The Challenge

  • In a base oil production plant the operating conditions needed to produce products at a desired specification are very sensitive to feed quality.
  • Base oils are produced from Vacuum Gas Oils (HVGOs) and Deasphalted Oils (DAOs) which having different viscosity by aromatic solvent and solvent dewaxing. Feedstock having the same viscosity may have a very different composition depending on the crude origin and therefore these have to be refined by using different operating conditions in order to produce base oils at desired specification.
  • A way of defining the feed composition is to determine its hydrocarbon distribution (i.e. aromatic, naphthenic and paraffinic carbon content); this can be obtained off-line (ASTM D2140), or by laboratory high resolution 13C NMR.
  • Unfortunately the feedstock characterization can be only available one or two times a day and it is not actually possible to follow any fluctuation in quality.
  • Moreover, any change needed to correct an out of spec product required almost five hours.
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