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In-line Oil Blending Solution Guarantees Homogeneity and Optimisation of Opportunity Crude

Dec 01, 2013

As the oil industry focuses on the declining availability of light sweet crude oil and the cost of growing global demand, refineries are increasingly turning to heavy crude oils as a means of optimizing yield and margins.

In-line blending technologies, which provide refineries with the ability to mix light and heavy oils to required target quality parameters, have become increasingly important. The choice is either to install simple lower technology systems that are ratio-driven or to invest in a more intelligent solution that continuously monitors and automatically adjusts blended output to the desired specification.

Cameron is leading the way in the design of the world’s most sophisticated in-line analyzer trim blending technology - having recently designed and developed a JISKOOT five-stream crude oil blending system for a major refinery in Asia.

The operators of this new 20 mmtpa grassroots refinery project opted for this technology in order to achieve:

• Consistent quality feedstock
• Minimal refinery downtime
• Adherence to strict production parameters
• Improved refining margins through reduced feedstock cost
• Flexibility for future system expansion

Design, Implementation and Outcomes: Delivering Multiple Blend KPIs for the Asia Refinery

Cameron was commissioned to develop a flexible crude oil blending solution capable of delivering a feedstock that would conform to multiple quality parameters. While simple low technology ratio blending systems can work to achieve an accurate blend ratio, this does not optimize the blend for changes in quality that occur in crude oil as it is fed to the blending process. For this project the JISKOOT system can blend crude to a specific density and a specific viscosity within set limits for sulphur content and Total Acid Number (TAN) values.

In the case of the five-stream analyzer trim crude oil blending package developed for the Asia refinery, the requirement was to deliver a feedstock blended from up to four crude oils (high sulphur, heavy high sulphur, low sulphur and high TAN) to the required specification at throughput capacities of up 2,100m3/h. Up to four independent feed streams were to be used (with the fifth as a standby stream).The ultimate aim is to blend higher TAN crude with higher quality crude to achieve a saving of between $1.5 and $3.5 per tonne. Target sulphur content was set at 2.5% with TAN levels less than 0.5mg KOH/g.

Blend Ratio Quality
The control valves, flow meter signals, analyzers and controller in this system underpin the JISKOOT closed loop blend ratio control philosophy. Each stream is fitted with an ultrasonic flow meter of the required accuracy and a flow control valve to achieve specified blend ratios at all times. The streams are then mixed to provide a homogeneous output.

Mixing, Measurement and Analyzer System
The JetMix® system installed in the blend header ensures that blended streams are homogenous at all design flow rates and ratios. The system uses a pumped bypass loop taken from the blend header. When the fluid is returned to the line upstream of the take-off point through the high sheer mixing nozzle, homogeneity of the blend is achieved without inducing pressure loss. This JetMix conditioning of the blended stream also provides for accurate measurement and analysis of viscosity, density, sulphur and water content.  

Blender Control
All functions of the blending system are controlled by JISKOOT InSight® technology, a real-time three-term PID controller that incorporates standard, field-proven blender software. The unit constantly assesses the quality and throughput of the blender, adjusting parameters automatically once the blend process has started.

The blend controller automatically guards against system faults, or adverse conditions and compensates for any restricted product streams. Changes in schedules and requirements can be accommodated simply by the selection of a different recipe, at least 50 of which can be stored within the system designed for the Asia refinery. The InSight controller interfaces with industry standard Modbus® protocol in either master or slave mode for integration with the plants Distributed Control System.  

The system not only ensures the desired feedstock quality is achieved, it also creates significant financial value through the ability to utilize lower cost opportunity crudes.

The JISKOOT in-line blender has enabled the refinery to accommodate a lower cost high sulphur, high TAN crude oil and blend it with low sulphur, low TAN crude oils. The blend density and viscosity are predetermined, and the blend ratio continually optimized during the blend process with the aim of using as much of the high sulphur, high TAN crude as possible to reduce the overall cost. This provides the operator with the opportunity to improve feedstock margins significantly.

Sector Perspective: Achieving Rapid Payback Through Technology

The wider availability of lower-cost heavy crude oil is driving investment which enables refiners to optimize their profits. In-line blending equipment solutions are increasingly seen as a solid, proven track record choice providing a cost and operationally effective alternative to traditional tank and batch blending. Moreover, such a system improves a facility's ability to process a wide range of crude oils while offering rapid payback on the initial capital investment.


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Category: Blending News

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