Optimizing oil refining


A press release crossed my desk yesterday, and it connected two things that have been recent discussion points. The main topic of the release is that ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company (EMRE) has signed a licensing agreement with Invensys to use some of the refinery process models that EMRE has developed. The suite of models will be available to other refiners through Invensys Operations Management’s SimSci-Esscor optimization software, using its ROMeo solution to enable clients to model and optimize process units.

Sudipta Bhattacharya, president and chief executive of IOM makes an interesting observation about the current situation of the refining industry: “With depressed demand, decreased margins, and increased environmental mandates, refiners no longer have the option to simply operate at maximum throughput. Over the course of the coming decade, we will see a drastic shift in the oil industry as refiners constantly optimize their operations in the face of changing feedstock and energy costs, product specs, and margins. Refiners will increasingly rely on accurate modeling technologies to construct a refinery-wide picture and assess the financial impact of different operating scenarios. Our SimSci-Esscor optimization software and ROMeo solution, combined with EMRE process models, enables refiners to make improved economic decisions throughout the refinery, from crude feed to final product blending.”

The first area that this connects with is two recent postings on the changing nature of the oil industry now that consumption in the U.S. seems to have peaked and refiners are now finding themselves with excess capacity in North America and Europe. The notion that refiners have the opportunity to evaluate processes with something other than maximizing production in mind could be an interesting change.

The second point is the concept of processes and process models as intellectual property. There is a feature story on this very topic in our April issue which will be coming very soon. A sidebar in the article brings up the area of legal agreements between system providers and end users and how notions of who owns what need to be defined clearly. The situation between IOM and EMRE is something of an extreme case, but the same concepts apply if an end user is working with a control system supplier in a much more conventional application. Watch for it.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
2015 Mid-Year Report: Manufacturing's newest tool: In a digital age, digits will play a key role in the plant of the future; Ethernet certification; Mitigate harmonics; World class maintenance
2015 Lubrication Guide: Green and gold in lubrication: Environmentally friendly fluids and sealing systems offer a new perspective
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Cyber security attack: The threat is real; Hacking O&G control systems: Understanding the cyber risk; The active cyber defense cycle
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths
New industrial buildings: Greener, cleaner, leaner; New building designs for industry; Take a new look at absorption cooling; Offshored jobs start to come back

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.