The current situation, where crude oil prices are low, makes it even more important to refineries to pay attention to the economization of the entire refinery organization. The increasing demand of diesel oil, the increasing utilization of natural gas for industrial boilers, ovens and other combustion processes, as well as the global increasing ban of using cracked sulfur rich heavy gasoil, bunker oils and other refinery products, force refinery policies of being very flexible. Refineries must be capable to take immediate and unexpected actions to prevent any financial losses, and should cover the entire refinery, from a technical, as well as from a logistic point of view.
Efficient refinery optimization includes a complex of different components. Under proper operation conditions, each component will increase the process efficiency of the refinery. A major strategy in achieving the goal to run a refinery at highest economic performances is to involve different technologies of hardware and software (HW/SW) solutions.
Hardware solutions are given by on-line process analyzers, which provide real time measurements of physical properties of raw materials and products in process streams. Aside from ASTM based analyzers, the BEACON 3000 NIR process analyzer has the unique properties to measure multiple physical quality properties in up to eight transparent process streams, Measuring probes can allocated at a distance of up to 3 km away from the Beacon 3000 NIR analyzer.
Software solutions to increase the refinery’s financial performance include optimization software, dedicated to specific processing units, among which blending stations, the CDU, the FCC etc. However, process optimization is not only restricted to the technical operation of the refinery units. Logistical processes govern a great deal in today’s refinery organization, and include the linkage of process streams between different refinery unis, the logistics behind transportation of crude oils and final products.
Modcon is cooperating with Prometheus S.R.L to integrate different technologies, individual or combined, with the potency to enlarge the profitability of the entire refinery organization. Focused on crude distillation, the solution can cover the entire process from crude blending to distilled products, the software will calculate the best economic blend to be refined in the CDU, basing on the crude oil database which characterizes in detail the alternative feed stocks.
The software calculates and predicts physical property and volume data for different refinery streams, and proposes required process conditions, such as temperatures, that will accomplish the calculates predictions. Process analyzers such as the Beacon 3000 NIR provides online analytic data. Integration of three technologies, feed stock characterization, thermodynamic simulation and the analyzer feedback as an integrated package will afford a tool that allows the simulated distillation model to continuously be updated to allow highest possible efficiency of the process at lowest cost.
Crude Oil Characterization Technology, (CUTS) allows not only simulating the distillation curve, using its database and incorporated algorithm, but also estimates the quality of unknown crude, starting from available data. Integration of analytic results, data from experience, laboratory data and other field results, its large database, and continuous updating of these data, provides an effective tool that for efficient operating running a CDU also in view of the specific requirements that are characteristic for each individual CDU.
Reliability and accuracy of on line process analyzers is extremely important when combining analytic data with predicting software, especially in case of correlative analyzers, such as the Beacon 3000 NIR analyzer. Incorporation of Freetune™, as a part of the Beacon 3000 software, comes to prevent drifting of analyzer results from laboratory data, and to verify full compliance between laboratory data and analyzer predicted values. This is of special interest during crude switching. Due to the gradient between two consecutive crudes, volumes and qualities of distillates change, and require to take immediate actions to minimize any impact on the process efficiency.
The economy of a refinery is not only restricted to the CDU and other process units. Many other operations are involved, which contribute to improve the refinery profitability. Within the framework of the cooperation between Modcon and Prometheus S.R.L., other software is available, focused on technical as well as on commercial aspects of a refinery. Among this software, refinery short term and long term planning management, crude oil supplies and blending optimization.
Economic refinery managements requires to combine different technologies, hardware as well as software that provides an entire overview of the operation of the refinery units based on quality data, as well as marketing, volume, supply of crude oils, energy etc. Combining logistic and technical hardware and software forms a basic tool from managers to operators to take the correct decisions to maintain and improve successful refinery management.