News | August 17, 2009

ABB Analyzers Bring Speed And Precision To Gasoline Blending For Bahrain Petroleum

Source: ABB Measurement & Analytics

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A uniquely fast and precise ABB gasoline blending solution is helping oil refineries all over the world save millions of dollars a year by improving blending accuracy and avoiding product losses. A recent case in point is a major oil refinery in the Persian Gulf.

Zurich, Switzerland - The ABB FTIR (Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy) analyzer is at the heart of a new blend property control system that was commissioned in November 2008 at the 250,000 barrel a day oil refinery of Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) in the Middle East.

BAPCO produces a broad range of petroleum products at the refinery including low sulphur diesel, aviation fuel and other high-value refinery products, most of which are exported to markets in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Gasoline blending is a critical production process, in which up to 15 different hydrocarbon streams from as many feed stocks are precisely blended to produce petroleum products like 95 octane unleaded gasoline

The ABB solution enables BAPCO to make uniquely fast and accurate predictions of 13 critical gasoline properties within three minutes, using only one analyzer and operating in a closed loop – one of only a few installations in the world with closed loop capability.

Conventional methods of analyzing blending components - which are still used at many refineries - take as long as 45 minutes and require one analyzer for each property analyzed.

The single multi-variable analyzer in the ABB solution feeds the predictions continually into the blend control system, which adjusts and optimizes the blend components according to the predictions made – thereby achieving blending precision and the target properties without octane giveaways or re-blends.

Speed and precision are key in gasoline blending. A refinery that produces 95.1 or 94.9 octane instead of the required 95 can lose millions of dollars a year in octane giveaways or re-blends, the former caused by excess quality, the latter by imprecise blending.

Continually supplied with fast and accurate data from the FTIR, the blend property control system uses global optimization algorithms to achieve other process improvements and cost reductions at the BAPCO refinery.

It takes parameters like gasoline grade, blend components, production capacities and tank farm availability to enhance production planning and make refinery operations more efficient and cost-effective. It also analyzes all feasible routes and recipes for blending a product and selects the most economical way to achieve the target properties.

ABB has the largest and most extensive range of online analytical instrumentation in the industry and is helping oil and gas majors and petroleum refiners like Exxon Mobil, Petronas, Total and Saudi Aramco (at its huge Ras Tanura refinery) improve their blending operations and save millions of dollars in costs.

SOURCE: ABB Measurement & Analytics