The worldwide refining industry has undergone a major transformation in the last decade due to changes in regulatory and market forces. At present, refineries must be flexible enough to respond immediately to crude oil changes and deviations in product demands.
The required flexibility can only be achieved by stringent monitoring of the quality of the incoming crude and the outgoing product. For low cost and compatible feedstock refineries need to apply a rigorous Crude Blending process.
Effect of Variation in Crude Feed Quality
- Unit operating conditions are upset by changing feed composition.
- Product slate is not maintained at optimum.
- User incurs significant financial penalties.
- Modern refinery is a low-margin enterprise, typically less than 5 % after fixed and variable costs. Refinery feedstock costs around 80% – 90% of the cash flow.
- In the past refineries were based on the distillation of conventional crude oils.
- Current economics and variations in the price of crude oil force refineries to reduce their cost of feedstock by blending high value light crude oil with heavy crude oil of inferior quality.