February 2013

Special Report: Clean Fuels

Refinery optimization: Closing the gap between planned and actual performance

Plant managers should remember that small, incremental changes can make huge differences to the competitiveness of a refinery in today's international marketplace.

Petela, E., Aspen Technology Inc.

Refinery optimization is a complex business. Plant managers across the globe face constant pressure to achieve commercial targets. Fundamentally, a key part of the operational planning process relies on setting accurate goals, whereby planning and scheduling, process modeling and day-to-day plant operations are important tools to help set targets and achieve them. Often, management encounters more questions than answers. Why do the linear programming (LP) models not reflect reality? How do we cope with continuously changing targets? Why are we not performing to expectations? The optimal plan typically will be a “stretch” target. It may not factor in certain constraints like tank

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