Optimizing my Refinery Blend is Much Harder than Baking Cookies
As we approach the holiday season much baking will be done in kitchens around the world. My favorite Christmas memory is making cookies with my mom and brothers. Lots and lots of cookies. There are two methods to baking, I’ve decided, and it depends on your comfort in the kitchen or perhaps, personality. You either follow a recipe to absolute precision (that’s me) or you throw an approximate amount of each ingredient into a bowl (my mother in law) and add extra ingredients randomly. If you follow the recipe the same way every time, the cookies are consistently the same. If you diverge, baking becomes more adventurous, with different tastes each time. In the former, the consequences are known; in the latter, they are not. Only a taste test will determine success.
Recipes are NOT Just for the Kitchen
Refinery products are blended to get final products with desired quantity, quality and schedule specifications. However, unlike cookies, rigorous planning, scheduling and optimization is what ensures availability of the right products at the right time, quantity, and quality.In a refinery, a recipe is the only choice because inconsistency and uncertainty are our enemies. We don’t leave that up to chance. The choices we make have great impact on profitability, safety, and reliability. No taste testing here!
Unique off-line/on-line multi-blend optimization technology offers the opportunity to maximize overall blend production profit against the true, long-term operational constraints of the refinery. On-line blend control and optimization reduces re-blends, and minimizes giveaway and component costs while ensuring products meet quality and regulatory agency specifications.
No matter how much optimization is done throughout the refinery, it can be lost as specification at the pump. With blend optimization, you can reduce RVP giveaway by 0.1 psi and octane giveaway by 0.1 ON across the enterprise. The result is increased gross margins into the tens of millions of dollars/year. The greatest challenge is meeting quality specifications while minimizing giveaway costs, because no matter how much optimization is done throughout the refinery, it can be value lost as specification giveaway at the pump.
Complete Refining Operations Management
Multi-blend optimization is part of the greater refinery optimization challenge. To execute true optimization across the entire refinery, we must remove the silos and transform operations management business processes to drive consistent and proactive collaboration across functional domains, thus maximizing operations margins and sustaining performance. This is done through Refining Operations Management. It can:
- Improve collaboration and operational visibility.
- Optimize the entire value chain.
- Increase operational excellence.
- Automated data cleansing and transformation.
- Collaborative operational decision making.
- Expert integration and maintenance services.
Refining Operations Management can improve revenue by up to 5% and lower operation costs by up to 10%.
Livia Wiley is the Sr. Product Marketing Manager for SimSci software at AVEVA. She is primarily responsible for expanding SimSci’s brand awareness and marketing of its design, simulation & training, and optimization software. She has more than 20 years of experience in process simulation; assisting clients model, troubleshoot, and optimize their processes through technical and economic studies. Prior to joining Schneider Electric in 2014, she worked for suppliers of process simulation and automation technology, including Honeywell, Aspen Technology, and legacy SimSci. Livia holds a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Queen’s University, and a M.Eng in Chemical Engineering from the University of Houston.