March 2006

Special Report: Instruments and Networks

Determine 'unknown loss' in refineries and terminals

Use the systematic error component of a measuring device to correct mass/ volume balances

Bertotto, A., SoftLab, Inc.; Sivaraman, S., SS Tech Services

Refineries and terminals undertake mass and volume balances every month. After accounting for all known losses, adjustments for bias errors and other known procedural errors, they report a net loss under the name of "unknown" or "unaccounted" for loss since the net loss can no longer be explained. This unknown loss is no longer a mystery. The concepts presented provide a tool and a methodology to account for most of the currently reported unknown loss in most locations. This, thus, enables local managements to bring a closure (or almost a closure) to their monthly mass (volume) balances. In essence, the concept calls for using the systematic error component of a measuring device to expla

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