This paper presents a targeting strategy to design a heat recovery network for an industrial plant by dividing the system into subsystems while considering the heat transfer opportunities between them. The methodology is based on a sequential approach. The heat recovery opportunity between process units and the optimal flow rates of utilities are first identified using a Mixed Integer Linear Programming (MILP) model. The site is then divided into a number of subsystems where the overall interaction is resumed by a pair of virtual hot and cold stream per subsystem which is reconstructed by solving the heat cascade inside each subsystem. The Heat Load Distribution (HLD) problem is then solved between those packed subsystems in a sequential procedure where each time one of the subsystems is unpacked by switching from the virtual stream pair back into the original ones. The main advantages are to min- imize the number of connections between process subsystems, to alleviate the computational complexity of the HLD problem and to generate a feasible network which is compatible with the minimum energy consumption objective. The application of the proposed methodology is illustrated through a number of case studies, discussed and compared with the relevant results from the literature.