Historically, optimization in the refinery has been concentrated on final products, (e.g., gasoline and diesel), and has slowly shifted focus to conversion and upgrading process units within the refinery, such as for naphtha conversion, catalytic conversion, upgrading units, and alkylation. Still, there remains one especially important element of the refinery that has not been well optimized: rapid and online characterization of crude oil composition. The need to identify reliable crude oil quality attributes or qualities is essential to optimize yields and maximize profit in a competitive industry where profit margins are extremely tight.
Laboratory methods exist to determine the state of important crude oil parameters known as the “crude assay.” Crude assays, however, require specialized equipment, time, and operator expertise, which are expensive and time consuming. As a result, full crude assay testing is non-existent or performed infrequently, based on historical supplier information. Refiners must often rely on outdated or inaccurate data to plan production. This white paper discusses and demonstrates how ABB near-infrared spectroscopy (FT-NIR) provides a fast and efficient online crude oil characterization solution, enabling planners to optimize their processes based on accurate real-time knowledge of a given crude oil input.