separation Vessels

Phase 3 Horizon Project

Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL)

ThyssenKrupp Canada

Structural design, piping stress analysis and design

Mining, Oil & Gas

Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada

The CNRL primary separation vessels (PSV) feature a distinctive conical shape, boasting a diameter of 26 meters and a volumetric capacity of 5400 cubic meters. Positioned with a tank roof elevation of 27.8 meters and a bottom-of-tank elevation of 7.8 meters above grade, MGA undertook a comprehensive role in all facets of the project. This included structural design, piping stress design and analysis, as well as technical supervision for fabrication and erection. Challenges in the design process encompassed addressing issues related to corrosion and welding of thick plates. Additionally, our team navigated the complexities of vibration studies, accounting for both static and dynamic loads imposed on the new facilities by surrounding and connecting structures.

Primary Separation Vessels Data:

  • Process Data: Oil Sand Slurry, Bitumen Froth/Sand, Slurry Tailings

  • Feed Rate (not including air): 10,000 – 12,000 tph

  • Standards: API 650, API 620, ASME B31.11 and ASME B31.1

MGA's scope in this project included design, fabrication and construction support. 



  • Support structure including support ring, columns, bracing and base plates

  • Froth collection launder including outer peripheral launder, stiffeners, drain, overflow, and overflow downspout pipe

  • PSC feed system including feed pipe from tie-in point feed-well, feed-well vent and feed-well lining

  • Under-wash piping distribution system, from the tie-in point, complete with drop pipes, supports and hangers

  • Middling piping collection system including internal middling withdrawal headers, valves and middling collection headers to tie-in points

  • Roof and roof structure with supports for feed pipe, feed well and under-wash

  • All connections including nozzles, vents, manways, openings, sight glass (with flushing piping), gaskets and bolts

  • All appurtenances including nameplate, lifting/rigging lugs, cable tray supports, lighting supports, support for Canadian Natural pipe, insulation supports, lightening rod and grounding lugs

  • External protective coatings including galvanized roof vapor space and painting

  • Erosion/corrosion protection for wetted surfaces including chromium carbide overlaid plate wear lining, galvanized steel and internal coatings as specified per data sheets

  • Insulation, including girt system and clips, on external surfaces of the outer peripheral launder for heat conservation

  • Insulation system on support structure, if required for thermal transients during plant start-up/shutdown

  • Sight glass, suitable for service as shown on reference drawings

  • Access ladders, walkways, stairs, platforms, kicker plates and handrails, etc.

  • Sight glass flush piping system, supports and valves

  • Middling flush piping system, supports and valves

  • Installation of crane pads

  • PSC overflow line

  • Manual valves and blinds

  • Trial assemblies


Fabrication/Construction Support:

Provide fabricator with detailed shop drawings, plate profiling files, weld map requirements, connection details, bill of materials and other as needed to properly fabricate the work.

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