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How Oil Drilling Works

In 2005 alone, the United States produced an estimated 9 million barrels of crude oil per
day and imported 13.21 million barrels per day from other countries. This oil gets
refined into gasoline, kerosene, heating oil and other products. To keep up with our
consumption, oil companies must constantly look for new sources of petroleum, as well
as improve the production of existing wells.

How does a company go about finding oil and pumping it from the ground? You may
have seen images of black crude oil gushing out of the ground, or seen an oil well in
movies and television shows like "Giant," "Oklahoma Crude," "Armageddon" and
"Beverly Hillbillies." But modern oil production is quite different from the way it's
portrayed in the movies.

In this article, we will examine how modern oil exploration and drilling works. We will
discuss how oil is formed, found and extracted from the ground.

Oil is a fossil fuel that can be found in many countries around the world. In this
section, we will discuss how oil is formed and how geologists find it.

Forming Oil

Oil is formed from the remains of tiny plants and animals (plankton) that died in
ancient seas between 10 million and 600 million years ago. After the organisms died,
they sank into the sand and mud at the bottom of the sea.

Photo courtesy Institute of Petroleum

Oil forms from dead organisms in ancient
Over the years, the organisms decayed in the sedimentary
layers. In these layers, there was little or no oxygen present.
So microorganisms broke the remains into carbon-rich
compounds that formed organic layers. The organic material
mixed with the sediments, forming fine-grained shale, or
source rock. As new sedimentary layers were deposited, they
exerted intense pressure and heat on the source rock. The heat
Photo courtesy Institute
and pressure distilled the organic material into crude oil and
of Petroleum
natural gas. The oil flowed from the source rock and
Close-up of reservoir
accumulated in thicker, more porous limestone or sandstone,
called reservoir rock. Movements in the Earth trapped the oil
(oil is in black)
and natural gas in the reservoir rocks between layers of
impermeable rock, or cap rock, such as granite or marble.

Photo courtesy Institute of Petroleum

Oil reservoir rocks (red) and natural gas
(blue) can be trapped by folding (left),
faulting (middle) or pinching out (right).

These movements of the Earth include:

Folding - Horizontal movements press inward and move the rock layers upward
into a fold or anticline.
Faulting - The layers of rock crack, and one side shifts upward or downward.
Pinching out - A layer of impermeable rock is squeezed upward into the reservoir
Locating Oil

The task of finding oil is assigned to geologists, whether employed directly by an oil
company or under contract from a private firm. Their task is to find the right conditions
for an oil trap -- the right source rock, reservoir rock and entrapment. Many years ago,
geologists interpreted surface features, surface rock and soil types, and perhaps some
small core samples obtained by shallow drilling. Modern oil geologists also examine
surface rocks and terrain, with the additional help of satellite images. However, they
also use a variety of other methods to find oil. They can use sensitive gravity meters
to measure tiny changes in the Earth's gravitational field that could indicate flowing oil,
as well as sensitive magnetometers to measure tiny changes in the Earth's magnetic
field caused by flowing oil. They can detect the smell of hydrocarbons using sensitive
electronic noses called sniffers. Finally, and most commonly, they use seismology,
creating shock waves that pass through hidden rock layers and interpreting the waves
that are reflected back to the surface.

Photo courtesy Institute of Petroleum

Searching for oil over water using

In seismic surveys, a shock wave is created by the following:

Compressed-air gun - shoots pulses of air into the water (for exploration over
Thumper truck - slams heavy plates into the ground (for exploration over land)
Explosives - drilled into the ground (for exploration over land) or thrown
overboard (for exploration over water), and detonated

The shock waves travel beneath the surface of the Earth and are reflected back by the
various rock layers. The reflections travel at different speeds depending upon the type
or density of rock layers through which they must pass. The reflections of the shock
waves are detected by sensitive microphones or vibration detectors -- hydrophones
over water, seismometers over land. The readings are interpreted by seismologists
for signs of oil and gas traps.

Although modern oil-exploration methods are better than previous ones, they still may
have only a 10-percent success rate for finding new oil fields. Once a prospective oil
strike is found, the location is marked by GPS coordinates on land or by marker buoys
on water.

Oil Drilling Preparation

Once the site has been selected, it must be surveyed to determine its boundaries, and
environmental impact studies may be done. Lease agreements, titles and right-of way
accesses for the land must be obtained and evaluated legally. For off-shore sites, legal
jurisdiction must be determined.

Once the legal issues have been settled, the crew goes about preparing the land:

1. The land is cleared and leveled, and access roads may be built.
2. Because water is used in drilling, there must be a source of water nearby. If there
is no natural source, they drill a water well.
3. They dig a reserve pit, which is used to dispose of rock cuttings and drilling mud
during the drilling process, and line it with plastic to protect the environment. If
the site is an ecologically sensitive area, such as a marsh or wilderness, then the
cuttings and mud must be disposed offsite -- trucked away instead of placed in a

Once the land has been prepared, several holes must be dug to make way for the rig
and the main hole. A rectangular pit, called a cellar, is dug around the location of the
actual drilling hole. The cellar provides a work space around the hole, for the workers
and drilling accessories. The crew then begins drilling the main hole, often with a small
drill truck rather than the main rig. The first part of the hole is larger and shallower than
the main portion, and is lined with a large-diameter conductor pipe. Additional holes
are dug off to the side to temporarily store equipment -- when these holes are finished,
the rig equipment can be brought in and set up.

Depending upon the remoteness of the drill site and its access, equipment may be
transported to the site by truck, helicopter or barge. Some rigs are built on ships or
barges for work on inland water where there is no foundation to support a rig (as in
marshes or lakes).

In the next section, we'll look at the major systems of an oil rig.
Oil Rig Systems

Once the equipment is at the site, the rig is set up. Here are the major systems of a
land oil rig:

Anatomy of an oil rig

Power system
 large diesel engines - burn diesel-fuel oil to provide the main source of
 electrical generators - powered by the diesel engines to provide electrical
Mechanical system - driven by electric motors
 hoisting system - used for lifting heavy loads; consists of a mechanical
winch (drawworks) with a large steel cable spool, a block-and-tackle pulley
and a receiving storage reel for the cable
 turntable - part of the drilling apparatus
Rotating equipment - used for rotary drilling
 swivel - large handle that holds the weight of the drill string; allows the
string to rotate and makes a pressure-tight seal on the hole
 kelly - four- or six-sided pipe that transfers rotary motion to the turntable
and drill string
 turntable or rotary table - drives the rotating motion using power from
electric motors
 drill string - consists of drill pipe (connected sections of about 30 ft / 10
m) and drill collars (larger diameter, heavier pipe that fits around the drill
pipe and places weight on the drill bit)
 drill bit(s) - end of the drill that actually cuts up the rock; comes in many
shapes and materials (tungsten carbide steel, diamond) that are specialized
for various drilling tasks and rock formations
Casing - large-diameter concrete pipe that lines the drill hole, prevents the hole
from collapsing, and allows drilling mud to circulate

Circulation system - pumps drilling mud

(mixture of water, clay, weighting material and
chemicals, used to lift rock cuttings from the drill
bit to the surface) under pressure through the
kelly, rotary table, drill pipes and drill collars
 pump - sucks mud from the mud pits and
pumps it to the drilling apparatus
 pipes and hoses - connects pump to drilling
 mud-return line - returns mud from hole
 shale shaker - shaker/sieve that separates
rock cuttings from the mud
Photo courtesy Institute
 shale slide - conveys cuttings to the reserve
of Petroleum
Mud circulation in
 reserve pit - collects rock cuttings separated
the hole
from the mud
 mud pits - where drilling mud is mixed and recycled
 mud-mixing hopper - where new mud is mixed and then sent to the mud

Drill-mud circulation system

Derrick - support structure that holds the drilling apparatus; tall enough to allow
new sections of drill pipe to be added to the drilling apparatus as drilling
Blowout preventer - high-pressure valves (located under the land rig or on the
sea floor) that seal the high-pressure drill lines and relieve pressure when
necessary to prevent a blowout (uncontrolled gush of gas or oil to the surface,
often associated with fire)

The Oil Drilling Process

The crew sets up the rig and starts the drilling operations.
First, from the starter hole, they drill a surface hole down to a
pre-set depth, which is somewhere above where they think
the oil trap is located. There are five basic steps to drilling the
surface hole:

1. Place the drill bit, collar and drill pipe in the hole.
2. Attach the kelly and turntable and begin drilling.
3. As drilling progresses, circulate mud through the pipe
and out of the bit to float the rock cuttings out of the
4. Add new sections (joints) of drill pipes as the hole gets
5. Remove (trip out) the drill pipe, collar and bit when the
Photo courtesy Phillips
pre-set depth (anywhere from a few hundred to a
Petroleum Co.
couple-thousand feet) is reached.
Rotary workers trip
drill pipe
Once they reach the pre-set depth, they must run and
cement the casing -- place casing-pipe sections into the hole to prevent it from
collapsing in on itself. The casing pipe has spacers around the outside to keep it
centered in the hole.

The casing crew puts the casing pipe in the hole. The cement crew pumps cement down
the casing pipe using a bottom plug, a cement slurry, a top plug and drill mud. The
pressure from the drill mud causes the cement slurry to move through the casing and fill
the space between the outside of the casing and the hole. Finally, the cement is allowed
to harden and then tested for such properties as hardness, alignment and a proper seal.

In the next section we'll find out what happens once the drill bit reaches the final depth.

New Drilling Technologies

The U.S. Department of Energy and the oil industry are working on new ways
to drill oil, including horizontal drilling techniques, to reach oil under
ecologically-sensitive areas, and using lasers to drill oil wells.
Testing for Oil

Drilling continues in stages: They drill, then run and cement new casings, then drill
again. When the rock cuttings from the mud reveal the oil sand from the reservoir rock,
they may have reached the final depth. At this point, they remove the drilling apparatus
from the hole and perform several tests to confirm this finding:

Well logging - lowering electrical and gas sensors into the hole to take
measurements of the rock formations there
Drill-stem testing - lowering a device into the hole to measure the pressures,
which will reveal whether reservoir rock has been reached
Core samples - taking samples of rock to look for characteristics of reservoir rock

Once they have reached the final depth, the crew completes the Blowouts and Fires
well to allow oil to flow into the casing in a controlled manner. In the movies, you see
First, they lower a perforating gun into the well to the oil gushing (a
production depth. The gun has explosive charges to create blowout), and perhaps
holes in the casing through which oil can flow. After the casing even a fire, when
has been perforated, they run a small-diameter pipe (tubing) drillers reach the final
into the hole as a conduit for oil and gas to flow up the well. A depth. These are
device called a packer is run down the outside of the tubing. actually dangerous
When the packer is set at the production level, it is expanded to conditions, and are
form a seal around the outside of the tubing. Finally, they (hopefully) prevented
connect a multi-valved structure called a Christmas tree to by the blowout
the top of the tubing and cement it to the top of the casing. The preventer and the
Christmas tree allows them to control the flow of oil from the pressure of the drilling
well. mud. In most wells,
the oil flow must be
Once the well is completed, they must start the flow of oil into
started by acidizing or
the well. For limestone reservoir rock, acid is pumped down the
fracturing the well.
well and out the perforations. The acid dissolves channels in the
limestone that lead oil into the well. For sandstone reservoir rock, a specially blended
fluid containing proppants (sand, walnut shells, aluminum pellets) is pumped down the
well and out the perforations. The pressure from this fluid makes small fractures in the
sandstone that allow oil to flow into the well, while the proppants hold these fractures
open. Once the oil is flowing, the oil rig is removed from the site and production
equipment is set up to extract the oil from the well.
Extracting Oil

After the rig is removed, a pump is placed on the well head.

Photo courtesy California Department of

Pump on an oil well

In the pump system, an electric motor drives a gear box that moves a lever. The
lever pushes and pulls a polishing rod up and down. The polishing rod is attached to a
sucker rod, which is attached to a pump. This system forces the pump up and down,
creating a suction that draws oil up through the well.

In some cases, the oil may be too heavy to flow. A second hole is then drilled into the
reservoir and steam is injected under pressure. The heat from the steam thins the oil in
the reservoir, and the pressure helps push it up the well. This process is called
enhanced oil recovery.
Photo courtesy California Department of
Enhanced oil recovery

With all of this oil-drilling technology in use, and new methods in development, the
question remains: Will we have enough oil to meet our needs? Current estimates
suggest that we have enough oil for about 63 to 95 years to come, based on current
and future finds and present demands.

For more information on oil drilling and related topics, including oil refining, check out
the links on the next page.
How Oil Refining Works
In movies and television shows -- Giant, Oklahoma Crude, Armageddon, Beverly
Hillbillies -- we have seen images of thick, black crude oil gushing out of the ground or a
drilling platform.

But when you pump the gasoline for your car, you've probably noticed that it is clear.

And there are so many other products that come from oil, including crayons, plastics,
heating oil, jet fuel, kerosene, synthetic fibers and tires.

How is it possible to start with crude oil and end up with gasoline and all of these other

In this article, we will examine the chemistry and technology involved in refining crude
oil to produce all of these different things.

Crude Oil

On average, crude oils are made of the following elements or


Carbon - 84%
Hydrogen - 14%
Sulfur - 1 to 3% (hydrogen sulfide, sulfides, disulfides,
elemental sulfur)
Nitrogen - less than 1% (basic compounds with amine
Oxygen - less than 1% (found in organic compounds
such as carbon dioxide, phenols, ketones, carboxylic
Metals - less than 1% (nickel, iron, vanadium, copper,
Salts - less than 1% (sodium chloride, magnesium
chloride, calcium chloride)

Crude oil is the term for "unprocessed" oil, the stuff that comes out of the ground. It is
also known as petroleum. Crude oil is a fossil fuel, meaning that it was made natural-
ly from decaying plants and animals living in ancient seas millions of years ago -- most
places you can find crude oil were once sea beds. Crude oils vary in color, from clear
to tar-black, and in viscosity, from water to almost solid.
Crude oils are such a useful starting point for so many different substances because
they contain hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons are molecules that contain hydrogen and
carbon and come in various lengths and structures, from straight chains to branching
chains to rings.

There are two things that make hydrocarbons exciting to chemists:

Hydrocarbons contain a lot of energy. Many of the things derived from crude oil
like gasoline, diesel fuel, paraffin wax and so on take advantage of this energy.
Hydrocarbons can take on many different forms. The smallest hydrocarbon is
methane (CH4), which is a gas that is a lighter than air. Longer chains with 5 or
more carbons are liquids. Very long chains are solids like wax or tar. By chemically
cross-linking hydrocarbon chains you can get everything from synthetic rubber to
nylon to the plastic in tupperware. Hydrocarbon chains are very versatile!

The major classes of hydrocarbons in crude oils include:

 general formula: CnH2n+2 (n is a whole number, usually from 1 to 20)
 straight- or branched-chain molecules
 can be gasses or liquids at room temperature depending upon the molecule
 examples: methane, ethane, propane, butane, isobutane, pentane, hexane
 general formula: C6H5 - Y (Y is a longer, straight molecule that connects to
the benzene ring)
 ringed structures with one or more rings
 rings contain six carbon atoms, with alternating double and single bonds
between the carbons
 typically liquids
 examples: benzene, napthalene
Napthenes or Cycloalkanes
 general formula: CnH2n (n is a whole number usually from 1 to 20)
 ringed structures with one or more rings
 rings contain only single bonds between the carbon atoms
 typically liquids at room temperature
 examples: cyclohexane, methyl cyclopentane
Other hydrocarbons
 Alkenes
general formula: CnH2n (n is a whole number, usually from 1 to 20)
linear or branched chain molecules containing one carbon-carbon
can be liquid or gas
examples: ethylene, butene, isobutene
 Dienes and Alkynes
general formula: CnH2n-2 (n is a whole number, usually from 1 to 20)
linear or branched chain molecules containing two carbon-carbon
can be liquid or gas
examples: acetylene, butadienes

To see examples of the structures of these types of hydrocarbons, see the OSHA
Technical Manual and this page on the Refining of Petroleum.

Now that we know what's in crude oil, let's see what we can make from it.

From Crude Oil

The problem with crude oil is that it contains hundreds of different types of
hydrocarbons all mixed together. You have to separate the different types of
hydrocarbons to have anything useful. Fortunately there is an easy way to separate
things, and this is what oil refining is all about.

Different hydrocarbon chain lengths all have progressively higher boiling points, so they
can all be separated by distillation. This is what happens in an oil refinery - in one part
of the process, crude oil is heated and the different chains are pulled out by their
vaporization temperatures. Each different chain length has a different property that
makes it useful in a different way.

To understand the diversity contained in crude oil, and to understand why refining crude
oil is so important in our society, look through the following list of products that come
from crude oil:

Petroleum gas - used for heating, cooking, making plastics

 small alkanes (1 to 4 carbon atoms)
 commonly known by the names methane, ethane, propane, butane
 boiling range = less than 104 degrees Fahrenheit / 40 degrees Celsius
 often liquified under pressure to create LPG (liquified petroleum gas)
Naphtha or Ligroin - intermediate that will be further processed to make
 mix of 5 to 9 carbon atom alkanes
 boiling range = 140 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit / 60 to 100 degrees Celsius
Gasoline - motor fuel
 liquid
 mix of alkanes and cycloalkanes (5 to 12 carbon atoms)
 boiling range = 104 to 401 degrees Fahrenheit / 40 to 205 degrees Celsius
Kerosene - fuel for jet engines and tractors; starting material for making other
 liquid
 mix of alkanes (10 to 18 carbons) and aromatics
 boiling range = 350 to 617 degrees Fahrenheit / 175 to 325 degrees Celsius
Gas oil or Diesel distillate - used for diesel fuel and heating oil; starting
material for making other products
 liquid
 alkanes containing 12 or more carbon atoms
 boiling range = 482 to 662 degrees Fahrenheit / 250 to 350 degrees Celsius
Lubricating oil - used for motor oil, grease, other lubricants
 liquid
 long chain (20 to 50 carbon atoms) alkanes, cycloalkanes, aromatics
 boiling range = 572 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit / 300 to 370 degrees Celsius
Heavy gas or Fuel oil - used for industrial fuel; starting material for making
other products
 liquid
 long chain (20 to 70 carbon atoms) alkanes, cycloalkanes, aromatics
 boiling range = 700 to 1112 degrees Fahrenheit / 370 to 600 degrees
Residuals - coke, asphalt, tar, waxes; starting material for making other products
 solid
 multiple-ringed compounds with 70 or more carbon atoms
 boiling range = greater than 1112 degrees Fahrenheit / 600 degrees Celsius

You may have noticed that all of these products have different sizes and boiling ranges.
Chemists take advantage of these properties when refining oil. Look at the next section
to find out the details of this fascinating process.
The Refining Process

As mentioned previously, a barrel of crude oil has a mixture of all sorts of hydrocarbons
in it. Oil refining separates everything into useful substances. Chemists use the following

1. The oldest and most common way to separate things into various components
(called fractions), is to do it using the differences in boiling temperature. This
process is called fractional distillation. You basically heat crude oil up, let it
vaporize and then condense the vapor.
2. Newer techniques use Chemical processing on some of the fractions to make
others, in a process called conversion. Chemical processing, for example, can
break longer chains into shorter ones. This allows a refinery to turn diesel fuel into
gasoline depending on the demand for gasoline.
3. Refineries must treat the fractions to remove impurities.
4. Refineries combine the various fractions (processed, unprocessed) into mixtures
to make desired products. For example, different mixtures of chains can create
gasolines with different octane ratings.

Photo courtesy Phillips Petroleum Company

An oil refinery

The products are stored on-site until they can be delivered to various markets such as
gas stations, airports and chemical plants. In addition to making the oil-based products,
refineries must also treat the wastes involved in the processes to minimize air and water

In the next section, we will look at how we separate crude oil into its components.
Fractional Distillation

The various components of crude oil have different sizes,

weights and boiling temperatures; so, the first step is to
separate these components. Because they have different
boiling temperatures, they can be separated easily by a process
called fractional distillation. The steps of fractional
distillation are as follows:

1. You heat the mixture of two or more substances (liquids) Photo courtesy Phillips
with different boiling points to a high temperature. Petroleum
Heating is usually done with high pressure steam to Distillation columns
temperatures of about 1112 degrees Fahrenheit / 600 in an oil refinery
degrees Celsius.
2. The mixture boils, forming vapor (gases); most substances go into the vapor
3. The vapor enters the bottom of a long column (fractional distillation column)
that is filled with trays or plates.
The trays have many holes or bubble caps (like a loosened cap on a soda
bottle) in them to allow the vapor to pass through.
The trays increase the contact time between the vapor and the liquids in the
The trays help to collect liquids that form at various heights in the column.
There is a temperature difference across the column (hot at the bottom, cool
at the top).
4. The vapor rises in the column.
5. As the vapor rises through the trays in the column, it cools.
6. When a substance in the vapor reaches a height where the temperature of the
column is equal to that substance's boiling point, it will condense to form a liquid.
(The substance with the lowest boiling point will condense at the highest point in
the column; substances with higher boiling points will condense lower in the
7. The trays collect the various liquid fractions.
8. The collected liquid fractions may:
pass to condensers, which cool them further, and then go to storage tanks
go to other areas for further chemical processing

Fractional distillation is useful for separating a mixture of substances with narrow

differences in boiling points, and is the most important step in the refining process.

Very few of the components come out of the fractional distillation column ready for
market. Many of them must be chemically processed to make other fractions. For
example, only 40% of distilled crude oil is gasoline; however, gasoline is one of the
major products made by oil companies. Rather than continually distilling large quantities
of crude oil, oil companies chemically process some other fractions from the distillation
column to make gasoline; this processing increases the yield of gasoline from each
barrel of crude oil.

In the next section, we'll look at how we chemically process one fraction into another.

Chemical Processing

You can change one fraction into another by one of three methods:

breaking large hydrocarbons into smaller pieces (cracking)

combining smaller pieces to make larger ones (unification)
rearranging various pieces to make desired hydrocarbons (alteration)

Cracking takes large hydrocarbons and breaks them into smaller ones.

Cracking breaks large chains into smaller chains.

There are several types of cracking:

Thermal - you heat large hydrocarbons at high temperatures (sometimes high

pressures as well) until they break apart.
 steam - high temperature steam (1500 degrees Fahrenheit / 816 degrees
Celsius) is used to break ethane, butane and naptha into ethylene and
benzene, which are used to manufacture chemicals.
 visbreaking - residual from the distillation tower is heated (900 degrees
Fahrenheit / 482 degrees Celsius), cooled with gas oil and rapidly burned
(flashed) in a distillation tower. This process reduces the viscosity of heavy
weight oils and produces tar.
 coking - residual from the distillation tower is heated to temperatures
above 900 degrees Fahrenheit / 482 degrees Celsius until it cracks into
heavy oil, gasoline and naphtha. When the process is done, a heavy, almost
pure carbon residue is left (coke); the coke is cleaned from the cokers and

Catalytic - uses a catalyst to speed up the

cracking reaction. Catalysts include zeolite,
aluminum hydrosilicate, bauxite and silica-
 fluid catalytic cracking - a hot, fluid
catalyst (1000 degrees Fahrenheit / 538
degrees Celsius) cracks heavy gas oil into
diesel oils and gasoline.
 hydrocracking - similar to fluid catalytic
cracking, but uses a different catalyst, lower Photo courtesy Phillips
temperatures, higher pressure, and Petroleum Company
hydrogen gas. It takes heavy oil and cracks Catalysts used in
it into gasoline and kerosene (jet fuel). catalytic cracking or
After various hydrocarbons are cracked into smaller
hydrocarbons, the products go through another fractional distillation column to separate

Sometimes, you need to combine smaller hydrocarbons to make larger ones -- this
process is called unification. The major unification process is called catalytic
reforming and uses a catalyst (platinum, platinum-rhenium mix) to combine low weight
naphtha into aromatics, which are used in making chemicals and in blending gasoline. A
significant by-product of this reaction is hydrogen gas, which is then either used for
hydrocracking or sold.

A reformer combines chains.

Sometimes, the structures of molecules in one fraction are rearranged to produce
another. Commonly, this is done using a process called alkylation. In alkylation, low
molecular weight compounds, such as propylene and butylene, are mixed in the
presence of a catalyst such as hydrofluoric acid or sulfuric acid (a by-product from
removing impurities from many oil products). The products of alkylation are high
octane hydrocarbons, which are used in gasoline blends to reduce knocking (see
"What does octane mean?" for details).

Rearranging chains.

Now that we have seen how various fractions are changed, we will discuss the how the
fractions are treated and blended to make commercial products.
An oil refinery is a combination of all of these units.

Treating and Blending the Fractions

Distillated and chemically processed fractions are treated to remove impurities, such as
organic compounds containing sulfur, nitrogen, oxygen, water, dissolved metals and
inorganic salts. Treating is usually done by passing the fractions through the following:

a column of sulfuric acid - removes unsaturated hydrocarbons (those with carbon-

carbon double-bonds), nitrogen compounds, oxygen compounds and residual
solids (tars, asphalt)
an absorption column filled with drying agents to remove water
sulfur treatment and hydrogen-sulfide scrubbers to remove sulfur and sulfur

After the fractions have been treated, they are cooled and
then blended together to make various products, such as:

gasoline of various grades, with or without additives

lubricating oils of various weights and grades (e.g. 10W-
40, 5W-30)
kerosene of various various grades
jet fuel
diesel fuel
heating oil Photo courtesy Phillips
chemicals of various grades for making plastics and Petroleum
other polymers Plastics produced
from refined oil
For more information on the fascinating world of oil refining fractions
and petroleum chemistry, check out the links on the next
Fractional Distillation of Crude Oil


The boiling points of organic compounds can give important clues to other physical
properties. A liquid boils when its vapor pressure is equal to the atmospheric pressure.
Vapor pressure is determined by the kinetic energy of molecules. Kinetic energy is
related to temperature and the mass and velocity of the molecules. When the
temperature reaches the boiling point, the average kinetic energy of the liquid particles
is sufficient to overcome the forces of attraction that hold molecules in the liquid state.
Then these molecules break away from the liquid forming the gas state.

Vapor pressure is caused by an equilibrium between molecules in the gaseous state and
molecules in the liquid state. When molecules in the liquid state have sufficient kinetic
energy, they may escape from the surface and turn into a gas. Molecules with the most
independence in individual motions achieve sufficient kinetic energy (velocities) to
escape at lower temperatures. The vapor pressure will be higher and therefore the
compound will boil at a lower temperature.


Molecules which strongly interact or bond with each other through a variety of
intermolecular forces can not move easily or rapidly and therefore, do not achieve the
kinetic energy necessary to escape the liquid state. Therefore, molecules with strong
intermolecular forces will have higher boiling points. This is a consequence of the
increased kinetic energy needed to break the intermolecular bonds so that individual
molecules may escape the liquid as gases.



A series of alkanes demonstrates the general principle that boiling points increase as
molecular weight or chain length increases (table 1.).


Normal State
Boiling Point
Formula Name at Room
Temp. +20 C

CH4 Methane -161 gas

CH3CH3 Ethane - 89

CH3CH2CH3 Propane - 42

CH3CH2CH2CH3 Butane -0.5

CH3CH2CH2CH2CH3 Pentane + 36 liquid

CH3(CH2)6CH3 Octane +125

QUES. State whether the compounds above will be a gas or liquid state at room
temperature (20 C). Hint: If the boiling point is below 20 C, then the liquid has already
boiled andthe compound is a gas.

The reason that longer chain molecules have higher boiling points is that longer chain
molecules become wrapped around and enmeshed in each other much like the strands
of spaghetti. More energy is needed to separate them than short molecules which have
only weak forces of attraction for each other.

Petroleum refining is the process of separating the many compounds present in crude
petroleum. The principle which is used is that the longer the carbon chain, the higher
the temperature at which the compounds will boil. The crude petroleum is heated and
changed into a gas. The gases are passed through a distillation column which becomes
cooler as the height increases. When a compound in the gaseous state cools below its
boiling point, it condenses into a liquid. The liquids may be drawn off the distilling
column at various heights.

Although all fractions of petroleum find uses, the greatest demand is for gasoline. One
barrel of crude petroleum contains only 30-40% gasoline. Transportation demands
require that over 50% of the crude oil be converted into gasoline. To meet this demand
some petroleum fractions must be converted to gasoline. This may be done by
"cracking" - breaking down large molecules of heavy heating oil; "reforming" - changing
molecular structures of low quality gasoline molecules; or "polymerization" - forming
longer molecules from smaller ones.

For example if pentane is heated to about 500 C the covalent carbon-carbon bonds
begin to break during the cracking process. Many kinds of compounds including alkenes
are made during the cracking process. Alkenes are formed because there are not
enough hydrogens to saturate all bonding positions after the carbon-carbon bonds are

>> An oil refinery and its important

An oil refinery is an
industrial process plant where crude
oil is processed and refined into
more useful petroleum products,
such as gasoline, diesel fuel,
asphalt base, heating oil, kerosene,
and liquefied petroleum gas. Oil
refineries are typically large
sprawling industrial complexes with
extensive piping running
throughout, carrying streams of
fluids between large chemical processing units.
The various units in an oil refinery and their functions are as follows:

 A catalytic cracker, or "cat cracker," is the basic gasoline-making process in a
refinery. The cat cracker uses high temperatures, low pressure, and a catalyst to
create a chemical reaction that breaks heavy gas oil into smaller gasoline
molecules. With a cat cracker, more of each barrel of oil can be turned into
 Corro duty- Used for the regenerator’s compressors and other severe duties.
 IEEE841- Used for driving air at constant speed into the catalytic reactor and the
 hazardous location motor- Used for pumps, fans, compressors, conveyors in a
cracking unit.

 Distillation is a method of separating mixtures based on differences in their
volatilities in a boiling liquid mixture. Distillation is a unit operation, or a physical
separation process, and not a chemical reaction. It is used to separate crude oil
into more fractions for specific uses such as transport, power generation and
 IEEE841, hazardous location.,AP1547- Used for the feed pumps, compressors
associated with the distillating tower and condenser.

 IEEE841, VHS,AP1547- Designed for use on propeller pumps and other
continuous-duty, and centrifugal loads.

 Catalytic reforming is a chemical process used to convert petroleum refinery
naphthas, typically having low octane ratings, into high-octane liquid products
called reformates which are components of high-octane gasoline (also known as
 IEEE841, hazardous location.,AP1547- to pump the liquid feed and pressurize it.

 A coker or coker unit is an oil refinery processing unit that converts the residual
oil from the vacuum distillation column or the atmospheric distillation column into
low molecular weight hydrocarbon gases, naphtha, light and heavy gas oils, and
petroleum coke. The process thermally cracks the long chain hydrocarbon
molecules in the residual oil feed into shorter chain molecules.
 IEEE841, hazardous location.,AP1547 - to pump water to the decoking derricks
and condensers.

 The desulfurizing process, recovers elemental sulfur from gaseous hydrogen
 Corro duty, IEEE841, hazardous location are the motors used in this unit.

 Cooling is the transfer of thermal energy via thermal radiation, heat conduction
or convection.
 Corro duty, IEEE841- To drive the ID and FD fans.

 In a standard oil refinery process, isobutane is alkylated with low-molecular-
weight alkenes (primarily a mixture of propylene and butylene) in the presence of
a strong acid catalyst, either sulfuric acid or hydrofluoric acid. In an oil refinery it
is referred to as a sulfuric acid alkylation unit (SAAU) or a hydrofluoric alkylation
unit, (HFAU). The product is called alkylate and is composed of a mixture of high-
octane, branched-chain paraffinic hydrocarbons (mostly isopentane and
isooctane). Alkylate is a premium gasoline blending stock because it has
exceptional antiknock properties and is clean burning.
 Corro duty, IEEE841, AP1547- to pump the products through the polymerization

 The function of hydrogen unit is the purification of the hydrocarbon stream from
sulfur and nitrogen hetero-atoms.
 The products of this process are saturated hydrocarbons; depending on the
reaction conditions (temperature, pressure, catalyst activity) these products
range from ethane, LPG to heavier hydrocarbons comprising mostly of
 AP1547, IEEE841, hazardous location- to pump the products through the
hydrogenation chamber.
The motors described above are the products of Emerson Motor Technologies. The
details of these motors are described below.
General Purpose Three Phase, Totally Enclosed Fan Cooled (TEFC)
CORRO-DUTY® Premium Efficient Motors

Product Features:
Class F Insulation, Class B Rise At Full Load
All Cast iron construction (steel frame & fan cover on 140 frame)
Corrosion resistant mill & chemical duty paint
Stainless steel nameplate (with CE Mark) & zinc plated hardware
Shaft slinger on pulley end for IP54 protection
Precision balance (< 0.08 in/sec vibration)
40C Ambient, NEMA
Regreasable bearings 180 frame & up, lifting provisions 180 frame & up
Double shielded bearings 140-360, open on 400-440
Oversized conduit box - 1 size larger than NEMA standard
Cast iron inner bearing cap (180 frame & larger)
Field convertible to F2 mounting 180 frame & larger
Condensation drains with plastic plugs
Conversion kits: C&D Flanges, Canopy Kits (except 320-360)

Applications: Designed for severe duty environments found in the process industries.

General Purpose, Three Phase, Totally Enclosed Fan Cooled
(TEFC), 841 Plus® Premium Efficient

Product Features:
Inverter Grade Insulation System(Meets NEMA MG-1 Part 31)
Class F Insulation, Class B Rise At Full Load (Sine Wave Power)
All cast iron construction (Steel mounting base on 140 frame)
Corrosion Resistant Mill & Chem Duty Paint (250 hour Salt Spray Test)
Stainless Steel Nameplate (with CE Mark) & Zinc Plated hardware
40C Ambient, NEMA Design B Performance (Sine Wave Power)
VBXX® Bearing Isolators by Inpro/Seal on both ends for IP55 Protection

Same size regreasable open bearings, brass breathers/drains

External grounding provision, epoxy coated rotor
10:1 Variable torque; 5:1 constant torque on inverter power
Precision Balance (<0.05 in/sec vibration)
1.15 SF on Sine Wave / 1.0 SF on Inverter Power
Internal bearing caps 180 Frame & Up
Conversion Kits: C&D Flange, Canopy Kit (except 320-360)
Applications: Designed for constant speed and inverter duty applications in petro-
chemical industries.

General Purpose Three Phase, TEFC Explosionproof Standard &
Energy Efficient Single Label, CORRO-DUTY®

Product Features:
All cast iron construction (140 frame has steel base)
Corrosion resistant mill & chemical duty paint
Stainless steel nameplate & zinc plated hardware
Shaft slinger on pulley end for IP54 protection
Cast iron inner bearing caps (180 frame & larger)
40C Ambient, NEMA design B performance (4)
Regreasable bearings 180 frame & up, lifting provisions 180 frame & up
Sealed bearings 56-140, shielded 180-360, open 400-440 frames
Brass breather plug
Suitable for inverter use per policy statement in introduction, 2:1 CT
Class 1 (Group D), T2B Temperature Code
1.15 Service Factor On 60 Hertz Sinewave Power
Note (4): On 60 Hertz Sine Wave Power

Applications: Designed for pumps, fans, compressors, conveyors, and tools located in
hazardous locations as defined by Class and Group.

Emerson designed its Oil and Gas vertical motors for reliable outdoor use in all types of
weather on pipelines, onshore and offshore wells as well as in refineries and other
process industries. These motors are meticulously designed and built to the highest
quality standards utilizing premium materials to ensure reliability and long life.
EMERSON® Oil and Gas vertical motors are ideal for use on sine wave or inverter power
applications such as booster, transfer, secondary recovery supply, secondary recovery
injection, sump, slurry, fire and cooling tower pumps.

Vertical A.C. Motors
Hollow Shaft
High & Low Thrust
WPI, WPII, TEFC & Explosionproof Enclosures

Product Features:
Class F Insulation, Class B Rise At Full Load (Sine Wave Power)
1.15 Service Factor (Sine Wave Power)(typical) – for WPI & WPII enclosures
1.00 Service Factor (Sine Wave Power) – for TEFC & Explosionproof enclosures
Maximum 40°C Ambient, 3,300 Feet Altitude
NEMA®† Design “B” · 3 Phase 60 Hz
NRR = Non-Reverse Ratchet SRC = Self Release Coupling

Applications: Designed for use on turbine, mix flow, and propeller pumps

WPI enclosures are constructed to minimize the entrance of rain, snow and airborne
contaminants found in outdoor applications while providing optimal cooling to the thrust
bearing and electrical components.

WPII enclosures are constructed for hostile outdoor atmospheres. The WPII ventilation
circuit is arranged with a minimum of three abrupt changes in airflow direction of at
least 90° each. This results in an area of reduced velocity in the air intake that
provides protection against high velocity air, moisture and airborne particles reaching
the cooling passages of the motor. Emerson has approved its vertical WPII motors for
use in customer-defined Division 2 environments per the requirements of NEC article
500 and NFPA-70.

TEFC enclosures prevent the free exchange of air between the outside and inside of the
motor, but are not airtight. Each TEFC motor is cooled by a fan that is within the
machine, but external to the enclosing parts. Emerson has approved its vertical TEFC
motors for use in customer-defined Division 2 environments per the requirements of
NEC article 500 and NFPA-70. EMERSON® vertical TEFC motors are available up to 700

Explosionproof enclosures are built to contain explosions inside the motor casing as
well as to prevent ignition outside the motor by containing sparks, flashing and
explosions. EMERSON® vertical Hazardous Location motors are UL®† Recognized and
CSA®† Certified to meet UL Class 1 Group D. EMERSON® vertical Hazardous Location
motors are available up to 700 hp.

Vertical A.C. Motors
Solid Shaft
High & Low Thrust
WPI, WPII, TEFC & Explosionproof Enclosures

Product Features:
Class F Insulation, Class B Rise At Full Load (Sine Maximum 40°C Ambient,
Wave Power) 3,300 Feet Altitude
1.15 Service Factor (Sine Wave Power)(typical) – NEMA®† Design “B” · 3
for WPI & WPII enclosures Phase 60 Hz
1.00 Service Factor (Sine Wave Power) – for TEFC
& Explosionproof enclosures NRR = Non-Reverse Ratchet

Applications: Designed for use on turbine, mix flow, and propeller pumps

Vertical A.C. Motors
Solid Shaft
Medium Thrust
TEFC & Explosionproof Enclosures

Product Features:
Class F Insulation, Class B Rise at Full Load (Sine Wave Power)
1.00 Service Factor (Sine Wave Power)
Maximum 40°C Ambient, 3,300 Feet Altitud
NEMA® Design “B”
3 Phase 60 Hz

Applications: Designed for use on booster pumps

Emerson TITAN® horizontal motors are industrial workhorses. From

clean indoor environments to wet, corrosive, contaminated outdoor
environments, there is a TITAN® motor to fit your needs in WPI,
WPII & TEFC enclosures and API 547.

Emerson has the first motors specifically designed to the rigorous
API®† 547 Standard for severe-duty horizontal motors and the shortest delivery time
Product Features: Fully meets the stringent API 547 electrical and mechanical
requirements that build in quality, reliability and longevity; 250-700 horsepower; totally
enclosed fan cooled enclosures; sleeve or anti-friction bearings.

Applications: These motors are designed for use on direct-coupled, continuous-duty,

and centrifugal loads such as pumps, compressors, fans and blowers. API 547 standard
motors are also suitable for use in Division 2 locations.
TITAN® General Purpose Three Phase, Totally Enclosed Fan
Cooled (TEFC) CORRO-DUTY® Premium Efficient Motors

Product Features:
Class F Insulation, Class B Rise At Full Load (4)
Cast Iron Frame & End Shields
Corrosion Resistant Mill & Chemical Duty Paint
Stainless Steel Nameplate & Zinc Plated Hardware
Insulife 5000 Insulation Treatment (2 Cycles Epoxy VPI)
Thermostats - One Per Phase
40°C Ambient, NEMA Design B Performance (4)

Regreasable Ball Bearings

Long Barrel, 2 Hole Compression Lugs
Oversized Fabricated Steel Main Conduit Box
Single Phase 115V Space Heaters w/Accessory Conduit Box
Rotor Assembly Painted With Polyester Paint To Resist Corrosion
Stainless Steel Breather/Drains
Form Wound All Copper Windings
Note (4): On 60 Hertz Sine Wave Power

Applications: Designed for pulp & paper, mill & chemical and any other severe duty
environments found in the process industries.

General Purpose Three Phase TITAN® II WPI Ball Bearing
2300/4000 Volt Motors

Product Features:
Cast Iron & Fabricated Steel Construction
Insulife 5000 Insulation Treatment (2 Cycles Epoxy VPI)
Class F Insulation, 40°C Ambient
F1 Assembly Position (Extra Long Leads For F2 Factory Conversion)
Same Size 6200 or 6300 Series Ball Bearings
Qty-2 Accessory Conduit Boxes With Terminal Strips
3400 Cubic Inch Main conduit Box With Drip Lid
Single Phase 115V Space Heaters
Provisions For Bearing RTD’s, Dowel Pins & Vertical Jack Screws
Dual Stator RTD’s – 100 Ohm & 120 Ohm
Form Wound All Copper Windings
Applications: Designed for compressors, fans, blowers, pumps, and indoor or
relatively clean outdoor installations.

General Purpose Three Phase TITAN® II WPII Ball Bearing
2300/4000 Volt Motors

Product Features:
Cast Iron & Fabricated Steel Construction
Insulife 5000 Insulation Treatment (2 Cycles Epoxy VPI)
Class F Insulation, 40°C Ambient
F1 Assembly Position (Extra Long Leads For F2 Factory Conversion)
Same Size 6200 or 6300 Series Ball Bearings
Qty-2 Accessory Conduit Boxes With Terminal Strips
3400 Cubic Inch Main conduit Box With Drip Lid
Single Phase 115V Space Heaters
Provisions For Bearing RTD’s, Dowel Pins & Vertical Jack Screws
Dual Stator RTD’s – 100 Ohm & 120 Ohm
Provisions For Air Filters & Air Pressure Differential Switch
Form Wound All Copper Windings

Applications: Designed for compressors, fans, blowers, and pumps in wet corrosive
and contaminated environments found in heavy industries such as pulp & paper,
mining, petro-chemical, and municipal installations

Because petro-chemical companies cannot tolerate any unplanned outages, they

depend on ultra-reliable motors to run their processes. This dependence has led to the
following motor standards that cover squirrel cage AC induction motors:

Three Phase Modifiable Motors - Vertical Solid Shaft – “P” Base -
American Petroleum Institute (API) 610 Specification.

Product Features: These motors meet the API 610 tolerances

required for the driver shaft & base.

Applications: Commonly used for centrifugal pumps, turbines and mix flow on
pipelines as well as off-shore and on-shore rigs.
VARIDYNE® 2 variable speed drives is a new, rugged, yet simple
to setup, range of Sensorless Vector Drives developed by Emerson
Motor Technologies.

Product Features:
Open Loop Vector Control - Speed or Torque
Switching Frequency range: 3kHz - 18kHz -quiet motor operation
Built-in EMC filter
Output Frequency: 0-1500 Hz
Easy Setup - all parameters for basic usage on front panel
Program just ten parameters for 80% of applications
RS485, Modbus-RTU comm. port standard (RJ45 connector)
8 Preset Speeds
Dynamic Braking Transistor standard
Fan and Pump optimization with quadratic motor flux V/Hz
Wide range of options for easy system integration: Communication modules,
LogicStick for small PLC functionality, I/O options, SmartStick for configuration
cloning, and much more
Free configuration software on CD with each driveQuick installation with convenient
cable management

Applications: Ideal for Pumps, Blowers, Conveyors, Mixers, and much more.
Energy Efficiency Improvement and Cost Saving Opportunities for
Petroleum Refineries


1. Introduction

2. Energy Management and Control

3. Energy Recovery

4. Steam Generation and Distribution

5. Heat Exchangers and Process Integration

6. Process Heaters

7. Distillation

8. Hydrogen Management and Recovery

9. Equipments

10. Summary and Conclusions

1. Introduction
Uncertain energy prices in today’s marketplace negatively affect predictable earnings, which are a
concern, particularly for the publicly traded companies in the petroleum industry. Improving energy
efficiency reduces the bottom line of any refinery. For public and private companies alike, increasing
energy prices are driving up costs and decreasing their value added. Successful, cost-effective
investment into energy efficiency technologies and practices meets the challenge of maintaining the
output of a high quality product while reducing production costs. This is especially important, as
energy efficient technologies often include “additional” benefits , such as increasing the productivity of
the company.
Energy use is also a major source of emissions in the refinery industry, making energy efficiency
improvement an attractive opportunity to reduce emissions and operating costs. Energy efficiency
should be an important component of a company’s environmental strategy. End-of-pipe solutions can
be expensive and inefficient while energy efficiency can be an inexpensive opportunity to reduce
criteria and other pollutant emissions. Energy efficiency can be an efficient and effective strategy to
work towards the so-called “triple bottom line” that focuses on the social, economic, and
environmental aspects of a business. In short, energy efficiency investment is sound business
strategy in today's manufacturing environment.

2. Energy Management and Control

Improving energy efficiency in refineries should be approached from several directions. A strong,
corporate-wide energy management program is essential. Cross-cutting equipment and technologies,
such as boilers, compressors, and pumps, common to most plants and manufacturing industries
including petroleum refining, present well-documented opportunities for improvement. Equally
important, the production process can be fine-tuned to produce additional savings.
2.1 Energy Consumption
Energy use in a refinery varies over time due to changes in the type of crude processed, the product
mix (and complexity of refinery), as well as the sulfur content of the final products. Furthermore,
operational factors like capacity utilization, maintenance practices, as well as the age of the
equipment affect energy use in a refinery from year to year.
The petroleum refining industry is an energy intensive industry spending over $7 billion on energy
purchases in 2001. Figure 8 depicts the trend in energy expenditures of the U.S. petroleum refining
industry. The graph shows a steady increase in total expenditures for purchased electricity and fuels,
which is especially evident in the most recent years for which data is available. Valu e added as share
of value of shipments dipped in the early 1990s and has increased since to about 20%. Figure 8 also
shows a steady increase in fuel costs. Electricity costs are more or less stable, which seems to be
only partially caused by increased cogeneration.
The main fuels used in the refinery are refinery gas, natural gas, and coke. The refinery gas and coke
are by-products of the different processes. The coke is mainly produced in the crackers, while the
refinery gas is the lightest fraction from the distillation and cracking processes. Natural gas and
electricity represents the largest purchased fuels in the refineries. Natural gas is used for the
production of hydrogen, fuel for co-generation of heat and pow er (CHP), and as supplementary fuel
in furnaces.
Petroleum refineries are one of the largest co generators in the country, after the pulp and paper and
chemical industries. In 1998, cogeneration within the refining industry represented almost 13% of all
industrial cogenerated electricity.
A number of key processes are the major energy consumers in a typical refinery, i.e., crude
distillation, hydrotreating, reforming, vacuum distillation, and catalytic cracking. Hydrocracking and
hydrogen production are growing energy consumers in the refining industry. An energy balance for
refineries has been developed based on publicly available data on process throughput and energy
consumption Data.
The major energy consuming processes are crud e distillation, followed by the hydrotreater,
reforming, and vacuum distillation. This is followed by a number of processes consuming a somewhat
similar amount of energy, i.e., thermal cracking, catalytic cracking, hydrocracking, alkylate and isomer

In cracking the severity and in hydrotreating the treated feed may affect energy use. An average
severity is assumed for both factors. Furthermore, energy intensity assumptions are based on a
variety of sources, and balanced on the basis of available data. The different literature sources
provide varying assumptions for some processes, especially for electricity consumption.
Although the vast majority of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the petroleum fuel cycle occur at
the final consumer of the petroleum products, refineries are still a substantial source of GHG
emissions. The high energy consumption in refineries also leads to substantial GHG emissions. This
Energy Guide focuses on CO2 emissions due to the combustion of fossil fuels, although process
emissions of methane and other GHGs may occur at refineries. The estimate in this Energy Guide is
based on the fuel consumption as reported in the Petroleum Supply Annual of the Energy Information.

2.2 Energy Efficiency Opportunities

A large variety of opportunities exist within petroleum refineries to reduce energy consumption while
maintaining or enhancing the productivity of the plant. Studies by several companies in the petroleum
refining and petrochemical industries have demonstrated the existence of a substantial potential for
energy efficiency improvement in almost all facilities. Competitive benchmarking data indicate that
most petroleum refineries can economically improve energy efficiency by 10- 20%. The potential for
savings amounts to annual costs savings of millions to tens of millions of dollars for a refinery,
depending on current efficiency and size. Improved energy efficiency may result in co-benefits that far
outweigh the energy cost savings, and may lead to an absolute reduction in emissions.
Major areas for energy efficiency improvement are utilities (30%), fired heaters (20%), process
optimization (15%), heat exchangers (15%), motor and motor applications (10%), and other areas
(10%). Of these areas, optimization of utilities, heat exchangers, and fired heaters offer the most low
investment opportunities, while other opportunities may require higher investments. Experiences of
various oil companies have shown that most investments are relatively modest. However, all projects
require operating costs as well as engineering resources to develop and implement the project. Every
refinery and plant will be different. The most favorable selection of energy efficiency opportunities
should be made on a plant-specific basis.
In the following chapters energy efficiency opportunities are classified based on technology area. In
each technology area, technology opportunities and specific applications by process are discussed. In
addition to the strong focus on operation and maintenance of existing equipment, these practices also
address energy efficiency in the design of new facilities. For individual refineries, actual payback
period and energy savings for the measures will vary, depending on plant configuration and size, plant
location, and plant operating characteristics.
Although technological changes in equipment conserve energy, changes in staff behavior and attitude
can have a great impact. Staff should be trained in both skills and the company’s general approach to
energy efficiency in their day-to-day practices. Personnel at all levels should be aware of energy use
and objectives for energy efficiency improvement. Often this information is acquired by lower level
managers but not passed to upper management or down to staff (Caffal, 1995). Though changes in
staff behavior, such as switching off lights or improving operating guidelines, often save only very
small amounts of energy at one time, taken continuously over longer periods they can have a great

2.3 Energy Management Systems (EMS) and Programs

Changing how energy is managed by implementing an organization- wide energy management
program is one of the most successful and cost-effective ways to bring about energy efficiency
improvements. An energy management program creates a foundation for improvement and provides
guidance for managing energy throughout an organization. In companies without a clear program in
place, opportunities for improvement may be unknown or may not be promoted or implemented
because of organizational barriers. These barriers may include a lack of communication among
plants, a poor understanding of how to create support for an energy efficiency project, limited
finances, poor accountability for measures, or perceived change from the status quo. Even when
energy is a significant cost for an industry, many companies still lack a strong commitment to improve
energy management.

A successful program in energy management begins with a strong commitment to continuous

improvement of energy efficiency. This typically involves assigning oversight and management duties
to an energy director, establishing an energy policy, and creating a cross-functional energy team.
Steps and procedures are then put in place to assess performance, through regular reviews of energy
data, technical assessments, and benchmarking. From this assessment, an organization is then able
to develop a baseline of performance and set goals for improvement. Performance goals help to
shape the development and implementation of an action plan. An important aspect for ensuring the
successes of the action plan is involving personnel throughout the organization. Personnel at all levels
should be aware of energy use and goals for efficiency. Staff should be trained in both skills and
general approaches to energy efficiency in day-to-day practices. In addition, performance results
should be regularly evaluated and communicated to all personnel, recognizing high performers.
Evaluating performance involves the regular review of both energy use data and the activities carried
out as part of the action plan. Information gathered during the formal review process helps in setting
new performance goals and action plans and in revealing best practices. Establishing a strong
communications program and seeking recognition for accomplishments are also critical steps. Strong
communication and recognition help to build support and momentum for future activities.

2.4 Monitoring & Process Control Systems

The use of energy monitoring and process control systems can play an important role in energy
management and in reducing energy use. These may include sub-metering, monitoring and control
systems. They can reduce the time required to perform complex tasks, often improve product and
data quality and consistency, and optimize process operations. Typically, energy and cost savings are
around 5% or more for many industrial applications of process control systems. These savings apply
to plants without updated process control systems; many refineries may already have modern process
control systems in place to improve energy efficiency.
Although energy management systems are already widely disseminated in various industrial sectors,
the performance of the systems can still be improved, reducing costs and increasing energy savings
further. For example, total site energy monitoring and management systems can increase the
exchange of energy streams between plants on one site. Traditionally, only one process or a limited
number of energy streams were monitored and managed. Various suppliers provide site-utility control
systems. Specific energy savings and payback periods for overall adoption of an energy monitoring
system vary greatly from plant to plant and company to company. A variety of process control
systems are available for virtually any industrial process. A wide body of literature is available
assessing control systems in most industrial sectors such as chemicals and petroleum refining. Table
5 provides an overview of classes of process control systems.
Modern control systems are often not solely designed for energy efficiency, but rather for improving
productivity, product quality, and the efficiency of a production line. Applications of advanced control
and energy management systems are in varying development stages and can be found in all
industrial sectors. Control systems result in reduced downtime, reduced maintenance costs, reduced
processing time, and increased resource and energy efficiency, as well as improved emissions
control. Many modern energy efficient technologies depend heavily on precise control of process
variables, and applications of process control systems are growing rapidly. Modern process control
systems exist for virtually any industrial process. Still, large potentials exist to implement control
systems and more modern systems enter the market continuously. Hydrocarbon Processing produces
a semi-annual overview of new a dvanced process control technologies for the oil refining industry.
Process control systems depend on information from many stages of the processes. A separate but
related and important area is the development of sensors that are inexpensive to install, reliable, and
analyze in real-time. Current development efforts are aimed at the use of optical, ultrasonic, acoustic,
and microwave systems, that should be resistant to aggressive environments (e.g., oxidizing
environments in furnace or chemicals in chemical processes) and withstand high temperatures. The
information of the sensors is used in control systems to adapt the process conditions, based on
mathematical (“rule”-based) or neural networks and “fuzzy logic” models of the industrial process.
Neural network based control systems have successfully been used in the cement (kilns), food
(baking), non-ferrous metals (alumina, zinc ), pulp and paper (paper stock, lime kiln), petroleum
refineries (process, site), and steel industries (electric arc furnaces, rolling mills). New energy
management systems that use artificial intelligence, fuzzy logic (neural network), or rule-based
systems mimic the “best” controller, using monitoring data and learning from previous experiences.
Process knowledge based systems (KBS) have been used in design and diagnostics, but are hardly
used in industrial processes. Knowledge bases systems incorporate scientific and process information
applying a reasoning process and rules in the management strategy. A recent demonstration project
in a sugar beet mill in the UK using model based predictive control system demonstrated a 1.2
percent reduction in energy costs, while increasing product yield by almost one percent and reducing
off-spec product from 11 percent to four percent. Although energy management systems are already
widely disseminated in various industrial sectors, the performance of the systems can still be
improved, reducing costs and increasing energy savings further. Research for advanced sensors and
controls is ongoing in all sectors, both funded with public funds and private research. Sensors and
control techniques are identified as key technologies in various development areas including energy
efficiency, mild processing technology, environmental performance and inspection, and containment
boundary integrity. Future steps include further development of new sensors and control systems,
demonstration in commercial scale, and dissemination of the benefits of control systems in a wide
variety of industrial applications.
Process control systems are available for virtually all processes in the refinery, as well as for
management of refinery fuel gas, hydrogen, and total site control. An overview of commercially
offered products is produced by the journal Hydrocarbon Processing. Below examples of processes
and site-wide process control systems are discussed, selected on the basis of available case studies
to demonstrate the specific applications and achieved energy savings.
Refinery Wide Optimization: Total site energy monitoring and management systems can increase
the exchange of energy streams between plants on one site. Traditionally, only one plant or a limited
number of energy streams were monitored and managed. Various suppliers provide site-utility control
systems. The optimization system includes the cogeneration unit, FCC power recovery, and optimum
load allocation of boilers, as well as selection of steam turbines or electric motors to run compressors.
CDU: A few companies supply control equipm ent for CDUs. Aspen technology has supplied over 70
control applications for CDUs and 10 optimization systems for CDUs.
FCC: Several companies offer FCC control systems, including ABB Simcon, AspenTech, Honeywell,
Invensys, and Yokoga wa. Cost savings may vary between $0.02 to $0.40/bbl of feed with paybacks
between 6 and 18 months.
Hydrotreater: Installation of a multivariable predictive control (MPC) system was demonstrated on a
hydrotreater at a SASOL re finery in South Africa. The MPC aimed to improve the product yield while
minimizing the utility costs. The implementation of the system led to improved yield of gasoline and
diesel, reduction of flaring, and a 12% reduction in hydrogen consumption and an 18% re duction in
fuel consumption of the heater (Taylor et al., 2000). Fuel consumption for the reboiler increased to
improve throughput of the unit. With a payback period of 2 months, the project result ed in improved
yield and in direct and indirect (i.e., reduced hydrogen consumption) energy efficiency improvements.
Alkylation: Motiva’s Convent (Louisian a) refinery implemented an advanced control system for their
100,000 bpd sulfuric acid alkyla tion plant. The system aims to increase product yield (by
approximately 1%), reduce electricity consumption by 4.4%, reduce steam use by 2.2%, reduce
cooling water use by 4.9%, and reduce chemicals consumption by 5-6% (caustic soda by 5.1%,
sulfuric acid by 6.4%). The software package integrates information from chemical reactor analysis,
pinch analysis, information on flows,and information on energy use and emissions to optimize efficient
operation of the plant. No economic performance data was provided, but the payback is expected to
be rapid as only additional computer equipment and software had to be installed.

3. Energy Recovery
3.1 Flare Gas Recovery:
Flare gas recovery (or zero flaring) is a strategy evolving from the need to improve environmental
performance. Conventional flaring practice has been to operate at some flow greater than the
manufacturer’s minimum flow rate to avoid damage to the flare. Typically, flared gas consists of
background flaring (including planned intermittent and planned continuous flaring) and ups et-
blowdown flaring. In offshore flaring, background flaring can be as much as 50% of all flared gases
(Miles, 2001). In refineries, background flaring will generally be less than 50%, depending on
practices in the individual refinery.

Emissions can be further reduced by improved process control equipment and new flaring technology.
Development of gas- recovery systems, development of new ignition systems with low-pilot-gas
consumption, or elimination of pilots altogether with the use of new ballistic ignition systems can
reduce the amount of flared gas considerably. Development and demonstration of new ignition
systems without a pilot may result in increased energy efficiency and reduced emissions.
Reduction of flaring can be achieved by improved recovery systems, including installing recovery
compressors and collection and storage tanks. This technology is commercially available. The refinery
will install new recovery compressors and storage tanks to reduce flaring. No specific costs were
available for the flare gas recovery project, as it is part of a large package of measures for the
refinery. The overall project has projected annual savings of $52 million and a payback period of 2

3.2 Power Recovery:

Various processes run at elevat ed pressures, enabling the opportunity for power recovery from the
pressure in the flue gas. The major application for power recovery in the petroleum refinery is the fluid
catalytic cracker (FCC). However, power recovery can also be applied to hydrocrackers or other
equipment operated at elevated pressures. Modern FCC designs use a power recovery turbine or
turbo expander to recover energy from the pressure. The recovered energy can be used to drive the
FCC compressor or to generate power. Power recovery applications for FCC are characterized by
high volumes of high temperature gases at relatively low pressures, while operating continuously over
long periods of time between maintenance stops (> 32,000 hours). There is wide and long-term
experience with power recovery turbines for FCC applications. Power recovery turbines can also be
applied at hydrocrackers. Power can be recovered from the pressure difference between the reactor
and fractionation stages of the process.
4. Steam Generation and Distribution
Steam is used throughout the refinery. An estimated 30% of all onsite energy use in U.S. refineries is
used in the form of steam. Steam can be generated through waste heat recovery from processes,
cogeneration, and boilers. In mo st refineries, steam will be generated by all three sources, while
some (smaller) refine ries may not have cogeneration equipment installed. While the exact size and
use of a modern steam systems varies greatly, there is an overall pattern that steam systems follow.
The refining industry uses steam for a wide variety of purposes, the most important being process
heating, drying or concentrating, steam cracking, and distillation. Whatever the use or the source of
the steam, efficiency improvements in steam generation, distribution and end-use are possible. It is
estimated that steam generation, distribution, and cogeneration offer the most cost-effective energy
efficiency opportunities on the short term. This section focuses on the steam generation in boilers
(including waste heat boilers) and distribution.

4.1 Boilers
Boiler Feed Water Preparation: Depending on the quality of incoming water, the boiler feed water
(BFW) needs to be pre-treated to a varying degree. Various technologies may be used to clean the
water. A new technology is based on the use of membranes. In reverse osmosis (RO), the pre-filtered
water is pressed at increased pressure through a semi-permeable membrane. Reverse osmosis and
other membrane technologies are used more and more in water treatment (Marti n et al., 2000).
Membrane processes are very reliable, but need semi-annual cleaning and periodic re placement to
maintain performance.
Improved Process Control: Flue gas monitors are used to maintain optimum flame temperature, and
to monitor CO, oxygen and smoke. The oxygen content of the exhaust gas is a combination of excess
air (which is deliberately introduced to improve safety or reduce emissions) and air infiltration (air
leaking into the boiler). By combining an oxygen monitor with an intake airflow monitor, it is possible to
detect (small) leaks. Using a combination of CO and oxygen readings, it is possible to optimize the
fuel/air mixture for high flame temperature (and thus the best energy efficiency) and low emissions.
Reduce Flue Gas Quantities: Often, excessive flue gas results from leaks in the boiler and the flue,
reducing the heat transferred to the steam, and increasing pumping requirements. These leaks are
often easily repaired. The savings from this measure and from flue gas monitoring are not cumulative,
as they both address the same losses. Reduce Excess Air. The more air is used to burn the fuel, the
more heat is wasted in heating air. Air slightly in excess of the ideal stoichometric fuel/air ratio is
required for safety, and to reduce NOx emissions, and is dependent on the type of fuel.
Improve Insulation: New materials insulate better, and have a lower heat capacity. Savings of 6-26%
can be achieved if this improved in sulation is combined with improved heater circuit controls. This
improved control is required to maintain the output temperature range of the old firebrick system. As a
result of the ceramic fiber’s lower heat capacity, the output temperature is more vulnerable to
temperature fluctuations in the heating elements. The shell losses of a well-maintain ed boiler should
be less than 1%.
Maintenance: A simple maintenance program to ensure that all components of the boiler are
operating at peak performance can result in substantial savings. In the absence of a good
maintenance system, the burners and condensate return systems can wear or get out of adjustment.
These factors can end up costing a steam system up to 20-30% of initial efficiency over 2-3 years. On
average, the possible energy savings are estimated at 10%. Improved maintenance may also reduce
the emission of criteria air pollutants.
Recover Heat From Flue Gas: Heat from flue gasses can be used to preheat boiler feed water in an
economizer. While this measure is fairly common in large boilers, there is often still potential for more
heat recovery. The limiting factor for flue gas heat recovery is the economizer wall temperature that
should not drop below the dew point of acids in the flue 38 gas. Traditionally this is done by keeping
the flue gases at a temperature significantly above the acid dew point. However, the economizer wall
temperature is more dependent on the feed water temperature than flue gas temperature because of
the high heat transfer coefficient of water. As a result, it makes more sense to preheat the feed water
to close to the acid dew point before it enters the economizer. This allows the economizer to be
designed so that the flue gas exiting the economizer is just barely above the acid dew point. One
percent of fuel use is saved for every 25 °C reduction in exhaust gas temperature.
Recover Steam From Blowdown: When the water is blown from the high-pressure boiler tank, the
pressure reduction often produces substantial amounts of steam. This steam is low grade, but can be
used for space heating and feed water preheating. For larger high-pressure boilers, the losses may be
less than 0.5%. It is estimated that this measure can save 1.3% of boiler fuel use for all boilers below
100 MMBtu/h r (approximately 5% of all boiler capacity in refineries).

Reduce Standby Losses: In refineries often one or more boilers are kept on standby in case of
failure of the operating boiler. The steam production at standby can be reduced to virtually zero by
modifying the burner, combustion air supply and boiler feedwater supply. By installing an automatic
control system the boiler can reach full capacity within 12 minutes. Installing the control system and
modifying the boiler can result in energy savings up to 85% of the standby boiler, depending on the
use pattern of the boiler.

4.2 Steam Distribution

When designing new steam distribution systems, it is very important to take into account the velocity
and pressure drop. This reduces the risk of oversizing a steam pipe, which is not only a cost issue but
would also lead to higher heat losses. A pipe too small may lead to erosion and increased pressure
drop. Installations and steam demands change over time, which may lead to under-utilization of steam
distribution capacity utilization, and extra heat loss es. However, it may be too ex pensive to optimize
the system for changed steam demands. Still, checking for excess distribution lines and shutting off
those lines is a cost-effective way to reduce steam distribution losses.
Improve Insulation: This measure can be to use more insulating material, or to make a careful
analysis of the proper insulation material. Crucial factors in choosing insulating material include: low
thermal conductivity, dime nsional stability under temperature change, resistance to water absorption,
and resistance to combustion. Other characteristics of insulating material may also be important
depending on the application, e.g., tolerance of large temperature variations and system vibration,
and compressive strength where insulation is load bearing. Improving the insulation on the existing
stock of heat distribution systems would save an average of 3-13% in all systems.
Maintain Insulation: It is often found that after repair s, the insulation is not replaced. In addition,
some types of insulation can become brittle, or rot. As a result, energy can be saved by a regular
inspection and maintenance system. Exact energy savings and payback periods vary with the specific
situation in the plant.

Improve Steam Traps: Using modern thermostatic elements, steam traps can reduce energy use
while improving reliability. The main advantages offered by these traps are that they open when the
temperature is very close to that of the saturated steam (within 2 °C), purge non-condensable gases
after each opening, and are open on startup to allow a fast steam system warm-up. These traps are
also very reliable, and useable for a wide variety of steam pressures. Energy savings will vary
depending on the steam traps installed and state of maintenance.
Maintain Steam Traps: A simple program of checking steam traps to ensure that they operate
properly can save significant amounts of energy. If the steam traps are not regularly monitored, 15-
20% of the traps can be malfunctioning. In some plants, as many as 40% of the steam traps were
malfunctioning. Energy savings for a regular system of steam trap
Monitor Steam Traps Automatically: Attaching automated monitors to steam traps in conjunction
with a maintenance program can save even more energy, without significant added cost. This system
is an improvement over steam trap maintenance alone, because it gives quicker notice of steam trap
malfunctioning or failure. Using automatic monitoring is estimated to save an additional 5% over
steam trap maintenance.
Repair Leaks:. As with steam traps, the distribution pipes themselves often have leaks that go
unnoticed without a program of regular inspection and maintenance. In addition to saving up to 3% of
energy costs for steam production, having such a program can reduce the likelihood of having to
repair major leaks.
Recover Flash Steam: When a steam trap purges condensate from a pressurized steam distribution
system to ambient pressure, flash steam is produced. This steam can be used for space heating or
feed water preheating. The potential for this measure is extremely site dependent, as it is unlikely that
a producer will want to build an entirely new system of pipes to transport this low-grade st eam to
places where it can be used, unless it can be used close to the steam traps. Hence, the savings are
strongly site dependent. Many sites will use multi-pressure steam systems. In this case, flash steam
formed from high-pressure condensate can be routed to reduced pressure systems.
Return Condensate: Reusing the hot condensate in the boiler saves energy and reduces the need
for treated boiler feed water. The substantial savings in energy costs and purchased chemicals costs
makes building a return piping system attractive.

5. Heat Exchangers and Process Integration

Heating and cooling are operations found throughout the refinery. Within a single process, multiple
streams are heated and cooled multiple times. Optimal use and design of heat exchangers is a key
area for energy efficiency improvement.

5.1 Heat Transfer– Fouling

Heat exchangers are used throughout the refinery to recover heat from processes and transfer heat to
the process flows. Next to efficient integration of heat flows throughout the refinery, the efficient
operation of heat exchangers is a major area of interest. In a complex refinery, most processes occur
under high temperature and pressure conditions; the management and optimization of heat transfer
among processes is therefore key to increasing overall energy efficiency. Fouling, a deposit buildup in
units and piping that impedes heat transfer, requires the combustion of additional fuel.
CDU: Fouling is an important factor for efficiency losses in the CDU, and within the CDU, the crude
preheater is especially susceptible to fouling. Initial analysis on fouling effects of a 100,000 bbl/day
crude distillation unit found an additional heating load of 12.3 kBtu/barrel (13.0 MJ/barrel) processes.
Reducing this additional heating load could results in significant energy savings.

5.2 Process Integration

Process integration or pinch technology refers to the exploitation of potential synergies that are
inherent in any system that consists of multiple components working together. In plants that have
multiple heating and cooling demands, the use of process integration techniques may significantly
improve efficiencies.
The critical innovation in applying pinch analysis was the development of “composite curves” for
heating and cooling, which represent the overall thermal energy demand and availability profiles for
the process as a whole. When these two curves are drawn on a temperature-enthalpy graph, they
reveal the location of the process pinch (the point of closest temperature approach), and the minimum
thermodynamic heating and cooling requirements. These are called the energy targets. The
methodology involves first identifying the targets and then following a systematic procedure for
designing heat exchanger networks to achieve these targets. The optimum approach temperature at
the pinch is determined by balancing the capital-energy tradeoffs to achieve the desired payback. The
procedure applies equally well to new designs as well as to retrofits of existing plants.
Process Integration - Hot Rundown – Typically process integration studies focus on the integration
of steam flows within processes and between processes. Sometimes it is possible to improve the
efficiency by retaining the heat in intermediate process flows from one unit to another unit. This
reduces the need for cooling or quenching in one unit and reheating in the other unit. Such an
integration of two processes can be achieved through automated process controls linking the process
flows between both processes.
Crude Distillation Unit (CDU): The CDU process all the incoming crude and, hence, is a major
energy user in all refinery layouts (except for those refineries that receive intermediates by pipeline
from other refineries). CDU is the largest energy consuming process of all refinery processes. Energy
use and products of the CDU depend on the type of crude processed. New CDUs are supplied by a
number of global companies.

6. Process Heaters
Over 60% of all fuel used in the refinery is used in furnaces and boilers. The average thermal
efficiency of furnaces is estimated at 75-90%. Accounting for unavoidable heat losses and dewpoint
considerations, the theoretical maximum efficiency is around 92% (HHV). This suggests that on
average a 10% improvement in energy efficiency can be achieved in furnace and burner design.
6.1 Maintenance
Regular maintenance of burners, draft control and heat exchangers is essential to maintain safe and
energy efficient operation of a process heater.

6.2 Air Preheating

Air preheating is an efficient way of improving the efficiency and increasing the capacity of a process
heater. The flue gases of the furnace are used to preheat the combustion air. Every 35°F drop in the
exit flue gas temperature increases the thermal efficiency of the furnace by 1%. Typical fuel savings
range between 8 and 18% , and is typically economically attractive if the flue gas temperature is
higher than 650°F and the heater size is 50 MMBtu/hr or more. The optimum flue gas temperature is
also determined by the sulfur content of the flue gases to reduce corrosion. When adding a preheater,
the burner needs to be rerated for optimum efficiency.

6.3 New Burners

In many areas, new air quality regulation w ill demand refineries to reduce NOx and VOC emissions
from furnaces and boilers. Instead of installing expensive selective catalytic reduction (SCR) flue gas
treatment plants , new burner technology reduces emissions dramatically. This will result in cost
savings as well as help to decrease electricity costs for the SCR.

7. Distillation
Distillation is one of the most energy intensive operations in the petroleum refinery. Distillation is used
throughout the refinery to separate process products, either from the CDU/VDU or from conversion
processes. The incoming flow is heated, after which the products are separated on the basis of boiling
points. Heat is provided by process heaters and/or by steam. Energy efficiency opportunities exist in
the heating side and by optimizi ng the distillation column.

8. Hydrogen Management and Recovery

Hydrogen is used in the refine ry in processes such as hydrocrackers and desulfurization using
hydrotreaters. The production of hydrogen is an energy intensive process using naphtha reformers
and natural gas-fueled reformers. These processes and other processes also generate gas streams
that may contain a certain amount of hydrogen not used in the processes, or generated as by-product
of dist illation of conversion processes.

8.1 Hydrogen Integration

Hydrogen network integration and optimization at refineries is a new and important application of
pinch analysis (see above). Most hydrogen systems in refineries feature limited integration and pure
hydrogen flows are sent from the reformers to the different processes in the refinery.

8.2 Hydrogen Recovery

Hydrogen recovery is an important technology development area to improve the efficiency of
hydrogen recovery, reduce the costs of hydrogen recovery, and increase the purity of the resulting
hydrogen flow.

9. Equipments
9.1 Motors
Electric motors are used throughout the refinery, and represent over 80% of all electricity use in the
refinery. The major applications are pumps (60% of all motor use), air compressors (15% of all motor
use), fans (9%), and other applications.

9.2 Pumps
In the petroleum refining industry, about 59% of all electricity use in motors is for pumps. This equals
48 % of the total electrical energy in refineries, making pumps the single largest electricity user in a
refinery. Pumps are used throughout the entire plant to generate a pressure and move liquids. Studies
have shown that over 20% of the energy consumed by these systems could be saved through
equipment or control system changes.
9.3 Compressors and Compressed Air
Compressors consume about 12% of total electricity use in refineries, or an estimated 5,800 GWh.
The major energy users are compressors for furnace combustion air and gas streams in the refinery.
Large compressors can be driven by electric motors, steam turbines, or gas turbines. A relatively
small part of energy consumption of compressors in refineries is used to generate compressed air.
Compressed air is probably the most expensive form of energy available in an industrial plant
because of its poor efficiency. Typically, efficiency from start to end-use is around 10% for
compressed air systems. In addition, the annual energy cost required to operate compressed air
systems is greater than their initial cost. Because of this inefficiency and the sizeable operating costs,
if compressed air is used, it should be of minimum quantity for the shortest possible time, constantly
monitored and reweighed against alternatives. Because of its limited use in a refinery (but still an
inefficient source of energy), the main compressed ai r measures found in other industries are
highlighted. Many opportunities to reduce energy in compressed air systems are not prohibitively

9.4 Fans
Fans are used in boilers, furnaces, cooling towers, and many other applications. As in other motor
applications, considerable opportunities exist to upgrade the performance and improve the energy
efficiency of fan systems. Efficiencies of fan systems vary considerably across impeller types.
However, the cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency opportunities depends strongly on the
characteristics of the individual system.

9.5 Lighting
Lighting and other utilities represent less than 3% of electricity use in refineries. Still, potential energy
efficiency improvement measures exist, and may contribute to an overall energy management

9.6 Power Generation

Most refineries have some form of onsite power generation. In fact, refineries offer an excellent
opportunity for energy efficient power generation in the form of combined heat and power production
(CHP). CHP provides the opportunity to use internally generated fuels for power production, allowing
greater independence of grip operation and even export to the grid. This increases reliability of supply
as well as the cost-effectiveness. The cost benefits of power export to the grid will depend on the
regulation in the state where the refinery is located. Not all states allow wheeling of power (i.e ., sales
of power directly to another customer using the grid for transport) while the regulation may also differ
with respect to the tariff structure for power sales to the grid operator.

9.7 Other Opportunities

Desalter. Alternative designs for desalting include multi-stage desalters and combination of AC and
DC fields. These alternative designs may lead to increased efficiency and lower energy consumption.

10. Summary and Conclusions

Petroleum refining in the United States is the largest refining industry in the world, providing inputs to
virtually any economic sector, including the transport sector and the chemical industry. The industry
operates 146 refineries (as of 2004) around the country, employing over 65,000 employees. The
refining industry produces a mix of products with a total value exceeding $151 billion. Energy costs
represents one the largest production cost factors in the petroleum refining industry, making energy
efficiency improvement an important way to reduce costs and increase predictable earnings,
especially in times of high energy-price volatility.


Brief summary of this article is extracted from the website

Petrochemical Refineries & Industries
Spacechem's capabilities include designing and fabrication of tanks, chimneys, Gratings,
Cones and impellers, Side Steam Filters, Air Receivers, Floating Roof Tanks, Pressure
Filters, Sand Filter and Pressure Vessel. We have executed fabrication and supply orders
for ONGC, IOCL, BPCL and Balmer & Lawrie

Petrochemical Petrochemical
Refineries & Industries Refineries & Industries

Details Of Equipment Supplied To Various Petrochemical Refineries &

Purchaser Name Project Equipment Description
1 GRASIM IND. LTD. Nagdha (M.P.) S.S. Casted Cone & Impeller
2 UNITECH MACHINES I.O.C.L. Mugal-Sarai M.S. Gratings
3 BLUE STAR LTD. I.O.C.L. Jaipur, Rewari, M.S. Gratings for Rolling Ladder
Bhatinda, Sangrur
4 BLUE STAR LTD. I.O.C.L. Jaipur, Rewari, Rolling Ladder for Floating Roof
Bhatinda, Sangrur Tank
5 BLUE STAR LTD. I.O.C.L. Jaipur, Rewari, Structure for Floating Roof Tank
Bhatinda, Sangrur
6 BLUE STAR LTD. I.O.C.L. Jaipur, Rewari, M.S. Gratings
Bhatinda, Sangrur
7 UNITECH MACHINES Bawana, Bamnauli & Cylindrical Oil & Storage Tank
LTD. Delhi
8 BLUE STAR LTD. Numaligarh Refinery Ltd., Stand Post
9 LLOYD I.O.C.L R&D Center, Oil Storage Tank
10 UNITECH MACHINES Honda Siel, Noida Water Tank With F.R.P. Lining
11 BLUE STAR LTD. B.P.C.L Marketing Sumps
Terminal Harayana
12 UNITECH MACHINES Maruti Udyod Ltd., Oil Storage Tanks
LTD. Gurgaon
13 UNITECH MACHINES Balmer Lawrie, Faridabad M.S. Oil Storage Tanks
14 BLUE STAR LTD. I.O.C.L. Panipat Refinery Stand Post
15 BLUE STAR LTD. Thermal Power Suratgarh M.S. Oil Storage Tanks along
Rajasthan with Foundation Bolt
16 BLUE STAR LTD. O.N.G.C. Mehsana Oil Side Stream Filter & Foundation
Field,Gujrat Bolt
17 ANAND GATE INDIA Lalru, Punjab Fab. & Erection of Banbury
(P) LTD. Platform, Portable Mill Transfer,
Back Roll Feed Conveyor
18 BLUE STAR LTD. I.O.C.L., Panipat Stand Post
19 ATV PETROCHEM Chhata Mathura 26 mtr. High Steel Stacks &
LTD. Erection at Site
20 ABB LTD. Embassy of Federal Fabrication and Erection of Flag
Republic of Germany Post
21 IRCON Robert Ganj, Varanasi Bitumen Storage Tank
22 MODI RUBBER LTD. Tyre Factory Tyre Building Machine, Tube
Curing Press
23 PACE MARKETING Sahibabad Industrial M.S. Tank 15 Kl. Capacity
SPECILITIES LTD. Area, Site-IV Ghaziabad
24 TAIKISHA ENGG (I) Honda Motors & Scooter Feeder Assembly For Conveyer
LTD. (I) Pvt Ltd., Gurgaon
25 TAIKISHA ENGG (I) Honda Motors & Scooter Detector Parts For Conveyor
LTD. (I) Pvt Ltd., Gurgaon
26 TAIKISHA ENGG (I) Honda Motors & Scooter Fabricated Material for Conveyor
LTD. (I) Pvt Ltd., Gurgaon
27 I.S.G.E.C. JOHN Jyoti Bio Energy Ltd., Chimney
28 I.S.G.E.C. JOHN Shree Rayal Seema Chimney
THOMPSON Green Energy Ltd., A.P.
29 I.S.G.E.C. JOHN Roshni Power Projects Bunker
30 DEGREMONT INDIA Delhi Jal Board Rithala M.S. Thrust
31 DEGREMONT INDIA Delhi Jal Board Rithala Jib Crane
32 DEGREMONT INDIA Delhi Jal Board Rithala Jib Crane
33 DEGREMONT INDIA Delhi Jal Board Rithala Biofor Weir
34 VOLTAS LTD. Vam Organic & Chemicals Clarifier Bridge
Limited, Gajraula
35 VOLTAS LTD. Sir Shadilal Distillery Clarifier Bridge
&Chemical Works
36 VOLTAS LTD. Municipal Corporation, Clarifier Compound and
Simla Flocculator
37 B.R. AGRO Agro Project Kashipur Solvent Storage Tank
38 B.R. AGRO Agro Project Kashipur Extraction Vessel
39 UNITECH MACHNES Bangalore Water Supply Air Receiver
LTD. and Sewerage Board
40 UNITECH MACHNES Bangalore Water Supply Pipe Sleeve, Gang Stand Gland
LTD. and Sewerage Board Cooling Pipe
41 UNITECH MACHNES Godavari Sugar, Hydro Pneumatic Tank & Priming
LTD. Sameervadi Tank
42 LLOYD INSULATION Moser Baer (I) Ltd., 100 KL Storage Tank
(I) LTD. Noida
43 LLOYD INSULATION IOCL L.P.G. Bottling Air Receiver
(I) LTD. Plant, Devangonthi,
44 I.S.G.E.C. JOHN Rayal Seema Power Bunker
THOMPSON Tech. Ltd., A.P.
Electric Motor Lubrication
Industry - Refining, Petro-Chemical
& Pulp-Paper

Case History:
Two U.S. west coast refineries had similar expansion projects
at the same time. One plant used pure oil mist to lubricate their
motors and the other did not. During 3 1/2 years of operation, motor
bearing failure rate was about 90% lower at the plant using oil mist.

LubriMist ® Oil Mist Can Be Cost Effectively Installed

on Your Electric Motors And Deliver
Significantly Improved Machinery Reliability.
The Problem:
It has been stated that 60%-80% of electric motor failures are related to bearings. Many times grease is not applied
properly to the bearings, which creates added friction and heat that reduces bearing life and consumes energy.

Proper Application:
Thousands of motors are currently being lubricated with pure oil mist as shown in the above illustration. Horizontal motors
with a NEMA 254 frame size (15 HP) and larger with ball bearings that have re-greaseable construction will benefit from
pure oil mist. Vertical motors with a NEMA 180 frame size (3 HP) and larger with ball bearings that have re-greaseable
construction will benefit from pure oil mist. The one location where oil mist is not applicable is for motors that must
meet the requirements of NFPA Class 1 Division 1 (Explosion Proof). Electric motors are normally used as drivers for
centrifugal pumps and when pumps are being lubricated from an oil mist system, it can be easily extended to the motors.
The same lubricant that lubricates the pumps is compatible with motors. The grease should be removed from the bearings
to facilitate flow through of the oil mist. A small amount of the oil mist will enter the interior of the motor after lubricating the
bearings; therefore a case drain must be installed in addition to the bearing bracket drains to prevent pooling of the oil.
The lubricant is not detrimental to the internal parts of the motor, however the lead wires should be sealed in the terminal

The Solution:
Eliminate the manual task of lubricating motors by automating the process. New motors that are required for pure oil mist
shall be ordered “For oil mist lubrication” as supplied by the OEM. Motors that are ordered as “Provisions for oil mist
lubrication” will be shipped with the bearings packed with grease that has to be removed prior to connecting to an oil mist
system. LSC technicians can extend the existing system to serve the motor bearings or LSC can provide a stand-alone
mist system with a set of engineering instructions to allow your technicians to carry out the installation.


1740 Stebbins Drive, Houston, Texas 77043
Phone: 713.464.6266 • 800.800.5823 • Fax: 713.464.9871
Web: www.lsc.com • Click here to contact us at LSC

February 2000


1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Challenges on the Horizon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Industry’s Response . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

2 A Vision for the Future . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

3 Energy Efficiency and Process Improvement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Current Situation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Future Characteristics: Energy Use and Refining Processes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Performance Targets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Technical, Institutional and Market Barriers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Research and Development Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

4 Environmental Performance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Current Situation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Future Characteristics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Performance Targets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Technical and Institutional Barriers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Research and Development Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

5 Inspection and Containment Boundary Integrity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Current Situation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Future Characteristics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Performance Targets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Technical Barriers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Research and Development Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

6 Fuels & Fuel Delivery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

Current Situation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Future Characteristics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Performance Targets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Technical and Institutional Barriers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Research and Development Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Challenges on the Horizon

Petroleum is the single largest source of energy for United States. On average, every
citizen in the U.S. consumes about 20 pounds of petroleum per day. Petroleum is
critical to the U.S. economy and quality of life, providing fuels for transportation, heating
and industrial uses. Petroleum is the primary source of raw materials for the chemical
industry, which relies on petrochemicals to produce a myriad of consumer goods, from
paints to plastics. In 1996 the refining industry had over 90,000 employees, and nearly
2 million people were employed in service stations. Revenues from refining and refined
products represent a significant contribution to the U.S. gross domestic product.

In the 21st century, the petroleum industry must prepare to address many important
challenges. Major forces for change include: continuing concern for the environment;
governmental regulation and policy; higher consumer expectations for fuels and fuel
delivery systems; and global competition. In many
cases, technology research and development will be
Key Drivers Affecting the Industry
needed to meet these challenges and maintain the
{ Environmental regulations health and profitability of the industry.
{ Increasing cleanliness of fuels
{ Globalization
{ Increasing yields from crudes of decreasing The life-cycle effect of petroleum fuels on the
{ environment continues to be a cause for concern. The
Uncertainty about future consumer fuels of choice
{ Pressure to reduce emissions of CO2 industry is unique in that both the processes used to
{ Attaining adequate profit margins
{ Proactively dealing with public scrutiny, refine petroleum as well as the products generated
environment, global warming and other issues (e.g., fuels) are subject to government regulation. The
combination of regulations to reformulate fuels and
reduce emissions from refinery operations make
petroleum refining one of the most heavily regulated industries in the United States. As
cash flows are diverted to ensure compliance with regulation, the direction of
technological development, as well as profitability, is often impacted.

Consumers also have a tremendous influence on markets and demand for petroleum
products. Increasingly, consumers are demanding fuels that are safe, less polluting,
inexpensive, and provide high performance. They also desire means of fuel delivery
that are quick, convenient, and environmentally sound. Advances in technology may be
needed to ensure fuels as well as fuel delivery systems meet consumer expectations.

Global competition and low profit margins have led to joint ventures, mergers, and
restructuring throughout the industry. The number of refineries has declined
dramatically since the 1980s, with those remaining operating at higher capacity and with
greater efficiency. Refineries have had to deal with the economic impacts of changing
crude prices, crude quality variability, and low marketing and transport margins, while
meeting increased demand for refined products. The industry must continue to find


ways to balance the demand for better and more products with the desire for increased
profitability and capital productivity. Strategically-driven investments in R&D and new
technologies represent one way to help drive the industry toward a higher level of
financial performance.

Industry Response

In preparing to respond to these challenges, the petroleum industry, through the

American Petroleum Institute (API) and the National Petrochemical and Refiners
Association (NPRA), has developed Technology Vision 2020: A Technology Vision for
the U.S. Petroleum Industry [API 1999a]. This technology vision for the industry builds
on two National Petroleum Council (NPC) reports published in 1995 [NPC 1995a, NPC
1995b], which discuss future issues for the oil and gas industry, and the research
needed to strengthen the industry over the next two decades.

Technology Vision 2020 describes the role of the industry in today’s economy, identifies
major goals for the future, and outlines broad technology needs. To support some of the
pre-competitive R&D needed to meet future industry goals, the vision advocates
cooperation among the petroleum industry, the U.S. Department of Energy, the national
laboratories, and academia. Government-industry collaboration and effective use of the
scientific capabilities of the national laboratory system can leverage scarce funds for
research and help to ensure that technology advances are identified and made.

The driving force behind the vision is API’s Technology Committee, which is charged
with identifying the technical areas of greatest concern to the industry and developing a
technology roadmap to address those concerns. In 1999, API took a major step to
better define research needs through a technology roadmap workshop held in Chicago,
Illinois [API 1999b]. Attendees included participants from six major oil companies, API,
and NPRA, along with representatives from the national laboratories, academia, and
consulting firms serving the industry. The dialog at this workshop provided insights on
the characteristics of the ideal refinery, attainable goals, barriers to overcome, and
priority research areas.

The results of the workshop, along with Technology Vision 2020, provide the foundation
for this technology roadmap. The goals and research priorities outlined in the roadmap
will form the basis for making new research investments by government and industry.
Hopefully it will stimulate new government-industry partnerships that will further serve to
strengthen the industry, while providing benefits to the nation in terms of energy
efficiency and environmental performance.

The technology roadmap is a dynamic working document for the API Technology
Committee. Expectations are that it will be re-evaluated periodically to ensure that
research priorities remain relevant to the needs of both the petroleum industry and its


By 2020, it is envisioned that the petroleum industry will exhibit a number of desirable
characteristics that represent continuous improvements to current practices. These
relate to the efficient use of energy as a fuel and feedstock in refining processes, the
environmental performance of refineries and fuel delivery systems, and the reliability
and safety of plant equipment.

The vision of the industry for the future is summarized as follows [API 1999a, API

The petroleum industry of the future will be environmentally sound,

energy-efficient, safe and simpler to operate. It will be completely
automated, operate with minimal inventory, and use processes that are
fundamentally well-understood. Over the long term, it will be
sustainable, viable, and profitable, with complete synergy between
refineries and product consumers.

To improve energy and process efficiency, the industry will strive to

use cost-effective technology with lower energy-intensity. Refineries will
integrate state-of-the-art technology (e.g., separations, catalysts,
sensors and controls, biotechnology) to leap-frog current refinery
practice and bring efficiency to new levels. The result will be a highly
efficient, flexible refinery that can produce a wider range of products
from crudes of variable quality as well as non-conventional feedstocks.

Refineries will take advantage of deregulation of utilities to improve their

ability to generate (or cogenerate) electricity on-site, and potentially sell
electricity back to the grid. Overall this will reduce the amount of energy
required for process heat and power, and improve profitability. There
will be increasing use of less energy-intensive biological processes
(e.g., bioprocessing of crude, biotreatment of wastewater,
bioremediation of soil and groundwater).

Improvements in consumer fuel use efficiency will be driven by

regulation, competitive forces and desired performance requirements.
Optimization of engines and fuels as a single entity will result in better
efficiency in both gasoline and diesel engines. New sources of energy
for transportation (e.g., fuel cells for cars) will continue to be developed
and implemented.

To improve environmental performance, the industry will strive for

lower emissions, with no harm to human health or the environment. The


manufacture, storage, and delivery of fuels will be subject to engineering
controls to avoid exposure, and sophisticated sensor technology to immediately
detect, avoid, and correct releases to the environment. Emissions from engine
exhaust and fuel evaporation will be reduced through a combination of
regulation and better science and engineering of vehicles, transport systems,
and fuel formulations.

A holistic approach, including life-cycle analysis from cradle to grave,

will be used to minimize pollution from refining, distribution, retail, and
transportation. Environmental rules will hopefully evolve through risk-
based, prioritized approaches toward environmental concerns.

New structural materials and inspection technology will reduce the

cost of maintenance, increase plant safety, and extend the useful life of
equipment. Inspection technology will be global, on-stream, non-
invasive, and in some cases, operated remotely. Equipment will be
highly instrumented to monitor structural integrity, and the industry will
have no containment boundary releases that significantly impact safety,
health or the environment.

In future, the refinery distribution system and retail delivery services

will be flexible to handle various feedstocks and a variety of fuels for
conventional and emerging alternative-fueled transportation. Service
stations will be larger, more convenient and have higher throughput.
Fueling processes and underground storage systems will be improved
to reduce potential impacts on the environment and human health. For
example, automated fuel dispensing systems will enable consumers to
obtain fuel quickly and conveniently.

With this vision in mind, the industry has come together to outline specific goals and the
technology research that will be needed to work toward the objectives described above.
The technology roadmap which follows is a summary of those efforts.


Current Situation

Petroleum refining is the most energy-intensive manufacturing industry in the United

States. According to the most recent Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey
(MECs) conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. petroleum refining
industry consumed 6.3 quads (quadrillion Btu, or 1015 Btu) of energy in 1994 (excluding
electricity generating and transmission losses incurred by the generating utility) [DOE
1997]. As shown in Figure 1, the industry uses a diversity of fuel sources, and relies
heavily on refining process by-products for energy. These include refinery gas
(sometimes referred to as “still” gas, a component of crude oil and product of distillation,
cracking and other refinery processes), petroleum coke, and other oil-based by-
products. Typically about 65 percent of the energy consumed by the industry for heat
and power is obtained from by-product fuels.

Refineries use crude oil to manufacture a wide variety of

0.4 Quads
0.3 Quads fuels for transportation and heating. They also manufacture
a number of non-fuel products, such as lubricating oils, wax,
Natural Gas asphalt, and petrochemical feedstocks (e.g., ethylene,
1.6 Quads
propylene). Any energy source (e.g., petroleum, natural
Refinery Gas gas) that is used to manufacture non-energy products is
2.9 Quads
considered an energy feedstock. Of the 6.3 quadrillion Btus
Petroleum Coke
1.1 Quads used by refineries in 1994, about 38 percent was in the form
of energy feedstocks used to manufacture non-fuel products
Total Energy
Use: 6.3 [DOE 1997].
Quads (1994)
Petroleum refineries generate a considerable amount of
Figure 1. Distribution of Energy Use in
U.S. Petroleum Refineries electricity on-site. In 1994, U.S. refineries met over 40
percent of electricity requirements with on-site generation.
Nearly all of this electricity was from cogeneration units, which also generate steam for
process heating.

Energy consumption in the refinery is dominated by a few processes which are not
necessarily the most energy-intensive, but have the greatest throughput. For example,
atmospheric and vacuum distillation account for 35-40 percent of total process energy
consumed in the refinery, primarily because every barrel of crude must be subjected to
an initial separation by distillation. Another example is hydrotreating, which is used to
remove sulfur, nitrogen, and metal contaminants from feeds and products and accounts
for about 19 percent of energy consumption. Many refinery streams must be
hydrotreated prior to entering downstream refining units to reduce sulfur and catalyst
poisoning and achieve the before and after desired product quality [DOE 1998].


Some processes are energy-intensive, but produce excess steam or hydrogen which
can be exported to other processes. Prime examples are fluid catalytic cracking and
catalytic reforming. Relative energy use for heat and power among the major refinery
processes (excluding steam or hydrogen produced) is shown in Figure 2 [DOE 1998].

Over the last twenty years the industry has reduced its energy consumption (Btu/barrel
of crude) by nearly 30 percent. This has been accomplished through conservation
measures, consolidation of capacity, shut downs of older, smaller, inefficient facilities,
and continued improvements in technology. Substantial technological progress has
been made, for example, in development of catalysts (e.g., multi-functional catalytic
cracking catalysts) which have greater intrinsic activity, higher yields, and more
tolerance to poisoning – all of which impact the energy required for processing.

Refineries have also made increasing use of practices that improve overall energy
efficiency, such as plant heat integration, recovery of waste heat, and implementation of
improved housekeeping and maintenance programs. These activities continue to result
in incremental improvements in energy efficiency throughout the U.S. refinery system.
In recent years, energy intensity has
remained relatively constant.
However, the cost of energy for
Figure 2. Relative Energy Use of heat and power still accounts for as
Major Refinery Processes much as 40 percent of operating
costs in the refinery. When faced
with high environmental costs and
low margins, refiners will
Hydrotreating increasingly look to improvements
in energy efficiency to lower costs
and increase profitability. Advances
Catalytic Reforming in technology will remain a viable
option for improving the way energy
Fluid Catalytic Cracking
is used, particularly for very energy-
Vacuum Distillation intensive processes.

In the distribution, delivery and
retail end of the industry, energy
0 200 400 600 800 is consumed in the form of fuels
~Annual Energy Use (Trillion Btu) for transportation of refined products
and in power used for heating and
lighting facilities. Improvements to this consumption can potentially come from engines
and vehicles with better mile/gallon performance; and improvements in retail station
construction, sizing, supply logistics, and lighting.


Future Characteristics: Energy Use and Refining Processes

Ideally, by 2020 the petroleum industry would exhibit a number of desirable

characteristics that are significant improvements over current practice. In general,
refineries in the future would optimize energy use through more efficient heat exchange
and heat integration, better controls, and adopting energy-saving approaches to very
energy-intensive process units (e.g., furnaces, distillation towers). Technology to
eliminate or substantially reduce fouling would reduce expensive maintenance and
down time requirements. Effective integration of controls and practices to increase
energy efficiency (e.g., pipe insulation) would result in higher levels of energy
optimization. Refineries would maximize their ability to produce energy on-site by
increasing the use of cogeneration to generate both heat and power, and in some cases
would be producing electricity for sale back to the local grid. In many cases, high
efficiency turbines and steam generators would be used to achieve a high thermal
efficiency in cogeneration and power generation systems.

Processes in the future would be

Future Characteristics characterized by a high degree of
flexibility for handling crudes of
Energy Efficiency variable quality, as well as entirely new
{ Energy use is optimized throughout the refinery complex feedstocks. Refineries would be
{ Energy efficiency and process controls are integrated
{ Fouling of heat exchangers is essentially eliminated tightly controlled to increase
{ Innovative heat exchangers are in place (all helical, performance and efficiency, and
vertical, no baffles) require less maintenance and
{ Use of cogeneration in refineries is optimized, and laboratory services. Costs would be
refineries are power producers minimized by operating with minimal
{ Use of very energy-intensive processes (e.g., distillation, inventory using completely automated
furnaces) is minimized
{ Source of heat loss (e.g., in pipes) are easily indentified processes where possible.
through monitoring
{ Containment vessels are energy efficient Plant engineers would be able to rely
on demonstrated, reliable process
Processing models to optimize plant performance.
{ Processes have optimum flexibility for dealing with variable Many new processes would be in
crude quality
{ Plants are tightly controlled, and rely on intelligent controls place to accommodate new fuels and
{ Plants are fully automated, lab-free, maintenance free, and new fuel requirements, and existing
operated in JIT format (minimal inventory) processes would be replaced with
{ More bioscience is used in processing alternatives that are more energy
{ Effective, well-understood process models are in place
{ Solid phase catalysts are replaced with ionic liquids efficient and environmentally sound
{ New processes are in place to handle new fuels and fuel (e.g., ionic liquids in place of solid
requirements phase catalysts).


Performance Targets

To strive for the ideal refinery in 2020, the industry has identified broad performance
targets for energy efficiency and process improvement. There are two central themes
underlying these goals: (1) to identify, develop and implement entirely new technology
and practices to replace currently used inefficient, energy-intensive technology, and (2)
to improve the energy efficiency of existing technology and practices, where possible.

Replacing conventional energy-

Performance Targets for Energy Efficiency intensive separation processes, for
and Process Improvement example, could have a major impact
on energy consumption in the
{ Identify routes that, if implemented, would reduce industry. Distillation processes
processing energy used in U.S. refineries today by account for up to 40 percent of all the
10% (about 320 trillion Btus) processing energy consumed in the
{ Improve efficiency of conventional technology by refinery. Currently, every single barrel
10% (e.g., 92% thermal efficiency in furnaces)
{ Achieve 20% improvement in energy efficiency in of crude oil must be subjected to an
selected energy-intensive unit operations initial separation stage using
{ Improve yields towards 100% of raw material distillation. The thermal efficiency of
utilization (e.g., crude feedstocks) distillation processes is typically very
low, and replacing even a small
portion of distillation capacity could
have a substantial impact on energy

In addition to separations, alternative, less energy-intensive methods for converting

crude fractions to the desired products could have a large energy impact. Hydro-
treatment, which is used to remove sulfur and other contaminants, and cracking or
coking processes are potential candidates. Existing processes could also be improved
through redesign, or incorporation of practices that improve heat transfer or reduce
process heating requirements (e.g., heat integration, waste heat recovery, better
monitoring and maintenance practices).

Energy benefits can also be achieved by improving process yields (the percent of
product obtained from the feedstock). The objective is to obtain more product and less
byproduct or waste than is currently obtained, using the same or less process energy.
Potential routes for improving yields are new, more selective catalysts, better chemical
pathways for conversion of hydrocarbons, and the use of bioprocessing.


Technical, Institutional and Market Barriers: Energy Efficiency and
Process Improvements

There are a number of barriers inhibiting improvements in energy efficiency and

petroleum refining processes. These range from technical limitations imposed by
current technologies, to institutional factors such as regulation or business practices.

Technical Barriers
In refineries, an imposing barrier to improving energy efficiency is the intrinsic
inefficiency of refining processes. For example, during the refining of crude fractions,
hydrogen is repeatedly added and removed. Cracking and coking processes, which
break large, heavy hydrocarbons into smaller molecules, require the input of hydrogen.
Other processes, such as catalytic reforming, produce hydrogen along with aromatic
hydrocarbons. If hydrogen is not generated in sufficient quantity as a byproduct of
processing, then it must be produced independently, at a high energy cost.

The refinery complex also relies on a

Key Technical Barriers: Energy Efficiency large number of distillation columns
(nearly every unit operation requires
Technology Efficiency Limits
{ Intrinsic inefficiencies in refining distillation for product recovery or
{ Inefficiency of current separation technology purification) which typically operate at low
{ Limited fuel conversion efficiencies efficiencies due to thermodynamic and
{ Lack of novel heat integration systems other restraints. The low efficiency of
separation technologies used throughout
Fouling refining drives high energy consumption
{ Lack of cost effective, predictive in the industry.
fouling/corrosion technologies
{ Poor understanding of fouling mechanisms Fouling of heat exchange equipment also
represents a major problem for refiners.
Fouling reduces thermal efficiency and
heat transfer capacity, resulting in
significant increases in energy use.
Fouling creates an economic burden through increased energy costs, lost productivity,
unscheduled plant shut downs, and increased maintenance of equipment. Fouling is
difficult to prevent, as the mechanisms which lead to fouling are not well understood.
Tools for predicting and monitoring fouling conditions are limited, but becoming
available. Their true effectiveness is still unknown.

Technical barriers that limit process improvement fall into several key categories –
process engineering, sensing and measurement, and process modeling. An imposing
barrier to implementing better processes is that there are simply not enough alternatives
to the conventional way of refining crude. Alternatives are needed, for example, to
replace processes requiring severe operating conditions (e.g., very high temperatures
and pressures, cryogenics, acid catalysts). Processes operating at ambient conditions,
such as bioprocesses, could be candidates but are currently not well-developed.


Accurate sensing and measurement techniques are essential for effective control and
monitoring of processes. The greatest limitation in this area is the inability to rapidly,
precisely, and accurately obtain the composition of feeds and products, and then
process that information in a control loop. Having this information would enable plant
engineers to adjust conditions to maximize yields, and consequently energy
Composition sensing is dependent on
effective chemical composition
Key Technical Barriers: analyzers and sensors, which are
Process Improvement
currently inadequate for non-intrusive,
Process Engineering real-time applications.
{ Lack of alternative processes
{ Inadequate selectivity of current catalyst systems There is currently a lack of process
{ Poor understanding of biocatalytic processes models based on first principles that
would allow process designers to
Sensing and Measurement extrapolate beyond the scope of
{ Inability to rapidly/accurately obtain composition of available data, which limits design
feeds and products optimization. In general, models that
{ Lack of real-time chemical composition analyzers comprehensively describe petroleum
and non-intrusive sensors refining processes are limited or
{ Lack of remote sensors for plant monitoring incomplete. The purpose of process
models is to estimate and predict
Process Modeling performance, and without this
{ Lack of models to extrapolate beyond data capability, process engineers must
{ Incomplete models for refining processes make “guesses” about how process
{ No capability to link composition to physical improvements will affect
properties and emissions
performance. When millions of
dollars of product are at stake daily,
this is usually too risky a proposition.
The alternative is to conduct
experiments to try and determine the
end results of proposed design changes – often an expensive and time-consuming

Institutional and Other Barriers

The regulatory environment, cost and risk of developing new technology, and lack of
long-term commitment to fundamental research (e.g., catalysis, process optimization)
are all seen as barriers to improving both energy efficiency and processes. Energy
efficiency is not usually a business driver, and is difficult to justify as an investment when
capital recovery is too long. Exacerbating this problem is the uncertainty of future
product requirements, which may be affected by both consumer demand for
performance and regulatory mandates.


Research and Development Needs
Research and development needed to overcome the major barriers to increasing energy
efficiency and improving processes is shown in Figures 3 and 4. R&D is categorized as
top and high priority, and aligned by time frame for expected results. Arrows describe
the main relationships between research.

Figure 3. Research Needs for Energy Efficiency

Near-Term Mid-Term Long-Term

(0-3Years) (by 2010) (by 2020)

Develop new methods Develop several anti- Identify and develop

TOP for fouling mitigation, fouling coatings for alternatives for distillation
with focus on 2 high equipment operating at beyond membranes
profile unit operations. > 500 oC. (entirely new low-energy
separation technologies)

Devise measurement Conduct field

techniques to detect verification tests of
the on-set of fouling in fouling variables and
90% of heat prevention methods.
Design new, more
Develop membranes for energy efficient
hydrocarbon equipment that
separations, to achieve combines mass and
20% efficiency heat transfer and
improvement catalysis (e.g., catalytic

Increase fuel
conversion efficiency
through research on at
least 2 alternative
technologies that utilize
waste streams.

HIGH Investigate and Explore mechanisms of Design novel heat

categorize 60% of the interactive effects of exchangers to reduce
mechanisms leading to fouling and corrosion. fouling and other
fouling in heat reliability problems.

Identify and develop

innovative technology
for recovery of low-level
waste heat.


Energy is a major part of operating costs in refineries, second only to the cost of crude.
The use of energy is directly related to the thermal efficiency of process heating
equipment, as well as process design, operation and control. Improvements in the way
energy is converted to process heat, for example, can increase energy efficiency. A
major impact area in process heating is the mitigation of fouling in heat exchangers (see
Table 1). Fouling reduces heat transfer efficiency, resulting in an increase in
expenditures for energy and equipment maintenance. Fouling of heat exchangers used
in refining of crude oils is a well-documented problem. Various estimates put the cost of
process-side fouling in petroleum refineries in the United States at about $2 billion a
year. An Exxon study in 1981 showed that for a typical refinery with a capacity of
100,000 bbl/d, fouling-related costs were about $12 million per year, of which about one
third was for added energy [Exxon 1981]. A major share of the cost penalty occurs in the
crude pre-heat train. A study by Argonne in 1998 showed that fouling of the pre-heat
train increased energy consumption by about 12,000 Btu/bbl after one year of operation
without cleaning [ANL 1998]. This represents about a 10 percent increase in the amount
of energy used per barrel of crude for atmospheric distillation [DOE 1998].

Table 1. High Priority R&D Topics for Energy Efficiency and Process Improvement

Likelihood of
Importance to Energy Savings Short Term Potential
Topic Industry Potential Success Competitive Issue

Fouling Mitigation in Heat Exchangers High High Low Low

Improved Real-time Process Measurements High Medium Medium Low

Improved Fuel Conversion Efficiency Medium Medium Medium Medium

In petroleum refining, the complexity of crude composition makes it particularly difficult

to develop a generalized fouling mitigation method. Important research goals are
developing an understanding of the threshold conditions of fouling with the chemical
composition of crude, and using this knowledge to determine the effectiveness of
mitigation methods for various crude blending
processes (see Figure 3). Thermal stability
Topics Areas of Practical Interest in Fouling and solubility characteristics of asphaltenes,
{ Role of iron/iron sulfides in hydrocarbon stream fouling
with and without fouling precursors such as
{ Role of asphaltenes and non-asphaltenes in fouling iron or sulfur compounds, are two key issues.
{ Impact of crude oil components in blending Iron can be either a part of crude feed stocks
{ Impact of oilfield chemicals on fouling (silica, calcium)
{ Chemical cleaning (solvents and surfactants) or a corrosion product. High concentration of
naphthenic acid in the crude, for example,
has been shown to cause corrosion products,
leading to a high fouling rate. Unit operations of greatest interest include the crude oil
pre-heat train, and efficient feed heat exchange for hydrotreating and reforming


Figure 4. Research Needs for Process Improvement

On-Going Near-Term Mid-Term Long-Term

(now - 2020) (0-3Years) (by 2010) (by 2020)

Develop capability to Develop automated Create systems for Simultaneously

obtain real-time process modeling mechanisms on-line, intelligent explore at least 3
measurements for >5 that capture the processing for direct pathways to
parameters (chemical knowledge gained optimizing at least 2 the processing and
composition, physical from plant process major unit refining of
properties). measurements. operations. hydrocarbons.

Apply data to
modeling techniques Develop capability
Develop measurement for computational
technology to obtain to allow prediction of
yield, composition, catalyst design.
process data to support
new models. and property data,
and tie results into
process control and Develop >5 new
Increase knowledge of monitoring. chemical catalysts for
fundamental relationships low-temperature
between structure and environments.
properties, particularly in
mixtures. Develop improved
catalysts for deep Increase catalyst life
diesel desulfurization. by 2-fold through new
sulfur and nitrogen-
tolerant catalysts.

Develop a single, non-

Increase energy requiring
understanding of the biocatalyst for hydro-
biological mechanisms carbon and hetero-
of selectivity. atom conversion.

Address the current Design desulfurization Develop new

HIGH limitations of biocatalysts with processes to convert
biocatalysts to improved selectivity gases to liquid fuels.
increase applicability and activity.
in refining processes.

Use metabolic Study 2 methods to

engineering to control activity and
enhance reaction selectivity of
rates in biocatalysts biocatalysts: directed
until they are evolution and
comparable to bioenergetics.
chemical catalysts.


Another priority research area is development and use of equipment that combines
mass and heat transfer mechanisms and catalysis to achieve the desired results more
efficiently. An example of this is catalytic distillation, which is currently used in the
production of fuel additives such as methyl-tert-butyl-ether (MTBE) and tertiary-amyl-
methyl-ether (TAME). Catalytic distillation reduces energy use by using the heat of
reaction to drive the distillation process, eliminating the need for separate energy input.
It is a single-stage process, and in the case of ethers, provides higher product yields and
less processing time when compared with the conventional process.

Other priority research areas that impact energy use include the need to improve fuel
conversion efficiency, and development of more effective, alternative separation
processes to distillation. Fuel conversion efficiency could be improved through the
development of technologies that use waste streams as fuel, such as fuel cells that use
propane or fuel gas, or new concepts such as pulse combustion fuel cells. Membranes
that are capable of efficiently separating hydrocarbons are needed, as well as entirely
new, low-energy alternatives to distillation that go beyond membranes.

In process improvement, the most important research area is developing the capability
for real-time process measurements. A primary objective is the capability to rapidly,
precisely, and accurately obtain information on the composition of feeds and products,
and be able to interpret this information for use in process optimization. This will require
the development of on-line, real-time chemical composition analyzers that can performin
refinery operating environments. To support this capability, research is needed to
devise measurement
technologies that will obtain
the data needed for
Real-Time Process
Measurements Data for computational methods for
process design as well as
control. Data obtained
Structure-Property through real-time measure-
Modeling Tools
Relationships ments can be used to develop
on-line intelligent processing
Supported Ideal Refinery systems, which have been
Characteristics: identified as a high priority.
• Fully Automated Data will also support the
• Intelligent Controls INTELLIGENT REAL-
• Well-Understood Processes TIME PROCESSING
development of automated
• Increased Safety & Reliability modeling mechanisms and
• Maximized Use of Energy
predictive modeling
techniques, which can provide
Figure 5. R&D Links for Intelligent Real-Time Processing a means to capture knowledge
gained from operating
experience and apply it to process optimization, design and control. Research to better
understand the fundamental relationships between structure and properties, particularly
in mixtures, will be needed to support both model design and interpretation. Figure 5
illustrates the critical links between R&D in these areas.


Catalysis has been identified as a priority research area for improving a number of
processes. The primary area of interest is catalysts that achieve the desired results in
low temperature environments, with potential reductions in process heat requirements.
Desulfurization catalysts are another priority research area, as are catalysts that are
highly resistant to poisoning by sulfur and nitrogen. As crude quality continues to
decrease, along with more stringent specifications on sulfur content in fuels, the
availability of effective, long-life desulfurization catalysts will become increasingly critical.

Robust biocatalysts that can operate in severe refining environments are a high priority.
Research is needed to overcome the sensitivities inherent in the current generation of
biocatalysts, and to increase the reaction rates and selectivity of biocatalysts. Particular
areas of interest include the conversion and upgrading of hydrocarbon streams, and
removal of heteroatoms (e.g., nitrogen, sulfur). Research is needed to study the
biological mechanisms of these catalysts with regard to selectivity and activity for
specific reactions. Methods for controlling the activity and selectivity of biocatalysts are
also needed (e.g., directed evolution, bioenergetics).

Leap-frog technology is
Supported Ideal Refinery
needed to reduce the large
• Maximized Use of Energy amount of energy used in
• Zero Emissions
• Increased Safety and Reliabilty distillation throughout the
refinery complex. Alternative
Catalysts for Low
Real-Tim e
Better Sulfur separation technologies may
Measurm ents of Alternative Robust Temperature
Temperature Reduction
Separations Biocatalysts Controls
Environm ents Com position and
Technology be one answer (e.g.,
membranes, reactive
New Materials New Separations
Robust Biocatalysts
New Catalysts
Better Selectivity
Low Emissions
distillation). Another route is
Process Models Diverse Feedstocks
Com putational Chemistry bypassing the initial distillation
of crude altogether through
Figure 6. R&D Leading to Mild Processing Conditions revolutionary new pathways,
such as thermal cracking.
Other possibilities include processes that convert gases directly to liquid fuels, or that
clean and upgrade the crude in the field, before it enters the refinery.

Many of the technologies and research areas discussed above will support processing
of hydrocarbons under milder conditions (temperatures, pressures, less corrosive) than
is currently possible. Operation at less severe conditions will lead to lower energy
consumption, reduced emissions, and improved safety and reliability (see Figure 6).


Current Situation
Petroleum products are critical to the economy, providing fuels for transportation as well
as industrial and residential heating. As petroleum products are burned in cars, trucks,
industrial heaters, utility boilers, and
residential heating systems, they create
various air emissions. In addition, the Sources of Air Emissions in Refineries

manufacturing processes used to

{ combustion emissions associated with the
produce petroleum products also burning of fuels in the refinery, including fuels used
generate a variety of air emissions and in the generation of electricity,
{ equipment leak emissions (fugitive emissions)
other residuals. Some of these are released through leaking valves, pumps, or other
hazardous and/or toxic chemicals. process devices,
{ process vent emissions (point source
emissions) released from process vents during
Refineries also produce process manufacturing (e.g., venting, chemical reactions),
{ storage tank emissions released when product is
wastewater, which consists of surface transferred to and from storage tanks, and
water runoff, cooling water, process { wastewater system emissions from tanks, ponds
and sewer system drains.
water, and sanitary wastewater.
Wastewaters are treated in water
treatment facilities and discharged to
public water treatment plants or surface waters (under permit). Wastewater that has
been contaminated with oil must often be subjected to two or three water treatment
steps to remove contaminants prior to discharge to public treatment plants. [DOE 1998]

Both hazardous and non-hazardous wastes and other residuals are produced, recycled,
treated, and disposed of during refinery operations. The method of disposal of these
residuals depends upon the nature of the residual and applicable regulations. Residuals
are generated from many refining processes,
from the handling of the petroleum products
Volatile Organic through wastewater treatment. Overall,
Compounds refineries recycle about 54 percent of the
557 MMlbs
(VOCs) 18 MMlbs
residuals produced, according to 1995 data.
Further, the trend towards increased recycling
Monoxide (CO)
313 MMlbs Sulfur continued in 1996, with about 60 percent
Oxides recycling of residuals [API 1997c].
(SOx) 2001
Oxides Petroleum refining and the use of refined
(NOx) 1063 products are impacted by a number of
environmental laws and regulations. Some of
the most significant statutes are those that focus
Figure 5. Estimated Air Emissions from on altering the formulation of products (mostly
Combustion of Fuels in Refineries, 1996 fuels) to reduce air emissions generated by their
use. These often require substantial changes in


refinery processes along with large
capital investments. Various Federal Major Air Toxics from Refineries
and state regulations also focus on Toluene Benzene
reducing refinery process emissions to Ammonia MTBE
air, land, and water. Methanol Ethylene
nHexane Hydrochloric Acid
Propylene Cyclohexane
Methyl Ethyl Ketone Ethylbenzene
Xylene 1,2,4-Trimethylbenzene

The cost of controlling emissions to air, land and water is high. Petroleum refiners spent
about $5.5 billion in 1995 on environmental compliance [API 1997b]. About 40 percent
of this was for capital expenditures; the remainder was for
operation and maintenance of equipment for environmental
Residuals from Refineries (1995) control and abatement.

Residual 1000 wet tons

The refining industry participates in a number of public and
Spent Caustics 988
Biomass 582 private initiatives aimed at improving environmental
Contaminated Soils/Solids 525 performance. The STEP initiative (Strategies for Today’s
Slop Oil Emulsion Solids 225
Environmental Partnership), for example, is a collective
FCC Catalyst 173
DAF Float 164 environmental strategy supported by the membership of the
Primary Sludges 128 American Petroleum Institute (API) to improve
Tank Bottoms 83
Pond Sediments 65 environmental, health and safety performance [API 1997a].
The National Petroleum Refiners Association sponsors a
similar program, Building Environmental Stewardship Tools
(BEST) to promote the same principles at refineries that are not API members.

Many refineries also participated in the

Environmental Protection Agency’s
Major Federal Regulations Affecting the Petroleum Industry
33/50 program to reduce air toxics, and
{ Clean Air Act of 1970 (CAA) and regulations some are actively involved with other
{ Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 (CAAA) and regulations government environmental initiatives
{ Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (e.g., Green Lights Program).
{ Clean Water Act (CWA)
{ Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Refineries have also been working to
{ Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation,
and Liability Act (CERCLA) increase recycling, reduce pollution and
{ OSHA Health Standards and Process Safety Management decrease releases of toxic chemicals.
{ Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know
Approximately 40 percent of refineries
(EPCRA) conduct pollution prevention activities at
{ 1990 Oil Pollution Act and Spill Prevention Control and their facilities [EPA 1995a]. In addition,
Countermeasure Plans
total releases of toxic chemicals from
refineries (counting only those included
in the Toxic Release Inventory since 1988) have declined by 26 percent since 1988 [API


Global climate change and potential reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are also
receiving a great deal of attention, although there are still questions about the extent of
climate change, and whether the U.S. will sign the Kyoto treaty. Voluntary reduction
programs continue to be a possibility on the horizon.

Future Characteristics: Environmental Performance

Ideally, by 2020, the U.S. petroleum industry would like to be recognized as a model of
continuous improvement in environmental performance, while successfully balancing
efforts to meet consumer demands for safe, high performance fuels. The industry would
move toward minimizing environmental impacts through a combination of improved
decision-making and process optimization.

Environmental concerns would be

Future Characteristics: Environmental Performance integrated into the production side of the
{ Means to address environmental concerns are
refinery (e.g., balancing sulfur in the
integrated with production refinery, from crude to products). To
{ Products are totally contained, from refinery to accomplish this effectively, a systems
consumer (no toxic leaks)
{ Environmental impacts on society are minimized approach would be employed which relies
(work toward zero emissions) on collaboration between producers, users,
{ Processes will handle poor quality feeds with minimal and regulators. Data would be available to
environmental impact
{ Environmental decisions will be risk-based, using enable decision-makers and regulators to
sound scientific methods better understand the actual impacts of the
{ Refinery configurations will be flexible to handle production and use of petroleum products
poorer quality feedstocks and alternate feedstocks,
with minimal environmental impacts on the environment and human health, and
{ Monitoring and sensing will greatly improved, with thus make regulatory and control decisions
automated control to correct and eliminate emissions
{ Storage tanks will be leak-free
based on quantified risks. The
technological, economic, and political
concerns of all stakeholders would be
balanced in this process. Verified, risk-
based models would be in place to support regulatory decisions. The environmental
aspects of poorer quality feedstocks, as well as alternative feedstocks, would be
incorporated in the decision-making process and reflected in refinery processing

To support continuous improvements in environmental performance, better monitoring

and sensing systems would be in place to optimize control of process variables, monitor
emissions as they arise, and activate effective controls to correct the situation.
Refineries would move toward minimal impacts on society (e.g., cleaner waste water,
lower emissions), using the least costly technology available. Storage tanks would be
designed to eliminate leaks, and products would be totally contained, from the refinery
all the way to the consumer.


Performance Targets

The industry has identified a number of broad targets for environmental performance
that are in line with the industry’s vision for 2020. Specific targets focus on reducing
emissions to air, land and water; using risk-based standards; and establishing a sound,
flexible approach for improving environmental performance.

An overarching goal is to reduce generation of

Performance Targets for wastewater and solid waste from petroleum
Environmental Performance
refining, and to reduce air emissions from both
{ Attain a leadership position in emission standards stationary and mobile sources. Other targets
{ Offset contamination of public waterways from include reducing the amount of and potential for
leaks - reduce incidents by 75%
{ Publish an industry report in 2000 and report
events that results in spills, and reducing the
every 5 years on improvements amount of oil present in wastewater. Meeting the
{ Identify and implement economical routes to zero goals for reductions in waste and emissions will
{ Match environmental performance with risk- result in many benefits for the industry as well as
based standards the nation. Reducing waste generation will avoid
{ Continually improve the tools for risk evaluation potential environmental impacts on land and
{ Reduce wastewater flow, solid wastes, and
emissions to air from stationary and mobile water, while reducing the costs and energy
sources consumption associated with waste handling,
{ Establish (by 2000) quantitative targets for
treatment and transportation. When processes
reductions, using a risk-based approach
{ Reduce the number of events (spills) are redesigned to mitigate production of waste or
{ Reduce the amount of oil in wastewater undesirable byproducts, yields may be
increased, which optimizes consumption of
energy feedstocks. Reducing air emissions from
process heaters, boilers, and from fugitive sources will decrease potential impacts on air
quality. Effective control of fugitive air emissions could facilitate recovery of valuable
products worth millions of dollars and representing trillions of BTUs of energy feedstocks
every year.

By the end of the year 2000, the industry hopes to effectively establish quantitative
targets for reductions in emissions, wastes and wasterwaters, using a risk-based
approach. As risk-based quantitative targets are established, the industry can work
more definitively toward meeting specific goals. The goal is to establish a mutally
cooperative process to reduce emissions, rather than being driven by regulation. An
important part of this effort over the next decade will be continually improving the tools
by which risk-based evaluation is done. To evaluate progress, industry proposes to
publish a report in 2000 on environmental performance, and to report every 5 years
thereafter, including incremental improvements.

Ultimately, refiners should be able to take a flexible approach to meeting and

establishing environmental goals, while balancing increasing demand for high
performance products. This could mean a variety of solutions from process redesign to
end-of-pipe monitoring and control.


Technical and Institutional Barriers: Environmental Performance

Technical Barriers
Technical as well as institutional barriers impact how the petroleum industry addresses
environmental concerns. While some of these cannot be addressed by research,
technological advances may have a significant influence on whether they remain
barriers over the next two decades.

A key barrier is the way that risk

assessments of environmental and
Key Technical Barriers: health impacts are currently made.
Environmental Performance At present the science behind risk
Risk Assessment assessment is not strong, and
{ Lack of toxicology database to support risk assessment accepted levels of risk are seriously
{ No inexpensive means for evaluating toxicity lacking. One reason is the lack of a
toxicology database that supports
Site Remediation credible risk assessment. Creating
{ No cost-effective technology for MTBE clean-up a comprehensive toxicology
{ No leak-proof delivery systems at service stations database requires an inexpensive,
{ Lack of good methods for leak detection from tanks expedient means for evaluating
toxicity, which currently is not
Emissions to Air
{ Inability to cheaply and effectively detect leaks at refineries available.
{ Poor understanding of sources of emissions
{ Insufficient data and modeling for ozone formation Effectively performing site
{ Inadequate methods for NOX and SOX removal remediation continues to be a
{ Inability to cost-effectively control combustion and fugitive challenge. There are currently no
emissions cost-effective technologies for
cleaning up MTBE, and future
Wastewater remediation of sites containing
{ Inadequate knowledge about what components in MTBE will pose considerable
wastewater kill aquatic organisms
{ High cost of water recycle, and handling corrosives from economic burdens. The lack of
good methods for leak detection
from underground storage tanks,
and lack of leak-proof fuel delivery
systems at distribution sites (service stations) exacerbates the problem of both site
contamination and remediation.

Current sensing capabilities place some limits on the ability to control and reduce air
emissions. Cost-effective reliable means for detecting leaks in pipes, valves, and
equipment in the refinery (e.g., those that give rise to fugitive emissions) are currently
not available. Effective sensing systems for such leaks could enable control and/or
elimination of many sources of fugitive emissions altogether.


The lack of information and scientific understanding concerning some air emissions
makes it more difficult to devise means to control emissions. The sources of some
emissions are poorly understood, and data for predicting sources of emissions is limited.
Data, for example, are lacking on emission factors as well as the chemistry associated
with the formation of very small particulates (PM 2.5) from combustion of fuels or other
refinery processes. Sources and formation of ozone is another area where knowledge
is lacking. Currently available data and models are not sufficient for use as tools in
predicting the impacts of transportation, for example, in specific regions. For some air
emissions, current technology for mitigation and control is simply not cost-effective and
or sufficient to meet some projected targets (e.g., NOX and SOX control).

Key challenges for control and reduction of wastewater are the costs involved in water
recycle, as well as dealing with the corrosion problems (e.g., salts) that may arise from
water reuse. Some wastewater streams represent very dilute solutions, which make it
very difficult and costly to separate undesirable constituents. Understanding of the
wastewater constituents in general, and their specific impacts on aquatic life, is limited.
As more is understood about the actual effects of wastewater constituents on
ecosystems, processes can be designed to cost-effectively reduce those impacts.

Institutional Barriers
The data, models, and processes currently supporting the development of regulations
inhibits the industry from taking a more effective approach to improvements in
environmental performance. A key barrier is that the models currently in use to
determine impacts and facilitate the regulatory process are inadequate and out-dated.
The result is models that produce results that exaggerate the impact of refineries.

Agencies that rely on these models or other

Key Institutional Barriers: out-dated means for developing regulations
Environmental Performance sometimes create goals for compliance that
are too high to reach. Such regulations
Regulatory Issues may be difficult to comply with, and often
{ Models are based on overly conservative assumptions
divert costs toward end-of-pipe controls
rather than long-term solutions to mitigate
{ Inadequate collaboration between industry and
emissions at the origin.
regulatory agencies
{ Models used for development of regulations are out-
Part of the problem is that during the
regulatory process, industry and regulatory
agencies are not collaborating to the extent
needed to ensure regulations are based on verifiable, quantified risks. Contributing to
the problem is that funding for research (both public and private) to increase
understanding of environmental issues and collect the needed date is increasingly


Research and Development Needs

Research and development can help overcome some of the most critical barriers to
achieving continuous improvements in environmental performance (see Figure 6).

Figure 6. Research and Development Needs for Environmental Performance

Near-Term Mid-Term Long-Term

(0-3Years) (by 2010) (by 2020)

Develop an agreed-upon method for risk assessment, emphasizing 3 key areas: 1) toxicity and
TOP exposure to humans, 2) uncertainties in extrapolation of data from animals to humans, and 3) new
approaches for current assessment tools with conservative assumptions.

Explore means to better characterize the sources of air toxics.

Increase the database for PM 2.5 emission factors by 2-fold through development of new analytical
and sampling techniques for measuring PM 2.5.

Improve capability for remote sensing, with respect to at least 2 important environmental
performance areas: 1) fugitive emissions, and 2) site contamination/remediation.

Develop several improved Achieve complete

systems for leak detection and understanding and
repair, with emphasis on modeling of combustion
portability, lower detection chemistry and formation
levels, and economics. of air toxics.

Explore ways to mitigate the Develop at least 2 new

effects of feedstock technologies for removing
constituents on refinery contaminants from crude and
wastewater. reducing impact on refinery

Develop cost-effective Improve ozone modeling

technology to clean up MTBE , through better, cheaper data
and more effective methods gathering methods, and better
for site assessments. methods for quantifying

Pursue technology advances Identify refinery wastewater

HIGH to allow use of bio- constituents that cause
remediation, focusing on 2 aquatic toxic test failure.
key topics: 1) increasing
bioreaction rates, and 2)
Develop several cost-
effective separation
processes for removing salts
from wastewater.


The impact of petroleum fuels on the environment continues to be a major concern,
particularly the effects of toxic components released to air, land and water. Key
research topics aimed at continuous improvements in environmental performance are
shown in Table 2. Risk-based methods are needed to guide the regulatory process as
well as compliance. The most important elements of research to develop risk-based
analysis and assessment are developing data on toxicity and exposure to humans; and
reducing the uncertainties in extrapolating animal data to fit human conditions.
Research to improve understanding and prediction of combustion chemistry and
formation of air toxics, including primary sources, will be integral to efforts in risk-based
analysis. This includes modeling and data collection related to ozone formation.
Overall improvements are needed in air quality models, including the ability to handle
multiple pollutants, multiple regions, and annual average standards. Along with this
research should come a comprehensive review of currently used assessment tools with
respect to conservative assumptions, accompanied by the development of data or
approaches to replace such assumptions with more valid ones that are universally
accepted by government and industry. Risk-based analysis and assessment activities
should be conducted in cooperation with EPA (residual risk), CRC, and the API air
modeling task force.

Table 2. High Priority R&D Topics for Environmental Performance

Energy Likelihood of
Importance to Savings Short Term Potential
Topic Industry Potential Success Competitive Issue

Agreed-upon Method for Risk High Low Low Low


Improved System for Leak Detection and Repair High Medium High Low

Cost-Effective Technology for MTBE Clean-Up High Medium High Medium

Database for PM 2.5 Emission Factors High High High Low

Improved systems for leak detection and repair are a critical area of research,
particularly to achieve goals for mitigation and control of volatile hydrocarbons and air
toxics. Remote sensing technology that is portable and cost-effective is most desirable.
Research should be conducted in concert with instrument vendors, universities and
government laboratories (NASA, DOE labs). One possible future technology is the use
of Vatellite techniques for detecting hydrocarbon releases remotely from space. An
increasing number of satellite systems, having the capability to obtain high resolution
spectral data over a wide range of wavelengths (“hyperspectral remote sensing”), are
expected to be launched into orbit in the near future. Recent airborne studies sponsored
by the Geosat Committee Inc., a consortium of petroleum companies and others who
use remote sensing, have demonstrated that these techniques can facilitate
environmental assessments of sites with hydrocarbon contamination. As these systems
become more widespread, information on hydrocarbon emissions from processing and


storage areas can be collected more easily and more comprehensively. Earlier
detection and repair of leaks will not only decrease the direct loss of product, but also
decrease the amount of energy and expense required to bring the product to market by
avoiding costly cleanup operations.

Research to increase available data on particulates (PM 2.5) is needed to facilitate

reductions in air emissions as well a help guide the regulatory process through better air
quality data. New sampling and analytical techniques are needed to facilitate data
collection and interpretation. A number of organizations could contribute to this effort,
notably API, CRC, EPA, DOE and its laboratories, state agencies, and universities.

In the area of wastewater management, a priority need is research to reduce or

eliminate the effects of the feedstock (crude and its components) on refinery
wastewater. Contamination from feeds include metals, sulfur, nitrogen, oil, and various
organic compounds, some of which are toxic or hazardous. Process waters that come
in contact with oils must sometimes undergo multiple water treatment steps before they
can be discharged and/or effectively recycled. One possibility is developing new
technologies that remove contaminants from crude, which could help to mitigate
contamination further downstream. To enable greater potential for cost-effective recycle
of refinery wastewaters, research is needed to develop new separation processes that
remove salts, which constitute a potential source of corrosion in process equipment.

Site remediation continues to be a challenge, with clean-up of MTBE becoming an area

of increasing concern. Designing new, cost-effective methods for cleaning up MTBE-
contaminated sites is a high priority, along with more effective methods for assessing
site contamination. Bio-remediation is a potential solution for site clean-up. To make
this a more viable solution, research is needed to increase bioreaction rates, and to
develop cost-effective systems that may be suitable for large-scale operations.
Technology advances are needed for both bioremediation and phytoremediation
systems that are conducted in situ. The multi-disciplinary nature of this work will require
expertise in micro-biology, combined with chemistry and chemical engineering. A
collaborative activity is envisioned using universities and national laboratories.


Current Situation
Inspection methodologies play a critical role in the overall energy, economic, safety,
reliability and environmental performance of the U.S. petroleum industry. Effective
inspection of equipment is vital to the construction and safe operation of distillation
equipment, furnaces, heat exchange systems, reactors, storage vessels, piping
systems, and a host of other unit operations. Testing and monitoring of equipment
integrity, particularly while it remains in service, is essential to plant safety and optimum
reliability as it pertains to energy efficiency.

Many of the currently available inspection technologies are intrusive or destructive, and
must be used when equipment is in ‘shut-down’ mode, rather than providing on-line
information about equipment integrity. For example, traditional strength testing of
metals is destructive, and involves taking a sample and testing it to its point of failure.
To prevent catastrophic failures, inspection of equipment operating in high temperature
or corrosive environments (heat exchangers, storage tanks, reactor vessels) typically
requires shut down of the process on a regular basis. Abnormal operating conditions
such as equipment start-up and shut-down also tends to increase vulnerability. In the
absence of global inspection technologies, material evaluation often occurs locally. It is
therefore necessary for the operator to use good engineering judgement to identify the
most likely locations for material degradation. Failures also occur in places where
inspection is difficult to conduct (pipe supports, gaskets, under insulation).

Future Characteristics: Inspection and Monitoring of Equipment

Ideally, by 2020, refineries would be significantly safer, more energy efficient and more
reliable. Refineries would be highly instrumented to ensure structural integrity of
equipment, and would be monitored
using global, on-line non-invasive
Future Characteristics inspection techniques. These
{ Refineries are highly instrumented and controlled techniques would allow for
{ Global, on-line, non-invasive inspection is routine immediate detection of loss of
{ Immediate detection of loss of containment is
containment, and provide early
{ Fouling of heat exchangers is essentially eliminated warnings for corrosion and potential
{ Inspection does not require people, and provides flaws in structural integrity.
complete knowledge of equipment condition
{ Downtime is minimized
Inspection would be conducted
{ Refineries approach incidents related to loss of automatically, without people, and
containment would provide complete knowledge
of equipment conditions at all times.


Through highly effective inspection techniques, downtime would be minimized and
equipment would approach total reliability. Maintenance would be performed according
to routines predicted and suggested by regular global inspections and analysis, rather
than on empirical or laboratory data. Refineries would continually work toward zero
incidents related to loss of containment. Processes in use would be inherently reliable
with respect to containment loss through a combination of better design, improved
materials, flexibility to accept a wide crude slate, and more effective operating and
maintenance practices. Crude flexibility enables improved energy efficiencies.
Equipment, maintenance, and inspection in concert would be more reliable, and less
likely to result in leaks or structural failures.

Performance Targets

The petroleum industry has identified a number of performance targets for inspection
and containment boundary integrity. An overall goal is to be recognized as one of the
top U.S. industries in the areas of safety and reliability, based on the Solomon Index. To
support this goal the industry will strive to achieve no significant containment boundary
releases and eliminate unplanned downtime and slow downs. While safety and energy
efficiency are the primary issues, the high cost of incidents as well as equipment
maintenance are also major factors. To address the issue of cost, the industry has
identified specific targets for reducing capital and operational losses as well as the costs
associated with inspection.

Improving inspection techniques will yield

Performance Targets for Inspection & a number of benefits for the industry.
Containment Boundary Integrity
Through better inspection methods, plant
{ Reduce capital and operational losses due to abnormal operators will be better able to predict the
situations by 90% health and integrity of equipment while it
{ Become one of the top industries in safety and reliability
{ Strive for zero “unacceptable” unplanned downtime and is in operation. This capability will allow
slow downs throughout the industry for early warnings of potential system
{ Reduce labor costs of inspection and support by 75%
{ Reduce cost of losses due to breach of containment to
failures, and enable better preventative
less than $0.50/1000 EDC barrels (equivalent distillation maintenance and servicing schedules to
capacity) be followed. The result will be less
{ Work toward a perfect safety record
{ Achieve 75% reduction in safety incidents due to breach
unplanned downtime, fewer equipment
shutdowns, and more efficient operation
of equipment – all of which reduce costs
for capital, labor and energy. Most important, the potential for catastrophic failures and
other significant releases through the containment boundary will be greatly reduced.

Technical Barriers

There are a number of barriers inhibiting improvements in inspection technology. Most

of these have to do with the inadequacy of currently available technologies for


monitoring the mechanical and structural integrity and reliability of equipment. The most
critical of these is the lack of accurate, reliable, cost-effective sensing instrumentation
and technology for global on-stream inspection of equipment. Temperature and
insulation creates especially difficult problems for inspection of pressurized vessels.
Remote sensors for mechanical integrity, which are highly desirable for ensuring the
safety of the plant and personnel, are limited or non-existent for use in refinery settings.
Contributing to the problem is that some systems in the plant are physically difficult to
inspect with any confidence (e.g., piping that is partially buried and equipment that is
lined and/or insulated). The ability to inspect equipment on-line, when it is in operation,
is essential to efficient and profitable operation. The alternative is off-line inspection,
which usually requires costly shut-downs of critical equipment and processes, and the
attendant energy inefficiencies.

The inspection techniques that do exist are often destructive or intrusive, and
inadequate for on-line non-destructive evaluation of equipment integrity. Of particular
importance is the lack of self-sensing methods to monitor for corrosion and residual
stress. Sensing methods for inspection of metals at high temperatures and pressures
are also limited.

Another key barrier which limits the

Key Technical Barriers: Inspection & effectiveness of maintaining and
Containment Boundary Integrity operating heat exchange equipment is
the lack of cost-effective, reliable
Mechanical Integrity and Reliability methods for predicting the onset of
{ Lack of reliable, cost-effective on-stream global
fouling and corrosion (see Section 3 for
inspection technology
{ Lack of predictive technology for fouling and
more on this topic). Failure of this
corrosion of equipment equipment due to fouling and corrosion
{ Inadequate technology for non-destructive, on-line is a particularly difficult and costly
inspection problem in refineries, where such
{ Inability to inspect piping with confidence to make equipment comes into direct contact
global assessments with crude oil and its higher boiling
{ Poor understanding of the mechanisms of materials components. The greatest problems
degradation occur in the crude preheat train for
{ No integrated systems to coordinate sensing, atmospheric distillation, where every
measurement, analysis and corrective responses barrel of oil that enters the refinery is

Integrated systems that coordinate the results of sensing, measurements, analysis of

data, and corrective responses are currently not available. The primary reason is that
the software and algorithms needed for analysis of the data have not been developed.
While theory for developing the needed algorithms may exist, the data to support
validation is often limited or simply not available. Models are lacking for equipment
failure modes and reliability analysis, particularly those geared toward the unique
conditions of petroleum refining.


There are a number of areas where the fundamental understanding of materials
properties and chemical interactions are not well understood, particularly the aging
process and what occurs at the surfaces of materials in actual operating environments.
In particular there is a significant lack of understanding about the mechanisms of
materials degradation, and an inability to determine the life of materials that are in
various stages of deterioration. Also, models linking fluid corrosivity to operating
conditions, including crude composition, are limited. Without this knowledge, it is
difficult to develop with any accuracy models that can predict how materials will perform
under given conditions.

Research Needs

Research and development needed to overcome the major barriers to the development
and use of better inspection methods is shown in Figure 8. The highest priority research
need is the development of global, on-line inspection technology (see Table 3). Global
inspection technology offers a step-out opportunity from current methodologies for
assessing equipment integrity. Global implies that the inspection occurs at locations
remote from the probes. In contrast, conventional inspection methods limit their
examinations to the immediate vicinity of the probe. For example, with radiographic (RT)
methods, the inspection only occurs at the position of the film. With conventional
contact ultrasonics testing (UT), the inspection occurs under the probe or immediately
adjacent to it. When using penetrant testing (PT), the inspection only occurs where the
dye materials and developer have been applied.

Five critical research areas include ultrasonics for pressure vessels, corrosion under
insulation inspection, buried piping inspection, equipment fouling detection, and models
for placement of improved corrosion probes. Work is already on-going on some
advanced global piping inspection technologies, including long range guided wave
ultrasonics and electrical pulsing. Although test results show potential promise for these
technologies, additional development is still required for advancement to commercial
viability. Originally developed for piping inspection, it appears that these technologies
would be applicable for vessel inspection.

Global inspection methods for vessels are equally enticing as piping inspection
technologies. A global vessel inspection methodology would provide increased
confidence regarding the detection of localized corrosion. With this improved confidence
in the inspection, run lengths between maintenance turnarounds and manned vessel
entries can be increased. Maintenance turnarounds are usually scheduled in order to
make equipment available for inspection. Increased operating run lengths improves
energy efficiency by increasing utilization of employed capital equipment. The goal of
research in this area would be to deliver a prototype hardware/software system suitable


Figure 8. Research Needs for Inspection & Containment Boundary Integrity

Near-Term Mid-Term Long-Term

(0-3Years) (by 2010) (by 2020)

Develop technology for reliable, global on-

stream inspection of equipment, with focus
Develop techniques for on 5 critical areas: ultrasonics for pressure
TOP rapid, effective vessels, global corrosion-under-insulation
inspection of heat inspection, buried pipe, equipment fouling,
exchanger tubes. and placement of improved corrosion

Develop >2 methods for Develop new

Develop the means for
monitoring the health of methods for in situ
global, volumetric
equipment : failure measurement of
inspection of nozzle
modes and optimized residual stress on
maintenance times. the most common
materials of
Develop several
methods for in situ non-
destructive evaluation
(NDE) of the
degradation of materials
properties in-service.

Reduce corrosion
Reliably quantify problems by
corrosion rates and developing a cheap,
materials deterioration easy method for
rates using limited data testing crude
sets. corrosivity.

Improve maintenance
HIGH procedures and failure
Develop smart
systems for
analysis for high
analysis of equip-
temperature equipment
ment inspection
through techniques for on-
stream refractory

Design non-contact
sensors and measurement
technologies for on-stream
inspection of welds.

Develop methods for on-

stream inspection of air
cooler tubes.


for vessel (and optionally piping) inspection. The technology would provide operators
with the confidence of increasing run lengths by offering the capability of detecting
localized corrosion while the equipment was still in service. On insulated vessels, it is
envisioned that global inspection methods would maximize inspection coverage with
minimal insulation removal. Ideally, these inspection methods would be able to detect
both internal and external corrosion.

Another high priority is detection, prediction, and prevention of corrosion. Research is

needed to develop the capability for reliable quantification of corrosion rates, using only
limited data sets. Simple, effective tests to assess the corrosive properties of crude as
well as higher boiling components are also needed.

Table 3. High Priority R&D Topics for Inspection and Containment Boundary Integrity

Importance to Energy Savings Potential Chances of Funding

Topic Industry Potential Competitive Issue from Suppliers

Global On-stream Inspection of Equipment High High Low Medium


Current Situation

Production and use of transportation fuels have long been associated with concerns
about emissions and energy conservation. Historically, these concerns have been
addressed independently, rather than as part of an integrated system. For example,
emissions concerns have driven the establishment of tailpipe standards for heavy-duty
engines and light-duty motor vehicles. Energy concerns have been addressed by
government-mandated fuel economy standards for light-duty vehicles, and by consumer
demands for lower operating costs for heavy-duty vehicles.

In some cases, steps taken to address emissions concerns can exacerbate energy
concerns, and vice versa. For instance, the use of reformulated gasoline (RFG) to
reduce vehicle emissions can be detrimental to energy conservation due to increased
energy expended in producing and transporting the fuel, and reduced fuel economy that
results from its use. Similarly, lowering sulfur levels in gasoline and diesel fuel may
reduce tailpipe emissions, but at a cost of increased energy usage in producing these
fuels. Optimized strategies for dealing with emissions and energy concerns require
integrated approaches that consider complete life-cycle impacts of various fuel, engine,
and after-treatment systems.

There are also environmental concerns surrounding fuel delivery systems at the retail
level (i.e., at the gas pump), as well as potential environmental and safety impacts
during transportation of fuels from the refinery to the customer. To date these concerns
have been addressed through incremental improvements, such as better valves, or
pump handles that reduce or prevent releases of volatile hydrocarbons.

Petroleum products are expected to be a predominant fuel of choice for consumers well
into the next century. Their makeup is continually changing, however, to meet new
regulatory demands. Other factors influencing fuels include the decreasing quality of
available crude feedstocks, and the development of alternative non-petroleum
transportation fuels (electricity, biomass).

Future Characteristics

In the future, fuel delivery systems would be safer and easier to use. Retail fuel delivery
systems for gasoline and other transportation fuels would be entirely sealed, and totally
automated, requiring no human touch for delivery. Distribution systems would support a
broad variety of products as well as entirely new fuels.

Petroleum refineries would be highly flexible, producing the fuels demanded by

consumers, regardless of feedstock. Fuels might be tailored to maximize chemical end-


use products. There would be a shift toward non-fuel and other products to maximize
diversity and profitability, with more refineries operating as integrated fuel/chemical
industries. Refineries might be producing liquid hydrocarbon fuels for fuel cell vehicles,
as well as other alternative fuels. Fuels produced would be clean-burning, and vehicles
would be designed to produce fewer emissions.

Performance Targets

The industry has identified a number of performance targets to improve fuel delivery
systems and create the high performance, safe fuels desired by consumers. The
industry will strive to effectively balance
the need for cleaner products with
Performance Targets for Fuels & Fuel Delivery customer demands for high
{ Reduce emissions from mobile sources performance. An important component
{ Create products that are cleaner, satisfy customer will be taking steps to prevent the
needs, and meet performance requirements impacts to human health and the
{ Maintain product quality all the way to the customer
{ Reduce expenditures for product quality testing by 75% environment from fuel exposures and
combustion of fuels in vehicles.

Technical Barriers

There are a number of barriers to better fuel delivery and reduced vehicle emissions. In
general, there is no integrated, systems approach being taken to develop engine
technology with lower mobile source emissions. Further, the industry has little
knowledge in advance on how new or reformulated fuels are going to actually perform in
advanced technology vehicles (prototypes are not available for testing).

Sulfur tolerant catalysts or other sulfur-tolerant control technologies, which could reduce
emissions in vehicle exhaust/tailpipes, have not been successfully developed. Current
technology for control of nitrogen oxides and particulates from diesel-fueled vehicles is
also inadequate. Finally, emission controls now in place on vehicles have a tendency to

Fuel delivery systems at service stations are not leak-proof, and contribute to emissions
of volatiles. The open systems currently in place are sometimes inadequate, and release
emissions during refueling of storage tanks.


Research and Development Needs

Research and development needed to improve fuel delivery systems and reduce vehicle
emissions are shown in Figure 9. R&D is categorized as top and high priority, and
aligned by time frame for expected results. Arrows describe the main relationships
between research.

Figure 9. Research and Development Needs for Fuels and Fuel Delivery

Near-Term Mid-Term Long-Term

(0-3Years) (by 2010) (by 2020)

Develop sulfur-tolerant
Develop a systems
TOP emission control systems
approach to
in diesel engines.
Test new versions of
reformulated fuels, very
low sulfur fuels to Develop >3 sulfur-
quantify emissions. tolerant catalysts.

Review mobile transfer

of all hazardous
materials and develop
recommendations to
reduce exposure from
fuels handling.

Develop innovative, revolutionary systems for the storage and On-going

transportation of fuels that minimize leaks and improve delivery.

Study the effects of

alternative fuels,
particularly low-sulfur fuels,
on vehicle emissions.
Design equipment that
is leak-proof and easy Design distribution
Explore the use of to install to improve the mechanisms to redirect
automation to reduce or safety and performance inventory levels.
eliminate tank truck of fuel delivery systems.

Review the delivery

process, from refinery to
customers, to identify
sources of emissions.


As discussed earlier, an industry priority is to use an integrated systems approach that
combines requirements for fuel efficiency with a desire for reduced emissions (see
Table 4). Research is needed to reduce engine exhaust emissions and fuel evaporation
emissions. The approach taken may focus on developing better controls, or
modifications to fuel specifications. Research is needed to assess how new low-sulfur
reformulated fuels will perform in terms of emissions, and alternately, how to reduce
emissions from higher sulfur fuels.

Severe sulfur reduction from both gasoline and diesel fuel is generally regarded as
producing large emissions benefits -- but at a cost in terms of dollars and energy usage.
There is the potential to derive similar emissions benefits from fuels with higher sulfur
levels by:

{ Developing sulfur-tolerant emissions control systems, and

{ Developing on-board sulfur-scrubbing technologies

Severe reduction of NOx emissions under lean conditions remains a major challenge.
Some promising technologies involve periodic or continuous injection of a chemical
reductant to transform NOx to N2. Often, this reductant is the hydrocarbon fuel itself,
thereby resulting in an obvious fuel economy penalty. Development of improved
reductants, or other NOx-control technologies, could lead to energy savings.

For improved fuel delivery systems, the ultimate objective is better systems that
minimize or eliminate leaks from the storage and delivery of fuels. The current delivery
process, from refinery to customer, should be evaluated to identify sources of emissions.
New equipment is needed that is leak-proof and easy to install, so that current systems
can be retrofitted.

Table 4. High Priority R&D Topics for Fuels and Fuel Delivery

Importance to Energy Savings Likelihood of Short Potential

Topic Industry Potential Term Success Competitive Issue

Systems Approach to Fuel High High Low Low

Efficiency/Emissions Reduction
and Control


A platform for technology research,
development, and deployment

Cooperative advantages

The Industries of the Future

strategy enhances the petroleum
industry’s efforts to
t The U.S. is the largest, most sophisticated producer of refined petroleum products in
the world, with 16.5 million barrels per day of crude distillation capacity. Revenues
from petroleum and its products represent a significant portion of the U.S. gross
domestic product. More than 107,000 people work in 152 refineries located in
32 states, and nearly 1 million Americans are employed by over 125,000 service
stations across the nation, most of which are independently owned and operated.
• Ensure that technology
priorities are identified and
Petroleum refining has grown increasingly complex in the last 20 years, due to
lower-quality crude oil, crude oil price volatility, and environmental regulations that
• Strategically invest in R&D require cleaner manufacturing processes and higher-performance products. Several
and new technologies that
key drivers are impacting the industry’s competitive position, including continuing
will drive higher levels of
its commitment to safety and the environment, exploiting changing markets and
demand, responding to competitive forces, improving processes, and increasing the
• Leverage scarce funds for efficiency of energy use and energy products. In many cases, technology research
and development (R&D) are key to meeting these challenges and maintaining the
• Increase cooperation among health and profitability of the industry.
the business, government,
and research communities. Petroleum refining is unique among manufacturing industries from an energy stand-
point. It is the country’s single largest source of energy products, supplying 40 per-
cent of total U.S. energy demand and 99 percent of transportation fuels. At the same
time, it is also the largest industrial consumer, representing about 7 percent of total
U.S. energy consumption.

Relative Energy Use by Major Refinery Processes


Trillion Btu annually



Coking Catalytic Alkylation Catalytic Fluid Catalytic Vacuum Atmospheric
Hydrotreating Reforming Cracking Distillation Distillation

2 Source: Energy and Environmental Profile of the U.S. Petroleum Industry, U.S. DOE, OIT Dec. 1998.
p Petroleum industry steers the way
In February 2000, petroleum industry leaders signed a
compact with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of
Industrial Technologies (OIT) to work together through
the Industries of the Future initiative. This initiative is
now paving the way for strategic joint development of
technologies by government, national laboratories, and Refiners Associations, has identified the technical areas
academia, and industry in alignment with the industry- of greatest concern to the industry and developed a technol-
defined vision, Technology Vision 2020. ogy roadmap to address them. The roadmapping process is
encouraging new government-industry partnerships that will
A key driving force behind the Petroleum Industry of the further strengthen the industry, while providing benefits to
Future is the American Petroleum Institute’s Technology the nation in terms of energy efficiency and environmental
Committee, which, along with the National Petrochemical performance.

Vision Roadmap Implementation Path Forward

Technology Vision 2020: The goals and research priorities Industry has targeted technology Changing market and technical issues
A Technology Vision for the outlined in Technology Roadmap development in the areas of will be considered periodically to ensure
U.S. Petroleum Industry for the Petroleum Industry, Draft energy and process efficiency, that research priorities remain relevant
identifies major goals for 2000, form the basis for making environmental performance, to the needs of both the petroleum
the future and outlines broad new research investments by materials and inspection technol- industry and its customers.
technology needs. both government and industry. ogy, and the refinery distribution
system and retail delivery

Waste-heat reduces operating costs

A waste-heat ammonia absorption refrigeration unit refrigeration, invented in 1850, has been largely replaced
provides a Rocky Mountain refiner with a reduction in by compression refrigeration, a simpler system which is
regulated emissions, additional LPG and gasoline recovery, less capital-intensive and easier to operate. However, the
and a less than two-year payback. This advanced design ability to utilize free waste-heat allows absorption refrigera-
unit was integrated into an existing operation. It uses tion to gain the economic advantage over compression.
highly compact heat and mass transfer equipment along
with state-of-the-art materials. Waste-heat from the OIT partnered with national laboratories and private indus-
reformer is used to power the unit, which recovers try to demonstrate that ammonia absorption refrigeration
valuable products from the refinery waste fuel header. can effectively utilize refinery waste-heat to recover valu-
able resources. The technical and economic results of this
Ammonia absorption refrigeration is very useful for
project show that government-industry partnerships do
production of chilled fluids from waste-heat energy
provide valuable benefits to the industry and the nation.
and operates well at 250°F (121°C ) or lower. Absorption

High-priority research needs results
Based on industry-defined priorities and recommendations, OIT awards cost-
shared support to projects that will improve the industry’s energy efficiency
and global competitiveness. All awards are made on a 50 percent cost-shared
basis through a competitive solicitation process. Solicitations are open to col-
laborative teams with members from industry, academia, national laboratories,
and other sectors that have a stake in the future of the petroleum industry.

The petroleum industry has identified research priorities in the following areas:

Energy and process efficiency

New and improved approaches are important for extracting and processing
crude oil into petroleum products. The roadmap includes advances in current
methods, the minimization of process energy losses, and identification of
completely new approaches to extracting and processing crude oil. In
particular, high-priority research topics include fouling mitigation in heat
exchangers, improved real-time process measurements, and improved fuel
conversion efficiency.

Environmental performance
The impact of petroleum operations and products on the environment is a
major area of emphasis. Key research topics aimed at continuous improvement
in environmental performance include a method for risk analysis/assessment
and an improved system for leak detection and repair.

Materials and inspection technology

Effective materials are vital to the efficient operation of production and manu-
facturing operations. Inspection methods play a critical role in the performance
of all phases of the petroleum industry. The highest-priority research need
focusing on materials and inspection is the development of a global, on-line
inspection technology.

Distribution system and retail delivery services

Production and use of transportation fuels have long been associated with
concerns about emissions and energy conservation. A key industry priority is
to use an integrated systems approach that combines consumer requirements
for fuel efficiency and performance with a need to reduce vehicle emissions.

New separation technology for refining

Government and industry partners are researching high-performance

membranes as alternatives to conventional energy-intensive distilla-
tion processes. Pervaporation and reverse-selectivity membranes are
being tested for hydrocarbon separation and hydrogen recovery.
Potentially, membrane separation could be 20% more energy efficient
than distillation.

Demonstrated success
OIT has worked with the petroleum industry in many capacities to develop, demonstrate, and deploy
energy-efficient and environmentally improved technologies. Selected emerging or commercially available
technologies applicable to the petroleum industry include:
• Waste Heat Process Chiller • Low-Profile Fluid Catalytic Converter (FCC)

• Fouling Minimization • Computational Fluid Dynamic Model of FCC

• Robotics Inspection System • Gas Imaging for Leak Detection

• Force Internal Recirculation (FIR) Burner • Advanced Process Analysis for Refining

• Radiation Stabilized Burner

Research and Development Projects

Energy and Process Environmental Materials and Inspection

Efficiency Performance Technology

Micro Gas Chromatograph Controller PSA Product Recovery from Residuals Advanced Materials for Reducing Energy
Gasoline BioDesulfurization Process Refinery Process Heater System Laser Sensor for Refinery Operations
Enzyme Selectivity for Desulfurization Flame Image Analysis and Control Laser Ultrasonic Tube Coke Monitor
Catalytic Hydrogenation Retrofit Reactor Thermal Image Control for Combustion Mechanical Integrity Global Inspection
New Nanoscale Catalysts Based Carbides Rotary Burner Demonstration Gas Imaging for Leak Detection
Selective Catalytic Oxidative Dehydrogenation Low-NOx — Low-Swirl Burner Corrosion Monitoring System
Oxidative Cracking of Hydrocarbons to Ethylene Internal Recirculation Burner Metal Dusting Phenomena
Alkane Functionalization Catalysts Novel Low-NOx Burners Intermetallic Alloy for Ethylene Reactors
Low-Profile Catalytic Cracking Alloy Selection for High Temperatures
Selective Surface Flow Membrane
Catalytic Hydrogen Selective Membrane
Advanced Process Analysis for Refining
Multi-phase Computational Fluid Dynamics
Gas-Phase Thermodynamics Modeling
Membrane Reactor for Olefins
Membrane to Recover Olefins from Gaseous Streams
Energy-Saving Separations Technologies

For more information and a complete listing of other

Petroleum projects, visit www.oit.doe.gov/petroleum 5
Integrated support for today and tomorrow resources
OIT’s Petroleum Team supplements its R&D budget by
coordinating activities with other OIT programs that can
help advance petroleum industry goals. For instance,
the Chemical Industry of the Future Team is funding
technology development that can also benefit the
petroleum industry.

OIT programs of value to the petroleum industry include

R&D for Enabling Technologies, BestPractices initia- Enabling Technologies
tives, and Financial Assistance. In addition, State-Level OIT’s Industrial Materials program works with industry,
Industries of the Future programs have begun in a num- the national laboratories, academia, and others to develop
ber of states to bring the energy, environmental, and eco- and commercialize new and improved materials that offer
nomic benefits of industrial partnerships to the local level. superior strength and corrosion resistance in high-tempera-
ture industrial environments. One project with direct appli-
cation across the petroleum industry is the development of
new oxide membranes for more efficient liquid and gas
separations. The Combustion program is co-funding R&D
on three high-efficiency industrial burners that promise to
reduce the cost of pollution control through very low
emissions of nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and
unburned hydrocarbons. Research in Sensors and
Controls addresses such challenges as improving sensor
reach and accuracy in harsh environments and providing
integrated, on-line measurement systems for operator-
independent control of refining processes.

Motor system upgrades pay off in energy savings

Annual electricity savings of more than 12 million kWh and over $700,000
were achieved by a large West Coast refiner using OIT’s Motor Challenge.
This industry-government partnership assists the refining industry by identi-
fying near-term gains in energy efficiency that can be achieved by adopting
existing technologies. This program uses a “systems approach” to motors,
drives, and motor-driven equipment that results in reduced energy consump-
tion. The West Coast refiner used this program to identify and justify
upgrades on motors, motor drives, and power recovery turbines.
How to get involved

Through Industries of the Future

partnerships, U.S. petroleum industry
companies reap the competitive
advantages of more efficient and
BestPractices productive technologies and, in turn,
contribute to our nation’s energy
Through BestPractices, OIT helps the petroleum industry apply existing
efficiency and environmental quality.
technologies and methods to save energy and reduce costs, wastes, and
emissions. Upgrading or fine-tuning motors, pumps, steam systems, and To participate:
compressed air systems can result in significant improvements in efficiency • Monitor the OIT Petroleum
and equipment durability. BestPractices offers funding, tools, training, and Industry Team’s Web site for
expert advice and information. news and announcements of
R&D solicitations, meetings
BestPractices also provides plant-wide assessments to help petroleum and conferences, and research
refineries develop an integrated strategy to increase efficiency, reduce projects.
emissions, and improve productivity. Up to $100,000 in matching funds • Team with other organizations
is awarded for each assessment through a competitive solicitation process. and respond to solicitations for
Participants agree to a case study follow-up that helps publicize the results. cost-shared research.
Alternatively, small to mid-size manufacturers can take advantage of the • Begin saving energy, reducing
Industrial Assessment Centers, which provide no-charge assessments costs, and cutting pollution today
through a network of engineering universities. by participating in any of the
BestPractices programs.
Financial Assistance • Take advantage of OIT’s extensive
OIT offers targeted Financial Assistance to accelerate technology development information resources, including
and deployment. NICE3 (National Industrial Competitiveness through Energy, fact sheets and case studies,
Environment, and Economics) provides cost-shared grants of up to $500,000 training, software decision tools,
searchable CDs, newsletters, and
to industry-state partnerships for demonstrations of clean and energy-efficient
publications catalog.
technologies. Several emerging petroleum technologies—including an advanced
process analysis system, a low-profile fluid catalytic cracking plant, and a • Attend the biennial Industrial
robotics inspection system for storage tanks—have been successfully demon- Energy Efficiency Symposium
and Expo.
strated with help from NICE3.

A second program, Inventions and Innovation, awards grants of up to

$200,000 to inventors of energy-efficient technologies. Grants are used to
establish technical performance, conduct early development efforts, and plan
commercialization strategies.

For more information on these and other resources,

please contact the OIT Clearinghouse at (800) 862-2086. www.oit.doe.gov/petroleum