New era in refining — Keys to sustenance
Changes in feedstocks, environmental rules can alter past and future process investments, profitability
With the continuing change in
global economics, geopolitical realities and environmental
regulations, coupled with the relentless emphasis and pressure
on short-term financial performance, the refining industry now
finds itself at a crossroads that will eventually determine its
very future. The genesis of crude oil and refining dates back
to a Mesopotamian writ from almost 2,000 years
agostrange wells near the caravan road do not
contain water but liquid earth. A man there boils the earth
until it becomes water, which makes torches burn
brighter. Since pre-historic times, crude oil and
crude oil refining have been arguably the
single largest contributors to the development of mankind and
they still remain the beacon of hope for the future. While the
emerging alternate energy sources have recently found great
favor, statistical evidence suggests that these alternatives
will only have a small impact on the growing energy demand.
Most projections suggest that fossil
fuels will still dominate the energy supply-demand chain in the
future (Fig. 1). With demand growth now stimulated by a large
population segment aspiring for a better quality of life, it is
somewhat ironic that this industry faces a difficult financial
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