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UNIT 20: Case Study

MBA (Oil & Gas Management)

Understanding Oil &


Gas Business

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

Course Design
Advisory Council
Chairman
Dr Parag Diwan
Members
Dr Shrihari
Dean

Dr Anirban Sengupta
Dean

Dr Ashish Bhardwaj
CIO

Dr Satya Sheet
VP Academic Affairs

Prof I M Mishra
Dean IIT Roorkee

Mr M K Goel
Management Consultant

SLM Development Team


Wg Cdr P K Gupta
Dr Joji Rao
Dr Neeraj Anand
Dr K K Pandey

Print Production
Mr Kapil Mehra
Manager Material

Mr A N Sinha
Sr Manager Printing

Author
Lallon Prasad
All rights reserved. No parts of this work may be reproduced in any form, by mimeograph or any other means,
without permission in writing from Hydrocarbon Education Research & Society.

Course Name: Understanding Oil & Gas Business


Version: July 2013
MPower Applied Learning Enterprise

UNIT 20: Case Study

Contents
Block-I
Unit 1

Basic Concepts ................................................................................................................ 3

Unit 2

Crude Oil and Natural Gas Concepts.......................................................................... 13

Unit 3

The Macro-system......................................................................................................... 29

Unit 4

The Indian Perspective................................................................................................. 41

Unit 5

Case Study .................................................................................................................... 53


Block-II

Unit 6

The Exploration of Oil .................................................................................................. 61

Unit 7

Production Methods...................................................................................................... 77

Unit 8

Onshore Oilfield Processing ......................................................................................... 85

Unit 9

Offshore Oilfield Processing....................................................................................... 101

Unit 10

Case Study .................................................................................................................. 113


Block-III

Unit 11

Gas Processing ............................................................................................................ 117

Unit 12

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) .................................................................................... 133

Unit 13

Petroleum Refining..................................................................................................... 143

Unit 14

Refinery Requirements............................................................................................... 159

Unit 15

Case Study .................................................................................................................. 171


Block-IV

Unit 16

Distillation in Refineries ............................................................................................ 175

Unit 17

Petrochemical Industry .............................................................................................. 197

Unit 18

Production of Petrochemicals..................................................................................... 211

Unit 19

Transportation of Oil, Gas and Products: Pipelines ................................................. 227

Unit 20

Case Studies................................................................................................................ 251

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

iv

Block-V
Unit 21

Transportation of Oil, Gas and Products: Other Modes ........................................... 255

Unit 22

Health, Safety and Environment............................................................................... 267

Unit 23

IT Applications in Hydrocarbon Industry ................................................................. 293

Unit 24

Economics and Technology Trends............................................................................ 317

Unit 25

Case Study .................................................................................................................. 337

Glossary ............................................................................................................................................ 341

UNIT 1: Basic Concepts

1
Notes
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BLOCK-I

Detailed Contents

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

Notes
UNIT
1: BASIC CONCEPTS
___________________
z
Introduction
___________________
z
What is Petroleum
___________________
z
Reservoir, Well and Well Fluid
___________________
z
Crude Oil and Natural Gas
___________________
z
Units Specifically Used in Oil and Gas Industry
___________________
UNIT 2: CRUDE OIL AND NATURAL GAS
___________________
CONCEPTS
___________________
z
Introduction
z

___________________
Various Forms of Natural Gas

___________________
Elementary Concepts on Hydrocarbons

Composition of Crude Oil

Some Important Concepts on Crude Oil

Products from Crude Oil

UNIT 3: THE MACRO-SYSTEM


z

Introduction

From Wellhead to Petrochemicals

History of Oil and Gas Industry

UNIT 4: THE INDIAN PERSPECTIVE


z

Introduction

The Indian Perspective Upstream

The Indian Perspective Downstream

UNIT 5: CASE STUDY

UNIT 1: Basic Concepts

Unit 1
Basic Concepts
Objectives
After completion of this unit, the students will be aware of the following
topics:

3
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Concept of petroleum, its constituents and their significance

___________________

Common concepts, definitions and terminologies used with respect to


oil and gas

___________________

Units Specifically used in Oil and Gas Industry

___________________
___________________

Introduction
Oil industry is perhaps the most exciting industry in the history of
civilization. Although the history of oil traces back to seepages of
oil as early as 3000 B.C., the real thrill of it started with the oil
boom in the USA. When Rockefeller was asked to tell very briefly
how people get rich, he replied Some people find oil, some dont.
Its amazing how much oil and gas has penetrated into our lives
today. The toothbrush we use to start the day, the suit we wear,
the fuel we use in our cars to drive to office, the car interiors, back
home with cozy furniture, tapestry, and mattress of the bed we
sleep on all are petrochemicals i.e. chemicals from petroleum.
Oil business has been responsible for prosperity, war, intrigues
and adventure.
Search of oil and gas leads us to some of the most exotic forests,
deserts, and ocean. Perhaps some of the most beautiful man made
sights in the world are offshore platform in Deep Ocean, array of
offshore rigs in a remote desert or jungle or an illuminated
petrochemical complex at night.
Let us understand the importance of oil and gas industry by
looking at its share in the energy supply to the world. More than
60% of the energy needed in the world is provided by oil and gas.
And it is not really as expensive as it sounds.

___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

4
Notes
Activity
Discuss
in groups if oil and
___________________
gas will truly start depleting in
___________________
another
20 to 30 years.
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

To understand oil and gas business, one needs to understand a


whole spectrum of activities from oil well to petrochemicals.
It is also important to understand the trend and future of the
industry in terms of technology, economics and pricing of energy
resources. Energy price is very important for the economy of any
country. As stated earlier, oil and gas provide over sixty percent of
the energy requirement of the world. Oil had been the dominant
component of the mix. Oil prices have been controlled from time to
time to a high level by the petroleum exporting countries (OPEC).
It is cleaner, cheaper and new discoveries and reserves of gas field
are coming up in many parts of the world including India.
Very often the question comes up how long the hydrocarbon
resources (oil and gas) will last. Many predict oil and gas will start
depleting in another 20 to 30 years.
But the world is keeping on adding new hydrocarbon finds and
developing technology to recover more hydrocarbons from existing
oil and gas fields. Also major R&D work is going on to find how to
exploit huge reserves of Methane Hydrates i.e. an unstable
compound of water and methane, lying untapped deep below the
ocean in many parts of the world including coastal areas of India.
It is a fact that although the oil and gas industry will continue to
dominate for several decades from now, at some point of time other
forms of energy will take over. Oil and gas industry generates
wealth, and a part of the wealth is being put into R&D to innovate
for the future. We shall cover the topic in a later section on future
trends. Let us not call the industry just oil and gas industry it is
energy industry.

What is Petroleum?
Petroleum is a word derived from the Latin words Petra (rock) and
Oleum (oil). It essentially comprises of naturally occurring
hydrocarbons i.e. compounds made of carbon and hydrogen atoms.
These hydrocarbons are trapped below the surface of the earth, in
porous rocks, in the form of oil and gas.
From where did the hydrocarbons come? There are various
theories. The most accepted theory is the organic theory.
Hydrocarbons came from remains of the bodies of pre-historic land
based animals, marine organisms (plankton) and vegetation, which

UNIT 1: Basic Concepts

were washed away and buried below the earth during upheavals
on the earths surface millions of years ago.
In the course of time the buried organic matters decomposed and
the carbon and hydrogen present in these reacted under heat and
pressure to form various compounds, generally hydrocarbons.
The hydrocarbons got trapped in the porous rocks and were
covered by hard sedimentary rocks that formed over it. They acted
as cap or seal to prevent hydrocarbons from escaping.
As explained later, carbon and hydrogen atoms can join together to
form molecules of various sizes and structures. Hydrocarbons could
be a small molecule with combination of one or a few carbon atoms
with hydrogen (e.g. Methane - CH4, Ethane - C2H6). Or it could be
very large molecule by combination of dozens of carbon and
hydrogen atoms (e.g. Wax - C20H42) or even thousands of carbon and
hydrogen atoms (e.g. Polythene).
Petroleum is essentially composed of hydrocarbons with some
other impurities. The words petroleum, oil and gas and
hydrocarbon are all used synonymously in the oil and gas
industry.
Hydrocarbons in petroleum could be in gaseous, liquid or solid
form depending on the type and size of hydrocarbon molecule:
z

It can be in gaseous form as natural gas, which can be


associated with oil in an oil field or found free of oil in a gas
field.

It can be in liquid form as crude oil (dark and viscous), or


condensate (clear and volatile like motor gasoline).

The solid and semi-solid forms of petroleum are called asphalt


and tar.

Petroleum as a general term is used for all three mentioned above.


Table 1.1: Light and Heavy Hydrocarbon Molecules

Name

Formula

Phase

Methane

CH4

Gas

Hexane

C6 H14

Liquid

Octane

C8 H18

Liquid

Wax

C20 H42

Solid

5
Notes
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Understanding Oil & Gas Business

6
Notes
Activity
Construct
a model of the
___________________
formation of a Reservoir.
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Check Your Progress


State whether the following statementsare true or false:
1. Hydrocarbons in petroleum could be in gaseous, liquid
or solid form depending on the type and size of
hydrocarbon molecule.
2. Petroleum is a word derived from the Latin words Petra
and Oleum.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Reservoir, Well and Well Fluid


Through the burial and decomposition of organic material, huge
amount of hydrocarbons are formed below the earths surface.
Movements and convulsions below the earths surface resulted in
different types of geological formations, where the hydrocarbons
are trapped. In these formations, the hydrocarbons are contained
by porous rocks known as source rock, covered with strata of hard
sedimentary rocks known as cap rock which settled over them.
When huge quantity of recoverable hydrocarbon is trapped in rock
formations below the earth, it is called Reservoir. Figure 1.1
depicts a typical formation of a reservoir. The surface on earth
above the reservoir is called oilfield or gas field or condensate field
depending on what it produces.

Figure 1.1: Hydrocarbon Formation

It must be noted that the reservoir in an oil field is not like a pool
of liquid or a container filled with gas. It is oil or gas trapped in
pores of porous sedimentary rocks, covered by impervious cap rock.

UNIT 1: Basic Concepts

To produce oil from the reservoir, wells are drilled through the
surface of the earth. A well is then perforated at right location
from where the oil or gas enters the well pipe and rushes out
because of high pressure.

7
Activity
Notes
State all the components of
___________________
Crude
oil.
___________________

What is Well Fluid?

___________________

The fluid that comes out of the well in an oilfield or gas field is

___________________

called well fluid.

___________________

Well fluid is a mixture of crude oil, natural gas and saline water

___________________

along with small amounts of sand and sludge. The water is called

___________________

formation water or produced water.

___________________

If the crude oil had been just made of hydrocarbons, processing to

___________________

get the final products would have been easy and at low cost. But a

___________________

number of undesirable components come out with the well fluid,


which increases the processing blocks and processing cost.
z

Other components like sulfur compounds, carbon dioxide,


nitrogen, traces of metals are also present. Their removal
constitutes part of processing.

Proportion of oil, water and gas may vary widely from one field
to other. It changes substantially with time during production.

Normally, well fluid comes out on its own pressure, which


depletes with time. Artificial methods of recovery are used in
later stages of production.

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. The fluid that comes out of the well in an oilfield or gas
field is called . .
2. When huge quantity of recoverable hydrocarbon is
trapped in rock formations below the earth, it is called
. .

Crude Oil and Natural Gas


The first processing step in an oilfield is separation between crude
oil, natural gas and produced water.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

8
Notes
Activity
Find
out using the Internet
___________________
how many barrels of oil India
___________________
imports
in a year.
___________________
___________________

What is Crude Oil?


Crude oil is a mixture of about 500 organic chemicals,
predominantly hydrocarbons (molecules made of carbon and
hydrogen). It is recovered from underground reservoirs, normally
1000 - 5000 meters down the earth.

___________________

Crude oil can be of wide variety and characteristics. It could be


very fluid, very viscous or semisolid. The colour could be black,
dark brown, amber or light brown.

___________________

It is also called Petroleum.

___________________

What is Natural Gas?

___________________

Natural gas is a mixture of the lightest hydrocarbons like


methane, ethane, propane and butane. It also contains water to its
saturation limit. It may also contain hydrogen sulphide (H2S),

___________________

___________________

carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen (N2) and occasionally small amounts


of helium (He).
When natural gas comes out of the well along with crude oil, it is
called associated gas. Associated gas is produced along with crude
in a field which is essentially an oil producing field.
When the well produces mainly gas with very little liquids, it is
called free gas. Free gas production can be shut when we do not
want it.
When acid gases like CO2 and H2S are present in substantial
quantity, the gas is called sour gas. Otherwise it is called sweet
gas.

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. is also called Petroleum.
2. When natural gas comes out of the well along with crude
oil, it is called .

Units Specifically Used in Oil and Gas Industry


Oil industry uses certain specific units for production rates and
volumes which will be bused frequently in our text. Due to past
history of oil and gas industry which is predominantly the history

UNIT 1: Basic Concepts

of exploitation of hydrocarbon resources by the companies of

American origin, the American units are more often used in the

Notes

industry rather than Metric Units. Here are some important units

___________________

commonly used with which one must get familiar.

___________________

Crude-oil volume is usually measured in barrels.

___________________

One barrel holds 42 gallons (159 liters).

___________________

Weight or mass of crude in India is in metric tons (tonne).

___________________

A barrel of average crude oil weighs 0.150 ton, as a thumb

___________________

rule. It must be remembered that it depends on the density of

___________________

the crude oil.

___________________

Million Barrels of Oil Equivalent (MBOE) means amount of

___________________

gas or any other fuel whose calorific value or heating value is

___________________

equivalent of one million barrels of crude oil.


z

Oil production capacity or refinery capacity are often


expressed in Barrels per Day (BPD) or Barrels per Standard
Day (BPSD). Roughly 20,000 BPSD is equivalent to 1 Million
Tons per year of crude, taking an average density of crude.
[Note: It obviously will depend on density of crude oil.]

Some typical conversion figures used in the oil industry are


given in Table 1.2.
Table 1.2: Commonly Used Measurement
Units in Petroleum Industry

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

10
Notes
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___________________
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___________________
___________________
___________________
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Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. Crude oil volume is usually measured in .
2. Weight or mass of crude in India is in metric .

Summary
Petroleum is a saying determined from the Latin statements Petra
(rock) and Oleum (oil). It basically includes commonly happening
hydrocarbons i.e. fuses made of carbon and hydrogen particles. The
aforementioned hydrocarbons are trapped beneath the surface of
the earth, in permeable shakes, in the manifestation of oil and gas.
Carbon and hydrogen molecules can join together to shape
particles of different sizes and structures. Hydrocarbons could be a
modest atom with consolidation of one or a couple of carbon
particles with hydrogen (e.g. Methane CH4 , Ethane -C2H6). On the
other hand it could be extremely huge atom by fusion of portions of
carbon and hydrogen iotas (e.g. Wax - C20H42) or even many carbon
and hydrogen particles (e.g. Polythene).
Petroleum is basically made out of hydrocarbons with some
different pollution. The statements 'petroleum', 'oil and gas' and
'hydrocarbon' are all utilized synonymously as a part of the oil and
gas industry.

Lesson End Activity


Write a report on the OPEC oil price controversy.

Keywords
Aromatics: They are compounds having a ring of six carbon atoms
with alternating double and single bonds and six hydrogen atoms.
Crude Oil: It is predominantly made of hydrocarbons. It is
composed of three main hydrocarbon groups: Paraffins,
Naphthenes, and Aromatics.
Well Fluid: It a mixture of crude oil, natural gas and saline water
along with small amounts of sand and sludge.
Petroleum: It essentially comprises of naturally occurring
hydrocarbons i.e. compounds made of carbon and hydrogen atoms.

UNIT 1: Basic Concepts

Questions for Discussion


1.

Write a short note on Crude oil.

2.

Explain the formation of Petroleum.

3.

Define Natural Gas. State its various forms.

4.

What are the units most commonly used in the Oil and Gas
industry?

11
Notes
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___________________
___________________
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Further Readings

___________________
___________________

Books
Vollhardt, K.P.C. & Shore, N., Organic Chemistry (5th Edition),
New York: W.H. Freeman, (190-192), 2007.
Shore, N., Study Guide and Solutions Manual for Organic
Chemistry (5th Edition), New York: W.H. Freeman, (70-80), 2007

Web Readings
www.need.org/needpdf/infobook_activities/ElemInfo/PetroE.pdf
www.hindustanpetroleum.com

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Understanding Oil & Gas Business

12
Notes
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___________________
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UNIT 2: Crude Oil and Natural Gas Concepts

Unit 2
Crude Oil and Natural Gas
Concepts

13
Notes
Activity
Find___________________
out what basis the colour
of Crude oil depends on, using
___________________
the Internet.
___________________
___________________

Objectives

___________________

After completion of this unit, the students will be aware of the following
topics:

___________________

Hydrocarbons

___________________

Composition of Crude Oil

___________________

Products from Crude Oil

___________________
___________________

Introduction
Crude oil is a mixture of about 500 organic chemicals,
predominantly hydrocarbons (molecules made of carbon and
hydrogen). It is recovered from underground reservoirs, normally
1000 - 5000 meters down the earth.
Crude oil can be of wide variety and characteristics. It could be
very fluid, very viscous or semisolid. The colour could be black,
dark brown, amber or light brown. It is also called Petroleum.
Natural gas is a mixture of the lightest hydrocarbons like
methane, ethane, propane and butane. It also contains water to its
saturation limit. It may also contain hydrogen sulphide (H2S),
carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen (N2) and occasionally small amounts
of helium (He).

Various Forms of Natural Gas


There often exists a lack of understanding regarding the various
terminologies or nomenclature used in the industry in describing
components or forms of natural gas. The most commonly used ones
are NGL, LPG, LNG and CNG. Let us understand what are these
and how do they differ from natural gas.
NGL: During production or transportation of gas, the heavy
components such as pentane or hexane, condense due to natural
cooling and separate out as liquids. This is called NGL (Natural
Gas Liquids).

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

14
Notes
___________________

As the name suggests, this is not really a gaseous component, but


volatile liquid.

___________________

LPG: The propane/butane component of the natural gas is


liquefied under moderate pressures and is supplied as cooking gas
fuel.

___________________

This is called LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas).

___________________

___________________

LNG: Natural gas in bulk is liquefied under very low (cryogenic)


temperature for transportation in large quantities by marine
tankers. This is bulk of the natural gas in liquefied form and is
re-vaporized after receiving it at its destination from tankers, to be
used as natural gas. The objective of converting the gas to LNG is
transportation in large quantities or export by marine tankers.

___________________

This is called LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas).

___________________

___________________
___________________
___________________

CNG: Natural gas is compressed to high pressures for use as


automotive fuel or for transportation in small quantities. This is
natural gas in highly compressed form but not liquefied.
It is called CNG (Compressed Natural Gas).

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. . is formed when natural gas is
compressed to high pressures for use as automotive fuel
or for transportation in small quantities.
2. . is Natural gas in bulk is liquefied
under very low temperature for transportation in large
quantities by marine tankers.

Elementary Concepts on Hydrocarbons


Now that we know crude oil is made of around 500 components,
mainly hydrocarbons and natural gas is mainly light hydrocarbons,
it becomes important to understand a little basic about
hydrocarbon molecules.
The whole petroleum and petrochemical industry revolves around:
Starting with the hydrocarbon molecules as produced
naturally from the well.
Rebuilding them into valuable products by various types
of processing.

UNIT 2: Crude Oil and Natural Gas Concepts

What is Hydrocarbon?
Hydrocarbons are compounds made of carbon and hydrogen. The
hydrocarbon molecules are formed by:

15
Notes
___________________

Bonding of hydrogen atoms to carbon atoms.

___________________

Bonding of a number of carbon atoms to form chain or cycle or

___________________

a combination of chain and cycle.

___________________

The number of carbon atoms bonded together can be a few or

___________________

many, in various combinations, creating numerous chemicals.

___________________

The bonding of carbon atoms could be in the form of a straight

___________________

chain, branched chain or cyclic manner.

___________________

Typical hydrocarbon structures are depicted in Figure 2.1.

___________________
___________________

Figure 2.1: Hydrocarbon Structure

The phase (solid, liquid or gas) of the hydrocarbon depends on the


number of carbon atoms joined together in a chain, for example,
CH4 (METHANE)

: GAS

C6H6 (BENZENE)

: LIQUID

C20H42 (WAX)

: SOLID

Crude oil is made of a mixture of more than 500 components,


mainly Hydrocarbons, which are the desired components. Crude oil
contains from light components as dissolved gases (LPG), light
liquids (Petrol, diesel) to heavy stock like wax, tar and resins.
The more carbon atoms a hydrocarbon molecule has,
the heavier it is (the higher is its molecular weight).
and the higher is its boiling point.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

16
Notes
Activity
Conduct
further research on
___________________
Paraffins
and
make
a
___________________
presentation.
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. Hydrocarbons are compounds made of ... .
2. The bonding of carbon atoms could be in the form of a
straight chain, ... or cyclic manner.

Composition of Crude Oil


Crude oil is predominantly made of hydrocarbons. It is composed of
three main hydrocarbon groups:
Paraffins
Naphthenes
Aromatics
It also contains unstable hydrocarbons called olefin.
Paraffins are straight chain compounds, chemically stable. Lighter
ones (CH4, C2H6) are gas. Heavier molecules are liquid (oil) or solid
(wax).
Naphthenes consist of carbon rings, with/without side chains.
Saturated with hydrogen, naphthenes are also chemically stable.
Lighter naphthenes are liquids and heavier ones could be solid.
Aromatics are compounds having a ring of six carbon atoms with
alternating double and single bonds and six hydrogen atoms. They
are relatively unstable.
Olefins are double bonded hydrocarbon chains, normally produced
during high temperature processing of petroleum. Olefins are
unstable and polymerize easily i.e. a large number of olefins can
combine together easily to form large gummy or plastic molecules.

UNIT 2: Crude Oil and Natural Gas Concepts

17
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
Activity
___________________
What
is the boiling point of a
mixture of two liquids A and B
___________________
mixed 50-50, A and B having
a boiling
points of 70C and
___________________
80C respectively?
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 2.2: Types of Hydrocarbons

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. are straight chain compounds, chemically
stable.
2. are double bonded hydrocarbon chains,
normally produced during high temperature processing
of petroleum.

Some Important Concepts on Crude Oil


Carbon Numbers
The hydrocarbons are often referred in terms of number of carbon
atoms rather than whole formula.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

18
Notes

Example:

___________________

C1 = Methane

___________________

C4 = Mixture of Butane and hydrocarbons with 4 carbon


atoms

___________________
___________________
___________________

C7 = Mixture of all hydrocarbons with 7 carbon atoms.


For further clarity let us put down some of the paraffin
hydrocarbons the symbol (-) indicating carbon to carbon bonds:

___________________

Methane

CH4

CH4

___________________

Ethane

C2H6

CH3 - CH3

___________________

Propane

C3H8

CH3CH2CH3

___________________

Butane

C4H10

CH3 - CH2 - CH2 - CH3

___________________

(normal butane or n-butane)


Butane structure can also be branched
chain type as given below:
CH3 - CH - CH3
|
CH3
(Isobutane or i-butane)
Both the structures of butane have same number of carbon atoms
and same number of hydrogen atoms i.e. C4H10.
The only difference is how the carbon atoms are bonded with each
other. This makes them different chemical entities but with very
similar and close physical properties like boiling point and vapour
pressure. The branched chain hydrocarbons of same carbon
numbers, same number of hydrogen atoms and same chemical
formula are called isomers.
Now let us look at Pentane.
Pentane

C5H12

CH3 - CH2 - CH2 - CH2 - CH3


(n-pentane)

Pentane can have quite a few isomers:


CH3 - CH - CH2 - CH3
|
CH3

CH3 - CH - CH3
|
CH2
|
CH3

UNIT 2: Crude Oil and Natural Gas Concepts

Thus one can have more and more isomers as the number of
carbon atoms in the chain increases.

19
Notes

In addition to the numerous isomers, there are other types of


hydrocarbons like olefins (double bonded or triple bonded
hydrocarbons). C5 and higher hydrocarbons can have cyclic
structures (naphthenes and aromatics) and there could be
molecules with combination of cyclic and straight chain
hydrocarbons.

___________________

For example, C6 hydrocarbon can be compounds of:

___________________

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Normal paraffinic chain structure (e.g. normal hexane)

___________________

Isomers (isohexanes)

___________________

Olefinic structures or structures with double bond (hexanes)

___________________

Cyclic structure (benzene)

___________________

Thus just saying C6 means a number of hydrocarbons with six


carbon atoms put together in various forms.
That explains:
How innumerable varieties of hydrocarbon molecules are
possible.
How with same number of carbon atoms, say C8, numerous
hydrocarbon compounds are possible.
Higher the number of carbon atoms, more numerous is the possible
hydrocarbon compounds.

Classification of Crude Oil


Various crude oils are often referred by their API Gravity. API
Gravity is expressed as (141.5/ Sp. Gravity - 131.5). As specific
gravity is in the denominator, API Gravity is higher for lighter
crude and lower for heavier crude.
A comparative idea of this gravity unit can be obtained by
comparison with water:
Water

10 API

Typical API Gravity figures for crude oil are:


Mumbai High Crude

40 API - Light Crude

Arabian Crude

34 API - Medium Crude

Venezuelan Crude

15 API - Heavy Crude

There could be sub-categorization as Medium Heavy or Light


Medium.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

20
Notes
___________________
___________________

Another common classification is based on Characterization


Factor, which depends on API Gravity and Boiling Point.
The crude oils are also classified in terms of chemical nature, for
example:

___________________

Paraffinic base

___________________

Asphaltic base

___________________

Intermediate base

___________________

Naphthenic base

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Crude oils for which the residue after distillation contains paraffin
wax is called paraffinic. If the residue contains asphalt, it is called
asphaltic base and so on.
Refinery processing scheme and product yields depend on type of
crude in terms of chemical nature and gravity. It also indicates the
type of product it can yield.
As typical example:
Paraffinic base crude do not yield good bitumen (road tar) and
is not good for lubricating oil manufacture. But it is good for
diesel.
Light crude contains more of gasoline.
Medium crude is good for diesel production.
Heavy crude may give better bitumen.
Naphthenic crudes are good for lubricating oil.

Cut or Fraction
Crude Oil and its products are mixtures of several components.
Each component has a boiling point. It is interesting to examine
what would be the boiling point of mixture of several liquids.
Thus mixtures do not have a single boiling point; it has a boiling
range - from the initial boiling point to the final boiling point.
Liquid mixtures are identified with their boiling range. Crude oil
being a mixture, has a boiling range. Each product like gasoline or
kerosene is also a mixture and has a boiling range.

Cuts, Fractions and Carbon Numbers


Crude oil is a mixture of over 500 components. It has a boiling
range of around 40-600C. Each product from Crude oil is also
mixture of several components (hydrocarbons). The hydrocarbons
range from C1 to C65 in terms of carbon numbers.

UNIT 2: Crude Oil and Natural Gas Concepts

Product of a particular boiling range taken out of crude is defined


as cut or fractions.

21
Notes

The products are identified as cuts from crude of certain boiling


ranges and carbon numbers.

___________________

Table 2.1: Petroleum Product Cuts and Carbon Numbers

___________________

Product / Cut

Boiling Range

Carbon Number

Natural Gas

<20C

C1- C4

Gasoline

40 - 200C

C5 - C10

Kerosene

180 250C

C10 - C15

Diesel (Gas Oil)

240 350C

C14 - C20

Jet Fuel (ATF)

170 - 240C

C10 - C15

Lube Oil

350 - 450C

C20 - C30

Bitumen/Tar

450C+

C30 ++

___________________

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Petroleum Products

___________________

Crude oil (Oil) and natural gas (Gas) mixed along with water,
comes out of the well as well fluid. Crude oil and natural gas
together can be broadly referred as petroleum. Petroleum is just a
raw material. Let us see what products we get from oil and gas
that comes out from well head.

Well Head to Energy and Petrochemicals


There are two distinct uses of well head oil and natural gas- as fuel
and as high value products. Primary use of the petroleum products
in the early days of its exploration has been as fuel. But later with
the development of petrochemical area (plastics, fibres, etc.),
emphasis has shifted to greater valorization of the raw material.
Let us look at the table below to understand this.
Table 2.2: Petroleum as Fuel and as Value Products
Fuel and Products
Coal

Calorific Value
(Kcal/Kg)

Price
US Dollars/Ton

6,500

80

Crude Oil

10,400

150

Fuel Oil

10,000

120

Motor Gasoline

11,000

180

Polythene

Not fuel

500

Polystyrene

Not fuel

550

The high calorific value of the petroleum products, its low cost in
the past and its suitability for use as relatively clean fuel created
incentive to consume as fuel. But in the current economic scenario,
valorization to higher value products has become integral part of
oil and gas industry.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

22
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

It is important to note that besides producing fuel and automotive


products like gasoline or diesel, both crude oil and natural gas
provide feed stock for petrochemicals. Feed stocks are component
of crude oil and natural gas that are converted into high value
petrochemical products like polythene, polyester, synthetic rubber
and synthetic fibre, etc. It is apparent from the table above that
there is substantial valorization once the oil or gas is converted to
petrochemicals.
The macro-system from well head to Petrochemicals has been dealt
in detail in the next section. For an initial understanding of the
petroleum products let us have a look at the simple block diagram
given in Figure 2.3.

___________________
___________________

Figure 2.3: Petroleum Utilization Blocks

The various blocks in overall system are:


Well fluid is processed at the oilfield first. Oil and gas are
separated, made transportable and despatched to the Refinery
and Gas Processing Facility respectively.
Refinery produces products like petrol, diesel oil, lubricating
oil etc. It also produces feed stock (Naphtha) for petrochemical
(plastic, fibre, etc.) manufacture.
Gas Processing Facility purifies the gas from undesirable
components and separates feedstock for petrochemical
production.
Petrochemical feed stocks from Gas Processing or Refinery or
both are sent to a Petrochemical Complex for production of
petrochemical.
The balance gas is used as fuel for power generation or as
industrial fuel.

UNIT 2: Crude Oil and Natural Gas Concepts

23

Each individual block in the above diagram could be a separate


company. And each of these blocks could be located far away from
each other in the same or different countries.

___________________

This makes the oil and gas industry a real global industry.

___________________

Some important terms often used in oil and gas industry with
respect to the block diagram:
Offshore: Oil or gas field situated in the sea/ocean.
Onshore: Land based oil or gas field.

Downstream: Gas Processing, Refinery and Petrochemical


Facilities are referred as downstream blocks.

Products from Natural Gas


The natural gas is made mainly of the four lightest hydrocarbons
i.e. C1 (Methane), C2 (Ethane), C3 (Propane) and C4 (Butane). As
gas separates out of the crude oil, it pulls out a little bit of heavier
hydrocarbons like C5, C6, etc.
Table 2.3 shows the typical composition of gas and use of various
components towards high value product.
Table 2.3: Gas Composition and Utilization

Methane (C1)

Composition
Volume %
50-96

Utilization
Fuel, Petrochemical
feedstock, power generation

Ethane (C2)

2-15

Petrochemical feedstock

Propane (C3)

1-12

Butane

0.5-3

Petrochemical feedstock,
LPG
Petrochemical feedstock,
LPG

(C4)

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Upstream: The blocks covering reservoir, production,


processing and transportation of oil and gas is referred as
upstream blocks.

Component

Notes

Heavies (C5+) (NGL)

0.1-1

Refinery blending stock,


petrochemical feedstock

Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)

0-15

Toxic, corrosive and


undesirable component

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

0-30

No fuel value, corrosive,


undesirable component

Nitrogen

0-30

No fuel value, corrosive,


undesirable component

Water

Saturated

Undesirable component

Total

100

The points to note here are that:


There is a wide range of gas composition, varying from field to
field and well to well.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

24
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Only consistent trend is the reducing pattern of the


hydrocarbon constituents from the lightest to the heavier ones
e.g. methane followed by ethane and heavier hydrocarbons.
Utilization of gas as fuel is the easiest but lowest in the value
chain.
Utilization of gas to make petrochemicals is the highest in the
value chain.
Hence very often the components of the gas are separated by gas
processing to be used for manufacture of petrochemicals.
While Table 2.4 gives a range for gas composition; typical gas
composition is given in Table 2.3.
Table 2.4: Typical Gas Composition
Component
(Volume%)

Methane
rich
Sweet Gas

Associated
gas
(mildly
sour)

Sour
gas

Gas with
high
N2

Methane (C1)

94.5

76.5

71.5

62.5

Ethane (C2)
Propane (C3)

2.8
1.0

12.2
6.5

10.2
5.7

4.2
2.5

0.2

1.8

1.0

0.5

Butane (C4)
Heavies (C5+)
Hydrogen Sulfide
Carbon Dioxide
Nitrogen
Water
Total

Traces
Nil
1.5
Nil
Saturated
100.0

1.0
Nil
2.0
300 ppm
Saturated
100.0

0.5
3.5
7.6
Nil
Saturate
100.0

0.1
Nil
5.4
24.8
Saturated
100.0

Obviously each of these gases will have different processing


techniques and problems in the Gas Processing Plant. These will
be dealt with later. But let us look at the obvious The methane rich gas will have very little feedstock for
petrochemicals.
The associated gas is rich in petrochemical feedstock and LPG.
The sour gas will need treatment to remove highly toxic and
corrosive Hydrogen Sulfide.
The nitrogen rich gas will have low calorific value.

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. .. Facility purifies the gas from
undesirable components and separates feedstock for
petrochemical production.
2. The .. rich gas will have low calorific value.

UNIT 2: Crude Oil and Natural Gas Concepts

Products from Crude Oil


The five hundred odd components mostly hydrocarbon ranging
from C1 to C65 gives wider range of products. Each of the products
by itself is a composite of numerous hydrocarbons. The crude oil is
processed in the refinery to separate the base stock (raw products)
by distillation into cuts. Then the various product base stocks are
processed and treated to meet specifications.

25
Notes
Activity
What
is
the
chemical
___________________
composition
of
C7
___________________
Hydrocarbon?
___________________
___________________
___________________

Table 2.5: Products from Crude Oil Refining


___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

The important petroleum products produced in bulk in a refinery


are presented in Table 2.6. Each of the products has to meet
certain performance specifications. Only one typical specification is
stated in the table for a preliminary understanding of its
significance with respect to the usage. It must be remembered that
besides performance specifications, there are strict specifications to
meet environment and emission norms. These are related to
polluting components like sulfur, aromatics, etc.

Petrochemical Products/Petrochemicals
What are petrochemicals? Petrochemicals are usually plastic
products and chemicals that are derived from petroleum and
natural gas and are made on a large scale (approximately >10,000
tons per annum upwards). As indicated in the earlier sections,
certain components from gas processing plants and refinery are
used as feedstock for manufacture of petrochemicals (e.g. ethane,
propane, naphtha).

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

26
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________

Petroleum products from refinery and natural gas, supply over


50% of the feedstock for the entire chemical industry and more
than 50% of organic chemicals.
As you can see in the next table, petrochemical products have
permeated into every facet of our lives.

___________________

A vast majority of them are polymers, whose molecules are tailored


by reaction process to suit specific characteristics or properties.

___________________

Table 2.6: Petrochemicals

___________________

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1.

are usually plastic products and


chemicals that are derived from petroleum and natural
gas and are made on a large scale.

2. The important petroleum products are produced in bulk


in a .

Summary
Raw petroleum might be of wide mixed bag and aspects. It could be
exceptionally liquid, extremely thick or semisolid. The colour could be
dark, dim tan, golden or light tan. It is additionally called Petroleum.
Regular gas is a mixture of the lightest hydrocarbons like
methane, ethane, propane and butane. It likewise holds water to
its immersion limit. It might additionally hold hydrogen sulphide
(H2S), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen (N2) and at times minor
measures of helium (He).
Hydrocarbons are fuses made of carbon and hydrogen.

UNIT 2: Crude Oil and Natural Gas Concepts

Unrefined petroleum is overwhelmingly made of hydrocarbons.


It is made out of three primary hydrocarbon bunches; Paraffins,
Naphthenes and Aromatics.

27
Notes
___________________
___________________

Lesson End Activity

___________________

Prepare an assignment on the Gas Composition and Utilization.

___________________
___________________

Keywords
Natural Gas Liquids (NGL): It is formed during production or
transportation of gas, when the heavy components such as pentane or
hexane, condense due to natural cooling and separate out as liquids.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG): It is the propane/butane
component of the natural gas is liquefied under moderate
pressures and is supplied as cooking gas fuel.
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG): This is bulk of the natural gas in
liquefied form and is re-vaporized after receiving it at its
destination from tankers, to be used as natural gas.
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG): This is natural gas in highly
compressed form but not liquefied.

Questions for Discussion


1.

Give a brief outline of the different forms of Natural gas.

2.

What are Hydrocarbons? Explain.

3.

Write a short note on the Composition of Crude oil.

4.

What are the various products from Crude oil? State them.

Further Readings
Books
Vollhardt, K.P.C. & Shore, N., Organic Chemistry (5th Edition),
New York: W. H. Freeman, (190-192), 2007
Shore, N., Study Guide and Solutions Manual for Organic
Chemistry (5th Edition), New York: W.H. Freeman, (70-80), 2007

Web Readings
www.need.org/needpdf/infobook_activities/ElemInfo/PetroE.pdf
www.hindustanpetroleum.com

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___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

28
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

UNIT 3: The Macro-system

Unit 3
The Macro-system
Objectives
After completion of this unit, the students will be aware of the following
topics:

29
Notes
Activity
Make
a chart showing the
___________________
entire Petrochemical industry.
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Oil and gas chain from oil well down to the petrochemical industry

___________________

Overview of business environment in each block of the chain

___________________

Overview of the major players in the chain

Introduction
Use of petroleum dates back to 3000 BC. But it was sourced from
natural oil seepages that occurred on the earths surface. Asphalt
from natural oil seeps is known to have been used around 3000 BC
in Mesopotamia They used it for construction of roads. Egyptian
mummies were known to be wrapped in asphalt-soaked clothing.
Application of asphalt was also made for the construction of
pyramids.
The oil producing countries are divided into two groups those who
are members of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
(OPEC) and those who are not.
In India, the oilfield in Digboi was discovered during the later part
of nineteenth century. Till 1970, oilfields in Assam and Gujarat
were the major producers. In the seventies, Mumbai High was
developed into a major producer.

From Wellhead to Petrochemicals


A block diagram representation of the entire industry is given in
Figure 3.1.
The first step in the block is oilfield processing. The well fluid is
processed in or in the vicinity of the oilfield. The processing steps
here are:
Separation of crude oil, natural gas and water which comes as
mixture in the form of well fluid.
Oil and gas are treated to meet specifications for
transportation and any customer specification. Oil is normally

___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

30
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

treated to remove water, and then it is pumped and metered


before putting it through pipeline.
Similarly gas is dehydrated, compressed and metered before
putting it through pipeline. Separated water (called produced
water) is treated to meet environment specifications for
discharging it.
Sometimes the produced water is re-injected into the reservoir.
In such case it is treated to meet reservoir quality
specifications.
Separated gas is sent by pipeline to the gas processing plant, which
may be located away from the field.
Transportation of oil and gas, which are raw material, is done by
pipeline, marine tankers or rail/road tankers. Transportation by
itself is a huge business sector.
The gas is first treated to remove impurities like sulfur. Then
cryogenic (low temperature) processing is carried out to liquefy and
separate by distillation, the components like ethane, propane and
LPG. The separated components are utilized to make higher value
products:
Methane, which is bulk of the gas, is a good raw material for
manufacture of urea fertilizer, chemicals like methanol or can
be used as fuel to generate power.
Ethane and propane are sent to the petrochemical plants as
feedstock to crack them into ethylene/propylene, which are
polymerized into plastics (polythene, polypropylene).
LPG (propane and butane mix) is bottled in cylinders and sent
for domestic consumption.
The heavier hydrocarbons (C5+), which are present in the gas
condenses as Natural Gas Liquids (NGL). NGL is sent to the
refinery to be processed as blending stock for gasoline or it is
sent to a petrochemical complex as feedstock.
If the gas is to be transported to another country by marine
tankers, it is liquefied as LNG.
The oil from the oilfield processing block is pumped (or taken by
tanker) to the refinery. Oil refining is a composite of several
processing steps. The first step is separation of raw products by
distillation. There are subsequent process steps to meet certain
specification of the products. Then there are processing to meet

UNIT 3: The Macro-system

environment related specifications. Also there is processing to


crack the heavy part of the crude into lighter products like
gasoline, kerosene and diesel. The finished products that we get
from the refinery are summarized in Figure 3.1.

31
Notes
___________________
___________________

Each of the blocks of gas processing and processing of oil in the


refinery generates feedstock for Petrochemical Complex.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 3.1: The Oil and Gas Chain

Naphtha is the main feedstock for petrochemical manufacture


generated in the refinery. Even the kerosene and gas oil (raw
diesel cut) can be used as feedstock. Methane, ethane, propane,
butane and the NGL component of the gas can be used as
feedstock.
Most of the petrochemical processes are conversion of the
molecules of feedstock by:
Cracking the feedstock, i.e. breaking bigger molecules into
smaller molecules. In Petrochemical Processes cracking of
feedstock like ethane, propane or naphtha is done to generate
smaller olefin molecules like ethylene or propylene.
Polymerization of the olefins i.e. joining together of the olefin
molecules several thousand fold producing large molecules
which are called polymers. Olefins tend to polymerize easily
making resinous or plastic material like polythene or
polypropylene.
Very often a non-hydrocarbon or inorganic component can be
brought into the reaction process to generate other petrochemical
products. For example nitrogen becomes an essential raw material
besides methane as feedstock, for synthesis of urea fertilizer.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

32
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Similarly for making PVC (polyvinyl chloride), vinyl chloride is


first formed by reaction of chlorine with ethylene.
With any of the feedstock mentioned, numerous petrochemical
products are made. Starting with ethane as feedstock,
configuration of a typical petrochemical complex is shown in
Figure 3.2. Ethylene is made by cracking ethane. Vinyl chloride is
made by reaction of ethane with chlorine. Plastic end products like
Polythene and PVC are made by polymerization of ethylene and
vinyl chloride.

___________________

Part of the ethylene undergoes processing with benzene


(originating from naphtha as feedstock) and produces polystyrene
as end product.

___________________

Figure 3.3 shows a typical petrochemical complex.

___________________

Figure 3.2: Petrochemical Building Blocks

Figure 3.3: View of a Petrochemical Complex

Upstream and Downstream


These two terms are very frequently used in the petroleum
industry. Let us look in to the broad category of processing blocks
we described:
Oilfield Processing
Transportation of oil and gas

UNIT 3: The Macro-system

33

Gas Processing

Notes

Refinery

___________________

Petrochemicals

___________________

Power Plants and other gas based industries


Of course another large industry not mentioned earlier is the
storage, transportation and logistics of numerous products that
come out of processing of oil and gas.
The first two businesses i.e. oilfield processing and transportation
activities are known as Upstream. The others are referred as
Downstream.
Now we shall touch upon brief history of development of oil and
gas industry. Then the Indian oil and gas industry with reference
to the macro-system, upstream and downstream will be described.

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. Oilfield processing and transportation activities are
known as . .
2. For making PVC, . is first formed by
reaction of chlorine with ethylene.

History of Oil and Gas Industry


The use of petroleum dates back to more than 3000 BC. But it was
sourced from natural oil seepages that occurred on the earths
surface.

Oil and Gas from Seepages and Brine Wells


Asphalt from natural oil seeps is known to have been used around
3000 BC in Mesopotamia. They used it for construction of roads.
Egyptian mummies were known to be wrapped in asphalt-soaked
clothing. Application of asphalt was also made for the construction
of pyramids.
Natural gas seeps were known in the Baku region of Azerbaijan,
Iran, India and other countries. Some of them caught fire and
burnt for thousands of years. Use of petroleum as medicine was
made in China.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

34
Notes
___________________
___________________

The first effort for production of petroleum by digging wells were


reported in China in the year 600 BC. Crude oil is reported to have
been produced during digging of brine wells.
Those days the technique for search of oil was limited to looking for

___________________

oil or gas seeps and trying to locate an adequate source nearby.

___________________

The search for oil and gas today is much more complicated.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Industrial Revolution and the Search for Oil


During the eighteenth century, the industrial revolution created
the demand of lighting, fuel and lubricating oils for the
machineries. This intensified the search for oil (exploration) and it
resulted in the development of the technology for oil exploration.
In the middle of the nineteenth century oil from coal (named
kerosene) was being used to satisfy the demand of lighting oils lamps.
Whale oil and coal oil were also used for lubrication of the machines.
Kerosene from the petroleum produced from natural seepage started
shortly afterwards. During the period 1850 to 1870, drilling of wells to
produce oil started the oil boom in the USA. Those days often oil was
found at depths of 30 to 100 meters. Today the depth of oil wells are a
few thousand meters to several Kilometres. Development of the
exploration and drilling technology moved faster with the companies
getting cash rich with the oil boom. Some of the largest and
financially strong oil companies emerged in the USA. The landmark
events in the history of oil and gas industry are:
In 1870, John D. Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Company,
which soon gained a near monopoly on oil production and became
one of the largest companies in the world.
Till 1900, fuel oil, kerosene and lubricating oils were the main
products from petroleum. Then came the advent of cars and the
demand for gasoline. During the early part of the twentieth
century, gasoline-fueled cars became popular; locomotive and ship
engines were converted from coal to oil; and the airplanes using
aviation gasoline started flying. The demand for gasoline went up
and with the advent of electric power, the demand for kerosene for
lighting went down, bringing change in refinery technology.
Search and production of oil became more technology oriented
since early twentieth century. Rotary drills were used to dig wells
for oil. The first offshore wells were drilled in California in 1896. In
1948 the first platform was used to drill an offshore well in
Louisiana.

UNIT 3: The Macro-system

In the first half of the twentieth century, the discovery of large


oilfields spread to the other parts of the world. New fields were
discovered in erstwhile USSR, the Middle East and other locations.
USSR became a major producer of oil under state ownership of the
various oil reservoirs. With the participation in major discoveries
and ownership worldwide, some of the pioneering American
companies like Standard Oil, Texaco, and Mobil became giants.

35
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

In India, the oilfield in Digboi was discovered during the later part
of nineteenth century. Till 1970, oilfields in Assam and Gujarat
were the major producers. In the seventies, Mumbai High was
developed into a major producer.

___________________

The Middle East came into the picture in the 1930s. In 1932, the
first crude oil discovery in Bahrain was made by Standard Oil. In
1936, Standard Oil of California joined with other American
majors to form Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO).
ARAMCO made a major oil discovery in Saudi Arabia in 1938.

___________________

North Sea oil field were discovered and developed during the late
sixties and seventies. During the eighties and nineties, some of the
Latin American countries (Mexico, Venezuela) made major oil field
discoveries and development. During the nineties, Asia Pacific
countries like China and Indonesia became major producers.

Oil Scenario Worldwide


The regions having the largest proven oil reserves today are given
in Figure 3.4 below.

Figure 3.4: Region-wise Hydrocarbon Reserves

___________________
___________________

___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

36
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

It is important to know that Indias proven reserves are meagre


compared to the size and potential of the country.
The oil producing countries are divided into two groups those who
are members of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
(OPEC) and those who are not.
This post consists of oil producing countries. Total world
production of the oil is 12%. The oil of the world will run out in a
few years. Every country is trying to discover more reserves of oil.
It is known that how far this struggle will succeed. It is the need of
the hour that we cut short the need of oil. Anyhow we should try to
maximize the oil production.
Following are the list of top ten oil producing countries in which we
discuss their production, import and export of the oil.

Figure 3.5: Top 10 Oil Producing Countries in the World

1.

Russia: The single largest oil producing country in the world


is Russia, with a production of 10,124,000 barrels per day. It
shares 12% oil of the world. It has about 60 billion barrels of
proven oil reserves or 5% of the world oil reserves.

2.

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia is the second largest oil


producers. It produces oil less than the Russia. The production
of Saudi Arabia is 10,121 million barrels oil per day. It has
one-fifth of the worlds proven oil reserves. It is the worlds
largest oil exporter.

3.

United States: It is the third largest oil producing country


and produce large amount of oil in the world. It produces 9.6
million barrel oil per day. It shares about 11% oil of the world.
It has 21 billion barrel proven oil reserves.

UNIT 3: The Macro-system

4.

5.

6.

China: It produces about 4.27 million oil barrels per day.


It supplies 5% of the world. It has about 20.3 billion barrels of
proven oil reserves. It is the fifth biggest supplier of oil to the
US. Iran supplies 11% of China oil imports.
Iran: Iran plays a major role in the world oil market because
its quality is very good. It produces about 4,172,000 bbl and
4.25 million barrels of oil per day. It supplies 4.95% oil to the
world.
Canada: It is the major industry in the economy of North
America. Its production is 3,289,000 barrels per day. It
supplies about 3.90% oil of the world. It is the single largest
source of oil imports into the United States.

7.

Mexico: It supplies three leading foreign countries to the


United States, along with Canada and Saudi Arabia. Its
production is 3,001,000 oil of the world. It shares about 3.56%
oil to the world.

8.

United Arab Emirates: It produces about 2,798,000 oil of the


world and exports 3.32% oil of the world. Their oil reserves are
ranked as the sixth largest country in the world and possess
one of the most developed economies in west Asia.

9.

Brazil: It produces 2,572,000 barrel oil the world. It shares


about 3.05% oil to the world. It has 8.5 billion of proved oil
reserves. In Brazil, Tupi oil field is a large oil field.

10. Kuwait: It produces less than Brazil. The production of oil of


Kuwait is 2,494,000. It exports 2.96% oil to the world. It has
104 billion barrel proven oil reserves. Kuwaits oil reserves are
the fourth largest in the world. It is on seventh no. in export.
Some important features of OPEC and non-OPEC countries are:
Proven crude reserves are concentrated in OPEC countries.
Out of the worlds 1.0 trillion barrels of proven reserves, 80% is
held by OPEC.
80 to 90% of the oil produced by them are exported.
There is very little internal consumption indicating the
economy to be oil export dependant.
OPEC countries have very high spare capacity for production.
Non-OPEC countries hold approximately a combined 500,000
barrels per day (bbl/d) of spare oil production capacity, while

37
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

38
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

OPEC spare production capacity is estimated to be as high as


8 million bbl/d.
The petroleum resources of OPEC countries are mostly owned
by the State whereas in non-OPEC countries the ownership is
generally in private hands.
Greater OPEC production as a proportion of world production
will be seen in the future.
With this kind of profile of OPEC countries, it is apparent that
they are in a position to control the oil prices in the world,
whenever they are united.
There are a few important points to note in the global production
and consumption pattern. There is not a single OPEC country in
the top ten oil-consuming countries. This indicates that in terms of
industrial development other than oil production, the OPEC
countries are lagging behind. The only developing countries in the
top ten oil consumers are China, Brazil and India. This indicates a
growth of industry and infrastructure driven by oil and gas as
sources of energy.

Major Oil Companies


Major oil companies are very large transnational corporations.
They rank among the largest corporations in the world. There have
been a number of mergers recently to meet the crisis created by
slowing down of the economy since the late nineties. As per survey
done by Fortune magazine, five oil companies feature among the
top fifteen companies in the world in terms of revenues.
There has been a spate of mergers between major oil companies in
the recent times. As apparent from the above table, some of the
largest companies are result of merger of major oil companies of
the world. The merger of Exxon and Mobil, and that of BP, Amoco
and Arco happened during the last few years. Some more mergers
are in the offing.
The result has been detrimental to the consumers. USA has seen a
rise in gasoline prices as a result of the mergers which has
lessened competition.
The cartel created by OPEC which is keeping oil prices around
28 to 30 Dollars per barrel and the recent mergers of oil majors has
created a situation detrimental to the growth of oil importing
countries.

UNIT 3: The Macro-system

39
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 3.6: Worlds Largest Oil and Gas Companies

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. .. oil companies feature among the top
fifteen companies in the world in terms of revenues.
2. In terms of industrial development other than oil
production, the .. countries are lagging
behind.

Summary
In this unit, the total macro-system from oil well to petrochemicals
was explained in the form of block diagram. Flow of various
components of gas and oil in to the manufacturing blocks of
refinery and petrochemicals leading to final products was
highlighted.
Indications were given how at each step of processing the oil and
gas get valorized in to higher priced products.
Having explained the macro-system, a brief history of oil and gas
industry was presented. Major players in the world and specifically
in India were identified.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

40

Lesson End Activity

Notes
___________________

Prepare a project report on the history of oil and gas industry and
their composition worldwide.

___________________
___________________

Keywords

___________________

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC): It is


an organization formed in 1961 to administer a common policy for
the sale of petroleum.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Industrial Revolution: The rapid development of industry in


Britain in the late 18th and 19th centuries, brought about by the
introduction of machinery.
Ethylene: It is made by cracking ethane.

Review Questions
1.

Draw a block diagram showing the flow of gas and its


components from a gas field offshore to further processing and
generation of ethylene based petrochemicals.

2.

Name three of the largest oil companies in the world.

3.

Give an outline of the Oil and Gas industry worldwide.

4.

Explain the Oil and Gas chain with the help of an illustration.

Further Readings
Books
March, J., Advanced Organic Chemistry: Wiley, 4th edition. 1992.
Walber, Richards & Haltiwangler, J. Am.Chem. Society. 1982

Web Readings
www.economywatch.com/world-industries/oil
www.oilmillmachinerysuppliers.com/history.html
www.history.com/topics/oil-industry

UNIT 4: The Indian Perspective

Unit 4
The Indian Perspective
Objectives
After completion of this unit, the students will be aware of the following
topics:
\

Overview of oil and gas business environment in India

The Indian perspective-upstream and Downstream

Major players in the Petrochemical sector

Introduction
Oil exploration and production industry in India dates back to the
late nineteenth century. The first commercial oilfield was struck at
Digboi in North-Eastern India in the year 1890. Till the 1970s,
petroleum production was mainly from oilfields in the NorthEastern region and Gujarat.
In this unit we will study about the Indian Oil and Gas scenario.

The Indian Perspective Upstream


The
government
owned
companies
known
as
Public
Sector Units (PSU) earlier dominated the upstream oil and
gas industry. The two companies - Oil and Natural Gas
Corporation Ltd (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) were the
main players. They were responsible for exploration and
production. Bombay High (now known as Mumbai High)
was discovered in the 1970s and was one of the largest finds in the
world at that point of time (albeit not enough for a large country
like India). The government felt the need for liberalizing
participation of foreign companies for exploration and production.
In 1991 various offshore blocks were offered for licensing. The
government policy now allows joint as well as private sectors to
participate in this sector. The government has leased a number of
blocks of potential fields to both Indian and multinational
companies.
As a result of these measures the number of players in the
upstream industry has gone up substantially. Reliance Petroleum

41
Notes
Activity
Starting
with Mumbai High
___________________
oilfield, trace in the form of a
___________________
block
diagram the following:
(a) ___________________
How oil and gas are
transported to shore.
___________________
(b) Where do the sub-sea oil
and
gas
pipelines
___________________
terminate.
___________________
(c) To which refineries the oil
is transported by pipeline.
___________________
(c) ___________________
What happens to the gas
after it reaches shore.
___________________
(e) How is the gas distributed.
(f) ___________________
What
are
the
Petrochemical Complexes
and fertilizer plants based
on Mumbai High Gas.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

42
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________

became owner of a few major oilfields in the Mumbai High region.


A number of Indian and overseas private operators explored and
produced oil from newly developed fields in Krishna Godavari and
Kaveri basin. ONGC is still the biggest player upstream due to
historical reasons. The proven oil and gas resources are still
meagre for Indias size and requirement.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Oil and Gas Field


Figure 4.1 shows the producing and proven oil and gas reservoirs
in India.
The locations of the various reservoirs are only indicative. They do
not show the map and size of the fields. Some of the major gas and
oil pipelines are also shown in Figure 4.1.
Let us understand the oil and gas infrastructure of India by
looking into a few of the systems with the macro-system block
diagram in mind.

Figure 4.1: Location of Producing and Proven Reservoirs

Mumbai High is the largest oil and gas producer in India. It is


located offshore about 200 Km. away from the coast off Mumbai.
As seen in the map an oil pipeline and a gas pipeline are laid below
the sea reaching landfall point at a place called Uran south of

UNIT 4: The Indian Perspective

Mumbai. Up to this point, it can be called the upstream and is


owned by ONGC. The oil is distributed to the refineries (BPCL)
near Mumbai. LPG is extracted out of gas at Uran. Also ethane
and propane are extracted out of gas in the gas processing facility
located at Uran. The balance gas goes to nearby power plant and
fertilizer plants at Thal (Maharashtra). The ethane and propane
extracted from gas at Uran goes to petrochemical complex at
Nagothane (Maharashtra).
Another major pipeline originating from Mumbai High area is a
gas pipeline laid below the sea up to landfall point at a place called
Hazira. Bulk of the gas comes from a gas field offshore near
Mumbai High called South Bassein Field. This gas is sour gas
(Hydrogen sulphide bearing).
A major gas processing complex is located at Hazira where
sweetening (removal of sulfur from gas) and recovery of LPG are
carried out. Hazira is the originating point of Indias longest gas
pipeline network called HBJ Pipeline (Hazira Bijapur Jagdishpur
pipeline).
HBJ Pipeline is a network of over 2000 Km. of pipeline extending
from Hazira to northern part of India. It provides feedstock to
numerous fertilizer plants, power plants and petrochemical plants
on its route. In addition the balance gas provides fuel to the
industries. From Hazira onwards ownership of the pipeline and
gas distribution facilities changes from ONGC to Gas Authority of
India Ltd. (GAIL).
Figure 4.1 also shows a few major oil pipelines. From the NorthEastern oil fields of India, the first major cross country pipeline was
laid starting from Nahorkatiya in Assam to Barauni and Haldia.
This pipeline feeds oil to all major refineries in the North-Eastern
and eastern India including Barauni refinery and Haldia refinery.

Major Player Upstream


The major players of upstream are given in Table 4.1.
Table 4.1: Major Players Upstream
No.

Company

Oil & Natural Gas


Corpn.

Exploration & Production


Areas

Other activities

Bombay
High,
South
Bassein, Heera and other Oil and Gas
western offshore Oilfields, Pipeline
KG basin, Assam, Gujarat,
Rajasthan

Contd

43
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

44

Reliance India Ltd.

Neelam, Panna, Krishna


Godavari Basin

Oil India ltd.

Assam, Rajasthan

Cairn Energy India

Cauvery Basin

Essar Oil

Ratna Oilfield Development Downstream


Refinery

Gas Authority of India Oil Exploration, Gas


Pipeline

Hindustan Oil
Exploration Co.

Videocon Petroleum KG Basin (Ravva Offshore)

Niko Resources

Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Downstream
refineries &
petrochemicals,
Pipeline

Petrochemicals

KG Basin (PY3), Cambay


Basin

Cambay Basin

The domestic oil demand and supply are presented in Table 4.1. It
can be seen that we are grossly insufficient in our hydrocarbon
resources and dependant on imports of oil and gas.

___________________

Figure 4.2: World Oil Supply and Demand

Natural Gas
The demand of gas has been projected by various estimates
depending on assumed user pattern at figures between 150 to 200
million SCMD. Major consumption of Natural Gas in India will be
in the Power and Fertilizer sectors. Natural Gas consumption in
other industries, such as petrochemicals, town gas, or as
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in the automobile sector, is also
considered in the projections.
This leaves a wide gap in the supply demand balance for Natural
Gas in the country. The India Hydrocarbon Vision 2025 has
projected that the demand for Natural Gas will go up to about 230
million standard cubic meters per day by 2007, to more than 310
million standard cubic meters per day by 2011, finally reaching a

UNIT 4: The Indian Perspective

level of 390 million standard cubic meters per day by 2025. In the

45

long-term policy statement, the Government of India has

Notes

visualized Hydrate reserves and coal bed methane, as potential

___________________

indigenous resources.

___________________

Earlier plan was to meet the future gas requirements by import of


LNG. Recent hydrocarbon discoveries of Reliance and ONGC are
expected to bridge the gap to a certain extent.

___________________
___________________
___________________

Future Perspective

___________________

The per capita energy consumption in India is very low at the level
of 226 Kg of Oil Equivalent compared to 7759 Kg Oil Equivalent in
the USA. With a low base, the energy supply in India has been
growing @ 6% annually compared to an average of 1.5% worldwide.
It is projected that the growth rate of Indian economy may go up to
7-8% in the near future. This will further increase the energy
requirement for the future.
Obviously the future energy needs has to be planned keeping
hydrocarbon, coal, hydroelectric power, nuclear energy and
unconventional sources of energy into consideration. The
hydrocarbon resources are expected to be enhanced in the following
manners.
Increased search of hydrocarbon resources in India by the
policy of liberalization and leasing out prospective hydrocarbon
basins.
Prospecting for hydrocarbons overseas by Indian companies
(e.g. ONGC investing in Vietnam and other prospective
regions).
Import and distribution of LNG. Petronet, a public sector LNG
distribution company was set up for this activity.
Linking hydrocarbon resources from countries
Bangladesh, Iran by cross country pipeline to India.

like

Exploitation of hydrate resources in coastal sea bed.


Exploitation of coal bed methane reserves.
A comprehensive energy study and planning with above resources
and other resources like coal, hydroelectric, nuclear and
non-conventional energy is needed for long term planning of
energy needs.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

46
Notes
Activity
Carry
out a similar exercise as
___________________
the first one for the oil, gas,
___________________
refinery
and petrochemical
facilities
of
Reliance
___________________
Petroleum.
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. A major gas processing complex is located at
.. where sweetening and recovery of LPG
are carried out.
2. The first major cross country pipeline laid in NorthEastern oil fields of India, was from .. in
Assam to Barauni and Haldia.

___________________

The Indian Perspective Downstream

___________________

The refinery industry also dates back to over one hundred years.

___________________

Indias first refinery was built at Digboi in 1901 by British


Petroleum. In the late 50s and early 60s multinational oil
companies such as Shell, Caltex and Esso invested in refineries in
India. Indian Refineries Ltd., the first state owned (public sector)
refinery was built in Guwahati in the early sixties. Later it became
Indian Oil Corporation.
India nationalized the refining and product marketing sector in
1976.

Regulatory

regime

was

introduced

on

production,

distribution and pricing of crude oil and petroleum products. State


owned companies such as Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat
Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum were the largest companies
in the refinery sector.
The Administered Pricing Mechanism implemented in the
seventies subsidized prices for products like kerosene and LPG.
Charging higher prices for other products like gasoline and
aviation fuel generated part of the subsidy. Diesel prices were kept
neutral. The Administered Pricing Mechanism was based on fixed
12% post-tax return on net worth deployed for refining,
distribution and marketing.

The Refining Industry


India has one of the largest and fastest expanding Petroleum
Refinery Industry in Asia with over 110 Million tons per year
installed capacity. The petroleum products demand was around
150 Million tons per year in the year 2006-07. The stress will be on
revamp, expansion and de-bottlenecking as well as new refineries.

UNIT 4: The Indian Perspective

With the deregulation of the oil economy initiated in the early


nineties, a number of private players emerged. The Reliance
refinery at Jamnagar became the biggest refinery in India and one
of the biggest in the world. Other players like Mangalore
Refineries and Petrochemicals Ltd emerged in the private sector.
Privatization of some of the public sector refineries are also on the
cards but presently held up in the legalities.

47
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 4.3: Refinery Locations

In the early nineties, India started the process of de-regulation and


liberalization of the economy to make the economy market driven.
This already has created impact and structural changes in the
hydrocarbon sector. In 1997, the Government of India firmed up a
plan for deregulations of the oil industry by year 2002, with respect
to all aspects of pricing, imports and exports of crude and
petroleum products. Generally deregulation has been achieved as
per the plan. The private sector can now carry out refining as well
as marketing of a limited number of petroleum products e.g. LPG,
naphtha, aviation fuel, fuel oil etc., which have been taken out of
Administrative Pricing Mechanism. Divestment of some of the
State owned companies also has taken place.
Emergence of the Reliance Group has been a major development in
the private sector of oil industry. Today Reliance has the largest

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

48
Notes
___________________
___________________

refinery and the largest petrochemical complex in India, which are


also among the largest in the world.

The Petrochemical Industry


In the Petrochemical sector also, the initial big players were the

___________________

multinational companies in the private sector. National Organic

___________________

Chemical Industries Ltd. (NOCIL) and Union Carbide plant at

___________________

Mumbai were the first two major petrochemical plants in India.

___________________

The Indian Petrochemical Corporation Ltd. (IPCL) at Vadodara

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

was the first major petrochemical complex set up under state


ownership in the mid 70s. This was followed by another major
petrochemical complex at Nagothane in Maharashtra under IPCL.
India has also a large and growing Petrochemical industry with
one of the largest integrated petrochemical complexes in the world
and several other petrochemical complexes. India has the second
largest fertilizer production capacity in the world.
There is abundance of small and medium size petrochemical and
chemical plants badly needing improvements through revamp for
increasing their efficiencies. Many of them are old and revamp of
the plants pose a challenging opportunity.
In the Petrochemical Sector, the major players are:
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL)
National Organic Chemical Industries Ltd (NOCIL)
Indian Petrochemical Corporation Ltd. (IPCL) now acquired by
Reliance
Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd. (HPL)
Gas Authority India Ltd. (GAIL)
Except GAIL, which is government owned company (PSU), the rest
are private holdings listed in the stock exchange. HPL is held
jointly by government and private entities.

Transportation Infrastructure
India has major ports for handling of oil and products (export and
import) at Jamnagar, Mumbai, Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Vizag
and Haldia. Inland transportation of crude from the production
sites or ports is primarily undertaken via pipelines.

UNIT 4: The Indian Perspective

Transportation of refined products is carried out through multiple


options pipelines, the rail system, road tankers and coastal
shipping using marine tankers. A very broad and approximate
distribution of load on various modes of transportation of
petroleum products is:
Pipelines: 42%

49
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Marine transportation: 10%

___________________

Rail transportation: 38%

___________________

Road transportation: 10%

___________________

Thus railways carry almost as much load as pipelines as far as


product transportation is concerned. With greater investments
coming in pipeline, in future the balance will be in favour of
pipeline.

Pipelines
A few of the major pipeline systems in the country is shown in the
next block. A vast network of oil, gas, LPG and petroleum product
pipelines exist all over the country.

Rail System
About 40 Million tons of petroleum products are moved from
refineries to storage terminals or depots in other various cities and
towns by the railway network.

Check Your Progress


State whether the following statements are true or false:
1. The Reliance refinery at Jamnagar is the biggest
refinery in India.
2. India nationalized the refining and product marketing
sector in 1967.

Summary
In this unit, the total macro-system from oil well to petrochemicals
was explained in the form of block diagram. Flow of various
components of gas and oil in to the manufacturing blocks of
refinery and petrochemicals leading to final products was
highlighted.

___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

50
Notes

Indications were given how at each step of processing the oil and
gas get valorized in to higher priced products.

___________________
___________________

Having explained the macro-system, a brief history of oil and gas


industry was presented. Major players in the world and specifically

___________________

in India were identified. Hydrocarbon infrastructure in India was

___________________

presented with maps. The high growth potential of oil and gas

___________________

business and future opportunities were highlighted.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Lesson End Activity


Prepare an assignment to show the present and future prospects of
natural gas in India and worldwide.

Keywords
Oilfield Processing: The well fluid is processed in or in the
vicinity of the oilfield.
Upstream: Includes Oilfield Processing and Transportation of oil
and gas.
Downstream: Includes Gas Processing, Refinery, Petrochemicals,
Power Plants and other gas based industries.
HBJ Pipeline: It provides feedstock to numerous fertilizer plants,
power plants and petrochemical plants on its route.

Questions for Discussion


1.

Draw a block diagram showing the flow of gas and its


components from a gas field offshore to further processing and
generation of ethylene based petrochemicals.

2.

Name three of the largest oil companies in the world.

3.

In a blank map of India, mark the location of major oilfields


and major refineries.

4.

Name three of the upstream oil companies in India.

5.

Name

four

major

refining

companies

approximate refining capacity owned by them.

in

India

with

UNIT 4: The Indian Perspective

Further Readings

51
Notes

Books

___________________

March, J., Advanced Organic Chemistry: Wiley, 4th edition. 1992.

___________________

Walber, Richards & Haltiwangler, J. Am.Chem. Society. 1982

___________________

Web Readings

___________________

www.economywatch.com/world-industries/oil

___________________

www.oilmillmachinerysuppliers.com/history.html

___________________

www.history.com/topics/oil-industry

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

52
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

UNIT 5: Case Study

Unit 5

53
Notes

Case Study

___________________
___________________
___________________

Objectives
After analyzing this case, the student will have an appreciation of the
concept of topics studied in this Block.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

The Changing Environment within the Gas Industry


Gas is the carefully controlled source of nearly half of the
countrys energy needs. And most of that gas is transported safely
and reliably by a British company - Transco. All day, every day,
sophisticated computer-based telemetry watches, records and
reports as the gas goes through meters, compressors, valves and
governors on its way to more than 20 million homes, factories and
businesses. Millions of cubic metres of gas every day are pushed
through the system at a steady 10-15 miles an hour.
Transco is the gas transportation arm of BG plc. The top
management team comprises a managing director, chief operating
officer, finance director, corporate affairs director and strategy &
business development director. The business is divided into a
number of groups, or directorates - licence to operate, legal,
human resources, corporate projects, regulation and reform of gas
trading arrangements.
Transco is highly information-rich. Its cutting edge computer
systems and technological knowhow run the gas transportation
network and underpin the competitive market in domestic,
industrial and commercial gas supply. This case study focuses on
changes to the gas industry in recent years.
Few organisations exist within a market that changes almost by
the hour. Transco is able to cope with changes in demand - and
this is largely because its forecasting of gas demand is accurate. It
is a complicated process, taking account of all aspects of the
weather and the hourly gas demands of consumers. Demand
forecasts are made four times a day, but more may be made if the
weather forecast or demand changes significantly.
Few organisations exist within a market that changes almost by
the hour. Transco is able to cope with changes in demand - and
this is largely because its forecasting of gas demand is accurate. It
is a complicated process, taking account of all aspects of the
Contd

___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

54
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

weather and the hourly gas demands of consumers. Demand


forecasts are made four times a day, but more may be made if the
weather forecast or demand changes significantly.
Safety and security of supply have top priority. Transco monitors
the system to maintain a physical balance, making sure that gas
is available at the right place at the right time. Thousands of
computer simulations are run each year to ensure optimum
operation of the network under all operating conditions, including
planned maintenance and special operations. Its not only
ensuring security of supply thats a crucial element of Transcos
business. Making sure that all its operations are carried out
safely is vital, too. As part of Transcos commitment to safety, it
operates the national 24-hour freephone gas emergency service.
Anyone who smells gas no matter who their gas supplier is - can
contact the freephone service on 0800 111 999 *.
Calls to the helpline are dealt with by trained operators at one of
three national centres at Hinckley, Killingworth and Gloucester.
Operators can give safety advice and, if the situation warrants it,
despatch an engineer to make safe any escaping gas. An engineer
has to attend within one hour if the leak is uncontrolled, two
hours if controlled. It is estimated that in 1999, the service will
receive around five million calls and of these, approximately half
will be of an emergency nature.
Source
The gas starts its journey deep beneath the North Sea and is
pumped ashore on the mainland of Great Britain at one of the
seven terminals - St Fergus (Scotland), Bacton (Norfolk), Barrow
(Cumbria), Easington (Yorkshire), Theddlethorpe (Lincolnshire),
Burton Point (North Wales), and Teesside. From the terminals, it
enters the National Transmission System and eventually arrives
at the customers meter.
The Bacton-Zeebrugge interconnector links Great Britain with
Europe, so during periods when the gas flows into the country
rather than out, it is in theory possible that a gas consumer in
Scotland could burn gas which started its journey in the Urals.
Two other interconnectors supply gas from the mainland to
Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
Nationalisation to Regulation
In the past the gas industry was owned by Government, within
the public sector. In 1986, gas became the first energy source in
Great Britain to be regulated, three weeks after the then British
Gas was privatised, with the issue of shares on the London Stock
Exchange taking it into the private sector.
Contd

UNIT 5: Case Study

Even though gas is in the private sector, it is still heavily


regulated. Transco is the countrys near-monopoly gas transporter
and the largest of around ten public gas transporters licensed by
the regulator, OFGEM (the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets)
to move gas around the country. Transcos pipeline business,
because it is a monopoly, is regulated by OFGEM whose staff
ensure that Transco works within the requirements of the Gas
Acts and its licence conditions.

55
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Pricing and Competition


Transcos revenues are earned within a price control linked to the
rate of inflation and modified by an efficiency factor decided by
the regulator who controls Transcos revenues. The formula - RPIX - was introduced in the mid-80s. That type of control and the
regulation of profits in general was seen as a temporary means of
holding the fort until competition arrived. Developments in the
price controls in both the gas and electricity supply industries both now regulated by a common regulator - are being looked at.
Full competition in gas supply arrived in 1998, when every
domestic consumer was given the opportunity to select a supplier
of their choice. There is also competition in the field of gas
connections and gas meter reading. OFGEM is proposing that
metering will have its own price control, similar to that imposed
on Transco.
From a nationalised industry to public gas transporter
1965: In the same year that The Beatles received their MBEs, the
nationalised Gas Council rebuilt and modernised the UKs gas
industry. The energy map of Britain was drastically redrawn with
the discovery in the North Sea of high quality gas reserves that
would provide supplies for the foreseeable future. Coal and oil
gasification plants become virtually obsolete.
1967-1977: In the decade that Neil Armstrong landed on the
moon, the Gas Council carried out one of the biggest civil and
commercial engineering programmes ever undertaken. A tenyear, 1 billion programme converted every gas appliance in the
UK to use natural gas and retired existing plants. By the end of
the decade, gas usage had tripled.
1971-72: Money went metric and the UK gas industry was
transformed from a local manufacturer of gas with a distribution
network to a full-scale energy company with operations that
extended from exploration to marketing. In 1972, a new Gas Act
restructured the Gas Council and regional gas boards into the
nationwide British Gas Corporation.
Contd

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

56
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

1979: Margaret Thatchers first government was elected and, in a


programme to be copied around the world, it prepared to privatise
national corporations.
1986: The British Gas Corporation was privatised as British Gas
plc, with 17 million customers, 4.5 million shareholders, over
89,000 employees and had annual cost operating profits of 688
million. It was granted a 25 year monopoly to supply gas to
customers using under 25,000 therms a year and was subject to
strict pricing controls by the regulator, the Office of Gas
Regulation (Ofgas).
1988: Competition began to be felt. The South Morecambe gas
field, British Gass first major independent find, was brought into
operation. It was one of the largest gas fields on the UK
Continental Shelf. The Monopolies and Mergers Commission
(MMC) recommended the publication of contract price schedules,
allowing competitors to undercut British Gas in the 25,000-plus
therms a year business user market.
1989: Ofgas issued direction for the use of common carriage
rights, using the British Gas network.
1991: Government proposed a reduction of the monopoly
threshold to 2,500 therms a year. British Gas was required to
separate its transportation and supply businesses, and agreed to
create the conditions to allow competitors to supply 60 percent of
the market by 1995.
1993: Boris Yeltsin stopped an attempted coup in Russia. The
MMC recommended divestment of British Gass gas trading
business. It proposed a totally competitive gas market by 20002002. British Gas announced a major restructuring into five
business divisions to be completed by March 1994. The
Government demanded that competition in the domestic market
be phased in from 1996-1998, well ahead of the original timetable.
1994: The Channel Tunnel was completed and Transco formally
separated as a stand-alone business within BG plc.
1996: Mad cow disease (BSE) and competition in domestic gas
supply in the southwest hit the headlines. The Network Code,
which governs relationships between gas suppliers, shippers and
Transco was published and came into force.
1997: In the UKs largest demerger, the marketing, sales and
retail activities of British Gas separated to become Centrica plc.
BG plc was formed and focused on the operation of the gas
pipeline (through Transco) and storage systems, gas and oil
Contd

UNIT 5: Case Study

exploration, international gas transportation, distribution and


power generation and energy research and technology.
1998: The domestic gas market became fully competitive. Transco
spent over 500 man-years to design and build the computer
systems that enable the worlds largest competitive market to
function.

57
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________

Controlled all the way to the door

___________________

Transcos national control centre at Hinckley, Leicestershire,


monitors and controls the flow of gas through the network,
operating compressor stations and flow control valves to ensure
the optimum supply of gas to Transcos local distribution zones,
power stations, and other large gas users.

___________________

Every minute of every day, 44,000 telemetered items, such as


pressures and flow rates, are scanned. The centre uses the
demand forecasts produced by the areas, together with
nominations from power stations and other large users, to
determine the countrys total gas requirements. The centre also
monitors the amount of gas which shippers plan to put into the
system, and takes steps, including the buying and selling of gas,
to ensure that supply and demand remain in balance throughout
the day.
Four area control centres at Killingworth, Hinckley, Dorking
and Gloucester - operate the local gas transportation system in
their area. Gas from the National Transmission System has to be
reduced in pressure several times before it reaches the consumers
meter. To achieve this, each area control centre monitors and
controls up to 600 major pressure reduction stations, as well as
local storage installations, which smooth out the variation in
demand throughout the day.
A matter of branding
The gas industry has undergone enormous change in recent years.
The monopoly of the former British Gas has been broken. Instead
of being restricted to one supplier, all gas consumers can choose
from a number of companies from whom to buy their gas.
With so much change, there is understandably some confusion in
the public mind as to who does what within the industry. Some
people find it hard to move on from the idea of the gas board.
Transco is keen for its various audiences to have a clear
understanding of the role it plays in helping deliver gas across the
country. With that in mind, it launched a 3.75 million
nationwide advertising campaign using television, radio and the
press.
Contd

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

58

___________________

The theme, Transco, an essential British company, piping gas for


you, continues to be used in company advertising, along with a
series of We do, we dont adverts which seek to emphasise that
Transco pipes gas and runs the gas emergency service - but
doesnt sell gas, fit cookers, send gas bills or mend boilers.
Regular surveys, carried out to track public awareness of Transco
as a brand, demonstrate a steady rise.

___________________

Question

Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Critically analyse the case.


Source: http://businesscasestudies.co.uk/transco/the-changing-environment-within-the-gas-industry/amatter-of-branding.html#ixzz2Qj0YNSIv

UNIT 6: The Exploration of Oil

59
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

BLOCK-II

Detailed Contents

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

60

Notes
UNIT
6: THE EXPLORATION OF OIL
___________________
z
Introduction
___________________
z
Formation of Oil Traps
___________________
z
Exploration for Oil and Gas
___________________
UNIT
7: PRODUCTION METHODS
___________________

UNIT 8: ONSHORE OILFIELD PROCESSING


z

Introduction

Typical Field Configuration for Production

Description of Oilfield Processing

UNIT 9: OFFSHORE OILFIELD PROCESSING

Introduction
___________________

Introduction

Production An Overview of Methods


___________________

Offshore Production Facility

Offshore Field Operation and Logistics

___________________
___________________
___________________

UNIT 10: CASE STUDY

UNIT 6: The Exploration of Oil

Unit 6
The Exploration of Oil
Objectives
After completion of this unit, the students will be aware of the following
topics:
\

How hydrocarbons (oil and gas) were formed and trapped below the
surface of the earth

How hydrocarbons are explored, located and assessed for commercial


viability

Overview of primary production methods and enhanced oil recovery


methods.

61
Notes
Activity
Make
a presentation on the
___________________
formation of Oil traps.
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Introduction
It is important to have an elementary understanding on how
hydrocarbon is formed and trapped in the rocks below the earth.
It was explained earlier that according to the widely accepted
organic theory, oil and gas were originated from huge masses of
organisms, animals and vegetation that got buried under the earth
and were covered by sedimentary rocks. Layers of rock formed over
it and the formation and trapping of the hydrocarbons took place in
the following stages over millions of years.

Formation of Oil Traps


The following explains the formation of oil traps:
Formation of Hydrocarbons: The hydrocarbon formation took
place by decomposition in various layers of rock called source rock.
The decomposition took place under high pressure and
temperatures between 50C and 170C at depths between 1500
meters and 6000 meters. At lower temperatures (normally at lower
depths) heavier oil was formed and higher temperatures lighter oil
was formed.
Migration of Hydrocarbons: Due to lighter gravity of
hydrocarbon formed compared to water which is always present
below earths surface and due to high pressures below the earth, oil
and gas migrated slowly through the gaps in subsurface rocks with
high permeability. During the migration, the oil and gas got into

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

62
Notes
___________________
___________________

densely packed sedimentary rocks of very high porosity known as


reservoir rocks. Sandstone and limestone are common reservoir
rocks. Figure 6.1 shows typical indicative sketch of permeable
rocks and Figure 6.2 shows an indicative sketch of porous reservoir
rocks.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 6.1: Migration of Hydrocarbons through Rocks


having Permeability

Figure 6.2: Porous Reservoir Rocks

UNIT 6: The Exploration of Oil

Formation of Traps: Migration of the oil and gas stopped at traps


which were formed due to various reasons like sedimentation and
convulsions that took place on earths strata. A typical trap is
covered with non-permeable hard rock called cap rock.
Traps are formed by deformation of the rocks, deposition of rocks
or by creation of faults due to movement of rock strata. The
common types of structural traps are anticlines and domes or a
fault. Figure 6.3 shows some typical traps.

63
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 6.3: Traps

In the trap, the gas being the lightest rises to the top. The oil
settles below the gas, and the water, which is heaviest, settles at
the bottom. Due to high pressure, a lot of gas remains dissolved in
the oil. A large formation of rocks of this nature bearing
hydrocarbons is called reservoir. The earth surface above a
reservoir from which commercial exploitation takes place, is called
oil, gas or condensate field depending on what it produces.
The term hydrocarbon reserves refers to the estimated amount of
oil, gas or condensate that is expected to be produced in the future
from wells in known fields.
The search for hydrocarbons is called prospecting or exploration of
oil or hydrocarbons.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

64

Check Your Progress

Notes
Activity

Fill in the blanks:

Differentiate
between
___________________
Geologists and Geophysicists
___________________
according
to the nature of their
work.
___________________

1. The hydrocarbon formation took place by decomposition


in various layers of rock called .. .
2. During the migration, the oil and gas got into densely
packed sedimentary rocks of very high porosity known
as ...

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Exploration for Oil and Gas

___________________

As stated in the previous section, early oilfields were discovered

___________________

through locating seepages. It is said that the first oil field in India,

___________________

at Digboi was identified after oil was seen on the mud carried with
footsteps of elephants in the jungles of Assam. With such easily
locatable and shallow oilfields having been exhausted and the
demand for energy having gone up by leaps and bounds, the search
for oil is a different ball game today. It is very technology-oriented,
yet uncertainties and risks are still heavy.
A commonly used terminology in oil companies, Exploration
& Production (E&P), comprises of search, discovery and production
of oil and gas by undertaking the following activities:
z

Licensing and agreement from the governments concerned.

Geological surveys including aerial photography, satellite


images to examine nature of rocks and soil strata and
interpretation of such data.

Geophysical surveys such as seismic surveys.

Interpretation of data and geological modelling.

Identifying hydrocarbon resources and their location based on


the interpreted data.

Economic evaluation of the located reserves.

Exploratory drilling to establish commercially viability.

Preparation of field development plan.

Commercially exploiting them by setting up necessary drilling


and production infrastructure.

UNIT 6: The Exploration of Oil

65

The range of activities outlined take several years of teamwork


between Geologists, Geophysicists, Reservoir Engineers, Chemical
Engineers, Petroleum Economists and other disciplines.

___________________

Here we shall cover the exploration part.

___________________

Licensing and Agreement


The first step in exploration of oil obviously is entering into
contract, lease agreement or obtaining licenses from the
governments. Normally the government of the country carries out
a lot of surveys (see next item) to define a block for exploration
and invites bids. The selected bidder then enters into agreement
with the government. There are two types of arrangements:
z

Licenses to the exploring company to explore and produce oil


and gas with license fees, royalties (per unit production) and
taxes payable to the state.
Production sharing contracts, in which the state or a state
owned company, is made a partner in the venture. Normally
the initial exploration costs are borne by the licensee.
Revenues earned on production are first set-off against the
costs incurred by the licensee and the balance amount is
shared in an agreed percentage.

Once the agreement is reached, the exploration starts.

Geological and Geophysical Surveys


Geologists try to develop a model or a map where hydrocarbon
might occur, based on geological principles. The map is based on a
wide variety of geological information. They try to locate anticlines
and domes by mapping rock layers coming out of earths surface.
They use very conventional tools like hand-held compass, telescope
etc. to determine the orientation of the rock layers. With these
instruments geologists generate drawings and maps of the position
and size of the rock protrusions.
Other tools used by Geologists are aerial photographs and satellite
pictures of the earths surface. When exploratory wells are drilled,
geologists examine the rock samples and other well data to make
subsurface maps of the reservoir rocks. Matching up rock layers
between wells allows geologists to draw cross sections in order to
find petroleum traps.

Notes

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

66
Notes

Geophysicists measure the properties and patterns of sub-surface


rock strata by three types of surveys. These are explained below:

___________________
___________________

Magnetic Survey: To determine the strength of the Earths


magnetic field at a specific location.

___________________
___________________

gravity at a location.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Gravity Survey: To determine the strength of the Earths

Seismic Survey: To draw subsurface maps using sound


waves.

In seismic survey explosive charges are detonated in holes drilled


by truck mounted rigs at specific points in the survey area. This rig

___________________

is called Thumper Truck. The energy waves are picked up by

___________________

geophones laid out on the surface and recorded on magnetic tape


by seismographs, the same instruments that are used to measure
the earthquakes.
By knowing the velocity at which energy travels through rocks of
different types, and by measuring the time it takes for the energy
to be reflected to the surface, seismologists are able to construct
approximate relief maps of deeply buried rock layers. Computers
are used to enhance the subsurface picture formed from sound
waves.
Figure

6.4

depicts

seismic

survey

being

done

with

Thumping Truck and a Recording Truck.


The geo-phonic data is processed by computers into seismic lines.
The seismic lines are two-dimensional displays that resemble
cross-sections of the rock strata.
The seismic data helps to develop the geometry and size of the
trap formation, where hydrocarbon exists under the trap and
decide whether an exploratory well is to be drilled.
Two-dimensional lines (2-D) are created as seismic data by laying
the geophones in single line. Three dimensional seismic lines can
be created by collecting geo-phonic data as an intersecting grid of
seismic lines. 3-D seismic data can help to create 3-D geometric
model of the reservoir.

UNIT 6: The Exploration of Oil

67
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 6.4: Seismic Survey

Drilling
After geological and geophysical studies are carried out, the
possibility of presence of hydrocarbon deposits worth further
exploration is established. Once an exploration target is defined a
drilling contractor is hired to drill exploratory wells.
Exploratory well: An exploratory well is required to confirm the
existence of oil or gas in a basin identified through geological and
geophysical surveys. The first exploratory well drilled in a field is
called wildcat. The first successful well showing hydrocarbon
presence during wildcat is called discovery well. Points to note are:
z

It may or may not produce oil and is abandoned if it does not


produce oil. The well is called dry hole.

A lot of information is generated by logging some of the


properties of the well and analyzing the fluids and rocks that
come out during drilling. This data helps in defining the
geological history and the properties of the reservoir.

The information interpreted from the well logs is used for decision
making on whether the well is to be used for production or is to be
abandoned for being not viable economically. The information is
also used to update the geological models.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

68
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Drilling is a continuous effort


production of hydrocarbons.
discovery to define the size of
Development wells are drilled
production.

in a field even after discovery and


Drilling of additional well after
the reservoir is called delineation.
into a known reservoir to increase

Oil wells are being drilled all over the world in diverse
geographical areas. Very often they are in remote areas like
deserts, forests or oceans (offshore). On land (onshore) the well site
must be cleared and access roads are constructed.
A typical drilling rig onshore is shown in Figure 6.5.

___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 6.5: Drilling Rig

Drilling the Well


Drilling rigs of special design are used to drill wells for exploration.
The basic system involves a rotary mechanism, a circulation

UNIT 6: The Exploration of Oil

mechanism and a hoisting / lowering mechanism as shown in the


Fig. 6.5. The rotary system includes diesel based power and a
rotating wheel assembly that causes the drill pipe to turn thus
activating the drill in the hole. The hoist is also powered by a
diesel engine and is used to raise and lower the drill stem to
change the bit.
The circulation system includes a pump to force a mixture of water
and mud down the inside of the drill stem to:

69
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

keep the drill bit cool

___________________

bring fragments of broken rock to the surface

___________________

keep the drill bit lubricated

___________________

to prevent any accidental blow-out meaning sudden eruption


of oil and gas through the well pipe.

___________________

As the mast is raised, the equipment is placed in position, it is


called Rigging Up. As the drilling the well is begun, it is known
as Spudding In.
Drilling is a 24 hours a day operation. Shallow wells on land may
be drilled very quickly, e.g. 500 meters in 3 to 4 days. Deep wells
(3000-4000 meters) offshore can take several weeks depending on
depth of sea, weather etc.
Each time the drilling bit is changed, the entire length of pipe in
the hole must be brought up, disconnected and stacked. This is
called Making a Trip. The mud circulates down the inside of the
drill pipe through the bit and up the outside of the pipe. Blow-out
Preventers ( B.O.P.) are located at the surface. These are valves
which automatically close if a sudden increase in pressure occurs.
A blow out can cause explosion and fire with severe loss of life.
Getting the fire out and controlling the well is a major problem.

Horizontal Drilling
Horizontal drilling is an important technology which makes oil
production more economic. Wells are usually drilled vertically or
slanted from a platform. Modern drilling technology can produce a
90 degree turn in a short distance. This is due to methods and tools
that control the drill bit, flexible pipe and innovative engineering
design. A horizontal well is first drilled vertically to a target then
angled to a path parallel to the formation to penetrate the
reservoir. This improves recovery and economics.

___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

70
Notes

Offshore Drilling

___________________

Offshore or marine rig is positioned by tugs. The type of rig


selected depends on depth of the sea. The different types of
offshore rigs are shown in Figure 6.6.

___________________

The various types of offshore drilling rigs are:

___________________

1.

Jack-Up Rig is floated to its well location. At the location


huge legs are cranked down to reach the sea floor. Then the
hull is raised above sea level. It normally stands on four legs
resting on the sea bed. Its use is limited to water depths of up
to a few hundred meters.

2.

A Drill Ship is like any other ship but has a mast located
centrally and is therefore a very mobile drilling rig.

3.

Submersible Rigs have hulls on which it floats while being


towed to the site. On location the hulls are flooded and the
hulls come to rest on the bottom. Used for shallow water
drilling only.

4.

Semi-Submersible Rigs are similar to submersible rigs


but when the hulls are flooded they do not sink to the bottom.

___________________

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Once a reservoir is found to be commercially viable, a development


well program is carried out from a platform anchored to the sea
bed.
The rigs must not be confused with offshore platforms, which are
normally permanently piled in the sea bed.

Figure 6.6: Jack-up and Semi-submersible Rigs

UNIT 6: The Exploration of Oil

Field Development Plan


If the results of an exploratory drill indicates the possibility of
commercially viable oil or gas find then a field development plan is
created and an economic viability report based on the plan is
prepared. The field development plan is a project report containing:

71
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________

Projected production profile based on reservoir simulation

Pressure, temperature and well production data

Recovery techniques

Optimal recovery rate over a period of time

Life of the field

Enhanced Oil Recovery methods needed in future

Number and type of wells proposed and drilling technique

Field layout with location of wells and other facilities

Facilities required for production and processing at oilfield

Transportation and distribution infrastructure

Environmental impact

De-commissioning costs

Logistics support required at the oil or gas field

Total investment, production cost, maintenance cost and cost


of material and logistics for production

An economic evaluation is made, based on contractual terms, and


taking into account the risks involved. The viability of the project
is worked out by discounting the estimated cash flows at suitable
discount rates.

De-Commissioning of Wells
In most of the countries, it is mandatory to decommission the
wells and bring back the land to its original state after the field is
abandoned.
Exploration and Production Costs
The costs incurred for production of oil and gas comprise of the
following:
z

Exploration Costs

Development Costs

Operating Costs

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

72
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Exploration costs include the cost of seismic surveys and


exploratory drilling and varies between US$ 1 per bbl in prolific
oilfields to more than US$ 12 per bbl, where the environment is
difficult and production per well is low. The finding costs have
reduced significantly over a period of time to US$ 4-6 per bbl on
average. This is due to the technological evolutions like:
z

Developments of 3-D seismic surveys, which give more


precise location of wells

Development of horizontal drilling

Development of FPSO

Development of sub-sea production system

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Development and operating costs include the cost of production,


maintenance, processing, transportation, infrastructure, etc. It
varies from US$ 1 per bbl in Middle East to as high as US$ 20 per
bbl in certain locations.
On an average, the cost of oil exploration, development and
operation comes around US $ 10-12 per bbl.

Oil Industry is a Risk Business


The cost of exploration for hydrocarbon resources is very high.
In spite of technological developments in establishing oil finds, the
uncertainties involved in finding commercial quantities of oil and
gas is large. Several millions of dollars are often spent without
discovering a viable field. The successful ventures have to generate
sufficient profits for the unsuccessful ones to keep the business
going.
The risks exist because:
z

In spite of high level of technology involved, methods are not


precise.

Methods are indirect and they do not indicate the presence of


petroleum itself. They only indicate geological situations
with probability of oil find.

We can not see what is happening below the earth. We


conclude only by interpretation of the data. Variables are
numerous and the interpretation may go wrong.

Thus many dry holes are drilled.

Oil companies balance the risk with rewards.

UNIT 6: The Exploration of Oil

Oil Production A Challenging Task


Once the exploration and assessment stage is over and the
reservoir is found suitable for commercial exploitation, decision is
taken for commercial exploitation. The method of production
depends on:

73
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________

Location of the field

Field life

Size of the field

___________________

Quality of oil and gas

___________________

Production profile over the field life (for oil, gas and water)

___________________

Pressure/Temperature profile over the field life

___________________

Use of artificial methods of production

___________________

Customer specification of oil and gas, market location and


method of transportation.

Location of the Field


Most hydrocarbon deposits today are found in remote areas. For
example, they are found more often in the deserts or dense forests
(onshore) or below the ocean (offshore). Earlier the hydrocarbon
finds and production offshore was limited to shallow or moderate
depth locations (a few meters to a few hundred meters). With
todays exploration and production technology, we have shifted to
deeper seas (thousand meters water depth).

Field Life
It could be from a few years to a few decades. Fields with low
production profile and short life are referred as marginal fields.

Size of the Field


Area over which a field exists (measured over the earths surface)
could be as small as 50 to 100 square Km to a few thousand square
Km.

Quality of Oil and Gas


Oil could be light, medium, heavy or it could be even condensate. It
could be sour (high sulfur bearing) or sweet. The gas could be high
calorific value (methane rich), low calorific value (carbon dioxide or
nitrogen bearing), sweet or sour. Ratio of gas to oil known as Gas

___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

74
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Oil Ratio (GOR) can vary widely from field to field and over the
field life.

Production Profile
Normally the oil production starts at a low level, it increases to a
peak level called plateau level and then tapers off. The gas and
water production also changes with field life depending on
characteristics of the reservoir. Typical production profile of an
oilfield is given in Figure 6.7.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 6.7: Production Profile

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. An well is required to confirm the
existence of oil or gas in a basin identified through
geological and geophysical surveys.
2. rigs are similar to submersible rigs
but when the hulls are flooded they do not sink to the
bottom.

Summary
In this unit, at first the formation of hydrocarbon bearing
structures was described. A description of hydrocarbon reservoir
comprising of porous rocks containing the hydrocarbon in its
pores and covered by a non-permeable cap rock was given.
This was followed by description of the methods of oil exploration,
identification of probable hydrocarbon bearing structures and

UNIT 6: The Exploration of Oil

drilling of exploratory wells. The risks and costs involved in search


for oil was highlighted.

75
Notes
___________________

Lesson End Activity

___________________

Show digramitically the following on a chart paper:

___________________

Porous Reservoir Rocks

___________________

Migration of Hydrocarbons through Rocks having Permeability

___________________

Drilling Rig

___________________
___________________

Keywords

___________________

Reservoir: A large formation of rocks of bearing hydrocarbons.

___________________

Horizontal Drilling: An important technology which makes oil


production more economic.

___________________

Exploration Costs: It include the cost of seismic surveys and


exploratory drilling and varies between US$ 1 per bbl in prolific
oilfields to more than US$ 12 per bbl, where the environment is
difficult and production per well is low.

Questions for Discussion


1.

Describe how oil is formed and how it migrated and got


trapped in certain locations below the surface of the earth.

2.

Outline the major steps an oil company has to go through


starting from the decision to explore for oil in certain area to
the decision to start production of oil.

3.

List down all the factors that can affect economics of


production from an oil field.

4.

Explain the Different types of Drilling.

Further Readings
Books
Fundamentals of Oil & Gas Accounting? Charlotte J. Wright,
Rebecca A. Gallun - Business & Economics, 2008
Introduction to the Global Oil & Gas Business? -Samuel Van
Vactor - Business & Economics

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

76
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Web Readings
www.ril.com/html/business/exploration_production.html
www.wikinvest.com/.../Oil_%26_Gas_Drilling_%26_ Exploration
www.satimagingcorp.com Satellite Imaging Services
www.hoovers.com Hoover's Directories Industry Overviews

UNIT 7: Production Methods

Unit 7
Production Methods
Objectives
After completion of this unit, the students will be aware of the following
topics:

Make
a presentation on
___________________
Sucker Rod Pumps and how
they___________________
pump out the oil.
___________________
___________________
___________________

Overview of Production methods

___________________

Various primary production methods

___________________

Overview of Enhanced oil recovery methods

There are primary, secondary and tertiary methods of recovery of


hydrocarbons are used for maximum extraction of hydrocarbons
from the reservoir.
A team of reservoir engineers, geologists and geophysicists base
the choice of EOR method and its design/operating parameters on
a thorough simulation and study of the reservoir.

Production An Overview of Methods


In the beginning of field life, unless the pressures are very low, the
well fluid comes out of the wells on its own pressure. This kind of
production of oil on its own pressure is called Primary Production.
A primary production facility comprises of:
z

Manifold on top of the well, called Christmas Tree.

Equipment and systems for separation of oil, gas and water.

Equipment and systems to make the oil and gas as free of


water as specified by the customer (dehydration of oil and gas).
Equipment and systems for measurement and transportation
of oil and gas to the customer.

Notes
Activity

Introduction

77

Equipment and systems to treat water for disposal.

During primary production, 25-30 percent of the oil in the reservoir


can be recovered by the natural reservoir drive. Other techniques
are used to recover some of the remaining oil. Secondary and

___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

78

Tertiary methods of recovery of hydrocarbons are used for

Notes

maximum extraction of hydrocarbons from the reservoir. These

___________________

methods are summarized in Table 7.1. These are also known as

___________________

Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) methods.

___________________

Sometimes the pressures of the reservoir are low at the early

___________________

stages of production. In such cases artificial methods are used even

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

during primary production.


A very popular method used for low-pressure shallow wells is
Sucker Rod Pumps to pump out the oil (Figure 7.1).
These pumps having huge size of their drive system, which moves
up and down, make a magnificent sight in the oilfield, where often
an array of such pumps can be seen.

___________________

The plunger goes deep down the well moving up and down
pumping out the oil.

Figure 7.1: Sucker Rod Pump

Water Injection
Water is first treated to meet reservoir specification for particulate
content, dissolved solids content, oxygen content etc. Then it is
injected around the periphery of the producing well as shown
(Figure 7.2).

UNIT 7: Production Methods

79
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 7.2: Water Injection

Use of water injection can boost the recovery by another 15-20% of


the original oil in the reservoir, raising the recovery level to
40-45%. Water Injection is sometimes considered primary
production method and falls under the category of artificial lift,
meaning lifting the oil out of the well by artificial means rather
than its own pressure.
The essential equipments in water injection system are filters,
deoxygenating tower and chemical injection system.
Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) methods are tried after the water
injection. It can further increase the recovery by another 15-20%
leading to recovery of around 60% of the oil in the reservoir.
Table 7.1: Secondary and Tertiary Methods of Production

Contd

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

80
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Steam Injection
Steam is injected down injection wells to heat the heavy oil to
reduce its viscosity and make it more fluid. The steam also
produces drive to push the oil toward producing wells.

Figure 7.3: Steam Injection

Main equipment are water treatment plant (for boiler quality


water), and boiler. Rugged types of boilers are used to produce
high-pressure steam (above reservoir pressure).

In-situ Combustion
This method of EOR is used for very viscous crude oils. It is also
used as primary production method where crude oil is too viscous
to flow up through the well on its own.

UNIT 7: Production Methods

In-situ combustion has been effectively used in North Gujarat


Oilfield in India to produce very viscous crude oil, which is almost
like semi-solid in the ambient temperature.

81
Notes
___________________

In this process (Figure7.4), air and water are injected into the oil
reservoir in alternate cycles. At first air is injected around the
outer layer of the reservoir and the oil is ignited as a result of
presence of oxygen (air). The heat generated raises the
temperature of oil thus reducing the viscosity.

___________________

But due to combustion, there is loss of some amount of crude oil.


Once the desired temperature level in the reservoir is reached, air
injection is stopped.

___________________

___________________
___________________
___________________

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 7.4: In-situ Combustion

The flame in the reservoir is quenched with injection of water.


Water injection is stopped once the flame is quenched. As the
temperature falls, injection of air and ignition of the oil is done
again. This cycle goes on repeating according to the time cycle
decided by reservoir engineers.

Gas Injection and Gas Lift


It is important to note the difference between the two methods of
recovery of hydrocarbons. Gas Lift is injection of gas in the well
tubing to make the density of oil column in the well lighter. As a
result the hydraulic head of the fluid in the well becomes less and
oil flows out more easily.
But Gas Injection involves injection of the gas directly to the
reservoir to provide drive to push out oil.
Both processes involve compression of the gas coming out in the
field to high enough pressure to be put back either to the well or to
the reservoir.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

82
Notes
___________________
___________________

These are some of the typical EOR processes. A team of reservoir


engineers, geologists and geophysicists base the choice of EOR
method and its design/operating parameters on a thorough
simulation and study of the reservoir.

___________________

Check Your Progress

___________________

Fill in the blanks:

___________________

1. . is injection of gas in the well tubing to


make the density of oil column in the well lighter.

___________________
___________________

2. . involves injection of the gas directly to the


reservoir to provide drive to push out oil.

___________________
___________________
___________________

Summary
In this unit, an overview was given on various primary and
secondary methods of oil and gas production. This included Water
injection, Steam injection, In-situ Combustion and Gas Injection
and Gas Lift.

Lesson End Activity


Prepare a presentation on the secondary and tertiary methods of
oil and gas production.

Keywords
Primary Production: It is the kind of production of oil on its own
pressure.
Christmas Tree: It is a primary production facility comprising a
Manifold on top of the well.
In-situ Combustion: This method of EOR is used for very viscous
crude oils.

Questions for Discussion


1.

Give brief description with sketch for Water Injection Process.

2.

Give a brief description with sketch for In-situ combustion


process.

3.

What is the difference between gas injection and gas lift


processes?

UNIT 7: Production Methods

Further Readings

83
Notes

Books

___________________

Fundamentals of Oil & Gas Accounting, Charlotte J. Wright,


Rebecca A. Gallun - Business & Economics, 2008

___________________

Introduction to the Global Oil & Gas Business, Samuel Van Vactor
- Business & Economics

___________________

___________________

___________________

Web Readings

___________________

www.ril.com/html/business/exploration_production.html

___________________

www.wikinvest.com/.../Oil_%26_Gas_Drilling_%26_ Exploration

___________________

www.satimagingcorp.com Satellite Imaging Services

___________________

www.hoovers.com Hoover's Directories Industry Overviews

___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

84
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

UNIT 8: Onshore Oilfield Processing

Unit 8
Onshore Oilfield Processing
Objectives
After completion of this unit, the students will be aware of the following
topics:

85
Notes
Activity
Find___________________
out which are some
Hydrocarbon producing fields
___________________
in India.
___________________
___________________
___________________

Overview of the configuration of facilities at the oilfield offshore and


onshore

Why processing of oil and gas is required at the oilfield itself

How oil and gas are gathered from many wells in the oilfield

___________________

What kind of processing is required at the oilfield and the technology


involved

___________________

___________________
___________________

___________________

Introduction
Wellhead fluids must be processed before anything else. So, oil and
gas production involves a number of surface unit operations
between the wellhead and point of custody transfer. Collectively
these operations are called oilfield processing.
This unit talks about Oilfiels processing and its various facets.

Typical Field Configuration for Production


A hydrocarbon producing field can be a few hundred to a few
thousand Square Kilometres in area. Several wells need to be
drilled in the area for optimal production.

Figure 8.1: A Hydrocarbon Producing Field

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

86

In a land based field (onshore), the wells could be in short

Notes

distances (less than a Km) spread over the whole area. The well

___________________

fluid from the wells is collected into Group Gathering Stations

___________________

(GGS), where the oil, gas, and water are separated and processed.

___________________

A typical onshore field configuration is shown.

___________________

As shown, the well fluid is collected from the wells by flow lines

___________________

into a GGS. There could be more than one GGS in an oilfield

___________________
___________________
___________________

depending on the area of the field, number of wells and


development plan of the field.
After processing in the GGS, oil is stored in tank farms and sent to
the consumer (refinery) through pipeline or tankers. The gas is

___________________

compressed and sent by pipeline to the consumer (power plant or

___________________

industry) or sent to a gas processing plant to produce LPG and


separation of petrochemical feedstock.
Certain other terminologies on gathering and processing/storage of
hydrocarbons in the field are commonly used such as:
z

Gas Collection Station (GCS - applicable for a gas field)

Central Tank Farm (meaning oil storage facilities at the


oilfield)

Oil Collection Station (OCS)

In an offshore field, the terminologies as well as the configuration


differ from an onshore field.
z

The wells are normally drilled by Drill Ships of various types


and well head may be installed in small fixed platforms called
Well Platform.

Well fluid from different well platforms is gathered by sub-sea


flow lines into a Production platform or Central Process
Platform.

The necessary oilfield processing is done at the Central Process


Platform. There are other categories of platforms as well as
floating production facilities (FPSO). With exploration and
production going deeper into the sea (2000 meters or more), subsea
production technology has developed with well and production
facilities under water, installed on the sea bed. The configuration
of offshore field is discussed later in this section.

UNIT 8: Onshore Oilfield Processing

Table 8.1: Oil and Gas as Produced and as Desired

87
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Why Processing at Oilfield?

___________________

Oil and gas as produced in the field is not transportable and does
not meet customer specification. Before transportation to the buyer
by pipeline or tanker, crude oil and natural gas must be separated
and treated to meet certain customer specifications. Table 8.1 gives
an idea of the quality of oil and gas as it comes out from the oil well
and as desired by the customer.

___________________

Processing of the well fluid and oil, gas and water is needed before
we can bring them to the desired specification for sending to a
customer. Thus some amount of processing at the oilfield itself is
required, whether offshore or onshore, however remote the location
may be.
The configuration of an oil field is presented in Figure 8.2 in block
diagram format outlining the gathering scheme and minimum
processing at the gathering station.
The block diagram configuration of Group Gathering system
(Figure 8.2.) is to be seen in conjunction with oilfield configuration
shown in Figure 8.1. Flow lines carrying well fluid from the wells
are all taken to a GGS. A Header or a manifold collects all the well
fluid. As indicated in Figure 8.2 the main processing blocks are:
z

Separation of oil, gas and water

Treatment of water before it can be discharged safely meeting


environment requirements

Dehydration of oil and gas to remove water

Metering and pumping of oil

Metering and compression of gas

___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

88
Notes
Activity
Make
a presentation on the
___________________
topic Gas Dehydration.
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 8.2: Oilfield Facilities Configuration

___________________
___________________

Figure 8.3: Separation of Oil, Gas and Water

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. In a .. based field, the wells could be in
short distances spread over the whole area.
2. The necessary oilfield processing is done at the
.. Platform.

Description of Oilfield Processing


Well fluid is a mixture of oil, gas and water, coming out of well
under high pressure. First, we need to separate them. This is done
in an equipment called Separator, which is essentially a vessel
having some internals to facilitate separation. A schematic
diagram of separation and some details of Separator equipment is
shown in Figure 8.3.
The separators are of many configuration and types such as
horizontal, vertical, spherical, cyclonic type etc. Their selection and
sizing part of engineering skill is not covered here.
Oil (in the well fluid), which is at high pressure with dissolved
gases, need to be brought to stable atmospheric pressure for

UNIT 8: Onshore Oilfield Processing

storage. This is called Stabilization of oil. Instead of bringing down


the pressure abruptly, it is stepped down slowly through a series of
separators (Figure 8.4). The simple configuration shows High
Pressure (HP), Low Pressure (LP) and Atmospheric Pressure
separation.

89
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 8.4: Crude Stabilization

Further removal of water from crude oil is required before we


transport the oil to refinery. This process is called crude oil
dehydration. This is often carried out in an equipment known as
Heater-Treater where heating the crude oil and coalescing the
water particles by electrostatic force helps in bringing down the
water content (See Figure 8.7).
Figure 8.5 shows the processes mentioned above in the form of a
simple flow diagram.
The water that is produced is either discharged or
re-injected to the well. We need to treat effluent water to meet
certain specifications before discharging or re-injecting. This
process is called Water Treatment. A description of a typical
facility for treating water is given later.
Like crude oil, the natural gas that is produced also needs to be
dried of water before it is put to the pipeline. This is to save the
pipeline from corrosion. This process is called Gas Dehydration.
A description of a typical facility for dehydration of gas is given in
later part of this section.
After processing as described above both oil and gas need to be
metered and transported to the customer which could be a refinery
or a gas processing plant owner. Often the customer could be
several hundred Kilometres away and transportation could be
through long distance cross country pipeline or by tanker.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

90
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

To meet transportation requirement, compressors are installed to


meet pressure requirements in the pipeline and large oil pumps
are used to pump the oil into the pipeline or a tanker. Often for
greater efficiency of gas dehydration at higher pressures,
compressors are placed ahead of the gas dehydration facility.
Two more important items that form essential part of oilfield
processing are:
Custody Transfer Meter: Most often the producer of the gas and
oil and the customer are different companies or different profit
centres under the same company. Accurate metering of oil and gas
are required before they are despatched to the customer.
Pig Launcher: An equipment known as Pig, which is spherical or
cylindrical objects of diameter close to the pipeline diameter, is
pushed into the pipeline at certain intervals by the Pig Launcher.
The objective is to clean and monitor inner surface of the pipeline.

Figure 8.5: Flow Diagram of Oilfield Process System

Minimum Processing Requirement in Oilfield


Oilfields being often in remote areas, only the minimum processing
which is required for transporting and marketing the oil and gas is
carried out in the oilfields. The minimum processing facilities
necessary to be installed in an oilfield are:
z

Separation of oil, gas and water

Separation of sand and sludge

Stabilization of crude oil

Dehydration of crude oil

Dehydration of gas

Treatment of water

UNIT 8: Onshore Oilfield Processing

Pumping and metering of oil

Compression and metering of gas

91
Notes
___________________

In addition a number of utilities and other facilities are needed


like:
z

Flare System

Chemical Injection System

Control System

Utilities like power generation

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Certain other facilities also may need to be installed in the field.


These are:
z

Gas Sweetening: If hydrogen sulfide or carbon dioxide


content in the gas is high enough to cause severe corrosion
during processing and transportation.

Storage of Oil: It is based on logistics of operation.

Secondary and Tertiary Recovery: Requirement


Enhanced Oil Recovery comes up as the field ages.

of

Description of Oilfield Processing Equipment


Let us now give a look at all the equipment mentioned in
Figure 8.5 with a little more detail. For easier installation at
remote oilfields, these are normally combined with necessary
piping, instrumentation and control system. The whole equipment
system with the ancillaries is mounted on easily transportable
skid. These are known as Skid Mounted Oilfield Process Systems.

Separators
These are pressure vessels whose function is to separate oil, gas
and water. A simple sketch of a separator was presented earlier.
The operating pressure of the separators could be very high (say 50
to 60 atmospheres) or lower depending on the reservoir pressure.
Besides the simple design of separator shown, there could be wide
variety of designs, some of them of proprietary make:
z

Horizontal separator

Vertical separator

Cyclone type separator

A skid mounted separation system is shown in Figure 8.6.

___________________

___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

92
Notes
___________________

Stabilization system for crude oil is a series of separators in


sequence (normally 3 to 4) where pressure of the well fluid is
brought down in each stage.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 8.6: Skid Mounted Separators

Dehydration of Crude Oil


The water in oil can be present in two forms:
z

Free water: It is in droplet form and separates easily.

Emulsion water: It is in emulsion form, often very tight.

Most of the free water comes out of the crude oil in the separators.
But the emulsion water remains dispersed in the crude. There can
be as high as 30 to 40% emulsion water in some crude oils after the
separator. Special equipment called Electrostatic Treater or
Heater Treater is used to dehydrate the crude oil to a level of below
0.5% water content. While Electrostatic Treater treats the crude by
coalescing the water particles in emulsion by creating an electro
static field, the Heater Treater also heats the crude oil in the same
equipment reducing the viscosity of crude oil and facilitating
dropping down of water particles.
A sketch of Heater-Treater is shown in Figure 8.7. It has two
chambers. First crude oil enters the heating chamber where it is
heated by a fire tube which is fired with oil or gas burners. Some
water droplets settle down in this chamber itself. Then the crude
passes through the treater section where an electrostatic field is
created by a high voltage transformer. Here the electrically
charged emulsion water particles coalesce, settle down at the
bottom and drained.

UNIT 8: Onshore Oilfield Processing

93
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
Figure 8.7: Heater Treater

___________________
___________________

Dehydration of Gas
There are a number of processes for dehydration of gas as
described later. These could be Dry Bed Adsorbent process, where
moisture is adsorbed on the porous surface of the drying medium,
which are solid particles. For example beads of Silica Gel or
Molecular Sieves are used as drying medium. Some of these
processes are used to dry the gas to bone dry level.
The other type of processes are based on absorption of the moisture
from the gas by scrubbing (washing) the gas with a liquid drying
agent, which is a good absorbent of moisture. These units are
easier to operate but not suitable for getting the gas totally dry
(bone dry). In oilfield, absorption type of process is more commonly
used. Water is removed from the gas by contacting the wet gas
with an absorbent liquid which absorbs the water (Figure 8.8).
Generally Glycols are used as absorbent. Tri-ethylene glycol (TEG)
and ethylene glycol (EG) are the two most commonly used glycols
in natural gas dehydration.
TEG is used in about 95% of glycol dehydrators. Dehydration with
TEG is most widely used in oil/gas field processing.
Dehydration of gas takes place in a column (Absorber Column)
with trays or packing inside to facilitate contact between glycol
absorbent and the wet gas. The gas fed at the bottom part of the
column goes up and the dry glycol (lean glycol) fed at upper part of
the column comes down the column absorbing water out of the gas.
Absorbent containing water absorbed from gas (rich glycol) is

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

94
Notes
___________________

regenerated by heating and stripping out the water in the


regeneration section of the unit. The regenerated absorbent is
circulated back.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 8.8: Gas Dehydration Unit Using Glycol

Such systems are widely used in offshore and onshore fields for
dehydration of gas. Gas dehydration unit is also skid-mounted
with piping and ancillary equipment for easy installation in the
field.

Produced Water Treatment


A simple schematic diagram of produced water treatment is given
in Figure 8.9. Produced water is separated from various separators
and oil treaters in the oilfield. It has to meet specifications for
discharge of water as per environment regulations. It contains oil
and sand/silt which need to be removed. The water is taken to an
oil skimmer first. Oil from the skimmer is transferred to a slop oil
tank, from where it is pumped to the suction of Main Oil Line
Pump (refer Figure 8.5). Water passes through Cyclone to separate
solid material like sludge. Fine emulsion of oil in water is still left
in the produced water. Normally desired specification before
discharge of the water is oil concentration of less than 20 ppm.
This is achieved by an equipment called Induced Gas Floatation
Unit. Low pressure gas is bubbled through a sparger in a floatation
cell to separate the emulsion and coalesce the particles. Oil layer
comes out from the top.

UNIT 8: Onshore Oilfield Processing

95
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
Figure 8.9: Produced Water Treatment

Water is taken to a settling tank where the quality is monitored


before discharging the water. In offshore platforms water is sent to
an equipment called Caisson. It resembles a cylindrical well dipped
into the sea. This allows for an additional guard before the water
goes into the sea. The last traces of water that separate out at the
Caisson are pumped to the slop tank.

Flare System
Flare system is an important facility in any plant processing oil or
gas. It is essentially a tall stack made of steel pipe along with a
flare tip (burner) at top and ancillary equipment.
It burns out any hydrocarbon released during processing due to
overpressure in any of the equipment. Normally, the plant
facilities have safety release valves which release the contents of
an equipment if the pressure rises beyond a safe operating limit.
The flare system prevents such flammable hydrocarbon releases to
get into the plant area and surroundings by burning out such
releases.
It is also used to burn out any excess gas produced. This situation
can occur when a customer downstream suddenly stops taking the
gas due to any operating problem in his plant. It may take some
time for the oilfield operator to cut down the gas production.
During this period the gas is diverted to flare, to avoid any kind of
accident.
Also in a field producing crude oil, the associated gas produced
may be more than the gas demand in the market. Then the excess
gas will need to be flared.

___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

96
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Elevating the flare can prevent potentially dangerous conditions of


high radiation at the operating area of the plant. The height and
distance of the flare stack from the plant area is fixed to limit heat
radiation within acceptable limits.
Further, the products of combustion can be dispersed above
working areas. This helps to reduce the effects of noise, heat,
smoke, objectionable odours and limits ground level concentration
of pollutants from flare.
In the onshore production facility, a tall flare stack (structurally
supported) is provided 50 to 100 meters away from the plant area
as shown in Figure 8.10.
In offshore production facility, flare is provided in two possible
configurations:
z

An inclined structure directed away from the platform


supports the flare at one edge of the platform. This is called
flare boom.

A separate flare tripod structure, away from the platform

Figure 8.10: Onshore Flare Stack Chemical Injection System

Oilfield facilities require a variety of chemicals to be injected to the


oil and gas streams in small dozes (20-100 ppm):
z

Corrosion inhibitors to control corrosion in the equipment


and piping.

Defoamers are used to control foam. Some oils have tendency


to foam as the gas bubbles through and separates out in the

UNIT 8: Onshore Oilfield Processing

gas oil separators. This creates inefficiency in the separation


system.
z

Demulsifier chemicals are used to break emulsions of water


in oil or oil in water.
Bactericide is used to prevent growth of bacteria, fungi and
sea weeds inside pipeline and equipment.

Oxygen scavenger is used for the same purpose.

Flow improver is used for viscous crude oil to improve


transportation efficiency.

97
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Production Configuration for Gas Field

___________________

The configuration of a gas field could be different. Here again there

___________________

will be gathering or collection of gas from various wells to Gas

___________________

Gathering Station (GGS) or Gas Collection Station (GCS) as the


nomenclature may be according to the operating companys norms.
Normally gas is associated with some amount of condensate in the
reservoir. The processing done at the GGS (Figure 8.11) are:
z

The well fluid is gathered from the wells by flow lines into a
manifold at GGS.

Condensate (or NGL) is separated in Separator equipment.

Condensate is stabilized, stored and then despatched to the


customer.

Gas is dehydrated, compressed and metered before being sent


for gas processing.

The gas processing complex could be several hundred Kilometres


away from the gas field. The processing facilities at the gas
processing plant have been described in detail later. The major
units in the gas processing complex are:
z

Gas Sweetening if there is hydrogen sulfide in the gas. Gas


sweetening is normally accompanied with conversion of
hydrogen sulfide to sulfur.

Dehydration of gas - this is needed because sweetening


process makes the gas wet with moisture again. Sweetening
agents are normally in solution with water.

Fractionation of chilled and condensed gas to recover LPG


and petrochemical feedstock (ethane and propane).

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

98
Notes

Conversion of the gas to LNG if needed for transportation


purposes.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 8.11: Gathering and Processing of Gas

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. A .. is essentially a tall stack made of
steel pipe along with a flare tip at top and ancillary
equipment.
2. .. chemicals are used to break emulsions
of water in oil or oil in water.

Summary
Certain amount of processing needs to be done at the oilfield before
the oil and gas are transported to refineries or gas processing
plants. This unit described what are the processing done,
schematics and equipment for such processing.
Typical configuration of an oil field with wells, gathering of well
fluid and processing stations were described for both onshore and
offshore fields.

Lesson End Activity


Show the gathering and processing of gas diagrammatically on a
chart paper.

UNIT 8: Onshore Oilfield Processing

Keywords
Separator: It is essentially a vessel having some internals to
facilitate separation.
Crude Oil Dehydration: The process of removal of water from
crude oil is called crude oil dehydration
Dry Bed Adsorbent: This is a process, where moisture is absorbed
on the porous surface of the drying medium, which are solid
particles.
Flare System: An important facility plant processing oil or gas. It
is essentially a tall stack made of steel pipe along with a flare tip
(burner) at top and ancillary equipment.
Demulsifier Chemicals: There are used to break emulsions of
water in oil or oil in water.

Questions for Discussion


1.

Explain the typical Field Configuration for Production of


hydrocarbons with the help of a diagram.

2.

Why does an oilfield need to be processed?

3.

What is the Production configuration for a Gas field?

4.

How does a Flare system work?

Further Readings
Books
Maurice Stewart, Ken Arnold, Emulsions and Oil Treating
Equipment: Selection, Sizing and Troubleshooting, Technology &
Engineering, 2008
Hussein K. Abdel-Aal, Mohamed Aggour, M. A. Fahim, Petroleum
and gas field processing, Technology & Engineering, 2003
Maurice Stewart, Ken Arnold, Gas-liquid and liquid-liquid
separators, Technology & Engineering, 2008

Web Readings
www.pennwellbooks.com Petroleum Books Production
hw.tpu.ru/en/short-courses/sc/Sc_PTSF/Oilfield/
www.egpet.net/vb/showthread.php?...Oilfield-Processin... - United
States

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Understanding Oil & Gas Business

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www.amazon.com ... Engineering Chemical Engineering

UNIT 9: Offshore Oilfield Processing

Unit 9
Offshore Oilfield Processing
Objectives
After completion of this unit, the students will be aware of the following
topics:
\

Overview of various types of offshore production facilities like


platforms, FPSO

Logistics involved in production of oil and gas

Configuration and design of offshore facilities

101
Notes
Activity
Make
a presentation on
___________________
FPSO.
___________________
___________________
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___________________
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___________________

Introduction
The oilfield facilities are installed in the oilfield whether it is an
onshore or offshore field. So far we had focused on the
configuration of onshore facilities. We explained how oil and gas
are gathered in Group Gathering Stations and processed.
In this unit, we will talk about offshore oilfields.

Offshore Production Facility


The processing requirements and schemes in offshore field are very
similar to onshore processing system. But in certain areas, the
configuration and design of offshore facilities differ a lot:
z

Field configuration and terminologies used in offshore


facilities are to a certain extent different. For example at
onshore one can drill a number of wells spread all around the
field. But offshore drilling is expensive. So a number of wells
are drilled from a single drilling platform and a number of
drilling platforms (also called well platform) are spread around
the field. Gathering and processing are done at Production
Platform or Central Process Platform.

Construction technology and operating philosophy in


offshore facility are also different.

Due to cost of space created at offshore platform and its


isolation from infrastructure, the layout (tight and compact)
and safety considerations in design of the facilities are
different.

___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

102
Notes

Both exploration and installation of production/processing facilities


are more expensive offshore.

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Offshore Facilities Description


Offshore installations could be fixed platform or floating facility
(FPSO). Floating productions systems are getting more prevalent
due to cost factors under certain conditions. FPSO (Floating
Production, Storage and Offloading), generally a large tanker or
vessel with production and storage facility, has found wide
application today where putting up a platform is uneconomic.
A descriptive picture of an offshore platform is given in Figure 9.1.

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Figure 9.1: Offshore Platforms

A number of fixed platforms, or floating facilities, subsea


installations or a combination of them can make an offshore
production complex.
Platforms are named according to the type of processing or
function it is meant for. The types of platform normally
encountered at offshore are:
Drilling and Well Platform: Normally more than one well is
drilled from the well platform. Quite often 4 to 8 wells are drilled
from a single platform. All the well heads are manifolded into a
single pipe which goes down to the sea bed and leads to a
Production Platform or Process Platform.
Production Platform: Production platform contains certain
minimum processing facility like separation and stabilization of
crude oil.

UNIT 9: Offshore Oilfield Processing

Process Platform: Process platforms have the complete process


facilities described earlier. They are the biggest platforms in an
offshore complex, which is equivalent to a GGS onshore. They are
also referred as Central Process Platform.
Utilities Platform: For large facilities the utilities like power
generation, instrument air system, etc. are installed in a separate
platform.
Living Quarters Platform: The production and maintenance
personnel for an offshore facility stay for long periods of shifts (in
terms of weeks) in an offshore platform. For safety, the living
quarters for personnel are made in a separate platform.
Flare Tripod: If the flare has a large gas flaring capacity, it is
installed away from a platform to minimize heat radiation to the
operating area of the platforms. It is installed in a tripod structure
piled into the sea. Some times flare is put in the platform itself as
an inclined flare boom directed away from the platform.
Several other platforms are installed with the requirement of
Enhanced Oil Recovery as the reservoir pressure depletes. These
could be Water Injection Platforms, Gas Injection Platforms and so
on.
Offshore platforms can be rigid structures that extend all the way
from above the water surface and piled to the seabed. They can be
supported on single leg (Monopod), three legs (Tripod), four legs,
eight legs or multiple legs. In a common type of platform, the legs
are piled into the sea bed. The platforms can be supported by steel
or concrete structure. For a bigger surface area at the top of the
platform, more number of legs are provided.
Some designs of the platforms are not fixed into the sea bed. They
float near the water surface.
Table 9.1: Types of Platform

Building platforms in sea is very expensive and the well production


rate has to be much higher than onshore field for economic

103
Notes
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Understanding Oil & Gas Business

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Notes
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justification. For example an onshore field can be justified with per


well production rate of even a few hundred bbl/day. But in offshore
field it has to be in thousands of bbl/day for economic exploitation.
A well platform in Mumbai high costs anything between US$ 20
Million to 50 Million. A process platform costs around few
hundreds of Million Dollars. In contrast a GGS onshore (albeit
with much lower production) will cost around five Million Dollars
only.

Configurations of a Major Offshore Field


Production at offshore requires a fixed or floating facility or a

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subsea production system and means for transportation of oil and

___________________

gas to the consumer at shore. The transportation of oil could be by

___________________

offloading it to an oil tanker or by pipeline. But for gas, pipeline is


normally the only option. Another option that has developed now is
floating LNG Plants to liquefy and transport the gas directly by
tanker from offshore.
The configuration of an offshore facility could be developed based
on any of above or a combination depending on the location, water
depth and production profile.
Study and decision of the optimum economic configuration is one of
the prime skills in developing an offshore production facility.
Figure 9.2 shows a simple configuration of a small offshore
production complex. This is a concept based on fixed platforms. It
is similar to the concept of development of Mumbai High Field.
In the first phase (Phase-1), when the potential of the field can not
be predicted accurately, a few well platforms and a small
production platform can be installed just to separate the oil and
flare the gas. A storage tanker anchored next to it to store the oil
produced. It offloads the oil to another shuttle tanker.
Once the potential of the field is established, the Phase-2 starts.
More well platforms and Central Process Platforms are installed
for gathering and processing the well fluid. Oil and gas pipelines
are laid to the shore to transport them and the tanker becomes a
standby option.
Once the pressure of the reservoir drops, to boost production, a
number of water injection platforms are installed and water
injection well platforms are put around the periphery of the field.

UNIT 9: Offshore Oilfield Processing

Later more platforms can crop up due to the changing production


profile and EOR requirements.

105
Notes
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Figure 9.2: Offshore Field Configuration

FPSO
Floating Production and Storage Offloading (FPSO) is one of the
most popular systems for offshore production. The first floating
system started production in North Sea in 1975. Its design has
been adopted to wide variety of production situations and
environment. FPSOs are operating today all over the world. It can
operate down to 2000 meters of water depth.
FPSOs have been effectively used in large producing fields, deep
sea and marginal fields. Its economic advantage comes because:
z

It avoids need for large and costly fixed installation and


infrastructure. This is particularly advantageous in deep sea,
say at 1000 meters depth.

It can be modified easily for different production conditions by


bringing it to the yard.

It has the flexibility to move from one field to another, unlike


fixed platforms. It can be used for production from a number of
marginal fields with short field life.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

106
Notes
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Figure 9.3: FPSO

Normally large supertankers are converted to FPSO. The bare


surface at the top of the tankers provides space for process
equipment system and infrastructure. The storage capacity of the
tanker is used to store oil. The oil is offloaded to a shuttle tanker
from time to time. The gas can be connected to gas pipeline, sent to
another floating unit with gas processing facility or flared.
A typical configuration of an FPSO producing oil in deep sea is
given in Figure 9.3. The FPSO anchors in the selected location
where, one or more subsea wells are already drilled and vaulved at
the bottom of the sea. The well is connected to the production
facilities on the deck of the FPSO by flexible well piping called
umbilical. The wells are controlled by remote control from the
FPSO through control cables going down below the sea to the
wells.

Offshore Platform Construction Technology


Offshore construction is a challenging task, quite different from
construction of an onshore plant. Let us look into the construction
of a typical four legged platform.
Legs can be of tubular structure of large diameter. A construction
barge carries pieces of the leg to the selected location in deep sea
for installation. The pieces are welded together, lowered till it

UNIT 9: Offshore Oilfield Processing

reaches sea bed. Then piles are hammered through it into the sea
bed to fix the legs on the sea bed.
Fabrication of rest of the platform is done meanwhile in a shore
based construction yard. A rectangular three dimensional piece of
steel structure called jacket is fabricated to hold together the four
legs. The finished structure is then skidded on to the
transportation barge, taken to the location and placed on top of the
legs to hold them together. Also the platform decks are fabricated
in the yard, brought by the barge to the location and placed on top
of the jacket. Process equipment along with piping and ancillaries
are also fabricated in different shops on shore as modular skid
mounted units. They can be placed on the decks beforehand at the
yard itself or brought by barge to the location and placed by crane
on top of the decks.

Figure 9.4: Construction Barge Anchored Along Side


Platform under Construction

There are several interesting techniques of installation of such


facilities. There is a lot of sub-sea construction work including
welding under water is involved. An offshore facility requires the
services of trained divers for construction as well as maintenance
work below the sea.
Concrete platforms are constructed in a different way.
Construction is carried out in a dry dock near the sea. The concrete
structure (hollow) is built vertically upwards. At a certain point,
the dock is flooded, and the structure is floated. Further
construction takes place while it is floating. It is then towed to the

107
Notes
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Understanding Oil & Gas Business

108
Notes
Activity
Discuss
how the Logistics of
___________________
off-shore oilfields is taken care
of. ___________________

location, and filled with sea water so that it can sink down to its
final position on the seabed. Such structures can weigh hundreds
of thousand tons.

___________________
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___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
Figure 9.5: Offshore Construction

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. .. platforms are also referred as Central
Process Platform.
2. .. platforms can be rigid structures that
extend all the way from above the water surface and
piled to the seabed.

Offshore Field Operation and Logistics


With several platforms in a remote offshore field, the operating
philosophy and logistics support requirement is quite complex
compared to any plant onshore.

Operating Philosophy
Special features of operating philosophy in offshore platform are:
Safety: Being far away in a remote area, operating safety and
emergency planning for containment of disaster and evacuation of
personnel are important features in design and operation of an
offshore platform. This involves:
z

Special safety instrumentation for safe shutdown of production


facilities in case of emergency situation, redundancy of

UNIT 9: Offshore Oilfield Processing

equipment and instrumentation wherever needed for safety


reasons.
z

Special seaworthy Escape Capsules for operating personnel in


case of emergency.
Safety training of the operators for working in marine
environment and regular practice drills.

Remote Control and Monitoring: In a large offshore complex, the


process platforms may be fully manned but the well platforms are
generally unmanned and remote operated. Several wells and other
facilities need to be monitored from control room in the Central
Process Platform. Also there is need for coordination between
offshore facilities, pipeline operation, and onshore facilities like gas
processing plant or crude storage terminal at shore. This is done by
telemetering and telecontrol system known as Supervisory Control
and Data Acquisition (SCADA). This involves remote transmission
of operating data and computer based data acquisition and
monitoring system by communication with optical fibre cables,
microwave or satellite. Such systems will be covered in detail in the
section on IT Applications in Oil and Gas Industry.
Shift Schedule: Onshore plants normally have three shifts of
operators, changing every eight hours a day. In offshore the
logistics problem for such rotation will be enormous if people have
to be taken every eight hours to remote areas far away from town
and brought back.
The shift pattern in offshore vary from seven days to fifteen days
in one shift. That means the operators have to live in the offshore
platform for shift period of seven to fifteen days depending on the
shift cycle decided by the management. After the period, operators
for the next shift are flown by helicopter and the operators of the
earlier shift return.
That is why the platforms need to have safe and well equipped
living quarters.

Logistics
Logistics management is very important for successful operation of
offshore production facility.
Logistics support requirements are personnel related, maintenance
related and equipment related.
Logistics relate to:

109
Notes
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Understanding Oil & Gas Business

110
Notes
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___________________

Movement of operators and maintenance personnel

Movement of divers for sub-sea maintenance and operation

Catering, medical and other services for the personnel

Supply of maintenance equipment and spare parts as and


when needed

Carrying out work-over operations on the wells in the well


platforms

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

To provide for these, the production companies maintain an


offshore supply base at shore and arrange contractors to operate
fleet of supply boats and helicopters.

___________________

Check Your Progress

___________________
___________________

Fill in the blanks:


1. . relates to Movement of operators and
maintenance personnel.
2. . involves remote transmission of
operating data and computer based data acquisition and
monitoring system by communication with optical fibre
cables, microwave or satellite.

Summary
This unit described what are the processing done, schematics and
equipment for such processing. Typical configuration of an oil field
with wells, gathering of well fluid and processing stations were
described for offshore fields. How the concept of an oilfield at offshore
changes and develops with time was described from real life example.

Lesson End Activity


Prepare a presentation to show how the concept of an oilfield at
offshore changes and develops with time.

Keywords
Production Platform: Production platform contains certain
minimum processing facility like separation and stabilization of
crude oil.
Process Platform: Process Platforms are the biggest platforms in
an offshore complex, which is equivalent to a GGS onshore.

UNIT 9: Offshore Oilfield Processing

Utilities Platform: For large facilities the utilities like power


generation, instrument air system etc. are installed in a separate
platform called Utilities platforms.
Living Quarters Platform: They are the living quarters for
production and maintenance personnel for an offshore facility who
stay for long periods of shifts in an offshore platform.
Flare Tripod: If the flare has a large gas flaring capacity, it is
installed away from a platform to minimize heat radiation to the
operating area of the platforms and is installed in a tripod
structure piled into the sea.

111
Notes
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Questions for Discussion

___________________

1.

An offshore field produces sour gas and a large amount of


condensate. Draw a block diagram showing different process
systems that need to be installed in the platform.

___________________

2.

Make a list of various types of offshore production installations


with brief description of the same.

3.

Write a short note on Supervisory Control and Data


Acquisition (SCADA).

Further Readings
Books
Maurice Stewart, Ken Arnold, Emulsions and Oil Treating
Equipment: Selection, Sizing and Troubleshooting, Technology &
Engineering, 2008
Hussein K. Abdel-Aal, Mohamed Aggour, M. A. Fahim, Petroleum
and gas field processing, Technology & Engineering, 2003
Maurice Stewart, Ken Arnold, Gas-liquid and liquid-liquid
separators, Technology & Engineering, 2008

Web Readings
www.pennwellbooks.com Petroleum Books Production
hw.tpu.ru/en/short-courses/sc/Sc_PTSF/Oilfield/
www.egpet.net/vb/showthread.php?...Oilfield-Processin... - United
States
www.amazon.com ... Engineering Chemical Engineering

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

112
Notes
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UNIT 5: Case Study

Unit 10

113
Notes

Case Study

___________________
___________________
___________________

Objectives
After analyzing this case, the student will have an appreciation of the
concept of topics studied in this Block.

___________________
___________________
___________________

Case Study: Southeast Asia Offshore Oil Drilling Problem


Our client, Petro-Oil, is a mid-sized oil and gas exploration and
production company with major areas of exploration located in
South America, Gulf of Mexico, Western Africa, China, Eastern
Europe, and several other countries.
The Board of Petro-Oil has just set an ambitious goal to be
completed in the next five years: To be the largest oil and gas
producer in Asia by the end of 2017. A quick market research
inquiry shows three major competitor companies (Table 1) that
are larger than our client. To support their new aspirations, our
client just purchased Ceylon-II, a large deepwater oilfield offshore
in the South China Sea.
Table 1: Benchmark Results (million barrels of oil equivalent)
Proven
Reserves
Competitor A: PetroChina

Annual
Production

15,000

1,500

Competitor B: Petronas

8,000

800

Competitor C: Pertamina

7,500

750

Client: Current Producing


Assets

6,000

450

Client: Ceylon-II (newly


acquired deepwater asset)

6,000

Petro-Oils management team has hired your company to do a


diagnostic of the companys current portfolio, operations, and
organization to help them understand what they need to do to
achieve this goal.
Key Points and Assumptions:
z

Production is generally correlated with reserves.

Assume the reserves of each of the assets are exactly at the


same rate of depletion.
Contd

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Understanding Oil & Gas Business

114
Notes
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___________________

Assume that all competitors continue to seek additional


reserves in the Pacific region.

The current existing production rates in the area are


significantly higher than the clients production rate.

Analysis:

___________________
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___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

The current extraction rate of Competitors A, B and C are much


higher than our client and hold, at a minimum, 10% extraction
rate. The clients current production rate needs to increase and
the new asset has to meet the current standard of 10% extraction
rate.
Further exploration in the area to gain new assets for additional
production is key for growth and to increase the extraction rate.
Even with these two current assets, the clients current reserves
are still less than the regions the largest producer.
Questions
1. Develop a strategy for the same.
2. What initial recommendations would you give to the client?
3. What further analysis would you recommend to the client?
Source: http://chenected.aiche.org/tools-techniques/management-case-study-southeast-asia-offshore-oildrilling-problem/

UNIT 11: Gas Processing

115
Notes
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BLOCK-III

Detailed Contents

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

116

Notes
UNIT
11: GAS PROCESSING
___________________
z
Introduction
___________________
z
Characteristics of Natural Gas
___________________
z
Overview of Gas Processing
___________________
z
Process Description
___________________
UNIT
12: LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS (LNG)
___________________
z
z
z
z

Introduction
___________________
The LNG Cycle
___________________
LNG Project Economics
___________________
The Indian Scenario
___________________

UNIT 13: PETROLEUM REFINING


z

Introduction

Why Refining

Product Specifications

Refinery Processes Overview and History

UNIT 14: REFINERY REQUIREMENTS


z

Introduction

Refinery Configurations

Description of Overall Facilities

UNIT 15: CASE STUDY

UNIT 11: Gas Processing

Unit 11
Gas Processing
Objectives
After completion of this unit, the students will be aware of the following
topics:

117
Notes
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___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Properties and the characteristics of natural gas

___________________

Objectives for processing the gas and configuration of a gas processing


complex

___________________

Processing schemes for various gas processing units

___________________
___________________

Introduction
Natural Gas processing is a complex industrial process designed to
clean raw natural gas by separating impurities and various
non-methane hydrocarbons and fluids to produce what is known
as pipeline quality dry natural gas.
Natural Gas processing begins at the well head. The composition of
the raw natural gas extracted from producing wells depends on the
type, depth, and location of the underground deposit and the
geology of the area. Oil and natural gas are often found together in
the same reservoir. The natural gas produced from oil wells is
generally classified as associated-dissolved, meaning that the
natural gas is associated with or dissolved in crude oil. Natural gas
production absent any association with crude oil is classified as
non-associated.

Characteristics of Natural Gas


The following are the characteristics of Natural gas:

Physical Properties
Natural Gas is gaseous at any temperature over 161C (258F).
Since that is a very cold temperature, we normally consider
natural gas as a gas. Natural gas boils at atmospheric pressure
and a temperature of 161C, exactly like water turns into a
vapour (steam) at +1000C. Natural gas is handled in a wide range
of operating conditions as a liquid below -161C (LNG) and also
as compressed gas at 200 Bar (3,000 psi) for automobile (CNG).

___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

118
Notes
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In its pure state, natural gas is odourless, colourless, and tasteless.


For safety reasons, however, an odorant called Mercaptan is added,
so that any leak can be easily detected because of the typical smell.

Concept of Volume and Weight


z

The volume of natural gas is measured in cubic meters (M3) or


cubic feet (cu.ft. or cft).

Its flow in M3/hr or cu.ft./hr or cfh at operating condition.

The production figures are normally given in Standard Cubic


Meters per Day (SCMD) or Standard Cubic Feet per Day
(SCFD).

Since the quantity of gas per unit volume is highly sensitive to


pressure and temperature of the gas, the volumetric capacity
is always referred to a standard reference temperature and
pressure. In metric unit 1 SCMD means 1 cubic meter of gas at
a standard condition of 0C and 1 atmosphere pressure.
Similarly 1 SCFD means 1 cubic foot of gas at 60F and 1
atmosphere pressure.

One SCMD equals 37.8 SCFD.

One cubic meter (SM3) of natural gas weighs roughly 0.8 Kg.
Comparatively one M3 of oil weighs about 800 Kg.

Because of large volume the gas occupies, its transportation is


more expensive than oil for equivalent weight.

For transportation across the seas, Natural gas is condensed to


LNG and put into marine tankers. This reduces the volume
more than 600 times.

That means 600 cubic meters (M3) of gas (which is roughly 480
Kg) is made into 1 cubic meter of LNG.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

The Composition of Natural Gas


The composition of natural gas varies widely from one field to the
other. The main constituents of natural gas are the lightest
hydrocarbons i.e. Methane, ethane, propane, butane, and traces of
heavier components like pentane. However, methane is generally
the largest component. Methane is normally between 85% to 95%
of the total volume. Other components like nitrogen, carbon
dioxide, oxygen, hydrogen sulfide and traces of other gases can be
present.

UNIT 11: Gas Processing

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are often present

119

in the gas. CO2 is corrosive to the pipeline and equipment in

Notes

presence of water. H2S is both corrosive and very toxic (hazardous

___________________

to health).

___________________

Important Physical Properties of Natural Gas


Calorific value of a hydrocarbon is measure of heat released by
burning unit volume or weight of the hydrocarbon. Heavier the
gas, lower is the calorific value per unit weight of the gas and
higher the calorific value per unit volume of the gas.
Specific gravity of a gas is defined as the weight of a given volume
of the gas compared to the weight of the same amount of air at the
same temperature and pressure, where air weight is taken as
reference (= 1).
z

Specific gravity of air = 1.00

Specific gravity of methane = 0.55

Specific gravity of natural gas = typically 0.60

Specific gravity of propane = 1.56

Specific gravity of butane = 2.00

This means that natural gas being lighter than air will rise if
escaping, thus dissipating from the site of a leak. This important
characteristic makes natural gas safer than most fuels.
Natural gas does not contain any toxic component; therefore there
is no health hazard in handling of the fuel. Heavy concentrations,
however, can cause drowsiness and eventual suffocation.

Chemical Properties
The air-to-fuel ratio (AFR) indicates the amount of air relative to
the amount of fuel used in combustion. The minimum amount of
air relative to fuel for complete combustion is called the
stoichiometric ratio. The stoichiometric ratio for natural gas (and
most gaseous fuels) is normally indicated by volume. The air to
natural gas (stoichiometric) ratio by volume for complete
combustion is 9.5:1 to 10:1. This ratio is approximate only because
of the variations in fuel composition.
The Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) and the Upper Explosive Limit
(UEL) determine the range of lammability. For natural gas, the

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Understanding Oil & Gas Business

120
Notes
Activity
Make
a chart on the process
___________________
of Gas Processing.
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

LEL is 4%, while the UEL is 14%. It means that a natural gas
mixture ignites within a range of 25:1 to 7:1 air-to-fuel ratio by
volume. By comparison, a propane mixture ignites within a range
2% LEL to 10% UEL. It means a gas leaner or richer outside the
explosive limits is not explosive.
Natural gas has a very high octane number, approximately 130. By
comparison, propane is approximately 105 and gasoline 92 to 94 at
best. This means that a higher compression ratio engine can be
used with natural gas than gasoline. Indeed, many racing cars use
the high octane rating of natural gas to give them more power.

___________________

Processing and Utilization

___________________

At the oil/gas fields, a number of processing steps are put in place


before the gas is sent to the consumer. These include:

___________________

separation to remove liquids (oil or condensate), and water

dehydration to minimize moisture

compression to meet destination pressure and

if necessary Sweetening to remove Hydrogen sulfide and


Carbon dioxide

The transportation of natural gas is normally done by long


distance cross-country pipeline. When the cost of laying a pipeline
is prohibitive or it is not practicable due to technical, socio-political
or any other reason, gas is liquefied as LNG and transported over
the high seas by LNG tankers.
The further processing of gas for its utilization and valorization is
described in this section.

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. Natural gas is gaseous at any temperature over
C.
2. The volume of natural gas is measured in
or cubic feet.

Overview of Gas Processing


In this we will get a basic overview of Gas processing.

UNIT 11: Gas Processing

Why Gas Processing


The purpose of gas processing operation is three fold:
z

Removal of impurities like moisture, hydrogen sulfide, carbon


dioxide etc. to make it suitable for transportation and
consumer acceptability.
Liquefaction and recovery of hydrocarbon components like
ethane, propane, LPG, generally by low temperature
refrigeration or cryogenic processes. These go as feedstock for
petrochemical manufacture.

121
Notes
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___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Liquefaction of the entire gas to LNG under cryogenic


temperatures (160C) for transportation purposes.

___________________

A gas processing plant may be built to meet one or more of the


above objectives. Now let us get an overview of the gas processing
facilities in terms of block diagrams.

___________________

Removal of Impurities
The main impurities present in the gas are moisture, carbon
dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen, mercury.
Some of these need to be removed totally (to a few ppm level),
while some need to be brought down in concentration.
Gas Dehydration: The gas need to be dehydrated because:
z

Moisture causes corrosion in the pipeline particularly when


carbon dioxide or hydrogen sulfides are present. Also any
condensation reduces pipeline efficiency.

Natural gas forms hydrates during low temperature gas


processing operations. As explained earlier, hydrates tend to
choke or block the equipment.

Gas Sweetening: Removal of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide


from gas is called gas sweetening. Gas bearing hydrogen sulfide is
called acid gas.
Why carbon dioxide need to be removed:
z

Carbon dioxide corrodes pipeline and equipment

It forms ice during cryogenic processing

Why hydrogen sulfide need to be removed:


z

It is very toxic

It is highly corrosive

___________________

___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

122
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Mercury removal: In some of the gas fields, the gases carry


mercury. Removal of mercury is necessary as it damages the steel
equipment in gas processing.

Recovery of Hydrocarbons
The objective is to recover hydrocarbons like ethane, propane,
butane by condensing them at very low temperatures and then
purifying by fractionation. The word cryogenic is used for low
temperature processing.

___________________

The operating conditions for recovery of the hydrocarbons in gas


are:

___________________

Recovery of NGL

: +5 to 10C at high pressure

___________________

Recovery of LPG

: -35 to -45C at 12 Kg/cm2

Recovery of Ethane

: -65 to -75C at 30 to 40 Kg/cm2.

___________________

Liquefaction of Gas
For liquefaction of gas for transportation purpose (LNG),
temperature below 160C is required at atmospheric pressure.
During liquefaction normally LPG and ethane are recovered when
temperature levels mentioned above are reached. The remaining
bulk of the gas, mainly methane, is transported as LNG. As
mentioned later, LNG by itself is a large and complex industry.
There could be processing at lower temperatures for helium
recovery or nitrogen rejection for gases containing high amount of
nitrogen.
Essentially to recover any component, the gas needs to be chilled to
a temperature at which the component will condense.
The flow diagram and brief description of the processes are given
later.
An overall block diagram of the processing steps in a gas
processing plant is given in Figure 11.1.
Gas received from pipeline often comes along with slugs of liquid
(NGL). This is trapped in Slug catcher. The liquids are separated
in the slug catcher. The gas is first sweetened to remove H2S (if it
is a sour gas). Some amount of carbon dioxide also gets removed
along with H2S. Normally H2S is not allowed to be discharged into
the atmosphere. It is converted to sulfur in a sulfur recovery plant.
Sulfur comes out as a by-product.

UNIT 11: Gas Processing

123

Gas is then compressed to the desired pressure and dehydrated to


bone dry (below 1 ppm water) state for cryogenic processing.
Presence of moisture in the gas can create hydrate formation.
If cryogenic processing is not done, dehydration requirement is still
there, but less severe.

___________________

Cryogenic processing of the gas is then carried out for separation of


the hydrocarbons into:

___________________

LPG for use as domestic fuel

NGL for sale to refinery or petrochemical plant

Ethane/propane mix as feedstock for petrochemical plant

Methane is used to generate power or make fertilizers and


other chemicals.

There are two possible ways the methane rich gas after recovery of
heavy hydrocarbons is transported to the user:
z

Through pipeline

Converting the gas to LNG and exporting by marine tankers

Figure 11.1: Gas Processing

If LNG is to be made, a deeper cryogenic process will be needed to


bring the temperature of the gas to 160C. LNG is normally
exported after recovering the LPG out of the gas.
Part or whole of the gas can be sent by pipeline to the consumers if
transportation by pipeline is feasible. Before sending to the
pipeline, the gas is chilled to the lowest temperature it will face in
its route to the destination. This helps to drop out and separate the

Notes

___________________
___________________

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

124
Notes
Activity
Find___________________
out using the Internet
why Dry bed processes are
more___________________
difficult to operate
compared
to the Glycol
___________________
Dehydration process.
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

NGL or condensate which would otherwise drop off in the pipeline


as liquids, reducing pipeline efficiency and capacity to transport
the gas.
This process of chilling the gas to moderately low temperatures to
prevent further condensation in the pipeline is called Dew Point
Depression or Dew Point Control. Literally, it means processing to
prevent formation of hydrocarbon dews in the pipeline due to
cooling.
Condensates from various units of gas processing plant (C5+
components) are passed through separators to drop the pressure
and stabilize it. Condensate is sold to a refinery or a petrochemical
feedstock. The refineries distill it as blending stock for gasoline
and kerosene.
Condensate could be a good feedstock for the petrochemical plant
also for
z

cracking to olefins and

polymerization of the olefins to plastics.

Thus gas processing plant essentially prepares the feedstock for


further processing at refinery and petrochemical plants.

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. The word is used for low temperature
processing.
2. The process of chilling the gas to moderately low
temperatures to prevent further condensation in the
pipeline is called .

Process Description
This section talks about the process of Gas processing.

Gas Dehydration
There are two types of gas dehydration processes:
Adsorption Processes: These are solid bed processes using
reagents like Molecular Sieve or Alumina as adsorbents.
Absorption Processes: These use liquid absorbents which absorb
the moisture from the gas.

UNIT 11: Gas Processing

Normally Absorption Process using liquid absorbents is used in the

125

oilfield dehydration of natural gas. In the oil/gas field gas is

Notes

saturated with water vapour. To prevent corrosion in the pipeline

___________________

caused by moisture in presence of other contaminants like carbon

___________________

dioxide, the gas need to be dried to a level of moisture content of

___________________

7 lbs/Million Standard Cubic Feet (about 120 ppm). This is


suitably achieved by Absorption Process using Glycols as the

___________________

reagent for absorbing moisture from gas. Normally Tri-Ethylene

___________________

Glycol (TEG) is used as the reagent. A flow diagram of the process

___________________

is given in Figure 11.2.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 11.2: Gas Dehydration Using TEG (Glycol Dehydration)

Wet natural gas is introduced in the Absorber (also called


Contactor) at the bottom and goes up through contactor plates in
the column. It contacts lean glycol solution fed at the top of the
column and travelling down the column. The moisture from the gas
is absorbed by the glycol and the dry gas leaves the absorber for
further processing. The rich glycol (glycol with absorbed water) is
drawn from the bottom.
The rich glycol (glycol plus water) is then regenerated in a
stripping column at near atmospheric pressure using heat to boil
off the moisture at around 200C.
The absorption column operates at high pressure (at pressure of
the gas) in the range of 30 ata to 70 ata while the stripper is

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

126

operated at near about atmospheric pressure. There is a heat

Notes

exchange between rich glycol and hot regenerated lean glycol

___________________

which reduces the energy requirement in the stripper and cools the

___________________

lean glycol before it is recirculated to the absorber.

___________________

The dry bed processes are not normally used in offshore or onshore

___________________

oilfield due to more complexity of operation and solid handling

___________________
___________________
___________________

requirement.
Dry bed processes using molecular sieve granules as drying agent
is used to make the gas bone dry (below 1 ppm moisture) before
processing at low temperatures.

___________________
___________________
___________________

Molecular sieves are zeolite granules manufactured under


controlled conditions to create microscopic pores at its surface.
These pores have affinity for water molecules and moisture gets
into the surface of the molecular sieve at its pores. This process is
called adsorption.
Complete drying of the gas is necessary because at low sub-zero
temperatures, under the pressure of gas, the slightest presence of
moisture in the gas can create hydrate formation.
Hydrates are snow like compounds of hydrocarbons and water (e.g.
methane hydrate) which choke the equipment and piping during
low temperature processing of gas. Once that happens, the
hydrates have to be disintegrated by injecting small dozes of
methanol into the equipment.
Normally two dryers containing beds of molecular sieve are used.
One of the dryers is used for drying and the other is meanwhile
regenerated by removing absorbed water from the molecular sieve
bed by heating Figure 11.3. The dryers are alternately switched
over from drying mode to regeneration mode.
For regeneration, normally dry natural gas heated in a fired heater
is passed through the bed of the dryer.
Dry bed processes are more difficult to operate compared to the
Glycol Dehydration process.

UNIT 11: Gas Processing

127
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
Figure 11.3: Dry Bed Gas Dehydration

___________________

Normally in oilfields offshore and onshore, where specification of


gas for transportation by pipeline is not as stringent, Glycol
Dehydration units are used.

Gas Sweetening
Hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide and mercaptans can be removed
from natural gas by several processes. The various processes for
sweetening used are:
z

Amine as absorbents (shown here) utilizing


ethanolamine (MEA), diethanolamine (DEA), DGA.

mono

MDEA (methyl diethanolamine) and MDEA based proprietary


amines (for all three effectiveness varies for Mercaptans) as
absorbents.

Molecular Sieves (removes H2S and mercaptans only)

Batch processes such as Iron Sponge, Sulfa Check and

Sweet (for H2S removal)

Physical solvents such as Sulfinol and Ifpexol

Membrane process to remove H2S

The choice of sweetening process depends a number of factors such


as:
z

Hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide content

Specification of treated gas

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

128
Notes
___________________
___________________

Temperature and pressure of gas

Volume of gas

Requirement of converting the hydrogen sulfide to sulfur

___________________

Gas sweetening using an amine solution is among the most widely


used method. Figure 11.4 represents a simple amine treating
facility. Sour gas is introduced in the absorber at the bottom and
goes up through contactor plates in the column. It contacts lean
amine solution (amine solution of high concentration, free of H2S

___________________

and CO2) fed at the top of the column and traveling down the

___________________

column.

___________________

The acid gas components, H2S and CO2, are absorbed by the amine

___________________
___________________
___________________

___________________

solution and the sweet gas leaves the absorber for further
processing. The rich amine (amine with dissolved hydrogen sulfide
and carbon dioxide) is drawn from the bottom.
The absorption column operates at high pressure (at pressure of
the gas) in the range of 30 ata to 70 ata while the stripper is
operated at closer to atmospheric pressure. The temperature at the
absorption column is close to the ambient temperature (30-40C).

Figure 11.4: Amine Sweetening Process

The rich amine is sent to a flash tank to drop the pressure and
absorbed hydrocarbons exit as the flash-tank vapour. The rich
amine flows through the lean/rich amine heat exchanger
increasing the temperature to above 100C.
Fine particles, resulting from wear and tear of the piping and other
equipment, collect in the amine solution, which ultimately lead to
blocking and foam generation in the column. So there is a amine
filtration step before the regeneration in the stripping column.

UNIT 11: Gas Processing

The rich amine (amine with dissolved hydrogen sulfide and carbon
dioxide) is separated (regenerated) in a later step using steam in
the stripping column. From the top of the regeneration column
mainly hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide mixture with a little
quantity of hydrocarbons absorbed by the amine come out.
The hot rich amine is stripped at low pressure removing the
absorbed acid gases, dissolved hydrocarbons, and some water.
Considerable amount of energy is required to strip the amine. Heat
is supplied by a firetube type reboiler. The temperature at the
bottom of the stripping column can be over 200C.
The stripped or lean amine is sent back through the lean/rich
exchanger decreasing its temperature. A pump boosts the pressure
such that it is greater than the absorber column. Finally, a heat
exchanger cools the lean solution before entering the absorber. The
lean amine entering the absorber is usually 40 to 45C.

Liquefaction and Recovery of Hydrocarbon


The objective is to recover hydrocarbons like ethane, propane,
butane by condensing them at very low temperatures and then
separating by fractionation. As indicated earlier, the temperature
to which gas need to be chilled depends on what we are trying to
recover. LPG can be recovered by chilling to 15 to 35C. To make
the gas to LNG, chilling is required below 160C. Condensation of
part of the gases takes place at these temperatures. Fractionation
of the condensed liquid is carried out to separate the components.
To chill the gas, refrigeration is required. There are three types of
processes:
(i) Processes using refrigeration supplied by external
refrigeration systems to chill the gas. Normally some
component of natural gas itself like ethane or propane is used
as refrigerant using conventional compression refrigeration
equipment.
(ii) Processes using expansion of the gas itself to attain cooling.
Gas chills when its pressure is dropped just as it gets heated
when it is compressed. Turbo-expander process is used to
expand the gas while doing the work of driving a turbine like
equipment called turbo-expander. Thus it attains cooling by
losing its internal energy by expansion as well by driving the
turbo-expander machine.

129
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

130
Notes
___________________

(iii) Processes using a combination of external and internal


refrigeration.

___________________

A simple conceptual diagram of an external refrigeration process


for LPG Recovery is depicted in Figure 11.5. The important steps
in the process are:

___________________

Natural gas coming from the source at high pressure is first


dried in molecular sieve dryers.

It is then chilled by exchanging heat with the chilled gas


coming out after LPG Recovery.

The gas is further chilled to around 35C using external


propane refrigeration package.

At each of the two stages of chilling there are separators to


collect the condensed liquids from the gas. At 35C, almost all
C4 and C5+, most of C3 and some amount of C2 and C1
components condense.

This liquid need to be fractionated to take the light ends (C1


and C2) out to meet the LPG specifications. LPG and C5
(NGL) are also separated by the fractionation system.
Generally this is done in a series of two fractionating
columns.

___________________

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 11.5: External Refrigeration Process for LPG Recovery

When C2 also need to be condensed and separated, lower


temperatures (50 to 60C) are needed and more than two
fractionation steps may become necessary. The lower temperatures
are obtained by expanding the gas to lower pressures and by using
external ethylene as refrigerant.
Lower temperatures can be achieved by using external ethylene
refrigeration cycle or by Turbo-expander process shown in

UNIT 11: Gas Processing

Figure 11.6. The diagram actually shows a combination of external


refrigeration and turbo-expander. The energy given to the turboexpander is used to re-compress the outgoing gas. But due to the
efficiency factor of turbo-expander process, it can be recompressed
to a pressure much lower than its original pressure.

131
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 11.6: Turbo-expander Process for LPG Recovery

By an appropriate combination of external refrigeration and turboexpander process, very low temperatures can be factors like:
z

Pressure of the gas

Temperature to which the gas need to be chilled and


components to be recovered

Pressure requirement of the outgoing gas by the customer.

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. .. are solid bed processes using reagents
like Molecular Sieve or Alumina as adsorbents.
2. .. use liquid absorbents which absorb the
moisture from the gas.

Summary
In this unit we learnt about the Physical properties and
characteristics of Natural gas. We also learnt about its Chemical
properties and its composition. The entire process of Gas
Processing is also explained.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

132

Lesson End Activity

Notes
___________________

Prepare a chart paper to show the entire process of Gas Processing


with the help of Diagrams.

___________________
___________________

Keywords

___________________

Calorific Value of a Hydrocarbon: It is the measure of heat


released by burning unit volume or weight of the hydrocarbon.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Dew Point Depression: It is the process of chilling the gas to


moderately low temperatures to prevent further condensation in
the pipeline.
Adsorption Process: These are solid bed processes using reagents
like Molecular Sieve or Alumina as adsorbents.
Absorption Process: These use liquid absorbents which absorb
the moisture from the gas.

Questions for Discussion


1. What is Natural Gas? State its physical and Chemical
properties.
2. What is the purpose of Gas processing?
3. What is Gas sweetening? Explain.

Further Readings
Books
Arthur J. Kidnay, William R. Parrish, Dan McCartney,
Fundamentals of Natural Gas Processing, Second Edition
Dominic C. Y. Foo, Mahmoud M. El-Halwagi, Raymond R. Tan,
Recent Advances in Sustainable Process Design and Optimization

Web Readings
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural-gas_processing
www.linde-india.com/.../Natural%20Gas%20Processing%20
Plants.pd...
www.bv.com/Downloads/Resources/.../rsrc_ENR_Gas
Processing.pdf
ftp://ftp.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/...gas/.../ngprocess/ngprocess.pdf

UNIT 12: Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

Unit 12
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
Objectives
After completion of this unit, the students will be aware of the following
topics:

133
Notes
Activity
With___________________
the help of the Internet,
list the Chemical components
___________________
of LNG.
___________________
___________________
___________________

LNG Cycle

___________________

Technical aspects of LNG business

___________________

Indian Scenario on LNG

Introduction
Natural Gas is a highly desirable energy source: it burns cleanly,
with little pollution, it is often inexpensive to produce and can be
transported easily through pipeline like any other petroleum
product. The demand for natural gas is growing at a fast pace as a
source of energy and petrochemicals.

The LNG Cycle


LNG, or liquefied natural gas, consists mostly of methane and is
cooled to approximately 256 degrees Fahrenheit so that it can be
transported from countries that have more natural gas than they
need to countries that use more natural gas than they produce. In
its liquefied state, natural gas takes up 1/600th of the space,
making it much easier to ship and store when pipeline transport is
not feasible. As world energy consumption increases, experts
anticipate that the LNG trade will grow in importance.
At present, however, the technology does not exist to build long
distance pipelines through the depths of the ocean. So moving
natural gas between continents requires an alternative approach.
Conversion of natural gas to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is a
proven commercial technology for transporting large volumes of
natural gas across oceans by marine tankers. The utility of
liquefying Natural Gas is the substantial volume reduction gained
by liquefaction (1:620). This volume reduction makes the
transportation and storage of the gas much more convenient.
Typical composition and characteristics of LNG is presented in
Table 12.1.

___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

134

Table 12.1: LNG Characteristics

Notes

LNG Composition (Typical Mol %)


N2
Methane
Ethane
Propane
i- Butane, nButane

___________________
___________________
___________________

Mol. Wt.

___________________

Gross Heating Value


S. G.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

01.0 %
85.1 96.7 % (Lean)
1.9 8.6 % (Rich)
0.68 4.1 %
Traces
16.8 19.3 (Rich)
10.450 Kcal/NM3
0.455

Methane in Natural Gas does not liquefy under pressure. To


make LNG Natural Gas must be liquefied through refrigeration.

Becomes liquid at -160 deg C at atmospheric pressure.

Volume reduces by 620 times when liquefied.

Spilled LNG will crack a steel plate like boiling water hitting
frozen glass.

LNG Composition (Typical Mol %)

___________________

N2
Methane
Ethane
Propane
i- Butane, nButane
Mol. Wt.

Gross Heating Value


S. G.

01.0 %
85.1 96.7 % (Lean)
1.9 8.6 % (Rich)
0.68 4.1 %
Traces
16.8 19.3 (Rich)
10.450 Kcal/NM3
0.455

Methane in Natural Gas does not liquefy under pressure. To


make LNG Natural Gas must be liquefied through refrigeration.

Becomes liquid at -160 deg C at atmospheric pressure.

Volume reduces by 620 times when liquefied.

Spilled LNG will crack a steel plate like boiling water hitting
frozen glass.

The LNG industry is economic when liquefaction and the


transportation of LNG are done in very large volumes (say above 5
Million SCMD and above). This involves a number of major
investment and contractual activities including:
z

Liquefaction by the producer of the gas

Storage facilities at producer end

Loading in tankers and Transportation

Receiving/unloading terminal and storage at buyers end

Re-vaporization of LNG to gas, and

Distribution to the consumers with a cross country pipeline


network.

UNIT 12: Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

This is depicted in Figure 12.1 and is known in the industry as the


LNG Cycle. This was developed for conceptualizing one of the LNG
projects planned with the LNG Receiving terminal planned in the
eastern coast of India. This would involve buying of LNG from one
of the South East Asian countries or Australia Fertilizer plant and
power plant, which are large consumers of gas was proposed to be
installed near the receiving terminal. The balance gas was
proposed to be transported by pipeline with a northern grid of
pipeline and a southern grid to various parts of India. The
magnitude of investment in such a project is very large.

135
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 12.1: The LNG Cycle

The facilities at the producer end of the cycle is called LNG


upstream and the buyer end is called LNG downstream.
LNG upstream comprises of gas treatment and liquefaction steps
as explained earlier in this section along with LNG loading facility
for loading in marine tankers. This is shown schematically in
Figure 12.2.
The down stream section comprises of unloading from tankers,
storage, pumping, re-vaporization, and transportation by pipeline.
This is shown schematically in Figure 12.3.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

136
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
Figure 12.2: LNG Upstream

___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 12.3: LNG Downstream

Storage of Liquefied Gases


Storage and handling of gases is dealt with in later sections. But it
is important to know at this stage that there are two ways
liquefied gases are stored;
z

Pressurized storage where gas is in liquid phase under


pressure at ambient temperatures.

Cryogenic or low temperature


atmospheric pressure).

storage

(generally

at

LPG is often stored in pressurized containers although it is also


stored under cryogenic conditions. Figure 12.4 shows two types of
pressurized LPG storages sphere and bullet.
LNG is always stored under cryogenic conditions (below 160C) at
atmospheric pressures. At such temperatures, steel becomes brittle

UNIT 12: Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

like glass. The storages are made of special nickel steel as normal
steel becomes brittle at that low temperature.

137
Notes

They are heavily insulated to minimize heat leakage from the


atmosphere into the tank. They are often double walled with
concrete outer shells utilized as additional resistance to tank
damage and as containment in the unlikely event of tank leakage.
This type of tank with containment of leakage is the most costly,
and has most often been used for the storage of LNG.

___________________

Some leakage of heat does take place from the surrounding


atmosphere into the storage tanks. There is some amount of liquid
vaporization and boil-off. The vapours are compressed, condensed
by refrigeration and put back into the tank.

___________________

The tankers carrying LNG also have spherical domed storage


tanks along with refrigeration system for boil-off vapours.
LNG tanks could be on ground or mounded under earth. Figure
12.5 depicts an LNG receiving terminal with an LNG tanker, jetty
and LNG storage facility.
The LNG tankers can have a carrying capacity from 20,000 cubic
metres to 135,000 cubic metres. A large LNG storage tank can be
holding around 100,000 cubic meters of LNG. For this capacity, the
tank would be about 70 meters in diameter. Japan is the worlds
largest importer of LNG and imports 94% of its gas as LNG.

Figure 12.4: LPG Storage

Figure 12.5: LNG Receiving Terminal

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

138

LNG Project Economics

Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Basic gas price at source for LNG facilities are relatively cheap,
based on large and easily produced reserves. Processing
(Liquefaction) and transportation equipment is capital intensive
and highly specialized, requiring large investment for each new
facility. For each million cubic feet of gas delivered to end use, less
than 30 percent of the cost is associated with the raw material
price (gas price at source). The balance is the cost associated with
processing and transportation.
Liquefaction is a very energy-intensive process. Typically, about
8 to 9 percent of the natural gas delivered as raw material at an
LNG plant, is used as plant fuel for liquefaction. The number of
tankers required is a function of the distance between the export
terminal and the import terminal and the number of days it takes
to move between the source of gas and destination. The unit cost of
marine transport is primarily a function of the capital cost of the
tanker, distance, the financing terms and acceptable rate of return
for the tanker owners.

Complexity of an LNG Project


The complexity of an LNG project is due to:
z

Sheer size of the project. Liquefaction, transportation and


re-vaporization of LNG can be economic at a very large
capacity, at least 5 to 10 Million SCMD. This requires
investment on billions of Dollars.

Large number of operations blocks or projects of diverse


technologies need to be developed simultaneously, integrated
and planned together. For example

Liquefaction

plant,

Loading facilities, Unloading facilities and re-vaporization


facility along with large consumers have to come up
simultaneously.
z

Numerous locations covering countries and states.

Numerous agencies, consumers involved.

Market Development for the LNG by the buyer.

Strong technology base and support required.

Numerous contract negotiations.

UNIT 12: Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

Long-term Contract between LNG supplier and buyer.

Long-term Contract between LNG buyer and transporter.

Long-term Contracts between LNG buyer and LNG users


like Power Plant, Fertilizer Plant, etc.

Because of enormous effort required on planning and development


of the project and numerous contracting involved, the gestation
period of an LNG based grass-roots project is normally quite long
(4 to 6 years).
Due to the immense costs of each link in an LNG cycle, such
projects can be undertaken only by large organizations with great
financial capacity and project management skills. A successful
project requires cooperation and selling of the idea to:
z

The government of the country having gas source

The company that owns the natural gas

The government in the consuming country

Consuming organizations

Financiers

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. LPG is often stored in containers.
2. The utility of liquefying Natural Gas is the substantial
gained by liquefaction.

The Indian Scenario


If we consider the Indian scene with respect to LNG, we can see:

Recovery of LPG and Petrochemical Feedstock


Gas processing facilities in India started with the commissioning of
ONGCs Uran gas processing facilities. This was based on gas from
Mumbai High as feedstock, Uran at Maharashtra being the first
onshore terminal. Later Uran was expanded to more than double
the capacity and ethane along with propane was recovered from
the gas to provide feedstock for a petrochemical complex
(Maharashtra Gas Cracker Complex at Nagothane). Later with a
bigger gas processing terminal at Hazira, ONGC became a major

139
Notes
Activity
Do ___________________
further research on the
reason for the large gap
___________________
between
demand and supply
of gas in India.
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

140
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

producer of LPG. Currently ONGC is producing over 1.2 million


tons per year of LPG. ONGC produces close to 1 million tonnes of
LPG at its Uran and Hazira terminals.
Another major player emerged once Gas Authority of India Ltd
(GAIL) was formed to transport and distribute the gas. Currently
GAIL has extensive network of gas pipeline gas processing
complexes to produce LPG, and one to produce propane as
feedstock for a petrochemical complex. It also own a petrochemical
complex based on feedstock it generates from its own gas.

___________________

LNG Facility

___________________

There is a large gap between demand and supply of gas in India.


In the nineties ambitious plans were drawn out by the government
as well as private sector Indian and Multinational companies to
import LNG and build LNG terminals in India. The government
facilitated formation of Petronet LNG Ltd. in the public sector to
lead the drive to import LNG and boost gas supply in the country.
Most of the plans have not materialized.

___________________
___________________

As stated earlier, the success of LNG projects depends on a number


of factors: reliable and continuous supply of LNG in large volumes,
constant technological support, reliable long-term market demand
and ability to finance. Many of the companies who intended to
enter into the LNG business, has got into such detailed planning.
As a result, most of the LNG projects planned have failed to take
off.
The first LNG terminal in India was built by Enron for its Dabhol
power plant.
The next LNG projects that are likely to see the light of the day are
the projects of Petronet LNG and Shell. Petronet LNG project at
Dahej is ahead of another LNG project being implemented by Shell
at Hazira.
Dahej LNG import terminal was also completed and Five million
tonne gas (20 million metric standard cubic metres) are supplied to
users along HBJ Pipeline.
The large discovery of gas in 2002 off Andhra Coast by Reliance
and ONGCs discovery at Vasai and near Surat are expected to
give further boost to the gas supply and gas processing industry.
It should be noted that India being LNG importing country, the
LNG facilities planned fall under the category of LNG upstream.

UNIT 12: Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

For the import of LNG, the long-term tie-ups are with producers in
the Middle East.

Notes
___________________

Check Your Progress

___________________

Fill in the blanks:


1. was
distribute Natural gas.

141

formed

to

transport

and

2. The first LNG terminal in India was built by Enron for


its power plant.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Summary
Basic properties and characteristics of natural gas was described
in the beginning.
This was followed by highlighting the need or objectives of
processing natural gas namely removal of impurities and
separation of the components of gas. Various processes used in gas
purification was described with simple flow diagram. The
importance of gas dehydration and gas sweetening was
highlighted.
Liquefaction of the gas to LNG and separation of various
components of gas were described with simple flow diagrams.
Various methods of getting low temperatures for condensation of
gas was described.

Lesson End Activity


Prepare an assignment on the approximate levels of temperature
required to recover ethane, LPG from natural gas. How these
temperatures are obtained. Prepare a chart to describe a low
temperature LPG Recovery process with flow diagram.

Keywords
Calorific Value: Calorific Value of a hydrocarbon is measure of
heat released by burning unit volume or weight of the
hydrocarbon.
Specific Gravity of a Gas: Specific Gravity of a Gas is defined as
the weight of a given volume of the gas compared to the weight of
the same amount of air at the same temperature and pressure,
where air weight is taken as reference (= 1).

___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

142
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Gas Sweetening: Removal of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide


from gas is called gas sweetening.
Adsorption Processes: These are solid bed processes using
reagents like Molecular Sieve or Alumina as adsorbents.
Absorption Processes: These use liquid absorbents which absorb
the moisture from the gas.
Molecular Sieves: These are zeolite granules manufactured
under controlled conditions to create microscopic pores at its
surface.

Questions for Discussion


1.

What are the objectives of gas processing? Name the various


gas treatment or purification processes.

2.

Write down a brief description of gas dehydration process with


simple flow diagram.

3.

What do you understand by an LNG Cycle? Describe with a


schematic diagram.

4.

Describe upstream and downstream of LNG facility.

Further Readings
Books
Arthur J. Kidnay, William R. Parrish, Dan McCartney,
Fundamentals of Natural Gas Processing, Second Edition
Dominic C. Y. Foo, Mahmoud M. El-Halwagi, Raymond R. Tan,
Recent Advances in Sustainable Process Design and Optimization

Web Readings
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural-gas_processing
www.linde-india.com/.../Natural%20Gas%20Processing%20
Plants.pd...
www.bv.com/Downloads/Resources/.../rsrc_ENR_Gas
Processing.pdf
ftp://ftp.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/...gas/.../ngprocess/ngprocess.pdf

UNIT 13: Petroleum Refining

Unit 13
Petroleum Refining
Objectives
After completion of this unit, the students will be aware of the following
topics:

143
Notes
Activity
Do ___________________
further research on
Naphtha and its different uses.
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Important specifications of petroleum products and their significance

___________________

Refinery process configurations used to meet the specifications and


market demand

___________________

Basic process schematics of important processes used in a refinery

___________________

Infrastructure requirement and broad economics of refinery operation

___________________
___________________

Introduction
What does a petroleum refinery do? Why do we need refining?
These are some of the questions that this unit will try to answer. It
will also trace the history of development of the various processes
in the refining industry.

Why Refining
In a nutshell the main functions of a refinery are:
Primary Separation: Crude oil is a mixture of around 500
components. They need to be separated into useful products. The
separation is not done to recover individual components but as
products which are mixtures of suitable boiling ranges. This is
done by distillation, where various cuts or fractions are taken out
as gasoline, kerosene, diesel etc. which are essentially raw
material or intermediate products.
Processing to Meet Quality Specifications: Typical examples of
this type of processes are those used for improvement of octane
number to meet gasoline specification. Raw gasoline cut or
naphtha as it comes out of distillation has low octane number (may
be around 40 to 60 ON). But for the market we need octane
numbers of 87 and above. Processes are used to improve the octane
number by converting the low octane components of gasoline to
high octane components. For example, Catalytic Reforming process
converts straight chain paraffin in the raw gasoline to aromatics

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

144
Notes
___________________

which have high octane number. Similarly isomerisation process


converts normal paraffin components of naphtha to iso-paraffins
which have higher octane number.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
Figure 13.1: Refinery under Construction

Processing to Meet Environment Related Specifications: The


most common processes of this type revolve around removal of
sulfur. Typical process units are Hydro-desulfurization of kerosene
and diesel oil to meet the sulfur related specifications in the
product.
Conversion of Residual Products: The residues or heavy cuts
from the distillation or other process units of a refinery can not be
used as value added product like gasoline or diesel. Molecules of
such stocks are broken into lighter molecules to get products like
diesel or gasoline by conversion processes called cracking.

Figure 13.2: Refinery Complex from Different Angles

UNIT 13: Petroleum Refining

Finishing and Blending Operations: This step involves getting


the product in finished form by treatment to get good marketable
colour, blending with intermediate products from the refinery,
putting additive to enhance certain properties.

Check Your Progress

145
Notes
Activity
Using
the Internet, find out
___________________
more information about the
___________________
Indian
Standards Institute (ISI)
and its functions.
___________________

Fill in the blanks:

___________________

1. Molecules of residual products of refineries are broken


into lighter molecules to get products like diesel or
gasoline by conversion processes called .

___________________

2. Raw gasoline cut or naphtha as it comes out of


distillation has a low number.

Product Specifications
The product specifications for products to be refined in a refinery
are as follows:

Quality Related Specifications


Since most of the operations in the refinery are to meet certain
specification of products, it is necessary to know of certain
important specifications and their significance. Normally each
country has its own institutions to define the standards and
specifications. There are several items of specifications for each
product. The more important heads are stated below. The detailed
specification of some of the products as per Indian Standards
Institution (ISI) is given in the Annexure. There are standard
laboratory procedures and methods under controlled conditions to
measure these specifications for a product.
Table 13.1: Important Specifications for Main
Refinery Products

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___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

146
Notes

Vapour Pressure: It is a very important property of LPG for


safety and handling, particularly as it is handled at home as

___________________

cooking gas. It restricts maximum pressure a cylinder can develop

___________________

and helps to set the design pressure for the cylinder. Propane

___________________

being more volatile of the other constituent (butane) of LPG, it can

___________________

develop more pressure and hence its content in LPG is limited by

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

specification.
Flash Point: It is the minimum temperature at which the product
generates enough vapour to form an explosive mixture with air.
Flash point is significant to the safety during storage. During
storage it can form explosive mixture in the empty part of the tank
above the liquid surface. It is preferable to store a product below
its flash point. Each country has its own specification of flash point
depending upon the climatic conditions of the country.
Octane Number (ON or O.N.): This signifies ignition quality of
the gasoline in automobile engines. The engine has cylinders with
pistons where the fuel (gasoline) and air mixture is injected. The
cylinders of an automobile pass through a cycle of expansion,
compression and ignition for movement of the pistons, which drive
the wheels through a crankshaft. For optimum delivery of power to
the engine, the fuel air mixture injected to the engine should ignite
at the right timing. Due to heat of compression, the temperature in
the cylinder goes high and there could be mistimed ignition of the
fuel due to the heat generated by compression. A high octane
gasoline is better for ignition. A mistimed ignition creates knocking
in the engine and this results in loss of power.
The different hydrocarbon content in gasoline (like in crude oil)
are:

straight

chain

paraffin,

isoparaffins,

naphthenes

and

aromatics. Normally for the same carbon number and size of the
molecule straight chain paraffins have the lowest octane number.
Branched chain paraffins (isomers) and naphthenes have the
higher octane number. Olefins also have high octane number but
they are undesirable in gasoline because they tend to polymerize to
form resins or gum in the tank.
Typical octane number of various constituents is given in the
table 13.2.

UNIT 13: Petroleum Refining

Table 13.2: Octane Number of Some Hydrocarbons

147
Notes
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___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Octane Number (ON) is defined as the percent volume of


iso-octane in a mixture of iso-octane and normal heptane that gives
the same knocking as that of the fuel when tested under defined
conditions.
Iso-octane is assigned a value of 100 and normal heptane is given
the value of zero. Other octane numbers emerge as relative
ignition quality or antiknock quality of the component.
Aromatics: Although it has high ON, its content in gasoline is
being limited by specification due to its carcinogenic nature.
Pour Point: When heavy petroleum products like fuel oil or diesel
containing wax are cooled to certain temperatures, the wax
separates out from them making the oil immobile. It becomes
difficult to move or pump the oil. The temperature at which the oil
becomes immobile is termed as pour point. It happens because
separated wax forms honeycomb like structures.
High wax crude oils like Mumbai High have high pour point (30 to
35OC). Many of the South East Asian crude oils have high pour
point.
Boiling Range: The volatility of oil is indicated by its boiling
range and distillation characteristics. The oil should have suitable
boiling range (volatility) so that it can be used in a particular
application. For example, Motor Gasoline has certain boiling range
specifications.
In case of naphtha, a specific boiling range is chosen for use as
feedstock for petrochemical plant. For example aromatics like
Benzene, Toluene and Xylene are good feedstock for petrochemical

___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

148
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

manufacture. A boiling range of naphtha is chosen where


concentration of these components will be high.
Smoke Point: It is the length of flame in a standard laboratory
test, which produces smoke. It is an important property of
kerosene. Smoke point depends on the type of hydrocarbon
constituents of the fuel. Paraffins have high smoke points followed
by naphthenes and then by aromatics. Higher smoke point means
less smoky.
Cetane Number: While the octane number indicates ignition
quality of engines using spark ignition (gasoline fuelled cars), this
test is applicable to diesel fuels which use ignition by compression.
Cetane number is defined as the percent by volume of n-cetane in a
mixture of n-cetane and alpha methyl naphthalene that would give
the same ignition quality and engine performance as that of the
fuel under test.
This test has reverse characteristics of octane number, which gives
low value to fuels which self ignite easily. Unlike octane number,
normal paraffins have higher cetane number followed by
naphthenes, iso-paraffins, olefins and aromatics.
Sulphur: Sulphur is corrosive to the fuel systems and also is a
pollutant to the environment. The specifications on sulfur content
in petroleum products are becoming more and more stringent
world wide. Sulphur specification is applicable to all products.
Considerable investments are taking place every year in the
refineries to improve sulfur related specifications.
Viscosity: Viscosity is the resistance to flow. It indicates
pumpability of the product. Viscosity is an important property for
lube oils because higher viscosity is required to prevent wear and
tear in the moving parts of a machine. For fuel oils, it gives flow
properties which are needed for pump selection for transporting.
Viscosity is measured in several ways. The most common units are
centi-stokes (cst), centi-poise (cp) and SSU (Saybolt Seconds Unit).
Viscosity Index: This specification signifies change of viscosity
with temperature. This is an important specification for
Lubricating oils. In the machinery, friction generates heat. For any
petroleum product, viscosity is lower as the temperature increases.
The lube oil viscosity should not go down too much with heating as
it will lose its lubricating property. Higher the Viscosity Index less
is the effect of temperature on viscosity.

UNIT 13: Petroleum Refining

Carbon Residue: Fuel as it burns, forms a carbon deposit. This


carbon deposits on burner tips or cylinders reduces efficiency.
Carbon residue test gives an indication of the amount of carbon
that would form when the oil is cracked and burned.
There are several other specifications like colour, copper corrosion
test, bromine number etc. all of which have some significance on
the quality of the products.
More details about the specifications are given in the annexure at
the end of this volume.

149
Notes
Activity
Chart
out the evolution of the
___________________
Refinery industry.
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. . test gives an indication of the amount of
carbon that would form when the oil is cracked and
burned.
2. Viscosity is the . to flow.

Refinery Processes Overview and History


Types of Processes
Refining comprises of four types of processes:
z

Primary Separation: The first step in refinery is


atmospheric and vacuum distillation of crude oil. Various
product cuts or fractions like LPG and gasoline come out of the
top of distillation column. The medium heavy liquids like
kerosene, ATF and diesel come out next in the lower part of
the column. The residue left is vacuum distilled to separate
heavier liquids, called gas oils. These products do not meet
the specifications. To meet the specifications they require
further processing. For example some of the gas oil from
vacuum distillation form base stock to make lubricating oil for
further processing. Other products are also treated to meet
certain specifications. For acceptance as high-value products,
such as gasoline, much more additional processing is required
as given below.

Conversion Processes: Conversion processes are essentially


breaking and rearranging of the molecules of the intermediate
products to convert them to high value products meeting
specification. We can put such processes in two sub-groups:

___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

150

(a) Product upgradation: Certain products like gasoline are


processed to meet octane number or other specifications.
Examples of such processes are catalytic reforming,
isomerisation, etc. These processes are essentially
restructuring of molecules to improve the specifications.

Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________

(b) Conversion of heavy residues to light products: This is


done by cracking of the large heavy molecules into smaller
and lighter molecules under high temperature, and
pressure with or without a catalyst. The cracking
processes covert residues and heavy gas oils to light
products like gasoline, kerosene and diesel resulting in
value addition.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Treatment Processes: To meet environment related


specifications and for giving finish to the products further
treatments are required. This is the final step before the
products are tested to meet quality and dispatched by tanker or
pipeline to the market. Examples of such processes are Hydrodesulfurization of distillation products to remove sulfur,
sweetening of gasoline to remove traces of sulfides, Hydrofinishing of lube oil to give right colour with mild
hydrogenation.

Processing for Lube Oils: Processes to remove wax, asphalt


etc. from the lube oil base stocks to meet the quality
requirement of lubricants.

___________________

Processes for making lube oil is made into a distinct category


because lubricating oils can not be produced from all types of crude
oils. When a crude oil is suitable for producing lubricating oil,
specific cuts called lube oil base stocks are distilled during primary
separation step and passes through a series of processes to make
lube oil.
A common terminology used for a refinery, which does not produce
lube oils, is Fuels Refinery. One which produces lube oil is called
Lube Refinery.

History
Let us trace the history of development of the various processes in
the refining industry (Table 13.3).
It can be seen from the table that at first only separation processes
were used. Then came gasoline upgradation processes to meet
motor gasoline specification and conversion of heavies to lighter

UNIT 13: Petroleum Refining

products like gasoline to meet the increased demand of light


products. Finally the drive was environment related specifications
processes to meet strict specification on sulfur, and other
specifications like aromatic content and lead removal, etc.

151
Notes
___________________
___________________

As we can see from Table 13.3, almost all the current processing in
the refineries came into existence by the fifties. Later the changes
and innovations were related mainly to minimizing residues in the
refinery and to meet sulfur and other environment related
specifications.
Table 13.3: History of Refining

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 13.3: Distillation Columns in a Refinery

Primary Separation
Let us discuss Primary Separation in greater detail. It is done by
Atmospheric Distillation and Vacuum Distillation. This is
diagrammatically represented in Figure 13.4

Atmospheric Distillation
Atmospheric Distillation is the first step in the refinery processing
to separate out the raw products (cuts) by distillation under
pressures above atmospheric pressures (Atmospheric Distillation).

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

152
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Atmospheric Distillation is done to separate the light cuts by


heating the crude oil to 350-370C at pressures close to
atmospheric pressures.
At these temperatures light and white products like motor
gasoline, kerosene, Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF), diesel, etc. are
distilled out as raw products for further processing. Residue which
is left behind at the bottom of the distillation column after
atmospheric distillation is called long residue. The next step in
distillation is Vacuum Distillation of the long residue.

Vacuum Distillation
The limitation of distilling at higher temperatures is because
deterioration of crude oil starts at temperatures above
350- 370C. Crude oil starts cracking at high temperatures i.e. the
heavier molecules start breaking into smaller molecules.
Uncontrolled cracking process results in coke formation and
production of unstable olefinic (double bonded) hydrocarbon
products.
Vacuum distillation unit yields vacuum gas oil as distillate which
are used as feedstock for cracking to lighter products. Vacuum gas
oil also can form the base oil for processing into lubricating oils.
In vacuum distillation, the residue from atmospheric distillation is
heated to around 350-370C and distilled under vacuum
conditions.
With vacuum distillations, cuts like vacuum gas oil (feed for
cracking or lube oil manufacture) and bituminous residue etc. are
generated as shown in Figure 13.4. One or more gas oil cuts can be
drawn out of vacuum distillation. The residue which is left after
vacuum distillation is called short residue.
Atmospheric and Vacuum Distillation Cuts

Figure 13.4: Primary Separation

UNIT 13: Petroleum Refining

Conversion Processes
Primary separation processes are essentially physical separation of
the raw products by distillation. Conversion process means change
of the molecules of the raw products obtained from distillation by
reaction process under heat, pressure, along with or without a
catalyst, from one type of molecule to another.
As mentioned earlier, there are two types of conversion processes:
z

Conversion for upgradation of product quality.

Conversion to change heavy residual products into light and


high value products like gasoline and diesel. These are called
cracking processes.

Discussion on both the types of conversion processes follow.

Gasoline Upgradation
Gasoline upgradation is a typical example of conversion process to
meet specification of the product. Octane Number of gasoline cut
from distillation is low. Octane levels need to be raised to the
desired specification for engine performance requirements.
In the sixties and seventies, Catalytic Reforming was the most
prevalent process to increase Octane Number. The process
essentially converted paraffin in the gasoline cut into aromatics,
which have high ON. For further boosting the octane number, small
dosage of Tetra Ethyl Lead (TEL - Octane Booster) was added.
Aromatics generated by reforming process were found to be
carcinogenic and Lead was found to be health hazard.
With lead addition eliminated, new octane boosters (ethers like
MTBE or other oxygenated compounds) were developed.
With stricter aromatics specification in gasoline, use of reformate
gasoline (product from catalytic reforming) as gasoline blending
stock was reduced. New processes were developed for converting
naphtha to high-octane gasoline. Some such processes are:
z

Isomerisation to convert straight chain paraffins to branched


chain isomers.

Alkylation to combine paraffin components with butane to


form isomers.

Polymerisation to transform some lighter hydrocarbons into


high octane gasoline.

153
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

154
Notes

Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) units also became one of the


main sources of high-octane gasoline.

___________________

Conversion of Heavies to Light Oils

___________________

Conversion of heavy cuts (e.g. gas oil from vacuum distillation) and
residues which are dark coloured, low value products to light and
valuable products are important for refinery economics. This is
done by Cracking Processes.

___________________
___________________
___________________

___________________

Cracking essentially breaks the large heavy molecules into a


number of smaller lighter molecules. The process generates gases
and white products by cracking the heavy vacuum distillates and
residues.

___________________

A typical reaction in cracking process:

___________________

Catalyst and heat (450-500 oC)

___________________
___________________

C16H34 = C8H18 + C8H16


There are several components of the heavy oils undergoing such
reactions generating light products as well as gases.
The common cracking processes are thermal cracking, fluid
catalytic cracking and hydrocracking.
z

Thermal Cracking is done with heat alone at high


temperatures. Depending upon severity of reaction conditions
and nature of feedstock, the thermal cracking processes are
named as

Visbreaking

Coking etc.

Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) is carried out with a fluidized


bed of catalyst. FCC yields gasoline of higher octane number
along with gases, kerosene and diesel fractions. Some heavy oil
is also produced from FCC called cycle oil.

Hydrocracking is cracking under heat, pressure and presence


of hydrogen. It takes wider variety of feedstock and gives
stable, good quality product.

Treatment Processes
Sulfur Removal
Hydro-desulfurization is one of the processes to remove sulfur by
reaction of hydrogen with sulfur bearing components of oil. This

UNIT 13: Petroleum Refining

produces hydrogen sulfide, which is also toxic. Hydrogen sulfide is


converted to sulfur in the refinery by a process known as Claus
Process.

155
Notes
___________________

With stringent specifications for sulfur in production, deeper and


deeper Hydro-desulfurization is coming into application.

___________________

Finishing of Products

___________________

The final polishing of products is done to remove traces of


contaminants, to have the right colour of products and stability by
treating with hydrogen or other reagents. Examples of such
processes are Hydrotreating, Hydrofinishing, and Merox
Sweetening of LPG and gasoline.

___________________

It is important to note that hydrogen finds extensive use in a


modern refinery.

___________________

In addition to the basic processes mentioned above, there are a few


other important operations in the refinery of today:

Petrochemical Feedstock Generation


Propylene, naphtha and aromatics are separated or extracted out
of the refinery products as feedstock for production of
petrochemicals.

Formulating and Blending


Formulating and blending is the process of:
z

Mixing and combining the various cuts or fractions from


distillation, cracking and other process units. The multiplicity
of processing units in a refinery creates a number of
intermediate products of the same boiling range which are
finally blended to get the right amount of product of right
quality.

Dozing of the products with additives (chemicals to give


stability, storage life, performance etc.).

Formulating and blending gives the final finished products, which


are tested and marketed.

Lube Oil Manufacture


Lubricating oils need to be viscous, have stability during the heat
generated by friction of the machine, and the viscosity should not
fall sharply with the rise in temperature due to friction. These

___________________

___________________
___________________
___________________

___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

156
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

qualities are met by vacuum gas oils i.e. high boiling cuts distilled
by vacuum distillation of crude oil. These gas oil cuts are called
lubricating oil base stocks.
All crude oils do not give good lube base stock. For example waxy
crude oils like Mumbai High or some South East Asian crude oils
are not good for lube oil manufacture. Yield of suitable lube base
stocks are lower in these cases (as the oil is light) and wax creates
a lot of operational problems during lube extraction process. Some
of the medium heavy Middle East Crude oils give good quality lube
base stocks.
The various processing steps are:
De-asphalting Unit: Here asphalt from the lube base stock is
removed by solvent extraction process because asphalt is not good
to meet lube oil specifications.
Aromatics Extraction: Aromatic hydrocarbons are removed by
solvent extraction process to improve viscosity.
De-waxing: This is another solvent extraction process which
removes wax from the lube base stock. This is also solvent
extraction process.
Hydro-finishing: After these series of extraction processes, the
lube oil base stock is treated with hydrogen (hydro-finishing
process) to improve colour and give stability.

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. . process means change of the
molecules of the raw products obtained from distillation
by reaction process under heat, pressure, along with or
without a catalyst, from one type of molecule to another.
2. Hydrogen sulfide is converted to sulfur in the refinery
by a process known as . .

Summary
Bride oil needs to be separated into useful products. The
separation is not done to recover individual components but as
products which are mixtures of suitable boiling ranges. This is
done by distillation, where various cuts or fractions are taken out

UNIT 13: Petroleum Refining

as gasoline, kerosene, diesel, etc. which are essentially raw


material or intermediate products.

157
Notes

Refining comprises of four types of processes: Primary Separation,


Conversion Processes, Treatment Processes and Processing for
Lube Oils.

___________________

Lesson End Activity

___________________

Prepare a presentation on the various types of refining processes.

Keywords
Flash Point: It is the minimum temperature at which the product
generates enough vapour to form an explosive mixture with air.
Octane Number: This signifies ignition quality of the gasoline in
automobile engines.
Octane Number: It is defined as the percent volume of iso-octane
in a mixture of iso-octane and normal heptane that gives the same
knocking as that of the fuel when tested under defined conditions.
Smoke Point: It is the length of flame in a standard laboratory
test, which produces smoke.

Questions for Discussion


1.

List out the products produced with petroleum raw materials


as the base.

2.

Why does Crude oil need to be refined? What does a Refinery


do?

3.

What are the Product specifications for products to be refined


in a refinery?

4.

Explain the different treatment processes.

Further Readings
Books
Arthur J. Kidnay, William R. Parrish, Dan McCartney,
Fundamentals of Natural Gas Processing, Second Edition
Dominic C. Y. Foo, Mahmoud M. El-Halwagi, Raymond R. Tan,
Recent Advances in Sustainable Process Design and Optimization

___________________
___________________

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

158
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________

Web Readings
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural-gas_processing
www.linde-india.com/.../Natural%20Gas%20Processing%20Plants.
pd...

___________________

www.bv.com/Downloads/Resources/.../rsrc_ENR_Gas
Processing.pdf

___________________

ftp://ftp.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/...gas/.../ngprocess/ngprocess.pdf

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

UNIT 14: Refinery Requirements

Unit 14
Refinery Requirements
Objectives
After completion of this unit, the students will be aware of the following
topics:
\

Refinery process configurations used to meet the specifications and


market demand

Basic process schematics of important processes used in a refinery

Infrastructure requirement and broad economics of refinery operation

159
Notes
Activity
Discuss
in groups about the
___________________
differences in the Refinery
___________________
configuration
of the 60s and
that of modern refineries.
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Introduction
We will have a look at how the refinery configuration looked in the
sixties. There has been other health and environment related
specifications like limitation of aromatics in the automotive fuels.
As a result, there have been huge investments to meet the product
quality with respect to sulfur and other environment related
specifications, lowering the margins.
A modern refinery has a number of process units. A list of various
types of process units in a petroleum refinery is given in Table
14.1. The refinery may have various combinations of process units
out of the list given here. A detailed description of the process and
plants and technologies are given later. At this point it is
important to know the description of the overall facility in a
refinery complex.

Refinery Configurations
The previous section gave an overview of various types of processes
used in the refinery. The process units in the refinery and their
capacities are determined by:
Product Demand
Product Prices
Product Specifications
Crude Oil Characteristics

___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

160
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 14.1: Lube Processing Schematic

___________________

The investor arrives at optimum selection of process units and


their capacities by economic optimization techniques. The
techniques as described later are based on investment and
operating costs of various units and yield and quality of products
from them. The combination of the process units is called refinery
configuration.

Configuration of the Sixties


Out of the parameters mentioned above, the product specifications
have started changing the refinery configuration a lot since the
1960s.
Let us first have a look at how the refinery configuration looked in
the sixties. Figure 14.3 depicts a typical configuration of a refinery
in the sixties.
The crude oil was first distilled at pressures close to atmosphere
(Atmospheric Distillation) to separate out raw cuts of naphtha,
gasoline, kerosene and diesel oil. The residue left was being used
as a component of fuel oil.
Gasoline was processed in Catalytic Reforming Unit to boost its
Octane Number. Finally Tetra-ethyl Lead was added to the
gasoline in small doses as Octane Enhancer.
Sulfur specifications were not very stringent those days. Wherever
the sulfur content exceeded the specification (diesel in the flow
diagram), Hydro-Desulfurization Unit was used to remove the
sulfur.

UNIT 14: Refinery Requirements

Fuel oil always fetched a low value, sometimes lower than the
crude oil resulting in negative return. A part or all of it was
distilled under vacuum to generate vacuum gas oil cuts, which go
as feedstock for lubricating oil manufacture. In the Lube Plant,
processes like dewaxing, and other extraction processes like
de-asphalting were used to produce lubricating oils meeting
specifications. Mild hydrogen treatment of the lube oils in the lube
plant was done to meet the final specifications and improve the
colour.
Gas oil cuts from vacuum distillation unit were also taken to Fluid
Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCC) to produce more of gasoline. FCC
unit was designed to produce gasoline as well as kerosene and
diesel. Some gases were also produced as a result of cracking.
Residue from vacuum distillation unit was often mildly cracked in
a Thermal Cracking Process called Visbreaker for use as fuel oil.
These units also produced some gases, gasoline and kerosene.
Gasoline, kerosene and diesel were made by blending the stocks
from crude distillation unit, and the various cracking and other
conversion units.
This is a typical configuration, simple and without any integration
with any other kind of facility.

Figure 14.2: Refinery Complex

Configuration of a Modern Refinery


As stated earlier, strict specifications on sulfur content in finished
refinery product resulted in substantial investment in deep
desulfurization. Whereas in the sixties 0.5 to 1.0% sulfur was
tolerable in some of the products like diesel or gasoline, now the
specifications are at the level of 25 to 50 ppm (parts per million)

161
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

162
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

sulfur in many parts of the world. Moreover, the desulfurization


processes generate hydrogen sulfide (H2S) which is not allowed to
be vented as per current environment regulations. This has lead to
extensive use of Sulfur Recovery Units in the refineries. Further
H2S bearing tail gases from the sulfur recovery units are also
treated to remove traces of sulfur before being discharged to
atmosphere.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 14.3: Refinery Configuration of the Sixties

There has been other health and environment related


specifications like limitation of aromatics in the automotive fuels.
As a result, there have been huge investments to meet the product
quality with respect to sulfur and other environment related
specifications, lowering the margins.
Lower margins and stricter product specs are changing refinery
configuration. Today a stand alone refinery complex is not
economically viable. Many of the refineries in the west are shutting
down. For survival and profitability, the configuration of todays
refinery has changed.
Low margins call for minimizing fuel oil (residual stock and heavy
components) by converting them to high value products. This has
given to more extensive use of cracking processes like
hydrocracking and coking.
Lowering aromatics specification in gasoline results in
addition of units like isomerization to get high octane gasoline.
The reforming unit which produces a lot of aromatics serves to
act as source for aromatic feedstock for the petrochemical
industry.

UNIT 14: Refinery Requirements

Integration of petrochemical plant to increase margin is quite

163
Notes

common today.
Lower sulfur specs increases hydrotreating application and
generates need for a large hydrogen plant for the refineries.
Integration with a cogeneration power plant with coke and fuel

___________________
___________________
___________________

oil produced at the refinery has found favour to increase

___________________

margin.

___________________

A typical configuration of a modern refinery taking into

___________________

consideration above trends is given in Figure 14.4.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 14.4: Modern Refinery Configuration

The points to note in this configuration are:


Extensive

application

of

hydrogenation

processes

like

Hydrodesulfurization, Hydrotreatment, etc.


Combination of cracking processes by bringing in new units
like Hydrocracking.
Use of isomerisation and other processes to get high octane
gasoline due to limitation of aromatics blending in gasoline.
Use of catalytic reforming products to extract aromatics like
Benzene, Toluene and Xylene (BTX) for use as feedstock for
petrochemical manufacture. This brings in higher value of the
products.
The cracking processes generate propylene and butanes which
can be separated and sold as feedstock for petrochemical
manufacture.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

164
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

It is worth noting that the refinery configuration as shown is still


not economically attractive. The trend today is integration with
petrochemical manufacture using the aromatics or olefins.
Later we shall show some examples of such integration done in the
industry.

Balancing the Gases


Some gases come out of the crude during distillation. These are

___________________

mainly ethane, propane and butane, a part of which is taken out as

___________________

LPG. The cracking units generate some olefins like propylene and

___________________

butylenes

___________________

petrochemicals like polyproylene, polybutylene, etc. So, recovery of

___________________

which

become

valuable

feedstock

for

making

the olefins becomes important for value addition to refinery


products. The balance of gas is consumed in the refinery as fuel.
Figure 14.5 shows the same configuration as shown in Figure 14.4
without the main liquid streams. It shows the gaseous streams in a
refinery. It can be seen that hydrodesulfurization generates some
amount of hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S) which is toxic. The H2S
bearing gases are sweetened remove H2S, which is finally
converted to sulfur. Thus sulfur becomes a product in the refinery
by default.
The hydrogenation processes to remove sulfur, other hydrotreating
processes and hydrocracking process require a lot of hydrogen.
Catalytic Reforming process, which converts paraffins in naphtha
to aromatics by de-hydrogenation of paraffins, generates some of
the hydrogen required in the refinery.
The balance hydrogen is supplemented by installing a hydrogen
plant in the refinery. Thus, the processing requirements of the
gaseous streams are met by:
Gas sweetening unit
Sulfur plant
Propylene recovery unit
Hydrogen plant

UNIT 14: Refinery Requirements

165
Notes
Activity
Utility and offsite facilities
___________________
may cost more than 50%
___________________
of the total cost of the
project.
___________________
Utility and offsite facilities
___________________
occupy more than 60% of
the space in a refinery
___________________
layout.
___________________
Discuss thses two facts, in
Groups.
___________________
___________________
___________________
Figure 14.5: Balancing the Gases

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. Lowering aromatics specification in gasoline results in
addition of units like isomerization to get high
. .
2. The hydrogenation processes to remove sulfur, other
hydrotreating processes and hydrocracking process
require a lot of . .

Description of Overall Facilities


The process plant requires utilities like fuel gas, power, steam, water
etc. Also infrastructure is required to provide logistics and other
support. It also requires facilities to store the raw materials, QA/QC
of products and facilities to handle and transport them by pipeline or
tankers. These are known as utilities and offsite facilities.
The facilities of a refinery complex can be categorized into process
units, utility blocks, storage and product movement, buildings and
waste treatment facilities.

___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

166

Table 14.1: Process Units in a Refinery

Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Utility and Offsite Facilities


Table 14.2 presents a list of utilities and offsite facilities in a
refinery complex.
With the process units and other facilities listed above, a refinery
is a very huge facility requiring investments in terms of a few
billion Dollars. Optimization of the operation of process units and
offsite facilities, logistics of product movement is and overall
management system in a modern refinery is very important to
refinery economics. This has been dealt with in the section on IT
Applications in Oil and Gas Industry.
Table 14.2: Utility and Offsite Facilities

UNIT 14: Refinery Requirements

Utility Facilities

167

A list of utility facilities is given in Table 14.2. Some of the


facilities are relatively small packaged units supplied by the
equipment vendors e.g. Instrument Air System comprising of
instrument air compressor and dryer to remove moisture from air.
But items like power generation, steam system and cooling water
system have large equipment system and spread throughout the
plant by piping network.
For optimum use of energy, power generation and steam
generation are combined together in what is known as combined
cycle. For example high pressure steam can be used to drive a
steam turbine to generate power and the steam at lower pressure
coming out of the turbine can be used as utility steam for heating
various process streams. The exhaust from a gas turbine can be
used to generate high pressure steam.
Cooling Water System comprises of cooling towers, large cooling
water pumps and a network of piping to supply cooling water to
product coolers. The products generally come out hot after
processes like distillation and the final cooling is done in heat
exchangers by the cooling water. In the process, the cooling water
gets heated. The hot streams of cooling water are returned to the
cooling towers, where they are cooled by air cooling in cooling
towers.

Figure 14.6: Utility Facilities

Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

168
Notes
___________________

Storage and Handling of Crude and Products


This is one of the major operations beyond the process units in a
refinery. This involves:

___________________

Receipt and storage of crude oil

___________________
___________________

Storage of intermediate products, base oils and blending


stocks.

___________________

Blending and finishing of products.

___________________

Storage and despatch of products.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

A refinery is often located in coastal area. It can also be landlocked


far beyond coastal areas. In coastal refineries, crude oil is received
by marine tankers. Depending on the capacity of the refinery,
crude tanker size suitable for draft at the jetty and the size of
storage tanks are decided. In land- locked refineries, receipt of
crude is normally by pipeline. Road tankers, railway tankers,
marine tankers and pipeline are used for transportation of
products.
Millions of tons of crude and products as well as blending stocks is
handled or transported to several destinations by tankers or
pipeline. The storage and product movement area of a refinery
presents a major logistics and operations management problem in
the refinery.

Figure 14.7: Refinery Storage Facilities

Product Blending Operations


As described earlier, numerous intermediate product streams are
formed in the various processing units of a refinery. They are
finally blended into finished products. The activities involve:
storage of intermediate products,
analysis of the intermediate products,

UNIT 14: Refinery Requirements

169

blending operations,

Notes

dozing with additive chemicals wherever required and

___________________

storage and analysis of the final blended products to ensure


quality requirements.

___________________
___________________

Control Room

___________________

Each of the refinery processes as well as the utility facilities


requires a large number of process parameters to be controlled to
meet the quantity and quality of products. Earlier there used to be
control room in each process unit with analog controllers.
In modern refineries computerized digital control system with
dynamic real time process models are quite common.
Typical room of a centralized control room of a refinery is
presented in Figure 14.8. A more detailed discussion on the subject
is given in the section on IT Applications.

Figure 14.8: Control Room

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. For optimum use of energy, power generation and steam
generation are combined together in what is known as
. .
2. In coastal refineries,
.

crude

oil

is

received

by

Summary
In this unit, the history of development of the refining process and
refinery configuration was explained. The process units and
utility/offsite facilities required in a refinery was summarized.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

170

Lesson End Activity

Notes
___________________

Visit a refinery and find out how Storage and Handling of Crude
and Products are done.

___________________
___________________

Keywords

___________________

Utility: It is the state of being useful, profitable, or beneficial.

___________________

Control Room: It is a room housing any kind of control


equipment.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Catalytic Reforming: It is a chemical process used to


convert petroleum refinery naphthas, typically having low octane
ratings, into high-octane liquid products called reformates which
are components of high-octane gasoline.

___________________

Questions for Discussion


1.

What do you understand by thermal cracking of petroleum?

2.

Define the Octane Number of gasoline. Name the processes


that give high octane gasoline.

3.

State any two properties of crude oil that decrease the quality
and efficiency of the oils. How are they improved?

4.

Write a note on the differences in the refineries in the 60s and


the modern refineries.

Further Readings
Books
Arthur J. Kidnay, William R. Parrish, Dan McCartney,
Fundamentals of Natural Gas Processing, Second Edition
Dominic C. Y. Foo, Mahmoud M. El-Halwagi, Raymond R. Tan,
Recent Advances in Sustainable Process Design and Optimization

Web Readings
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural-gas_processing
www.linde-india.com/.../Natural%20Gas%20Processing
%20Plants.pd...
www.bv.com/Downloads/Resources/.../rsrc_ENR_Gas
Processing.pdf
ftp://ftp.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/...gas/.../ngprocess/ngprocess.pdf

UNIT 5: Case Study

Unit 15

171
Notes

Case Study

___________________
___________________
___________________

Objectives
After analyzing this case, the student will have an appreciation of the
concept of topics studied in this Block.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Case Study: Gas Processing at LLC


Leak Imaging, LLC performed a leak detection survey using an
optical gas imaging camera for a company in East Texas at one of
their gas processing facilities. The company was aware of the
new regulations coming and wanted to see what it would entail
and what they should do to prepare for it since they have never
had any leak detection program in place. The results were
amazing.
The gas processing facility was less than a year old and we were
assured that there were no gas leaks to be found. The field
superintendent explained how all the equipment at the location
was new, properly installed and no wearing of the equipment
would have taken place in this short period of time. At the time of
the study, this facility was processing gas at a spot rate of 12,500
mcf per day. After processing the natural gas, the daily
production volume being delivered to market was approximately
95%, with 5% accounted for as line loss and/or fuel use.
In less than 30 minutes, the first leak was detected with several
more following. In all, 6 leaks were detected which were
inexpensively rectified. Using the criteria and emissions factors
from the EPA, they were losing 200 mcf a day in gas. The worst
leak detected was coming from the storage tanks where the valve
was constantly malfunctioning and releasing gas from the vent
stack.
After the repairs were made, the company began seeing an extra
$600/day ($219,000/year) at todays gas prices which they were
losing at just one facility.
The leak detection study just goes to show that the industrys
acceptance of 5% for line loss and fuel use just turned the corner
with new technology. Line loss doesnt necessarily tell the whole
story. It doesnt matter whether a facility is old or new there is
Contd

___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

172
Notes

always the possibility for fugitive gas leaks and the potential to
increase revenues.

___________________

Question

___________________

Critically analyse the case study

___________________

Source: http://leakimaging.com/gas-processing-case-study/

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

UNIT 16: Distillation in Refineries

173
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

BLOCK-IV

Detailed Contents

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

174

Notes
UNIT
16: DISTILLATION IN REFINERIES
___________________
z
Introduction
___________________
z
Optimization of Refinery Operations
___________________
z
Description of Process Units
___________________
z
Vacuum Distillation
___________________
UNIT
17: PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY
___________________

Introduction
___________________
Polymerization Basics
___________________
Some Common Polymer Plastics
___________________
Petrochemicals in Our Lives
___________________
High Impact Plastics

Types of Plastics

z
z
z
z

UNIT 18: PRODUCTION OF PETROCHEMICALS


z

Introduction

Feedstock to Products in Petrochemical Industry

Production of the Base Petrochemicals

Ethylene Production by Steam Cracking

Steam Reforming

Aromatics Production

Intermediate and Derivative Petrochemicals

UNIT 19: TRANSPORTATION OF OIL, GAS AND


PRODUCTS: PIPELINES
z

Introduction

Modes of Transportation

Pipeline Systems

Pipeline Project Implementation

UNIT 20: CASE STUDIES

UNIT 16: Distillation in Refineries

Unit 16
Distillation in Refineries
Objectives
After completion of this unit, the students will be aware of the following
topics:

175
Notes
Activity
Find___________________
out more about LP
Modelling and its use in
___________________
different
fields.
___________________
___________________
___________________

Optimisation of Refinery Operations

___________________

Description of Process units

___________________

Vacuum Distillation

___________________
___________________

Introduction
The basic software for optimization is available in the market
along with data bank on crude oil, possible refinery configuration,
cost data, process models, etc. One needs to define and give input
data on the specific problem and define what need to be optimized.
Let us now look into some of the process units in greater detail. We
will understand a generic processing system for refineries and
petrochemical plants and Vacuum Distillation.

Optimization of Refinery Operations


A refinery is a highly capital intensive plant. High prices of crude
oil and low margins on product prices require optimization of the
refinery during design stage as well as optimization of its
operation.
In the design and conceptual stage, the optimization of a
configuration is carried out in order to:
z

Develop the best possible configurations of process units and


their capacities depending on market demand and
specification of products. This should meet the market demand
pattern at minimum cost.

Select crude oil depending on its price, characteristics and


ability to give the desired products at optimum cost.

Let us look at the fixed parameters and variables for optimization


as given below. The number of variables like type of process units,

___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

176
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

choice of crude, products to be manufactured etc. are very large


may run into hundreds. In this kind of situation, the optimization
is carried out by Linear Programming (LP) modelling.
The major input required to develop a LP model and optimize the
configuration are:
Crude Assay: Crude characteristics and properties are fixed
parameters for crude selected for a refinery. If there is choice of
more than one crude, it becomes a variable. Yields of products from
distillation and other process units depend on the crude
characteristics and properties. An extensive laboratory study
report on crude characteristics and properties of various cuts taken
out of it is called crude assay. This is fed as data to the
optimization model.
Product Demand Pattern: The refinery need to be optimized not
to exceed a specific product demand pattern of the market. This is
normally a fixed parameter and called constraint in LP Modelling.
Product Specification: It is fixed for a particular country or
region, depending on the standard specification of salable products
in the market. These are also called constraints in modelling for
optimization.
Selection of Process Units and their Capacity: This gives the
largest sets of variables. There is a wide range of choice of the
processing units. Each gives a particular yield of products and
particular properties of the products to meet the specifications. The
final product quantities are arrived at by blending the
intermediate products from various process units to meet the
product specification.
Investment Costs: It will depend on the selection of process units,
as each process unit will have different investment costs
proportionate to its capacity.
Operating Costs: This again will depend on the selection of
process units, each of which will have different operating cost
heads like utility consumption, manning requirement, etc.
LP modelling is carried out in the following manner:
z

Mass balance equations between process units, overall product


balance and heat balance are expressed in linear equations.

UNIT 16: Distillation in Refineries

Constraint

equations

such

as

product

demand

and

specification by blending of components (intermediate products

Notes

from the process units) are also used as linear equations. It

___________________

defines the constraints of which products should be produced

___________________

in the refinery and in how much quantity.

___________________

Process unit models predicting yield and quality of products

___________________

based on crude oil characteristics, are built into modern LP

___________________

optimization software.
z

177

Equations for capital cost variation with capacity of the


process units, cost of operation of each unit.

___________________
___________________
___________________

Overall cost optimization equations form the complete matrix


of equations.

Non-linear models of processes (to give yield of products and


product properties) and blending correlation for the properties
form separate modules.
The parameter to be optimized normally is investment or profit
margin.
Versatile LP software with built-in database and process models
are available today.
Such models give option to change:
z

Crude oil and product prices

Product specifications

The quantity of products

Plant sizes and operation modes

Thus a lot of business sensitivity factors can be studied using such


models.
LP Models are today used for:
z

Optimization of configuration of new refineries

Planning daily, weekly, monthly and long-term operation of


existing refineries

Optimization of operation of individual units

Evaluation of different types of crude oils

___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

178

Check Your Progress

Notes
Activity

Fill in the blanks:

Make
a chart on the Desalting
___________________
process.
___________________

1. A refinery is a highly . intensive plant.


2. Crude characteristics and properties are .
parameters for a crude selected for a refinery.

___________________
___________________
___________________

Description of Process Units

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Generic Process Schematic


Having described refinery configuration, let us now look into some
of the process units in greater detail. First let us understand a
generic processing system for refineries and petrochemical plants.

___________________

Figure 16.1: LP Software Structure

A process plant processing liquid and gaseous material (which is


commonly done in refineries) would normally have the following
components:
z

Pumping (for liquids) or compression (for gases) of the feed to


the processing unit.

Heating to provide energy for the reaction to take place. Some


times cooling is needed if the reaction is exothermic i.e. if it
generates heat. Heating also includes recovery of heat from
the outgoing hot products by heat exchange with incoming cool
feedstock or raw material.

Reactor vessel which gives time for the reaction to take place.

UNIT 16: Distillation in Refineries

Separation and purification of products of reaction. These are


physical separation processes like distillation, extraction etc.

The Figure 16.2 depicts the concept in the form of a process where
two raw materials (feedstock) A and B are processed to get
products C and D. A and B are pumped through heat exchangers
which recover heat from outgoing hot products C and D. Then, A
and B are mixed and heated in a furnace to the desired
temperature. Reaction at high temperature takes place in the
reactor producing C and D as products. C and D are separated by
distillation and sent out to be stored as product.

179
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 16.2: Generic Diagram of a Process Plant

Most processes will have similar configuration. The physical


separation processes like distillation or extraction does not have
the reactor part. Most reaction processes have the configuration of
Figure 16.2.
The primary separation processes in a refinery, atmospheric and
vacuum distillation do not have a reactor. It is a pure physical
separation process. Such processes where no reaction is involved
and revolve around separation of products are called open art
process as there is no license involved in the technology, design
and operation of such processes. Normally most reaction processes
are licensed processes, where one has to pay a fees or royalty for
the purchase and use of then technology.
Pictures of the some of the process equipment described here are
given in Figure 16.3.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

180
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Heater

Liquid Outlet

___________________
___________________
___________________

Liquid inlet

Motor

___________________

Pumps
___________________

Hot Fluid

___________________
Out

Cold Fluid

Shell

Tubes
Out

Heat Exchanger
Figure 16.3: Process Equipment

With this generic description in mind, let us now get into the flow
diagram and description of some of the important processes in the
refinery.

Desalting
Crude oil arriving from oilfield generally contains around 1%
saline water and organic salts. The salinity of the water could be in
the range of 15,000 to 30,000 ppm. In the refinery, the crude oil is
heated and distilled. Part of the salts contained in the crude oil,
particularly magnesium chloride, tends to undergo hydrolysis at
temperatures above 120C. Upon hydrolysis, the chlorides get
converted into hydrochloric acid and corrode the distillation
columns overhead and condenser. A desalter is normally installed
in the preheat section of crude distillation unit of a refinery, before
the distillation column. Its function is to reduce the salt content to
around 20-40 ppm and water content to below 0.1%.

Description
As described in the next section on crude distillation, desalters are
normally integral part of distillation plant.

UNIT 16: Distillation in Refineries

The desalter is normally installed in between the heat exchangers


of the pre-heat section of Crude Distillation Unit to operate at
temperatures between 120-150C. The desalting operation is
carried out by flushing the crude with fresh water of low salt
content. The desalter carries out dehydration of the crude by use of
electrostatic field to facilitate coalescence of charged particles of
water into large drops.
Thus it involves the following steps:
z

181
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Washing of the crude resulting in dilution of saline water


present in the crude

___________________

Removal of the water under electrostatic field.

___________________

Normally saline water is present in emulsion form, so Demulsifier


chemicals (20-40 ppm) are also injected in the crude. This aids in
breaking the emulsion by changing the surface tension properties
of oil-water interface.

Figure 16.4: Desalter

Upstream of the desalter, the crude oil containing around 1% of


emulsion water is mixed with a fresh water stream, typically about
4-6% on feed. Intense mixing takes place over a mixing valve where
high pressure drop is provided for to give turbulence. The water added
to the crude flushes the whole crude and dilutes the concentration of
salt in the saline water carried with the crude. The desalter, a large
vessel, containing an electrostatic grid, uses an electric field to coalesce
the water droplets, which drop at the bottom. It operates between 1201500C, hence it is conveniently placed somewhere in the middle of the
preheat train of the distillation column.
In case of high salt content and viscous crude, often multistage
desalters in series are used with water addition and dehydration
repeated through two stages.
Desalter can remove over 90% of the salt in raw crude.

___________________

___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

182
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Crude Distillation
Atmospheric Distillation of the crude is the first step in the
processing of crude oil in a refinery. It is physical separation of oil
components at slightly higher than atmospheric pressure by
heating to around 350C + and subsequently distilling into
fractions (raw product cuts).
As crude oil starts cracking at temperatures higher than
370-380C, the residue from Atmospheric Distillation is
subsequently distilled under vacuum at similar temperatures. This
is called Vacuum Distillation. Distillation produces some gases
(LPG, Fuel Gas) and raw cuts of light products like gasoline,
naphtha, kerosene and diesel.
The residue from the bottom of the Atmospheric Distillation
Column is vacuum distilled to produce heavy gas oil, which form
the base stock to produce lubricants. The gas oil is also sent to
Cracking Unit to produce further light products.

Description
The fractionating column where multi-component distillation takes
place is the heart of the process. The crude needs to be heated up
before entering the fractionation column. This is done at first in a
series of heat exchangers where heat is taken from outgoing
products from the column, which need to be cooled before being
sent to storage. Heat is also exchanged against condensing streams
from the top of the column. Optimum design of this heat recovery
train or pre-heat train is extremely important for energy efficient
operation of the column. Typically, the crude will be heated up in
this way up to a temperature of 200-280C by heat recovery alone,
before entering a furnace.
As the raw crude oil received from oilfields contains water and salt,
it is normally sent for salt removing first, in a piece of equipment
called a desalter. This has been discussed in the preceding section.
The desalter is put midway in the pre-heat train at temperature of
around 130C.
Downstream the desalter, crude is further heated up with heat
exchangers, and starts vaporizing at about 200-280C. Then, the
crude enters the furnace where it is heated up further to about
330-370C. The furnace outlet stream is sent directly to the
fractionation column. Here, it is separated into a number of
fractions, each having a particular boiling range.

UNIT 16: Distillation in Refineries

At 350C, and about 1 barg, crude oil is partly vapourized and the
vapours rise up along the column through trays. The vapours come
into contact with liquid coming down from the top of the column.
The different fractions are gradually separated from each other on
the trays of the fractionation column. The heaviest fractions
condense on the lower trays and the lighter fractions condense on
the trays higher up in the column. At different elevations in the
column, with special trays called draw-off trays, fractions are
drawn out by gravity through pipes, for further processing in the
refinery.
At the top of the column, vapours are routed to an overhead
condenser, typically cooled by water or air coolers. At the outlet of
overhead condenser, vapours are condensed into liquid (naphtha)
and gases are separated in an Accumulator at around 40C. Gases
are routed to a compressor for further recovery of LPG (C3/C4),
while the liquids (gasoline or naphtha) are pumped to a stabilizer
column. Part of the cold, condensed liquid is put back at the top if
the column as reflux.
This method of cooling the top part of the column and providing
heat at the bottom creates a temperature gradient along the
column. Top temperature remains close to 40C and the bottom
temperature of the column is around 350C.
The products are also drawn from different trays of the column.
These are called side draw-offs. The lightest side draw-off from the
fractionating column is a fraction called kerosene, boiling in the
range 150-280C, which flows into a smaller column called sidestripper. The purpose of the side stripper is to remove some light
hydrocarbons by using steam injection or an external heater called
reboiler. It essentially helps to meet the properties specified for
kerosene, since in a multi-component distillation there is overlap of
constituents of various cuts.
The second and third (optional) side draw-offs from the main
fractionating column are diesel or gas oil fractions, boiling in the
range 200-400C, which are ultimately used for blending the final
diesel product. Similar as with the kerosene product, the gas oil
fractions (light and heavy gas oil) are first sent to a side stripper
before being routed to further treating units.
At the bottom of the fractionation column a heavy, brown/black
coloured residue is drawn off.

183
Notes
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Understanding Oil & Gas Business

184
Notes
Activity
Find___________________
out about Carbon-tocarbon bonding. In which all
___________________
areas
can you find it?

All the top and side draw-offs go for further treatment to meet
product specifications. The residue is vacuum distilled (see section
on Vacuum Distillation).

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 16.5: Flow Diagram of Atmospheric


Distillation Column

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. Crude oil arriving from oilfield generally contains
around .% saline water and organic salts.
2. . Distillation of the crude is the first step in
the processing of crude oil in a refinery.

Vacuum Distillation
As crude oil cracks above a range of 350-370C after atmospheric
distillation, it is distilled under vacuum to distillation unit recover
additional distillates from atmospheric residue (also termed long
residue). The objective is to minimize the residual stock and
maximize yield of useful products.
Vacuum gas oil cuts are produced in the vacuum distillation unit
for use as lubricating oil base stocks and/or feedstock for
conversion (cracking). The residue from vacuum distillation
(referred as short residue) can be used as feedstock for to produce
bitumen or as fuel component. It can also sometimes be cracked
further to produce light oils.

UNIT 16: Distillation in Refineries

Description

185

The process configuration is somewhat similar to atmospheric

Notes

distillation. The long residue is first preheated in a heat recovery

___________________

train to recover heat from the outgoing hot products. Then it is

___________________

further heated in a furnace before entering the Vacuum

___________________

Distillation Column. Vacuum Gas oil cuts are taken from top and
side of the column and cooled before dispatch to storage.
Vacuum is maintained with vacuum ejectors and sometimes also

___________________
___________________

with liquid ring pumps. Lowest achievable vacuum in lower part of

___________________

the column is in the order of 10 milli bar.

___________________

Wet Vacuum Units use steam in the column to reduce partial

___________________

pressure of the oil. Dry Vacuum Units use deeper vacuum with less

___________________

or no steam.

___________________

Two types of vacuum units for long residue upgrading are:


(i) Feed Preparation Units: Takes out deep cuts out of long
residue for cracking in FCC or Hydrocracker. This is done
because most of such cracking units can not take the heaviest
residual part of the crude as feedstock.
(ii) Lube Base Stock Units: These are high vacuum units from
where heavy gas oil cuts are drawn out as lube base stocks.
The lube base stocks are further processed to make lubricating
oils. For Bitumen production, the residue from vacuum
distillation called short residue, is treated to make bitumen or
road tar.

Figure 16.6: Vacuum Distillation Unit

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

186
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Catalytic Reforming
Catalytic reforming is a high temperature catalytic process to
convert low-octane naphthas into high- octane gasoline blending
components called reformates. Most straight run naphthas from
primary distillation of crude comprises of a lot of low octane
components like normal paraffins and five and six carbon
naphthenes. Reforming involves:
z

Isomerisation of paraffins

Dehydrogenation of naphthenes like cyclohexanes to aromatic


hydrocarbons

Dehydrocyclisation of paraffins i.e. making them to cyclic


hydrocarbons and dehydrogenating them to aromatics.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

This gives high octane gasoline blending stock. Also hydrogen is


generated as by-product.
Reforming process is also a source for feedstock for petrochemical
plants. Reformates can be produced with very high concentrations
of toluene, benzene, xylene, and other aromatics useful both for
gasoline blending and petrochemical processing. Hydrogen,
produced from dehydrogenation and dehydrocyclisation reactions
is separated from reformate for recycling and use in other refinery
processes like hydrodesulfurisation.
The typical operating conditions are 500-530C and 20-25 kg/Sq.cm
pressure.

Description
The first step is hydrodesulfurisation of the naphtha feed. Then
the actual reforming process starts.
A typical flow diagram is presented in Figure 16.7. The reforming
process has three sections:
z

Reaction section comprising of heat recovery, furnace and


reactors

Hydrogen separation and recirculation

Product recovery section (distillation)

In the reaction section,


hydrogen generated by
passed through a heat
products. Then it passes

the naphtha feedstock is mixed with


reaction process itself, vaporized, and
recovery train from outgoing reaction
through a series of alternating furnace

UNIT 16: Distillation in Refineries

and fixed-bed reactors containing a platinum catalyst or bimetallic


(Pt- Rh) catalyst.
The effluent from the last reactor is cooled and sent to a separator
to remove the hydrogen-rich gas stream. Hydrogen is recirculated
with a compressor and the excess hydrogen product is sent to other
users in the refinery.

187
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 16.7: Catalytic Reforming Unit

The liquid product from the bottom of the separator is sent to a


fractionator for product recovery. It makes a bottom product called
reformate; butanes and lighter hydrocarbons go overhead and are
sent to the other users.
The catalysts require regeneration after certain time period.
Depending on catalyst type and severity of reaction, the cycle time
and method of regeneration varies. Some catalytic reforming
systems continuously regenerate the catalyst.

Thermal Cracking
Thermal cracking is used for conversion of residues into more
useful products by cracking the large hydrocarbon molecules into
smaller ones, at a temperature level of 450-500C. The degree of
cracking can be controlled by controlling temperature and time of
reaction (residence time). Long chain paraffinic hydrocarbon
molecules break down into a number of smaller ones by rupture of
a carbon-to-carbon bond.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

188
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Cracking also generates double bonded hydrocarbons (olefins).


Other side reactions like condensation and polymerization
reactions of olefins and of the aromatics also take place. Thus
thermal cracking process leads to undesirable products like
unstable olefins and tar like polymerization products. The type of
products depends on severity of cracking.
The olefins tend to polymerize and form gum or resin like polymers
due to their unstable double bond structure. That is why gasoline
or diesel blend produced from thermal cracking processes need to
be treated with hydrogen (Hydrotreating) to make them stable
usable product.
The thermal cracking is used either to reduce the viscosity for
blending with fuel oil (Visbreaking Process). Visbreaking, though a
mild form of thermal cracking, produces some of light liquids like
gasoline and gas oil.
There is a more severe cracking to produce coke, as well as useful
light products like gasoline called Coking Process. Besides a good
yield of light products and gas, it yields good quality coke.
By selection of the type of unit, feedstock and operating conditions,
the yields and quality of the various products can meet market
requirements, of course .with some limitations.
In modern oil refineries Visbreaking and Coking (Delayed Coking)
are extensively used.

Visbreaking
Visbreaking is a mild thermal cracking process. The objective is to
reduce the viscosities and pour points of vacuum distillation
bottoms to meet fuel oil specifications. Refinery production of
heavy oils can be reduced by 30% by Visbreaking. Visbreaker also
produces gas, gas oil stock and gasoline which go for further
processing.
The principal reactions which occur during the Visbreaking are:
z

Cracking of the side chains attached to Cycloparaffin and


aromatic rings.

Cracking of resins to light hydrocarbons (primarily olefins)

Some cracking of Naphthalene


temperatures of operation (500C).

rings

under

higher

UNIT 16: Distillation in Refineries

Description

189

There are two types of Visbreaking operations:

Notes

Coil Cracking

___________________

Soaker Cracking

___________________

Coil Cracking uses higher furnace outlet temperatures of around


500C. It uses a reaction time of one to three minutes. All the
cracking takes place in a dedicated portion of the coil in the
furnace itself. Due to high temperature of operation and avoidance
of soaker drum, it offers the advantage of greater ease of operation.
The cracked products are separated by fractionation.
Soaker Cracking is a similar process but uses lower furnace outlet
temperatures of around 450C and reaction times of over five
minutes. In this case some conversion takes place at the furnace
coil but major part of conversion takes place at the soaker drum
after the furnace (see flow diagram). Soaker cracking is more often
used due to its lower energy consumption as a result of less severe
temperatures.

Figure 16.8: Coil Visbreaker

Figure 16.9: Soaker Visbreaker

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

190
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Delayed Coking Unit


Delayed coking is a thermal cracking process in which a heavy
hydrocarbon feedstock, mainly residue, is converted to lighter and
more valuable products and coke.
The main advantage of the process is that it can take residual
stock from a wide variety of process units in a refinery. Coking
Furnace and Coking Drums are the key elements in the process.
Cracking is initiated in the furnace tubes where short residence
time is allowed. Coking of the feed material is delayed until it
reaches large coking drums with longer reaction time, downstream
of the heater. Three physical structures of petroleum coke: shot,
sponge, or needle coke can be produced by delayed coking. These
physical structures and chemical properties of the petroleum coke
determine the end use.

Description
The feedstock gets preheated by exchange of heat from outgoing
products and is partially vaporized in a specially designed coking
furnace. Mild cracking takes place in the furnace where thermal
cracking temperatures of 485 to 505C are reached. From the
furnace, the liquid-vapour mixture goes to one of the two coking
drums operating in batch. The vapours undergo cracking as they
pass through the coke drum. The heavy hydrocarbon liquid
trapped in the coke drum is subjected to successive cracking and
polymerization until it is converted to vapours and more coke.
The cracked products go to fractionation facilities downstream
where cracked gas, naphtha, kerosene and gas oil are separated.
The petroleum coke is formed in the drum due to high residence
time of cracking in the drum.
The feed stream is regularly switched between drums with one
operating and the other under decoking process. Decoking is done
using high pressure water jets. This generally follows a 12-16 hour
cycle.

Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC)


Basic reaction processes are similar to thermal cracking. Normally
vacuum gas oil from Vacuum Distillation unit is the feedstock for
cracking. The cracking reaction takes place in fluidized catalyst
bed. The reactions are directed more towards formation of useful
products like gasoline or diesel by suitable choice of the catalyst.

UNIT 16: Distillation in Refineries

191
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
Figure 16.10: Delayed Coking

___________________
___________________

Description
Catalytic Reactor and Regeneration systems followed by
Distillation to separate cracked products are the key steps. Hot
feed, together with some steam, is introduced at the bottom of the
reactor via distribution nozzles. Here it meets a stream of hot
regenerated catalyst from the regenerator flowing down the
inclined regenerator standpipe. The oil is heated and vaporized by
the hot catalyst. The cracking reactions take place at 500C. The
vapour, initially formed by vaporization and successively by
cracking, carries the catalyst up a riser in the reactor. At the outlet
of the riser the catalyst and hydrocarbons are separated. The
catalyst, partly deactivated by coke deposit and the vapour enter
the reactor. The vapour passes an overhead cyclone separator for
removal of entrained catalyst before it enters the fractionators for
product separation. The catalyst then descends into the stripper
where entrained hydrocarbons are removed by injection of steam.

Figure 16.11: Process

___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

192
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Air is supplied to the regenerator by an air blower and distributed


throughout the catalyst bed. The coke deposited is burnt off and
the regenerated catalyst passes down the regenerator standpipe to
the bottom of the riser, where it joins the fresh feed and the cycle
recommences.
The flue gas leaving the regenerator entrains fines, dust formed
by mechanical rubbing of catalyst particles taking place in the
catalyst bed. Before leaving the regenerator, the flue gas therefore
passes through cyclone separators where the bulk of the fines are
entrained catalyst is collected and returned to the catalyst bed.

___________________

Hydrocracking

___________________

As the name implies, hydrocracking is cracking in presence of


hydrogen. It is a catalytic process at high temperature and high
pressure. The initial development of the process had the limitation
of operation at very high pressures (above 200 bar). The
development of improved catalyst made it possible to operate the
process at considerably lower pressure, about 70-150 bar at
temperatures of 350 to 430C.

___________________

The main advantages of hydrocracking process are:


z

Its flexibility with respect to production of gasoline and middle


distillates

Quality of its products

Ability to handle a wider range of feedstock like cycle oils from


other cracking units

Does not yield any coke as by-product

Better conversion of the gas oil and residues into useful


products.

Although more expensive than other cracking processes, it is


competitive and often advantageous compared to other cracking
processes depending on market parameters.

Hydrocracker Reactions
The main reactions in hydrocracking are:
z

Cracking

Saturation of aromatics by hydrogenation

And further cracking of it.

UNIT 16: Distillation in Refineries

193

The other reactions occurring are:


z

Saturation of any olefinic material present in feedstock.

The reaction of
deoxygenation.

desulphurisation,

denitrogenation

Notes
___________________

and

The latter reactions are essentially treating processes, which are


used as a separate processing step when other types of cracking
units are used. Thus there are two steps of reactions in
Hydrocracking: cracking step and treating step. As a result, the
product quality is superior.
A combination of catalysts is used. The cracking function is
provided by Silica Alumina catalyst or Zeolite catalyst.
Zeolite catalyst permits operation at lower temperatures for the
same conversion. Tungsten oxide or nickel oxide catalysts promote
hydrogenation reaction.

Description
When the cracking and treating step is combined in one reactor,
the process is called a Single-Stage Process.
This simplest of the hydrocracker configuration finds application in
cases where only moderate degree of conversion (say 60% or less) is
required. The single stage process can also be used for full
conversion, but with a limited reduction in molecular weight. An
example is the production of middle distillates from heavy
distillate oils.
In a multi-stage Process, the cracking reaction mainly takes place
in an added reactor. There could be two stage or three stage
hydrocracker. These processes were developed to overcome the
limitations of single stage process the limitations of conversion as
well as catalyst poisoning by undesirable components. In the two
stage process, the undesirable compounds are removed from the
unconverted hydrocarbons in the first reactor. In the first reactor,
desulphurisation and denitrogenation occurs besides a limited
amount of hydrocracking. These are exothermic reactions. The
catalyst is arranged in a number of fixed beds. Reaction
temperatures are controlled by introducing part of the recycle gas
as a quench medium between beds. The liquid from the first
reactor is fractionated to remove the product made in the first
reactor.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

194
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Unconverted material, with a low nitrogen and sulfur content, is


taken out from the bottom of fractionation section. After, heat
exchange with reactor effluent and mixing with heated recycle gas,
it is sent to the second reactor. Here most of the hydrocracking
reactions occur. Effluent from the second reactor is cooled and joins
first stage effluent for separation from recycle gas and
fractionation. Saturation of any olefinic material is present in
feedstock.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. The objective of . is to minimize the
residual stock and maximize yield of useful products.
2. When the cracking and treating step is combined in one
reactor, the process is called a . Process.

Summary
In this unit, the process units and utility/offsite facilities required
in a refinery was summarized. An overview of application of Linear
Programming techniques for refinery optimization was presented.
A generic description of typical refinery process was given
highlighting the basic system and equipment involved. This was
followed by description of some of the important processes used in
the refinery along with flow diagram.

Lesson End Activity


Explain the difference between a Single-stage Process and a Multistage Process of cracking.

Keywords
Specific Gravity of a Gas: It is defined as the weight of a given
volume of the gas compared to the weight of the same amount of
air at the same temperature and pressure, where air weight is
taken as reference (= 1).
Gas Sweetening: Removal of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide
from gas is called gas sweetening.
Molecular sieves: These are zeolite granules manufactured under
controlled conditions to create microscopic pores at its surface.

UNIT 16: Distillation in Refineries

Questions for Discussion

195
Notes

1.

Internal Combustion Engines caused major developments


in petroleum refining, Explain the statement.

2.

Explain the term Fractions. Give an account on Fractional


composition of crude oil.

3.

Write a brief note on manufacture of lubricating oils.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

4.

Discuss the different types of catalytic cracking plants.

5.

Draw a neat flow diagram of a fluidized bed Catalytic


Cracking Process.

6.

Write a note on Catalytic Reforming of Naphtha.

7.

What are the petrochemical feedstocks produced in a refinery


and what are the process units where they are generated?

___________________
___________________
___________________

Further Readings
Books
Arthur J. Kidnay, William R. Parrish, Dan McCartney,
Fundamentals of Natural Gas Processing, Second Edition
Dominic C. Y. Foo, Mahmoud M. El-Halwagi, Raymond R. Tan,
Recent Advances in Sustainable Process Design and Optimization

Web Readings
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural-gas_processing
www.linde-india.com/.../Natural%20Gas%20Processing %20Plants.
pd...
www.bv.com/Downloads/Resources/.../rsrc_ENR_Gas
Processing.pdf
ftp://ftp.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/...gas/.../ngprocess/ngprocess.pdf

___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

196
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

UNIT 17: Petrochemical Industry

Unit 17
Petrochemical Industry
Objectives
After completion of this unit, the students will be aware of the following
topics:

197
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

What are petrochemicals

___________________

What are the various feedstock and products overall configuration of


a petrochemical complex

___________________

What are base petrochemicals, intermediates and derivatives

___________________

Key elements in planning and integration of a petrochemical complex

___________________
___________________

Introduction
Petrochemicals are usually plastic products and chemicals that are
derived from petroleum or natural gas and are made on a large
scale. The petrochemical industry means manufacture, supply and
distribution of plastics, fibres and chemicals which are produced
from one of the petroleum products as starting material or
feedstock. Petroleum products from refinery and natural gas,
supply over 50% of the feedstock for the entire chemical industry
and more than 50% of organic chemicals.
The petrochemical industry can use other organic or inorganic
material as feedstock along with feedstock of petroleum origin. For
example polythene is made only with feedstock of petroleum origin
(naphtha or ethane as feedstock). But PVC, another petrochemical
product, besides having naphtha or ethane as feedstock, also uses
chlorine as another raw material in its manufacture.
It is amazing how much oil and gas has penetrated into our lives
today. Oil is not just petrol or diesel. The toothbrush we use to
start the day, the suit we wear, the fuel we use in our vehicles, the
car interiors, back home with cosy furniture, tapestry, and
mattress of the bed we sleep on - petrochemicals have got into our
lives everywhere.
Petrochemicals consume only a tiny fraction (5 to 6%) of the
worlds oil production to give high value products.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

198
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Polyester Clothing

Nylon Can

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

PVC Pipes

Acrylic Carpet

Figure 17.1: Petrochemicals in Our Lives

As one can see below, petrochemical industry starts with this


feedstock of petroleum origin, undergoes processing to generate
intermediate chemicals. These intermediate chemicals are further
processed mostly through polymerization, but also some times
through other synthesis processes to generate finished products.
A vast majority of the petrochemical products are polymers, whose
molecular size and structure are tailored by reaction process to suit
specific characteristics or properties.
Most of the petrochemical products are polymers, which means
molecules formed by combination of several (in thousands) small
molecules of olefins called monomers. Polymers are essentially
used as plastics or fibres as shown in Table 17.1.
Table 17.1: Polymers in Petrochemical Industry
Plastics
Polythene
Polypropylene
Polystyrene
PVC
Polycarbonate
Polyester

Fibers
Polyester
Polypropylene
Nylon
Polyurethane
Cellulose
Polyacrylonitrile

Polymerization Basics
Here we will talk about the basics of Polymerization.

Monomers and Polymers


Some organic molecules with double or triple bond have tendency
to join together several times to form a large molecule. Such

UNIT 17: Petrochemical Industry

molecules are called monomers. Monomers are tiny molecules e.g.


ethylene (mol. wt. 28). The end product is a large molecule called
Polymer. A polymer could be of molecular weight of thousands or
million.

199
Notes
___________________
___________________

A is a monomer that combines to form a polymer.

___________________

When another different monomer B join the same


polymer chain, the polymer is called co-polymer

___________________
___________________

AAAAAAA

___________________

AAAAAAA
B

___________________

___________________
Figure 17.2: Monomers and Polymers
___________________

Example: Propylene Polymerization

___________________

Monomer in this case is Propylene: CH2 = CH CH3


A number of propylene molecules chemically combine to form
Polypropylene molecule as depicted below:
_

CH2 CH CH2 CH CH2 CH CH2 CH CH2 CH


CH3

CH3

CH3

CH3

CH3

If n molecules of propylene combine to form a polymer, its


chemical formula is depicted as:

It creates numerous possibilities of molecules of different sizes and


configuration. The polymer molecule can be tailor made to suit
specific application. By selecting the catalyst and operating
conditions for polymerization, one can tailor the size and structure
of the polymer molecule.

Co-polymer
When a polymer is made by linking only one type of small
molecules or monomers together, it is called a homo-polymer.
When two different types of monomers are joined in the same
polymer chain, the polymer is called a co-polymer. Two monomers
A and B can join together in different manner to form co-polymers:

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

200

Alternating Co-polymer: A B A B A B A B A B

Notes
Activity
Find___________________
out using the Internet
which is the thinnest and
___________________
thickest
form of Polythene in
use ___________________
in our daily lives.

Random Co-polymer:

A B A A A B B A A A

Block Co-polymer:

A A A A A B B B B B

Graft Co-polymer:

A A A A A A A A A A
|
|
B
B
|
|
B
B
|
|
B
B

___________________
___________________
___________________

___________________

Again it creates numerous possibilities to generate polymers with


different characteristics.

___________________

Number of molecules of A that can be combined together to


form various polymers it can be 2000, 5000, 10,000 or some
other number.

Various combinations of copolymers.

Number of molecules of A and B that can form the copolymers.

___________________

___________________

Thus polymer chemists can develop polymers of different molecular


sizes with varying properties to suit a particular application.
In other words, to a certain extent, the polymers are tailor made.
In the next section, a wide range of polymer products are
described. This gives an idea of the wide range of chemicals that
are made.

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. .. are organic molecules with double or
triple bond that have a tendency to join together several
times to form a large molecule.
2. When a polymer is made by linking only one type of
small molecules or monomers together, it is called a
.. .

Some Common Polymer Plastics


In this section some common polymer plastics are described along
with examples of how they are tailored to suit a particular product
application.

UNIT 17: Petrochemical Industry

Polythene

201

Polythene is among the most widely used polymers. It has simple


structure with several ethylene molecules forming a chain. In this
case ethane or naphtha is cracked to make ethylene, which is then
polymerized.

Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________

Examples of polythene products are grocery bags, shampoo


bottles, toys, and even bullet proof vests.
Sometimes some of the carbons, instead of having straight chains
of ethane monomers joining together, have branches of a number of
monomers together. This is called branched, or low-density
polyethylene, or LDPE.
When there is no branching, it is called linear high density
polyethylene, or HDPE. HDPE is much stronger than branched
polyethylene, but branched polyethylene finds special application
for making low cost products (polythene bags) as it is cheaper.
Linear polyethylene is normally produced with molecular weights
in the range of 200,000 to 500,000. This means polymer with 7,000
to 17,000 ethylene monomers joining together. Polyethylene with
molecular weights of three to six million is referred to as ultra-high
molecular weight polyethylene, or UHMWPE. UHMWPE is so
strong that it is used for making bullet proof vests.
LLDPE Film Rolls
and Extruder for films

HDPE Container
and carry bag

Figure 17.3: Polythene Products

PVC
Polyvinyl chloride is the plastic commonly known as PVC. It finds
wide applications in PVC pipes for transportation of water.
PVC is made from vinyl chloride as monomer. Vinyl chloride is a
copolymer of acetylene and chlorine. Acetylene is of petroleum
origin produced by cracking of ethane or naphtha.
PVC is useful because it resists two things:
z

It resists water

It resists fire

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

202
Notes
___________________
___________________

It is used for making water resistant such as raincoats, shower


curtains, water pipes and floorings etc. It has flame resistance too,
because it contains chlorine. When PVC catches fire, chlorine
atoms are released, and chlorine atoms inhibit combustion.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 17.4: Vinyl Floorings

Synthetic Rubber
In the middle of nineteenth century, scientists cracked natural
rubber molecules into oil, tar and a volatile compound which they
called spirit. The spirit molecule was identified as C5H8 and
named Isoprene.
Manufacture of Synthetic Rubbers is reverse process of above.
Synthetic rubbers are polymer products from monomers (e.g.
Isoprene) obtained from processing of feedstock from petroleum.
In 1960s, Bayer developed two types of synthetic rubber by
polymerizing Butadiene and named Buna:
z

Buna S styrene butadiene rubber, SBR

Buna N butadiene acrylonitrile rubber, NBR

The other major elastomers (polymers with elastic properties like


rubber) developed during mid-twentieth century are polychloroprene and butyl rubber (poly isobutylene). Development of
new elastomers is taking place continuously.

UNIT 17: Petrochemical Industry

203

TREAD OF TYRE:
made of random copolymers
of styrene and butadiene.
SIDE WALLS:
made of polyisoprene.
INNER LINER:
made of polyisobutylene.

Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Polyisoprene

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 17.5: Automobile Parts

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. . is the plastic commonly known as PVC.
2. Synthetic rubbers are polymer products from . .

Petrochemicals in Our Lives


As explained in the beginning, there are numerous plastic
polymers of petroleum origin playing major role in our lives. Let us
take a quick overview of some more plastics of petrochemical
origin.

Automobile Parts
Auto body parts are made of polymer like acrylonitrile-butadienestyrene plastic, called ABS.

Figure 17.6: Car Body Part Made of ABS Plastic

Electronic Industry Components


Electronics industry is based on materials like copper which are
good conductors. For effective functioning, all conductors need good
insulators.

___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

204
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Polymers being good insulators, cables are insulated with polymers


like polyethylene and polyisoprene.
For wires that get heated up, insulation made from a fireproof
polymer called polyvinylidene fluoride is used.
These are other examples of how polymers are tailor made to suit a
particular application.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 17.7: Cables, Wires and Connectors

Fabrics and Fibres


Fibre industry forms another stream of the petrochemical
industry. Many of the fibres start with aromatics like Benzene and
Xylene extracted from naphtha as the starting material. The
aromatics pass through a number of processing and synthesis steps
to form plastics like:
Poly-ethylene terepthalate (PET) which are glass like material
used to make transparent bottles.
Polyester fibres, Nylon etc. which get into our clothing.
Polycarbonates which are hard and can be used as engineering
plastics to make items like gear in our car speedometers.
Sweaters : acrylics, like
polyacrylonitrile or rayon

Dresses :polyester

Socks have same polymers like nylon


(and cotton/ cellulose) and spandex a kind
of polyurethane.

Figure 17.8: Fabrics and Fibres

UNIT 17: Petrochemical Industry

Sweaters: Acrylics, like polyacrylonitrile or rayon

205
Notes

Dresses: Polyester
Socks have same polymers like nylon (and cotton/cellulose) and
spandex a kind of polyurethane.

___________________
___________________
___________________

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. Auto body parts are made of polymer like .
plastic.
2. . are hard fibres and can be used as
engineering plastics to make items like gear in car
speedometers.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

High Impact Plastics


Generally telephone or mobile phone dropping to the ground still
works. That is because it is made of plastics which are hard and
can take impact. The outside casing is made from a special kind of
high-impact polystyrene. It is a copolymer of polystyrene with a
rubbery polymer, polybutadiene. It is much less brittle than
regular polystyrene.
This again is an example of tailoring a polymer molecule to suit a
specific application.
Many of the toys for kids, which have to bear the impact of falling
from hands and still work, are made from polystyrene.

Figure 17.9: High Impact Plastic

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

206
Notes
___________________
___________________

Foam
Fast food often comes in boxes made of polystyrene foam.
Napkins are made of paper, which is a form of a polymer called
cellulose.

___________________

Polystyrene again comes from aromatics as starting material.

___________________

Each of such petrochemicals passes through transformation into


other intermediate chemicals and then polymerization into final
products. Aromatic called ethyl benzene is one of the starting
materials to make polystyrene.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Another variety of foam is polyurethane foam. These are commonly


used to make mattresses.

___________________

Figure 17.10: Foams

Polypropylene
Polypropylene as the name suggests is a polymer of propylene.
Propylene is made by cracking petrochemical feedstock like
propane, butane or naphtha. The usefulness of propylene comes
from its ability to stand rain and humidity.
It is used for carpeting indoor and outdoor, making containers,
water pipes, stationary and file covers.

Figure 17.11: Polypropylene Products

UNIT 17: Petrochemical Industry

Polymethyl Methacrylate
z

207
Notes

Blended with aluminium oxides becomes heat resistant sold


as laminating material for furniture

___________________

Used as kitchen countertop

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 17.12: Kitchen Countertop

Capsule Tray
and
Capsules

First Aid Kit

Disposable Surgery Kit


Figure 17.13: Pharmacy Products

___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

208
Notes
Activity
Give
some examples of waste
___________________
from manipulated Polymers
___________________
being
reclaimed
and
remolded.
___________________
___________________
___________________

Pharmacy and Cosmetics


Petrochemicals have invaded in this industry also in the form of
numerous products like:
z

Capsule shell

Disposable syringes

Containers for medicines

Packaging for medicines

___________________

Check Your Progress

___________________

Fill in the blanks:

___________________

1. High impact .. is a copolymer of polystyrene


with a rubbery polymer, polybutadiene.

___________________
___________________

2. .. is made by cracking petrochemical


feedstock like propane, butane or naphtha.

Types of Plastics
Now having identified plastic materials let us look at broad
classification based on its thermal (transformation by heat or
moulding) properties:

Thermoplastics
Organic long chain polymers that can be soft when heated are
suitable for moulding. As explained earlier, the polymers can have
different properties and application by manipulating molecular
weight. Typical examples below are of polythene (also called
polyethylene):
z

LLDPE (Linear Low Density Polyethylene): Used to make


thin films

LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene): Films, sheets, moulded


articles

HDPE (High Density Polyethylene): Bottles, moulded


containers, pipes

Polypropylene: Moulded articles, coarse fibres

Polystyrene: Car interiors, disposable food containers

PVC: Table cloth, shower curtain, shoes, auto upholstery

Waste from these can be reclaimed and remolded.

UNIT 17: Petrochemical Industry

Thermosetting Resins
Plastics of these types undergo changes during processing such
that they can not be softened and remolded. Hence it is difficult to
reclaim such plastics. Examples of this type are:

209
Notes
___________________
___________________

Phenol formaldehyde resins: glues, plywood industry,

___________________

Urea formaldehyde resins: Storage vessels

___________________

Check Your Progress

___________________

Fill in the blanks:

___________________

1. .. is used to make bottles, moulded


containers and pipes.

___________________

2. .. is used to make Car interiors and


disposable food containers.

___________________

Summary
It is amazing how much oil and gas has penetrated into our lives
today. Oil is not just petrol or diesel. The toothbrush we use to
start the day, the suit we wear, the fuel we use in our vehicles, the
car interiors, back home with cosy furniture, tapestry, and
mattress of the bed we sleep on - petrochemicals have got into our
lives everywhere.

Lesson End Activity


Give the chemical formula for formation of Polythene.

Keywords
Petrochemicals: They are usually plastic products and chemicals
that are derived from petroleum or natural gas and are made on a
large scale.
Monomers: They are organic molecules with double or triple bond
which have a tendency to join together several times to form a
large molecule.
Propylene: It is made by cracking petrochemical feedstock like
propane, butane or naphtha.

___________________

___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

210

Questions for Discussion

Notes

1.

What are Monomers, polymers and Co-polymers?

2.

List the different kinds of Polymers in use.

___________________

3.

What are High impact plastics? Explain the different types.

___________________

4.

What are the various Thermoplastics in use? Give examples.

___________________
___________________

___________________
___________________

Further Readings

___________________

Books

___________________

Arthur J. Kidnay, William R. Parrish, Dan McCartney,


Fundamentals of Natural Gas Processing, Second Edition

___________________
___________________

Dominic C. Y. Foo, Mahmoud M. El-Halwagi, Raymond R. Tan,


Recent Advances in Sustainable Process Design and Optimization

Web Readings
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural-gas_processing
www.linde-india.com/.../Natural%20Gas%20Processing%20Plants.
pd...
www.bv.com/Downloads/Resources/.../rsrc_ENR_Gas
Processing.pdf
ftp://ftp.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/...gas/.../ngprocess/ngprocess.pdf
We

UNIT 18: Production of Petrochemicals

Unit 18
Production of Petrochemicals
Objectives
After completion of this unit, the students will be aware of the following
topics:

211
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Petrochemicals

___________________

The various feedstock and products overall configuration of a


petrochemical complex

___________________

Base petrochemicals, intermediates and derivatives

___________________

Key elements in planning and integration of a petrochemical complex

___________________
___________________

Introduction
This unit summarizes various feedstock of petroleum origin,
intermediate step of processing the feedstock and the end product.
This is further elaborated in the form of a macro-level diagram of
the whole petrochemical industry.

Feedstock to Products in Petrochemical Industry


The petrochemical industry comprises of a number of processing
steps:
The feedstocks are:
z

Refinery products such as naphtha, gas oil

Refinery gases containing olefins

Ethane, propane, butane and NGL separated from natural gas.


Methane, which forms the bulk of the natural gas, is also a
source for petrochemicals.

The first step is to produce the base petrochemicals or primary


petrochemicals e.g. olefins (ethylene, propylene) which are
monomers, aromatics which are starting point for fibre industry,
and synthesis gas (CO and H2) which is the starting point of urea
fertilizer and methanol manufacture.
Petrochemical intermediates are generally produced by chemical
conversion of base petrochemicals to form more complicated
derivative products.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

212

Table 18.1: Various Feedstock of Petroleum Origin

Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 18.1: The Petrochemical Industry

Petrochemical derivative products can be made in many ways


directly from base petrochemicals; through intermediate products
which are based on only carbon and hydrogen; and through
intermediate products which add chlorine, nitrogen or oxygen in
the finished derivative.
Some typical petrochemical intermediates are:
z

Vinyl chloride for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin manufacture.

Ethylene glycol for polyester textile fibres.

Styrene which
manufacturing.

is

important

in

rubber

and

plastic

UNIT 18: Production of Petrochemicals

213
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
Figure 18.2: Natural Gas to Petrochemicals

Then, there are polymerization and other synthesis processes to


make the bulk plastics (polymers), fibres and other bulk
petrochemicals.
There are numerous intermediate chemicals and derivatives often
needing each other to make final product. Cross flow of chemicals
take place to various process units to get into the end products.

Figure 18.3: Naphtha to Petrochemicals

Simple schematic diagram of petrochemical industry based on


natural gas route and naphtha route are given in Figure 18.3 and
Figure 18.4.
Steam reforming of methane gives intermediates to manufacture
urea fertilizer and methanol. Cracking of ethane, propane, LPG

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

214
Notes
Activity
Show
the chemical reactions
___________________
taking
place
in
steam
___________________
processing
when natural gas,
methane or naphtha is taken
___________________
as feedstock and synthesis
gas ___________________
(CO+H2) is produced.

etc. give olefins as intermediates, which are polymerized into


plastics.
The naphtha route has two sub-routes the cracking route which
produces olefins to give polymer plastics and the aromatics route
which gives intermediates to produce fibres.

Check Your Progress

___________________

Fill in the blanks:

___________________

1. Petrochemical intermediates are generally produced by


. of base petrochemicals to form more
complicated derivative products.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

2. The . route has two sub-routes: the


cracking route and the aromatics route.

Production of the Base Petrochemicals


The three main units to generate the base petrochemicals are:

Steam Cracking of Gases and Naphtha


In this unit, the feedstock is cracked in presence of steam under
high temperature. It takes ethane, propane, LPG, NGL, naphtha or
gas oil as feedstock and produces olefins such as ethylene,
propylene, butylene, butadiene and other intermediates by cracking.
If naphtha is cracked, besides olefins, pyrolysis gasoline containing
benzene and other chemicals are formed. Naphtha cracker also has
the advantage compared to ethane crackers that due to numerous
components of naphtha being cracked, a wider range of olefins are
formed as intermediate products. This gives the opportunity to
produce a wider range of petrochemicals compared to
ethane/propane cracker, which gives mainly ethylene and some
propylene as intermediates for making polymers.
On the other hand investment cost for naphtha cracker is higher
than that of ethane cracker.

Aromatics Extraction Unit


This unit takes reformate product from the catalytic reforming
unit of a refinery and pyrolysis gasoline from Naphtha Cracker as
feedstock. The reformate is rich in aromatics. By solvent extraction
process, the aromatics are extracted out of the reformate. Then
fractionation is done to separate the aromatic components to

UNIT 18: Production of Petrochemicals

produce BTX (Benzene, Toluene and Xylenes). The BTX forms the
intermediate product to manufacture synthetic fibres.

215
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure18.4: Production of the Base Petrochemicals

Steam Reforming
Takes natural gas, methane or naphtha as feedstock and produces
synthesis gas (CO+H2), which become precursors to urea fertilizers
and other petrochemical products. Methanol is an intermediate
product from which other petrochemical products like
formaldehyde and acetic acid are manufactured.
The next section describes how the base chemicals lead to
products.

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. Investment cost for naphtha cracker is higher than that
of cracker.
2. takes natural gas, methane or
naphtha as feedstock and produces synthesis gas, which
becomes precursors to urea fertilizers and other
petrochemical products.

Ethylene Production by Steam Cracking


Cracking to Produce Olefins
A block diagram of the process is presented in Figure 18.5. The
feedstock (e.g. ethane, naphtha) is cracked in tubular furnace at

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

216
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

high temperature (~850C) in presence of steam. The extent of


cracking and product slate depends on operating conditions and
feedstock used. Cracking produces olefins and other products.
Ethane as feedstock will produce mainly ethylene while naphtha
cracking will produce a wide array of olefins like ethylene,
propylene, butylene, and butadiene. Some pyrolysis gasoline, rich
in aromatics, is formed when naphtha is cracked.
At the reaction temperature the products are in gaseous state.
Cracked gases are rapidly quenched with water to control the
reaction. Further steps are:

___________________

Removal of heavy components like pyrolysis gasoline

___________________

Compression of the gases.

___________________

Removal of acid gas and bulk water

___________________

Drying

Liquefaction of the gases by cryogenic (sub-zero temperature)


processing.

Fractionation of the liquid to separate the olefins.

Thermodynamic and kinetic considerations require following


process conditions:
z

Very short retention time to minimize the development of


slower condensation processes.

Effective quench of the reactor effluents to fix the composition


and prevent any subsequent reactions.

Figure 18.5: Cracked Gas Processing

Feedstock pricing and product demand determines the selection of


feedstock for cracking to olefins.

Effect of Feedstock
The effect of feedstock on the yields of intermediates is shown in
Table 18.2. As stated earlier, naphtha and gas oil yield a wider
range of intermediates including aromatics compared to ethane.

UNIT 18: Production of Petrochemicals

Table 18.2: Influence of Feedstock on


Steam Cracker Yields (% wt)

217
Notes
Activity
Find___________________
out what the components
of urea fertilizer are, with the
help___________________
of the Internet.
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. The extent of cracking and product slate depends on
.. and .. .
2. Feedstock pricing and .. determines the
selection of feedstock for cracking to olefins.

Steam Reforming
Methane or naphtha is steam reformed to produce synthesis gas,
which is essentially a mixture of carbon monoxide, hydrogen and
carbon dioxide. CO and H2 form the basic material from which urea
fertilizer and methanol are made.
Natural gas is first treated to remove traces of H2S. Then, a
mixture of purified natural gas and steam is superheated to 850C
in a furnace (reformer), where it is converted to synthesis gas
consisting of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.
The reactions involved in steam reforming are:
z

CH4 + H2O = CO + 3H2

CO + H2O = CO2 + H2

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

218
Notes
___________________

When hydrogen is the desired product, the reforming reaction is


followed by the well-known water gas shift reaction to convert
essentially all of CO to CO2. This is done when the process is

___________________

meant for manufacture of ammonia, which is an intermediate step


for making urea fertilizer.

___________________

Various steps in the process are:

___________________

Methane-rich gas (feed) at around 40 to 50 bar pressure is


preheated by reformer flue gas or out going process synthesis
gas.

Preheated feed then enters the desulfuriser to ensure removal


of H2S and other sulfur compounds to a specification of

___________________

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

0.1 ppm.
z

Steam is added to desulfurised feed and further heated to


850C before entering the primary reformer.

Product gas is cooled to 340-455oC and the gas enters high


temperature shift reactor containing a catalyst.

Removal of CO2 to get hydrogen.

To make ammonia, nitrogen produced by liquefaction of air and


distillation, is reacted with the hydrogen. Further reaction of
ammonia with carbon monoxide produces urea.
Methanol Synthesis
There are two main chemical reactions which occur in this process
step:
z

CO + 2H2 = CH3OH

CO2 +3H2 = CH3OH + H2O

These reactions are also carried out over a catalyst at around


130C.
The net effect of these reactions is the production of a crude
methanol stream which is about 80% methanol and 20% water.
Crude methanol from the reactor is fed to the product purification
section. This section consists of a topping column and a refining
column. Hot reformer gas provides heat for distillation. The
product methanol specification is for a water content of less that
0.10 wt %.

UNIT 18: Production of Petrochemicals

219
Flue Gas

Notes
Activity
CH4
Natural Gas

Reformer

H2O
Steam

CO+H3
CO+H
2
2
Synthesis Gas

To Burner

To hydrogen
consumer

Find___________________
out
what
the
comsumption of BTX in India
is. ___________________
___________________

Methanol
Converter

H2

Methanol

___________________

Purge Gas

CHOH/HO
3
2
Methanol/Water

___________________
Distillation

___________________
___________________
Water

___________________
Figure 18.6: Methanol from Synthesis Gas

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. Methane or naphtha is steam reformed to produce
. .
2. CO and H2 form the basic material from which
. and . are made.

Aromatics Production
Key Aromatic Intermediates
As described earlier the main products are benzene, toluene and
xylenes (BTX), which go as feedstock for manufacture of synthetic
fibres like nylon, polyesters, etc.

Figure 18.7: World Consumption of Benzene-2010

___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

220
Notes

Composition of Reformate and Pyrolysis Gasoline

___________________

Pyrolysis gasoline comes from the steam cracking of naphtha for the
production of ethylene, propene and higher olefins. As indicated in
Table 18.3, pyrolysis gasoline is quite rich in aromatics.

___________________

Table 18.3: Composition of Reformate and Pyrolysis Gasoline

___________________

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Aromatics Recovery Process


The first process unit for production of aromatics is Catalytic
Reforming of naphtha. As described earlier, this unit is normally
located in a refinery. To produce the key components (BTX), a
naphtha cut is prepared in the refinery which is in the boiling
range of BTX and then it is sent for reforming process. Reforming
converts paraffins and naphthenic components of naphtha to
aromatics.
The next step is Aromatics Extraction. Benzene, toluene and
xylenes are taken out of the reformer product by solvent extraction
process.
A series of distillation columns follow to separate out the benzene,
toluene and xylene components.
Benzene and toluene are distilled out in the first three columns.
Xylenes fraction, which is a mixture of the isomers ortho-xylene,
meta-xylene and para-xylene are sent to the next series of columns
to separate them.

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. .. comes from the steam cracking of
naphtha for the production of ethylene, propene and
higher olefins.
2. The first process unit for production of aromatics is
.. .

UNIT 18: Production of Petrochemicals

Intermediate and Derivative Petrochemicals


The next step is to create a number of other chemicals called
derivative chemicals from the base petrochemicals.
The idea is to create new products with various permutation and
combinations of reaction between the intermediate chemicals.
It is like kaleidoscope creating different symmetrical images
through combination of bits of glasses of different colour. The
intermediates are like the bits of glasses. The finished plastics are
the end images.
Let us see some typical examples. The ideal example is the
ethylene derivatives or intermediate petrochemicals based on
ethylene.
A simple configuration of petrochemicals based on ethylene is
presented in Figure18.7. Here the primary processing of cracking
generates the base petrochemical (ethylene).
From base petrochemical, the intermediate petrochemicals are
synthesized, e.g. Vinyl chloride monomer and styrene.
The final products in the block diagram polythene, VCM are
ethylene derivatives.

Figure 18.8: Reforming and BTX Production Process

Figure 18.9: Ethylene Chain

221
Notes
Activity
Give
another example of a
___________________
derivative chemical formed
from___________________
its base petrochemical.
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

222
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Processing for End Products Polymerization


So far we looked into the various methods to produce the base
petrochemicals. The base petrochemicals pass through a number of
processing steps to produce the end products.
The products are numerous. So are the processes. Let us look at a
few examples to understand the various steps leading to end
products.

Polymerization
Polymerization is the final step in getting commercial grade
plastics or fibres. Polymerization processes are carried out in the
presence of a catalyst. There are various techniques of initiating
and controlling the polymerization reaction. Polymerization could
be in vapour phase or liquid phase or with suspension of catalysts
in a liquid medium. The operating temperatures and pressures
vary widely from process to process.
Generally the reaction is highly exothermic. Hence removal of heat
during the reaction is important in controlling the reaction.
Polymers are formed as granules in the reactor. They are
separated, dried and finally packed as bulk product.

Polythene Production
Ethylene is fed to the reactor bed reactor where polymerization
occurs. The temperature is controlled by circulation of the contents
of the reactor through a cooler. The polyethylene are withdrawn
from the reactor, and treated to stop residual catalyst activity.
Depending on the requirement of the polyethylene grade and end
product application, the polyethylene is either conveyed to the
extruder systems where additives are combined to produce natural
pelletised grades or to the compounding facility, where the product
is combined with dedicated colour master batches to form fully
formulated compounds.
The resins are then dried, homogenized and bagged for delivery.

UNIT 18: Production of Petrochemicals

223
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
Figure 18.10: Processing for End Products

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)


Polyvinyl Chloride is a chlorinated hydrocarbon polymer. It is
produced from vinyl chloride monomer (chemical formula
CH2=CHCl). The monomer is called VCM.
It is one example where besides feedstock of petroleum origin, an
inorganic compound also is one of the raw materials. Vinyl
Chloride Monomer (VCM) is produced from the raw materials of
ethylene and chlorine.
For the production of PVC, VCM need to be produced first. VCM is
produced in three steps in figure 18.11
Direct chlorination: Ethylene and chlorine are combined in a
continuous process to form Ethylene Dichloride (EDC).
EDC cracking: EDC is thermally decomposed into VCM and
hydrogen chloride.
The hydrogen chloride is recycled as feedstock to a further stage,
the oxychlorination. Unconverted EDC is separated and recycled.
The VCM is purified for use in PVC production.
Oxychlorination: Recycled hydrogen chloride is reacted with
further ethylene feedstock in the presence of copper chloride
catalyst and oxygen. This produces further quantities of EDC,
while excess hydrogen is oxidized to form water.
VCM thus produced is taken to the next step, which is
polymerization to PVC.

___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

224
Notes

Hydrogen Chloride Recycle


Ethylene

___________________

Oxygen

___________________

Ethylene
Chlorine

EDC Recycle
Oxychlorination
EDC Purification

EDC Cracking

VCM

Direct Chlorination

By Product

___________________

Water

___________________

Figure 18.11: Process for VCM

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 18.12: PVC Process

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. Polyvinyl Chloride is a chlorinated
polymer.
2. For the production of PVC, needs to be
produced first.

Summary
In this unit, an overview of the processing steps in the
petrochemical industry was presented with macro-level block
diagram, defining the feedstock and the final products. The steps
were further elaborated for each of the major feedstock like
naphtha and ethane.
The primary petrochemical units like steam cracker, steam
reforming and aromatics unit were described with flow diagram.

UNIT 18: Production of Petrochemicals

The base petrochemicals produced by the primary units were


defined.
The processing steps required converting the base petrochemicals
into derivative petrochemicals and final products were described.

Lesson End Activity


Make an integrated block diagram of a petrochemical complex with
both naphtha and ethane as feedstock.

Keywords
Petrochemical Industry: Means manufacture, supply and
distribution of plastics, fibres and chemicals which are produced
from one of the petroleum products as starting material or
feedstock.
PVC: Polyvinyl chloride is the plastic commonly known as PVC. It
finds wide applications in PVC pipes for transportation of water.
Polyethylene terepthalate (PET): They are glass like material
used to make transparent bottles.

Questions for Discussion


1.

What is the feedstock for petrochemical production and how is


the feedstock generated? Trace from the oil and gas as starting
material with block diagram.

2.

Identify 10 items of daily use of petrochemical origin and


identify the base petrochemical from which they are made.

3.

Describe with a block diagram use of methane as feedstock.

4.

Describe ethane cracking process with block diagram.

5.

Draw a block diagram tracing the origin of polythene from the


gas field.

6.

What is polymerization? What are copolymers? Describe the


process to make PVC.

8.

Expand the following:


(a) PVC
(b) VCM
(c) LLDPE

225
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

226
Notes

9.

Describe thermoplastic
examples.

and

thermosetting

resins

with

___________________
___________________

Further Readings

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Books
Albert V. Hahn, Roger Williams, Herman Zabel, The
petrochemical industry: market and economics, Technology &
Engineering, 1970
Alain Chauvel, Gilles Lefebvre, 1989, Petrochemical Processes:
Major Oxygenated, Chlorinated and Nitrated
Klaus Weissermel,
chemistry, Science

Hans-Jrgen

Arpe,

Industrial

organic

Web Readings
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petrochemical
www.cci.in/pdf/surveys.../chemical-petrochemical-industry.pdf
www.chemtech-online.com/.../01/indian-petrochemicalindustry.php
info.shine.com Industry Information

UNIT 19: Transportation of Oil, Gas and Products: Pipelines

Unit 19
Transportation of Oil, Gas and
Products: Pipelines

227
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Objectives

___________________

After completion of this unit, the students will be aware of the following
topics:

___________________

Basic configuration of pipeline and its hardware components

___________________

Special technologies used in pipeline like SCADA, Intelligent Pigging,


etc.

___________________

Salient features of offshore and on-land pipeline

___________________
___________________

Introduction
Hydrocarbons need to be transported from the place where it is
produced, to the different users. This unit talks about the different
forms of transportation of such Hydrocarbons through pipelines.

Modes of Transportation
Hydrocarbons, liquid or gas can be transported from the source of
generation to the bulk user in different ways depending on the
location of the source and the user; whether they are located at
land or sea, the distance and terrain between the two and the
quantity to be transported.
Bulk transportation is done by:
Pipeline
Marine Tankers and Barges
Road and Railway Tankers Pipeline
Pipeline is used for transportation on land (onshore pipeline) and
also along the bed of sea (subsea or offshore pipeline), up to a few
hundred meters of water depth. For bulk movement of hydrocarbon,
pipeline is often the most economical way of transportation. Long
distance pipeline is also termed as cross country pipeline, since the
pipeline crosses through several hundred kilometres of land across
the country or covering a number of countries. Land based pipeline

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

228
Notes
___________________

is far more economic. Subsea pipeline is used where either pipeline


has got to cross the sea or the land is inaccessible due to unfriendly
terrain or other reasons.

___________________

Marine Tankers and Barges

___________________

Marine tankers and barges are used for bulk supply across the sea,
where for some reason transport by subsea pipeline is either not
economical (e.g. due to depth of sea) or technically or politically not
feasible. Supply of the cargo is effected in batches and not continuous.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Road and Railway Tankers

___________________

Road and railway tankers are used for transport where the bulk
quantity of the cargo is comparatively less, transport is on land
and the distances are also comparatively less.

___________________
___________________

Oil and Product Transportation in India


A vast network with combination of marine tanker, pipeline, road
and rail transportation mode is used:
Crude oil from indigenous sources is brought to the refinery by
pipeline. For imported crude oil, import up to the port terminal
is by marine tankers and it is taken further by pipeline.
The products distribution network from refineries to depots is
by road, railway and also product pipeline. Marine
transportation is also used for products.
Transportation to the retail outlets from depots is normally
done by road tankers.
Transportation of gas is normally by pipeline. LNG is transported
by marine tankers. LPG can be transported by pipeline, marine
tankers, road and railway tankers.

Figure 19.1: Modes of Transportation

UNIT 19: Transportation of Oil, Gas and Products: Pipelines

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:

229
Notes
Activity

1. For bulk movement of hydrocarbon is


often the most economical way of transportation.

Find___________________
out using the Internet
which are the Major Gas
___________________
pipelines
in India.

2. Long distance pipeline is also termed as pipeline.

___________________
___________________

Pipeline Systems
Pipeline is the most preferred option to transport oil, gas or
products in bulk. It could be thousands of km long, branched and
networked.
Configuration of both oil and gas pipeline are very similar. A cross
country oil or gas pipeline system normally starts with pumping of
oil or compression of gas to develop the requisite pressure to travel
a long distance. The pressure required for pumping of oil or
compression of gas depends on pipeline length, pipe diameter, and
destination pressure requirements. For long pipelines (hundreds of
km), booster compressors for gas pipeline and booster pumps for oil
pipeline are required along the length.
Gas or oil (or any other liquid being transported) is distributed
along the length to many customers. Normally the following
minimum processing facilities are required upstream at the
oilfield, which has been described earlier:
Separation of oil, condensate and free water
Compression of gas, if necessary to deliver at required
pressure at shore
Pumping of oil
Dehydration of gas to protect the pipeline from corrosion
Sweetening, if necessary, to remove H2S
Metering
Corrosion inhibitor injection

Configuration of Cross Country Pipeline


A typical cross country pipeline system starting from an offshore
field has the following facilities along its route as shown in Figure
19.2:
An offshore platform where the oil or gas is produced.
PLEM near the platform (Pipeline End Manifold) from where
the pipeline starts (or a Despatch Terminal on land).

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

230
Notes
___________________

An SPM (Single Point Mooring) connecting the subsea pipeline


to a tanker, if oil is transferred from a tanker instead of
platform.

___________________

Pig Launcher.

___________________

Subsea pipeline reaching shore at what is called Landfall


Point.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

A Receiving Terminal at the landfall point. It has equipment


like pig receiver, filter, storage for oil, pumping for gas,
processing of gas, compression and dehydration. The
description of the various equipments is given in later part of
this unit.
From the receiving terminal oil or gas is sent through cross
country pipeline, which could be hundreds of kilometres in length
to several customers along the route. There could be several
customers along the routes like power stations, fertilizer plants or
other industries.
For distribution to each customer, there will be a Distribution
Terminal having filter, meter, etc.
Normally, there are booster stations with booster compressors for
gas and booster pumps for oil after every few hundred kilometres
to compensate for the pressure loss in the pipeline.
The entire facility is monitored and managed by SCADA system.
SCADA is a central monitoring system, which monitors the entire
pipeline parameters over several hundred kilometres by telemetry
and telecontrol.
Normally, LPG and petrochemical feedstock like ethane/propane
are taken out before giving the gas to the industrial consumer. The
bulk of the remaining gas is mainly methane (above 90% by
volume).

Figure 19.2: Pipeline Configuration

UNIT 19: Transportation of Oil, Gas and Products: Pipelines

Example of Cross Country Pipeline


There are several pipelines in Europe and the Americas over
thousand kilometres long, carrying gas, or oil or products. In India
the longest pipeline so far is the HBJ Pipeline (Named after the
land route Hazira-Bijapur- Jagdishpur) along with its origin at the
offshore fields at the west coast.
The line originates at offshore, carrying associated gas from
Mumbai High and free gas from South Bassein fields to Hazira. It
is a 36 inch diameter pipeline. It was designed to carry
20MMSCMD of gas, expandable to 30 MMSCMD capacity. After
treatment of gas at Hazira, the HBJ pipeline starts with
compression of the gas. Its first phase was 1700 KM long, traveling
through Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh to UP and North
India. Along its entire route, it provides feedstock to a number of
fertilizer plants and power plants at a number of places (Guna,
Vijaipur, etc.) LPG plants extract the LPG before the gas is given
to the buyer. Also there are six booster stations.

Figure 19.3: HBJ Pipeline

Pipeline Facilities Description


Now let us look at the some of the equipment described in the
previous section in order to get a better understanding.

231
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

232
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

PLEM and SPM


Figure 19.4 shows offshore platform linked to a PLEM, from where
the pipeline starts. PLEM means Pipeline End Manifold, which is
essentially a set of valves and flanges along with pipe header
supported by steel structure, from where the pipeline carrying oil,
gas or any other material starts. Piping from the platform carrying
oil or gas is joined at the PLEM, which is fixed at the sea bed by
piling.
PLEM also has pig launcher, the function of which will be
explained later.

___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 19.4: Offshore Platform and PLEM

Figure 19.4 also shows a tanker being loaded with the oil produced
in the platform. For this a floating manifold called SPM (Single
Point Mooring) is utilized. A more detailed picture of an SPM is
given in Figure 19.5.
It essentially is a floating manifold in a buoy, connected by flexible
hose to the PLEM, and permanently anchored in the seabed. An oil
tanker can be anchored near the SPM, get connected to the
manifold at the SPM and receive the oil through the PLEM.

Figure 19.5: Tanker Receiving Oil from an SPM

SPM (also known by various trade names like SBM i.e. Single
Buoy Mooring) can also be used to unload from a tanker and take

UNIT 19: Transportation of Oil, Gas and Products: Pipelines

oil and product to storage terminal at shore. In such cases where


product or oil is imported by tanker, the tanker anchors near the
shore, as near as it can come with available draft in the sea. An
SPM is anchored at that point connected to a PLEM. PLEM has
pipeline leading to the shore terminal.

233
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________

Pigging and Pig Launcher/Pig Receiver


Long distance pipelines need cleaning and monitoring from time to
time, which is done by Pigging. A pig is a cylindrical or spherical in
shape, made of metal or plastic with or without brushes at the edge
and having diameter close to the pipe diameter. It is pushed inside
pipeline through a pig launcher normally at the pumping or
compression station. Originally it was developed for cleaning and
pushing the condensate out of pipelines.
Pigging is primarily the processes or activities of sending a Pig
through a pipeline. It may also include defining the purpose of
pigging, selection of suitable Pig, launching and receiving the Pig
and tracking the Pig as it passes through the pipeline. The main
purpose or functions of pigs are:
To clean and remove debris.
For pre-inspection and certification of newly built pipeline.
To maximize efficiency and ensure continuous operation by
removing pipeline deposits.
To monitor corrosion and damage on the internal surface of
the pipeline.
Today intelligent pigging is an accepted way of pipeline monitoring
and maintenance. Intelligent pigs have electronic device that scans
and monitors pipeline inner surface and thickness and records the
data. They are also known as smart pigs.
Pictures of various types of pigs are presented in Figure 19.6.

Figure 19.6: Pigs of Various Types

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

234
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________

Pig Launcher is used for launching and despatching pigs to the


outgoing pipeline. The launching station is located at oil/gas
source. The launching station comprises of a pig launcher. After
the pig is launched into the pipeline, it is trapped at the other end
of the pipeline by Pig Receiver.

___________________

Metering and Quality Measurements

___________________

Metering is very important equipment in oil and gas pipeline


distribution system. They have to be accurate, standardized and
calibrated. It has to be certified and accepted by both oil/gas
producer and the customers, since the huge financial transaction
takes place based on quality and quantity of the oil or gas being
distributed.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Along with the meter to measure the quantity of oil or gas being
transferred, there has to be an instrument for online measurement
of quality. For example, for oil it is important to measure water
content. Also temperature and pressure need to be measured for
volume standardization.
For gas, the temperature and pressure are measured to quantify
the gas under standard conditions. The composition is measured
online for the quality of gas in terms of calorific value and
contaminants.

Storage and Pumping of Oil


Storage and pumping of oil in the terminals or booster stations in
the oil pipeline system is one of the most important facilities. Often
a large Storage Terminal is built for the refinery. A typical flow
diagram of oil, storage, pumping and pig launcher facility is shown
in Figure 19.7. Normally there is a booster station every few
hundred kilometres. There are pig receivers and pig launchers
besides storage and pumping system.

Gas Compression Facility


As in case of the oil, besides compression at the source, for a cross
country gas pipeline, booster stations are required every few
hundred kilometres to maintain the pressures in the pipeline.
Normally, pipeline pressures are maintained above desired
pressure as the additional compression provides some for gas
storage in the pipeline.

UNIT 19: Transportation of Oil, Gas and Products: Pipelines

235
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
Figure 19.7: Oil Storage and Pumping

___________________

Filter/Coalescer

___________________

In gas pipelines, Gas Filter Coalescer is used for the cleaning of the
arriving gas from dust particles and for removal of any entrained
liquid from the gas. Normally, there will be two filters arranged in
parallel in the system one in operation and the other in standby
condition.

___________________

Pressure Reducing Station


Often gas has to be delivered at specific pressures, which may be
lower than the pipeline pressure. Pressure Reducing Station is
used for reducing the pressure of the incoming upstream gas to the
required downstream pressure.

Burial Philosophy Onshore Pipelines


Onshore pipelines should be buried to protect them from
mechanical damage, fires and tampering. A depth cover of 0.8 M to
1 M would be adequate in most cases. The location of buried
pipelines should be clearly identified by markers.
In areas where the risk of interference by mechanical excavators is
high, a warning tape should be installed in the excavation above
the pipeline to further lower the risk.

Burial Philosophy Offshore Pipelines


The section of the pipeline within the shore approach should be
buried to a depth to ensure that it is not exposed due to erosion of
sand. There is otherwise no requirement to trench or bury offshore
pipelines, unless necessary in order to achieve pipeline stability,
mechanical protection or thermal insulation.

___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

236
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

It should be noted that protection against dragging anchors from


large ships, particularly in soft soils, requires significant burial
depths.

Special Features and Systems for Pipeline Installations


Pipeline Corrosion Control

___________________

Pipeline facility requires huge investment and carries large bulk of


oil and gas resources vital to the economy of a country. Protection
of pipeline from corrosion and corrosion control are vital for
preservation of the asset. It should be noted that most pipelines
are buried more than 1.5 meters deep for safety and environmental
considerations.

___________________

There are two types of corrosion in the pipeline:

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Internal Corrosion due to chemical reaction of metal with


corrosive components of the gas like CO2, H2S.
External Corrosion due to the external environment of the
pipeline i.e. soil, water, etc. Caused by electrochemical process.
The internal corrosion (due to the presence of CO2, H2S) is
prevented by ensuring that there is no condensation of moisture in
the pipeline. Both CO2 and H2S become corrosive when water in
liquid form is present. This is generally accomplished by
dehydrating gas at suppliers end and corrosion inhibitors can also
be injected in the pipeline.
The external corrosion can be quite severe as shown in Figure 19.8.

Figure 19.8: Corrosion on Unprotected Buried Pipe

External corrosion in a buried pipeline is electrochemical type of


corrosion and takes place due to formation of anodic and cathodic

UNIT 19: Transportation of Oil, Gas and Products: Pipelines

sites on the body of the pipeline. Anodic and cathodic sites form for
many reasons:

237
Notes

Impurities or inclusions in the metal

___________________

Localized stresses

___________________

Grain size or composition differences

___________________

Discontinuities on the surface

___________________

Differences in local environments (e.g., temperature, oxygen,


or salt concentration)

___________________

Cathodic protection is a procedure by which an underground


metallic pipe is protected against corrosion. A direct current is
impressed onto the pipe by means of either a sacrificial anode or a
rectifier (DC Source). Corrosion will be reduced where sufficient
current flows onto the pipe.

___________________

Pipeline Coating
All buried pipelines are coated externally (Figure 19.9) by a
suitable anti-corrosion coating, supplemented by cathodic
protection which covers any damaged or deteriorated area of the
coating. For each specific pipeline system the selection of the
coating material is based on the specific corrosion problems to be
encountered. Coating material used for the external protection of
oil and gas transmission pipeline systems are:
Hot applied asphalt or coaltar enamels
Polyethylene coatings (PE)
Fusion bonded epoxy coatings (FBE)
Plastic tape wrappings
Asphalt mastic coatings
Cold applied epoxy coal tar coatings.

Figure 19.9: Coating Being Applied on Pipeline

___________________

___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

238
Notes
___________________
___________________

Flare and Venting


The pipeline system is provided with flare and venting system,
which handles the relief and blow-downs of the contained
hydrocarbon in the system.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Control and SCADA


Control of pipeline spanning several hundred kilometres poses a
difficult challenge. The monitoring and critical control is done from
Master Control Station using SCADA System. The SCADA System
provides the operational interface to support the operation of
natural gas pipeline system. The interface provides the capacity to
acquire pipeline and pipeline facilities operation conditions and
status.
SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition.
A simple schematic representation of SCADA System is given in
Fig. 19.10 and 19.11.
It refers to the combination of the fields of telemetry and data
acquisition. SCADA encompasses the collection of the information,
the method of transfer from the remote site, the analysis and
control of the system and display of the received information.
It is done with measurement of data and parameters at various
locations and transmission using communication medium like
optical fibre or microwave or satellite communication linked to
computers.

Figure 19.10: SCADA System

SCADA facilitates the capability to monitor and control network


operations in real time. SCADA systems are distinguished from
traditional control systems by their extensive use of telemetry to
link physically isolated measurement and control points.

UNIT 19: Transportation of Oil, Gas and Products: Pipelines

The use of SCADA system facilitates:


Operation and Maintenance
Planning
Safety Management
Accounting

239
Notes
Activity
Using
the Internet, find out
___________________
more about Right of Way
___________________
(ROW).
___________________
___________________

SCADA is also used for Leak Detection along with flow modelling
software. Dynamic Fluid Dynamic models for pipeline flow of oil
and gas can monitor the flow measurements at various locations in
the pipeline, match them with the supply volumes and consumer
withdrawals and predict leakages and approximate location of the
leakage.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 19.11: Pipeline Real-Time Telemetry System

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. SCADA facilitates the capability to monitor and control
network operations in time.
2. Cathodic protection is a procedure by which an
underground metallic pipe is protected against .

Pipeline Project Implementation


Like any other project, a cross country pipeline project too passes
through various phases of implementation from feasibility study to
design, construction and operation as shown in Figure 19.12. But

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

240
Notes

like any other industry, there are certain special aspects that need
to be taken care of in a pipeline project.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 19.12: Pipeline Project Implementation

Safety and reliability in design and construction is important as


pipeline carries a huge reservoir of explosive substance through
environmentally sensitive areas.
Also since access is required on the land through which the
pipeline passes, legalities involved in getting Right of Way (ROW)
is a very important.
Some of these aspects will be discussed in this section.

Pipeline Design Features


Basic Parameters
The pipeline is designed taking into consideration the operating
conditions and requirements over its entire projected life cycle
including final abandonment, i.e.
The maximum planned throughput and turn-down
The characteristics of the fluids to be transported
The pressure and temperature requirements
The mode of operations
The geographic location, and the environmental conditions.

UNIT 19: Transportation of Oil, Gas and Products: Pipelines

Hydraulic Design
In order to determine the possible range of operational parameters
of the pipeline, a hydraulic analysis should be performed.
For a given pipe size, fluid properties and flow rate, the hydraulic
analysis should provide the pressure and temperature profiles all
along the pipeline for steady state and transient conditions.
Full account should be taken of possible changes in flow rates and
operational modes, over the complete operational life of the
pipeline.
The hydraulic analysis should provide information on: surge
pressure during shutdown of a liquid line, turn-down limitations
and inhibition or insulation requirements to prevent wax or
hydrates deposition, effect of flow conditions on the efficiency of
corrosion inhibitors, liquid hold-up and slug control requirements
at the downstream end of two phase lines.
Three most important end results of design are:
Material of pipeline
Diameter of the pipeline
Wall thickness

Pipe Material Selection


The selection of the pipeline material type is a fundamental issue
to be decided at the conceptual design stage of a pipeline project.
The most frequently used pipeline materials are carbon steel.
When the fluid is corrosive, due to presence of hydrogen sulfide,
carbon dioxide, or oxygen, special steel is used. The potential longterm impact of corrosion has to be considered during design and it
can be demonstrated that the pipeline can remain fit-for- purpose
throughout its lifetime.

Diameter of the Pipeline


The diameter depends on:
Available pressure drop i.e. the difference between starting
pressure (P1) and desired delivery pressure (P2)
Actual pressure drop depends on design flow rate (Q) selected
and friction factor.
Static head adds up to pressure differential in case of liquids.

241
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

242
Notes

Actual pressure drop should be less than available pressure


drop

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Wall Thickness
Wall thickness of the linepipe depends on the strength of pipe
material and the internal pressure of the fluid inside the pipeline.

Pipeline Risks
The most common pipeline threats which may lead to the loss of
technical integrity are given below:

___________________

Internal corrosion and Hydrogen Induced Cracking (HIC)

___________________

Internal erosion.

___________________

External corrosion and bi-carbonate stress corrosion cracking


Mechanical impact, external interference.
Fatigue, e.g. sudden surges of pressure in the fluid
Hydrodynamic forces
Geo-technical forces
Growth of material defects
Over-pressurization
Thermal expansion forces

Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA)


The factors which are critical to public safety and the protection of
the environment should be analysed over the entire life of the
pipeline, including abandonment. The risk should be reduced to as
low as reasonably practicable, with the definite objective of
preventing leaks. The level of risk may change with time, and it is
likely to increase to some extent as the pipeline ages.
An environmental impact assessment is carried out for all
pipelines or groups of pipelines. EIA is a process for identifying the
possible impact of a project on the environment, for determining
the significance of those impacts, and for designing strategies and
means to eliminate or minimize adverse impacts.

Pipeline Routing
The selection of the route is done by taking full account of the
associated risks, particularly safety and environmental risks, the

UNIT 19: Transportation of Oil, Gas and Products: Pipelines

accessibility for maintenance and inspection, as well as normal


direct cost considerations.

243
Notes

Pipeline Construction

___________________

Pipeline construction is performed in accordance with the relevant


sections of the ANSI/ASME Codes, and has to comply with any
additional criteria resulting from the design. The construction
procedures ensures that the pipeline is installed safely, on time
and with minimum impact on the environment.

___________________

Steps in onshore pipeline construction are:


Survey and Route Selection
Securing Right of Way (ROW)
Site Preparation
Coating and Delivery of Pipe Pieces at Site
Welding and Stringing
Inspection and Testing
Laying of Stringed Pipe
Hydro-testing
Mechanical Completion
Site Restoration

Survey and Route Selection


The selection of the route is done by taking full account of the
associated risks, particularly safety and environmental risks, the
accessibility for maintenance and inspection, topography, soil data,
river crossings, road crossings as well as normal direct cost
considerations. This involves a lot of surveys and analysis of
possible routes based on maps, aerial surveys, satellite imagery,
GPS (Global Positioning System) and other techniques.

Securing Right of Way


For the most part, cross country pipelines are not visible because
they are located under the street or are buried in rights-of-way
(ROW) secured by an easement. Easement implies right held by
one person to make use of the land of another person for a limited
purpose, right of way, license or permit.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

244
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Before a pipeline is constructed, ROW is obtained to secure the


land rights necessary to construct, operate and maintain the
pipeline. The ROW agreement restricts the landowners rights
within the ROW corridor to uses that are compatible with the
operation and maintenance of the pipeline.
The ROW width is normally 30 meters for construction and 15
meters for operation.

___________________

Site Preparation

___________________

The route is cleared of trees and plant life, the topsoil removed and
all material stockpiled for re-instatement (clear and grade). Pipe is
delivered by truck and laid along the route (see Figure 19.13 and
Figure 19.14).

___________________
___________________
___________________

Coating of Pipeline
Exterior of pipes is generally coated at the shop or site. But at the
time of stringing coating may be partly damaged. The coating is
repaired and welded joints are freshly coated for corrosion
protection.

Stringing
The pipelines themselves are fabricated from 12 metre pipe
lengths. They are then welded into 250 metre lengths, known as
strings. The pipe is then lowered into the trench. Backfill material
is added beneath and around the pipe to secure it in place.
When the pipe is covered to a depth of at least one meter,
restoration of the area begins.
If necessary, the pipe is bent to follow the natural contour of the
land. Welds are stringently tested to ensure their integrity. This is
done while laying the pipeline in a string (see Figure 19.14).

Inspection and Testing


1.

Non-Destructive Testing (NDT): Pipelines are tested by


NDT methods. The two techniques most used are:
Radiography Testing (RT): X-ray plates are obtained using
Gamma isotopes for all weld joints.
Ultrasonic Testing (UT): In this method high-frequency
sound waves are used to detect imperfections or changes
in a material. Reflections or echoes are returned from

UNIT 19: Transportation of Oil, Gas and Products: Pipelines

spots in the material, where the density is lower (weld


penetration is inadequate).
Other methods of NDT are:

2.

245
Notes
___________________

Magnetic Particle Testing (MPT)

___________________

Liquid Penetrant Testing

___________________

Hydro-Testing: After full length of the pipeline is laid, the


Hydrotesting of the pipeline is normally conducted from end to
end.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 19.13: Laying of Pipeline

Figure 19.14: Pipeline Right of way

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

246
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Operating and Monitoring of Pipeline


There are three important features of operation and monitoring of
pipelines:
(1) Overall control and monitoring of pipeline by SCADA
system from a Master Control Station (MCS) as described
earlier.
The types of instrumentation in a pipeline system can
comprise the following:
Flow, pressure, temperature measurements (Flow
indicators, Pressure indicators, Temperature indicators)
Quality measurements
Safety systems

___________________

Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA)


systems.
Leak detection systems.
The data is transmitted from various locations in the cross
country pipeline system to the MCS from where the whole
pipeline operation is monitored.
The SCADA system is also used for leak detection by
comparing mass flow rates through the pipeline at various
locations along the route. It can detect leak up to 0.5-1.0% of
the total flow and locate it .
Other applications of SCADA system are:
Pipeline efficiency monitoring
Monitoring movement of pigs
Pipeline integrity monitoring and leak detection
Gas quality monitoring
Early warning of adverse operating condition
(2) Inspection and Surveillance all along the Route (ROW)
Inspection and maintenance of the pipeline and accessories all
along the ROW is carried out at regular intervals.
The pipeline can be swiftly shutdown if control centre
operators observe abnormal conditions. Automatic shutdown is
also prompted by the SCADA system when preset safety limits
are exceeded.

UNIT 19: Transportation of Oil, Gas and Products: Pipelines

247

Surveillance and protection along ROW is carried out by:


Using aircraft, land vehicle or foot patrol, to look for
potentially damaging activities such as unauthorized
digging and construction.

Notes
___________________
___________________

Using high resolution satellite imagery for outside


intervention and sabotage attempts.

___________________

Adding traffic barriers to above ground equipment near


roadways.

___________________

Reviewing locations of, and supplementing


appropriate, to the existing ROW markers.
Increasing ground
populated areas.

surveillance

of

lines in

where
densely

Intelligent pigging with sensors in the pig, transmitting data


on pipeline inside surface is used for:
Corrosion monitoring Curvature monitoring Leak
detection
Metal-loss/corrosion detection
Photographic inspection;
Crack detection
The cathodic protection system for the external corrosion of
the pipeline also needs regular monitoring.

The major cost of on-land pipeline will comprise of:


Survey of Route
Acquiring ROW
Line Pipe
Wrapping and Corrosion Coating
Welding of Line Pipe
Trenching
Laying of Pipes
Backfilling and Restoration

___________________
___________________
___________________

(3) Monitor and Protect the Pipeline from Corrosion

Cost Comparison of On-Land and Sub-Sea Pipelines

___________________

___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

248
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Cathodic Protection by Impressed Current System


Placement of Route Markers
The major cost of subsea pipeline will comprise of:
Survey of seabed route including measurement of current and
wave
Line Pipe

___________________

Concrete Coating for Weight Enhancement

___________________

Cathodic Protection by Sacrificial Anodes

___________________

Laying of Pipes by Laybarge

___________________

Welding of Line Pipes (partly on barge)

___________________

Installation of Pipe Risers (vertical line from the platform to


sea bed)
The cost of line pipe may be almost the same for the same quantity
of fluid flow (except in case of subsea pipe line the thickness may
be increased for stability and safety). The major difference between
on-land pipeline and subsea pipeline is the cost of concrete coating,
cathodic protection (sacrificial anode is much costlier than
impressed current system), and the pipeline laying method.
The on-land pipeline is laid by side boom tractors, whereas for the
subsea pipeline the laying is by lay-barge. The rates for lay-barge
is much higher than rates for side-boom tractors.

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. .. is a process for identifying the possible
impact of a project on the environment, for determining
the significance of those impacts, and for designing
strategies and means to eliminate or minimize adverse
impacts.
2. The most frequently used pipeline materials are
.. .

Summary
In this unit, the various modes for bulk transportation of
hydrocarbon resources were described at the beginning. This was

UNIT 19: Transportation of Oil, Gas and Products: Pipelines

followed with a detailed description of pipeline transportation


facilities. At first a system description of a cross country pipeline
starting from an offshore or onshore oilfield was given.
Subsequently each component of the system such as terminals,
pigging, pumping or compressor stations etc. was described in
detail.
A macro-level description of parameters taken into account in
design and optimization of a pipeline was given. Also various steps
in implementing pipeline projects and construction of cross country
pipeline was described. This was elaborated with an example of a
cross country pipeline project. Various factors taken into
consideration for a grass roots project example (HBJ Pipeline) were
elaborated.

249
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Lesson End Activity


Write a short essay on Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition
(SCADA) systems.

Keywords
SCADA: It is a central monitoring system, which monitors the
entire pipeline parameters over several hundred kilometres by
telemetry and telecontrol.
Pipeline End Manifold(PLEM): It is essentially a set of valves
and flanges along with pipe header supported by steel structure,
from where the pipeline carrying oil, gas or any other material
starts.
Pig: A pig is a cylindrical or spherical in shape, made of metal or
plastic with or without brushes at the edge and having diameter
close to the pipe diameter.
Pigging: It is primarily the processes or activities of sending a Pig
through a pipeline.

Questions for Discussion


1.

Which are the


Hydrocarbons?

different

modes

of

transportation

of

2.

Pipeline is the most preferred option to transport oil, gas or


products in bulk. Why?

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

250
Notes
___________________

3.

Explain the configuration of a Cross-country pipeline.

4.

Explain the following terms:

___________________

(a) SCADA

___________________

(b) PLEM

___________________

(b) SPM

___________________

5.

Explain the process of Pigging.

___________________

6.

What is Pipeline Project Implementation? Explain.

___________________
___________________

Further Readings

___________________

Books

___________________

Jean Masseron, Petroleum Economics, Technology & Engineering


H. K. Abdel-Aal, Bakr A. Bakr, M. A. Al-Sahlawi, Petroleum
Economics and Engineering, Technology & Engineering, 1992
Alberto Cl, Oil Economics and Policy, Business & Economics,
2000
M.A. Adelman, (1962-1993), The Economics of Petroleum Supply,
Technology & Engineering - 1962
Ian Lerche, Sheila Noeth, (2004), Economics of Petroleum
Production: A Compendium, Volume 2

Web Readings
www.hoovers.com Hoover's Directories Industry Overviews
www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuvvaZrUDe4
reaccess.epu.ntua.gr/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket... tabid=579&mid
www.careersinoilandgas.com ... Occupational Summaries

UNIT 5: Case Study

Unit 20
Case Studies
Objectives
After analyzing these cases, the student will have an appreciation of the
concept of topics studied in this Block.

251
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Case Study 1: Loading Arm


As one of the few Australian companies with Loading Arm
experience, Camco was contracted by a major gas producer to
refurbish their Condensate Loading Arms. The Loading Arms
were removed by our team and transported Perth for
refurbishment. The overhaul of the Loading Arms required a
significant commitment of workshop facilities and available
engineering disciplines.
Problem:
The Loading Arms were in poor condition and needed a dedicated
team backed by technical support with a specialised facility to
repair and manufacture components. Adding to the complexity of
the repairs was the difficult task of removing the Loading Arms
from the wharf between ship movements whilst unpredictable
weather conditions prevailed.
Question
Critically analyse the case.
Source:http://www.volunteeringaustralia.org/files/1E8H8EVUL8/Case%20Studies.pdf

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

252
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Case Study 2: LNG Unloading Arm Installation at Kochi


Seashore
The project site, LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) receiving and regas
(regasify) terminal, is a part of newly created Special Economic
Zone located on the sea shore of south-western India. To meet the
civil and industrial demand of natural gas in this deficit area
where no piped natural gas is available, the first LNG terminal in
south India was formed in 2007 using reclaimed land with
dimensions of 840 m X 400 m and a 330m long x 5m wide jetty
trestle extending from the land at the south side.
At the end of the trestle, a reinforced concrete unloading platform
was built to accommodate four sets of Unloading Arms (ULA)
which serve to unload the LNG from the cargo ship to the LNG
storage tank via cryogenic pipelines. The unloading arms are the
most important and critical units installed in the LNG receiving
terminal, which require a higher stability for their installation to
avoid any potential damages or leakage during the unloading of
LNG from ship.
It was planned to finish the unloading arms installation from the
landside using a temporary bund before arrival of the summer
monsoon, however it didnt happen due to logistic reasons. To
meet the schedule it was decided to install the unloading arms
using a floating barge with a mounted crane, trying to finish the
installation by the end of May 2011.
However, when the ULA risers were installed on 27 May 2011,
the summer monsoon (southwest monsoon) arrived from the
Indian Ocean, sweeping the south of India with abundant rainfall
and wind. The floating barge was hit by the waves and winds, and
the 250 ton crane could not be kept steady to install the ULA
main units. To secure the ULA, the management decided to
suspend the installation and transport the ULA to the safe place
for temporary storage.
Questions
1. Bring out the critical points in this case.
2. Do you think the managements initial decision was right?
3. What should the management do next?
Source: http://www.isope.org/publications/proceedings/ISOPE/ISOPE%202012/data/papers/vol1/2012LKC-07Khetarp.pdf

UNIT 21: Transportation of Oil, Gas and Products: Other Modes

253
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

BLOCK-V

Detailed Contents

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

254

Notes
UNIT
21: TRANSPORTATION OF OIL, GAS AND
___________________
PRODUCTS: OTHER MODES

UNIT 23: IT APPLICATIONS IN HYDROCARBON


INDUSTRY

___________________
Introduction

Introduction

___________________
Transportation by Marine Tankers

Application of Information Technology

___________________
Road and Railway Transportation

IT Application in Design and Engineering

Storage of Liquids and Gases


___________________

IT Application in Operation

Maintenance Management Software

Enterprise Resource Planning and Management


(ERP)

___________________
UNIT 22: HEALTH, SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENT
z

___________________
Introduction

___________________
Hazards Definitions, Causes and Types

___________________
Chemical Hazards

___________________
Safety Management Techniques in Plant Life Cycle

UNIT 24: ECONOMICS AND TECHNOLOGY


TRENDS
z

Introduction

Natural Gas Trends

Coal vs. Natural Gas

Petrochemical Business Scenario

UNIT 25: CASE STUDY

UNIT 21: Transportation of Oil, Gas and Products: Other Modes

Unit 21
Transportation of Oil, Gas and
Products: Other Modes

255
Notes
Activity
Name
one Indian Crude
___________________
Carrier
and
one
Clean
___________________
products carrier with the help
of the Internet.
___________________
___________________

Objectives

___________________

After completion of this unit, the students will be aware of the following
topics:

___________________

Overview of transportation by road and railways

___________________

Overview of Transportation by marine tanker

___________________

Methods of storage of Liquids and Gases

___________________
___________________

Introduction
In the earlier unit, you learnt about transportation of Oil and Gas
through pipelines. In this unit, you will learn about transportation
through Marine Tankers and by Road and Rail transport.

Transportation by Marine Tankers


The following paragraphs talk about Transportation of Oil and Gas
by Marine tankers.

Oil and Product Tankers


Oil tankers come in two basic types, the crude carrier and the
clean products carrier. The crude carrier normally carries crude oil
and the other type carries the refined products, such as petrol,
gasolene, aviation fuel, kerosene and paraffin. Tankers range in all
sizes, from the small bunkering tanker (used for refuelling larger
vessels) of 1000 DWT (Dead Weight Tons) to the real giants: the
VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) of between 200,000 to 300,000
DWT and the ULCC (Ultra Large Crude Carrier) of over 300,000
DWT.
Typical sizes for oil carrying tankers are given in Table 21.1.
A picture of an oil tanker is shown in Figure 21.1.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

256

Table 21.1: Oil Tanker Sizes

Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 21.1: VLCC Tanker

LNG Transportation by Marine Tankers


The shape of the LNG carrier is quite unmistakable, with the
spherical thermo-flask like shape of the Moss tanks visible along
the deck (Figure 21.2). Although, the carriage of huge quantity of
explosive liquefied gas - kept at below freezing temperatures as an
unstable liquid appears extremely hazardous, however LNG
carriers have the best safety record of all maritime vessels. The
vessels themselves are maintained meticulously, and renewed
frequently. There have been accidents involving LNG/LPG
carriers, but where such events have occurred, so far, they have
been successfully managed to vent off the cargo into the
atmosphere, thus rendering the lethal cargo harmless.

Figure 21.2: LNG Carrier

UNIT 21: Transportation of Oil, Gas and Products: Other Modes

Tanker Loading and Unloading Systems


Oil, LNG and products are normally loaded and unloaded with the
tanker berthed alongside a Jetty, having loading arms and
unloading arms (Figure 21.3). Once the tanker berths, the loading
arm or unloading arm is connected to the tanker. For unloading, a
pump in the tanker pumps out the oil or products. A tanker may
carry a number of products, which can be pumped out in batches,
separated by pigs.
Oil and products are also loaded or unloaded by SPM connected to
a pipeline to the shore termina.

257
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 21.3: Loading and Unloading System

Figure 21.4 depicts picture of a tanker unloading at a jetty with


blown-up figures of the loading arms.
All large coastal storage and handling terminals have this kind of
facility. Where there are limitations of draft for the size of the
tanker, use of SPM is made for loading and unloading.

Figure 21.4: Crude Loading and Unloading Facility

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

258

Check Your Progress

Notes
Activity

Fill in the blanks:

Make
a presentation on Road
___________________
Transportation of Oil and Gas.
___________________

1. Oil, LNG and products are normally loaded and


unloaded with the tanker berthed alongside a
., having loading arms and unloading arms.

___________________
___________________

2. Once the tanker berths, the . arm is


connected to the tanker.

___________________
___________________
___________________

Road and Railway Transportation

___________________

Road Tanker Loading Systems

___________________

Two systems exist for the loading of bulk road tanker:

___________________

Top Loading: In traditional top loading the product is loaded by


inserting a loading arm from the top through the open manhole in
the tank compartment of the vehicle.
Bottom Loading: In bottom loading the product is loaded by
connecting the loading arm/hose to a dedicated self-sealing
coupling at the bottom of the vehicle.
The displaced vapours are evacuated via a second arm/hose
connected to the vapour collection coupling at the bottom of the
vehicle.
Typical facilities for tanker loading comprise:
z

Loading pump pumps the product to the gantry to one or more


loading arms

Emergency Shut Down (ESD) valve to isolate the system


rapidly in an emergency

A filter to ensure product cleanliness and to protect the flow


meter

A flow meter

A flow control valve to control the flow

The loading arm connected to a dry-break coupling

The vapour return hose

The overfill protection sensor to give a signal if the road


vehicle is overfilled

UNIT 21: Transportation of Oil, Gas and Products: Other Modes

The earthing connection (combined with overfill protection


connection) to discharge the static electricity which is
generated during loading
The interlock system in order to check if all conditions for safe
operation are fulfilled (e.g.
earth
connected, no overfill,
vapour return hose connected, etc.).

Top loading has been predominant. The system is very flexible;


almost any type of vehicle can be loaded through an open manhole
and dedicated (often specific) couplings as needed in bottom
loading are not required.
The system is also relatively simple; the personnel can follow the
loading operation through the open manhole and fill to a level
indicator in the tank compartment. For bottom loading, level
sensors are necessary.
However, increasingly the trend is towards bottom loading, due to
environmental legislation on vapour emissions both at loading
terminals and retail outlets. Bottom loading should be employed
for solvents and common white oil products from safety
considerations.

Figure 21.5: Hose Type Loaders: Examples of Mounting


Arrangement to Facilitate Crossovers

259
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

260
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

LPG Transportation by Road Tankers


The storage and transportation of LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas),
imposes stringent technical requirements. The material must be
carefully selected, continual quality checks must be performed
during manufacturing and comprehensive tests must be performed
on completed tanks. The LPG carriers could be truck mounted.
Figure 21.6 shows the two types with capacities mentioned.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 21.6: LPG Road Tankers

Railway Tankers
The railway tankers are similar in design as road tankers except
that several rakes together form one train. Hence loading or
unloading facility should have several loading arms or unloading
arms in a row along the railway line inside the battery limit of the
plant or storage terminal.

Figure 21.7 (a): Railway Tanker

UNIT 21: Transportation of Oil, Gas and Products: Other Modes

261
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
Figure 21.7 (b): Railway Tanker

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 21.8: Railway Tanker Loading Facility

The railway wagons normally carry 20 to 25 tons of cargo. Size of


the wagon is such that it can be fitted on a standard (4 wheel and
8 wheel) railway wagon.
There are 4 wheeler and 8 wheeler tank wagons used to transport
LPG all over India. These tank wagons are operational both on
broad gauge and meter gauge of Indian Railway.
Several tankers are hauled in tandems are called rakes. The
number of tankers in a rake is dependent on the hauling capacity
of the engine.
Some of the tankers (handling crude oil, fuel oil) have tank
cleaning facility to remove congealing.
Tank wagon loading gantries are available at PSU facilities only.
No private marketeer has tank wagon loading gantry facilities.
Public sector refineries have large railway yard with loading bays.
There are approximately 2600 tank wagons operational. IOC
controls maximum number of tank wagons.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

262
Notes
Activity
Create
models of different
___________________
liquid storage tanks.
___________________
___________________
___________________

From safety considerations the following rules are followed:


z

Tank wagon should be loaded and dispatched within one


calendar day.

Overnight stay at the depots is generally not permissible by


the industry.

The loading system has automation with a lot of system safety


features.

There are vapour losses during loading/unloading operations.


To minimize such losses modern refineries have got vapour
recovery system.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. Tank wagon loading gantries
.. facilities only.

are

available

at

2. Size of the wagon is such that it can be fitted on a


standard .. .

Storage of Liquids and Gases


Liquid Storage
Normal liquid petroleum and product storages are made of steel.
But depending on the nature, corrosivity and operating conditions,
special steel or alloys can be used. Various types of storages used
in the petroleum industry are summarized below:

Rectangular Tanks
The rectangular tanks are the simplest tank for atmospheric
pressure service of non-hazardous liquids like water.

Cone Roof Tanks


These types of tanks are very widely used for storing oil, products
and chemicals at atmospheric pressures. These are designed for
low internal pressures as per API 650 code with design pressure of
maximum 2.5 psig and normally with a few inches of water as
design pressure. These tanks can not tolerate pressure or vacuum.
These are normally equipped with pressure-vacuum relief.

UNIT 21: Transportation of Oil, Gas and Products: Other Modes

Floating Roof Tanks

263

These are atmospheric tanks improved over normal cone roof


tanks. These are widely used for the storage of many petroleum
and chemical products. These tanks may be of an open top
(external) design or may include a fixed roof to aid in the
protection of the (internal) floating roof. As the roof floats over the
liquid, it prevents vapour losses and atmospheric pollution.

Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Dome Roof Tank


Used for highly volatile liquid, that can boil at normal ambient
pressures and temperatures e.g. pentane, Condensate, NGL, etc.
Operating pressures of such tanks is slightly higher than conical
roof.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 21.9: Liquid Storages

Storage of Gases and Liquefied Gases


Storage of Gas
Gases occupy very large volume and it is uneconomic to build
storage for very large volume of gases. Existing caverns or depleted
reservoirs are often used as underground storage of gas.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

264
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

A long distance pipeline over several hundred kilometres has very


large hold-up of gas. Compressing the gas above required pressure
along the pipeline can create a large hold-up of gas. This is called
packing the line with gas.
In view of the fact that building a gas storage is not economic,
normally gas is stored either under high pressure or in liquefied
form. For very large volumes, liquefied gas storage is more
economic.
Ethane, Propane, Ethylene or LPG can be stored under pressure.
The storages are either cylindrical (bullets) or spherical in shape
(spheres).

___________________

Storage of Liquefied Gas

___________________

The same gases mentioned above are also stored in liquefied form.
Choice of type of storage is a matter of economic evaluation. As a
thumb rule, larger the storage requirement, more economic is the
liquefied storage.
As described in Gas Processing, LNG is transported and stored in
liquid form at below 160C. LNG storage is made of special Nickel
alloy to withstand such low temperatures where most metals
become brittle. Also special insulation and safety features put into
an LNG tank makes it very expensive.
Liquefied gas storages are often buried under the ground with just
the roof protruding out of the earth for safety reasons. Such buried
storages are called mounded tanks. Many operating companies
have preference for mounded tanks for liquefied gas storage.

Figure 21.10: Liquefied Gas Storages

UNIT 21: Transportation of Oil, Gas and Products: Other Modes

265
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
Figure 21.11: Storages and Storage Terminals

___________________

Check Your Progress

___________________

Fill in the blanks:

___________________

1. are atmospheric tanks improved over


normal cone roof tanks.

___________________

2. LNG is transported and stored in liquid form at below


C.

___________________

___________________

Summary
The unit included description of transportation system by marine
tankers and brief description of road and railway wagon as means
of transportation.
Also, the various types of storages used for petroleum and
products, both liquid and gas were described.

Lesson End Activity


Make small models of Liquefied Gas Storages.

Keywords
SCADA: Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition
Bottom Loading: In bottom loading the product is loaded by
connecting the loading arm/hose to a dedicated self-sealing
coupling at the bottom of the vehicle.
Cone Roof Tanks: These types of tanks are very widely used for
storing oil, products and chemicals at atmospheric pressures.

Questions for Discussion


1.

Which are the different


transportation of oil and gas?

marine

tankers

used

for

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

266
Notes
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___________________
___________________

2.

What are road tanker loading systems?

3.

How are gases and liquids stored?

Further Readings

___________________

Books

___________________

Petroleum economics, Jean Masseron, Technology & Engineering

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Petroleum economics and engineering, H. K. Abdel-Aal, Bakr A.


Bakr, M. A. Al-Sahlawi Technology & Engineering 1992
Oil economics and policy, Alberto Cl Business & Economics
2000
The economics of petroleum supply: Papers by M.A. Adelman,
1962-1993 Morris Albert Adelman Technology & Engineering
1962
Economics of petroleum production: A compendium, Volume Ian
Lerche, Sheila Noeth 2004

Web Readings
www.hoovers.com Hoover's Directories Industry Overviews
www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuvvaZrUDe4
reaccess.epu.ntua.gr/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket... tabid=579&mid
www.careersinoilandgas.com ... Occupational Summaries

UNIT 22: Health, Safety and Environment

Unit 22
Health, Safety and Environment
Objectives
After completion of this unit, the students will be aware of the following
topics:

267
Notes
Activity
Make
a presentation on the
___________________
different kinds of hazards in
___________________
Hydrocarbon
processing.
___________________
___________________
___________________

Health and environment hazards involved in the industry

___________________

What is hazard and how to identify and minimize risks

___________________

Causes of accident

Sources of environment pollution and method to treat them

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Introduction
Hydrocarbon (oil and gas) and petrochemical products pose hazard
to the environment if not handled in a safe manner. Health, safety
and environment considerations start from conceptual stage of a
project to operation and abandonment stage.
Oil and gas are highly flammable material that can cause
explosion if not handled properly. Also a lot of toxic chemicals are
handled during processing, particularly in the downstream
facilities.
That is why a lot of importance is given today on learning and
implementing methods to take care of Health, Safety and
Environment (HSE) all over the hydrocarbon industry. HSE norms
and practices are followed at every stage of the plant life cycle. A
lot of investment in hardware and services is essential today to
take care of HSE.

Hazards Definitions, Causes and Types


Definitions of Hazards
Dictionary meaning of hazard is danger, risk or peril either to
health, safety or to environment. In the process industries, the
following terms are used:
Hazards: These are defined as having the potential to cause
harm, including ill health and injury, damage to property, products
or the environment, production losses or increased liabilities.

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Notes
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Threats: These are possible causes that could potentially release


the hazard and produce an incident.
Incidents: These are defined as an unplanned event or chain of
events, which have caused or could have caused injury, illness and
or damage (loss), to assets, the environment, or third parties.

Causes and Types of Hazards


The hazards encountered in a hydrocarbon process plant are
primarily due to loss in containment (i.e. leakage) of the hazardous
material, which may then lead to hazard. Resulting hazard can be
divided into three categories:
Hazards resulting in fire and explosion,
Hazards resulting from the toxic properties of materials
handled (chemical hazard), and
Hazards associated with the physical operations in the plant
(unsafe operations).

The Fire Triangle


For fire or explosion to take place, the presence of all the three
items mentioned below simultaneously is essential:
Flammable material
Air or oxygen
Source of ignition
The presence of the three together makes what is called fire
triangle.
Large storage tanks present one of the potential threats of fire and
explosion (Figure 22.1). If a flammable mixture of vapour and air
exists inside a storage tank and a source of ignition is also
available, a fire and/or explosion may result. It is the vapours left
behind after liquid removal or those rising from the surface of a
flammable liquid which ignite and burn. Static electricity
accumulated could be a source of ignition, causing spark.

UNIT 22: Health, Safety and Environment

269
Notes
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Figure 22.1: Refinery Tank Fire

Obviously the methods of prevention of fire and explosion hazard is


elimination of one or two of the items in the fire triangle or
preventing all the three being present together. For example, if a
source of ignition can be excluded or oxygen levels surrounding can
be kept below certain limits as explained below, a fire or explosion
cannot occur.
Flammable Material
Mixtures of hydrocarbon vapours and air will ignite only if the
hydrocarbon to air ratio is within certain limits. If the mixture is
too lean (too low concentration of hydrocarbon) nor too rich (too
high concentration of hydrocarbon and shortage of air), then the
ignition does not occur. The Lower Flammable Limit (LFL) and the
Upper Flammable Limit (UFL) for most hydrocarbon mixtures are
typically at about 1% and 10% by volume hydrocarbon vapour in
air respectively. However, rich mixtures (above the UFL) may be
locally diluted to within the flammable limits by air entering the
tank at tank openings, such as manways, hatches, vents, etc.
Similarly, lean mixtures may be enriched locally due to a pocket of
hydrocarbons, or application of heat. If a source of ignition is
present in such areas, explosion and/or fire is likely to occur.

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. . are defined as having the potential to
cause harm, including ill health and injury, damage to
property, products or the environment, production losses
or increased liabilities.
2. . are possible causes that could
potentially release the hazard and produce an incident.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
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___________________

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270

Chemical Hazards

Notes
___________________

Major Chemical Hazards

___________________

Chemical hazards can arise from:

___________________

Skin contact with the hydrocarbon liquid.

___________________

Inhalation of hydrocarbon vapours.

___________________

Accidental swallowing of liquids or solids.

___________________

A number of chemically hazardous substances are handled in the

___________________

hydrocarbon industry. Hydrogen Sulfide and sulfur dioxide are

___________________

more common in the oil production and refining industry. In the

___________________

petrochemical industry, there are numerous hazardous chemicals

___________________

handled due to the multiplicity of raw materials and products.


Examples of some of the toxic chemicals handled are given below:
Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S): is a highly toxic gas. At low
concentrations it has the odour of rotten eggs, although this can
be masked by the presence of other vapours. H2S quickly deadens
the smell at about 100 ppm and higher and this may lead to a
false sense of security, since the disappearance of the smell after
it has been first recognized may be due to an increase, rather
than a decrease in the atmospheric concentration. All petroleum
products and crude oils contain sulfur in varying amounts,
usually combined with hydrogen and/or carbon. Some crude oils
contain free sulfur and H2S. Sulfur is an undesirable element in
petroleum products and various processes exist to remove it,
whereby H2S is often formed during intermediate stages. Whilst
the H2S is subsequently removed, certain amounts may still be
present in the product.
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons: Some heavy refinery
streams or products may contain small amounts of polycyclic
aromatic hydrocarbons (PCAs). Typical streams are gas oils, fuel
oils, catalytic cracker recycle oils and vacuum distillation residue.
The toxicity of PCAs will differ, depending on the structure.
Frequent and prolonged contact with these can lead to a variety of
skin disorders.

UNIT 22: Health, Safety and Environment

Table 22.1: Effect of Hydrogen Sulfide Concentration

271
Notes
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Benzene: Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon, which can be


present in very low concentrations in some crude oils. It is often
produced in certain refinery processes. It is also manufactured as a
finished product in the petroleum industry. The chief route of entry
by benzene into the body is by inhalation of the vapour. Whether
as the pure compound or as part of a mixture such as gasoline,
benzene may give rise to the following health hazards:
Inhalation of high concentrations of benzene vapour (above
700 ppm) can lead to loss of consciousness and, if allowed to
continue, respiratory failure and death will result.
It may also cause bone marrow damage, leading to blood
disorders of varying severity which are usually reversible after
removal from exposure, and,
More rarely, leukaemia (cancer of the blood), which may occur
long after exposure has ceased.

Other Toxic Chemicals


Numerous other toxic chemicals are handled in the oil, gas and
petrochemical industry. Some examples are:
Chlorine for manufacture of PVC
Methanol
Hydrogen Cyanide in the manufacture of acrylates, etc.

Causes of Accidents
The various causes of accidents are:
Defect in Design
Defect in Construction
Defect in Material of Equipment
Faulty Operation or Maintenance
Lack of Monitoring

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Notes
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Defect in Design: Sometimes adequate design factors have not


been provided while doing the design. Design factors are essential
component in order to give a margin of safety in the design. Design
factors may be appropriate in either the mechanical engineering
design or in the process design where factors are often added to
allow some flexibility in process operation. For mechanical and
structural design the magnitude of design factors should allow for
uncertainties in material properties, corrosion, design methods,
fabrication and operating loads. It is also possible that appropriate
material for equipment and piping has not been specified leading
equipment failure or piping failure resulting in the release of
hazardous or flammable or toxic material.
Defect in Construction: Defect in material for equipment and
piping, defect in manufacturing, fabrication and defect in
construction or installation including improper inspection and
testing may lead to equipment or piping failure. Release of
hazardous or flammable or toxic material can occur as a result.
The Sinking of P-36 Platform, depicted in Figure 22.2 is one of
the examples which could be due to defects both in the design and
installation. Considerable cost reduction was done for P-36 during
design and construction stage.

Figure 22.2: P-36 Disaster

Faulty Operation and Maintenance: Erroneous operation and


maintenance like not following correct procedure may lead to
accident. Inadequate maintenance also can be cause of accident, for
example:
Failure to interchange operating and standby equipment as
and when required.
Lack of attention to the special instrument like vibration
monitor, corrosion monitors, gas humidity analyzer, etc.

UNIT 22: Health, Safety and Environment

An example of accident due to not following the procedure during


maintenance is the collapse of a storage tank shown in Figure 22.3.
The tank collapsed because a plastic bag with which the tank vent
was covered during painting of the tank was not removed before
operation. When the product was pumped out of the tank during
operation, vacuum was created as the vent was blocked with the
plastic bag. The steel tank collapsed but the plastic bag did not
break.
Covering of the vent valve during tank painting is fairly standard
practice. Unfortunately leaving it covered when drawing out of the
tank is very non-standard practice. This was an expensive,
embarrassing mistake that could be entirely preventable. For
some, it is hard to believe that the plastic over the vent valve is
stronger than the steel tank under the vacuum conditions that are
created when drawing product out of the tank.

Figure 22.3: The Power of the Plastic Bag

Another common example of accident due to faulty maintenance


procedure is explosion due to pyrophoric deposits in distillation
columns (Figure 22.4). These are highly explosive deposits that
take place in the column during periods of operation with crude oil.
Once the unit is shut down for maintenance and the column
manholes are open, pyrophoric deposits, which are highly
flammable, come into contact with air and catch fire immediately.
Again there are procedures that need to be followed to prevent
such accidents.

273
Notes
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Notes
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Figure 22.4: Destruction by Pyrophoric Fires

Human Error: Human error, often due to inadequate training


causes accident. For example:
Opening or closing wrong valves without fully understanding
operating instructions, may lead to rise in pressure,
temperature or flow in the system and resulting in the release
of hazardous or toxic material.
Operator taking wrong reading of parameter indicators
(pressure, temperature, flow etc) and taking wrong actions
which may lead to accident.
Adjusting the set point of a control to a wrong value, thus
leading to accident.
There could be several other causes of accidents:
Natural calamities like earth quake.
Lack of monitoring.
Lack of training.
It is difficult to avoid accidents due to natural calamities, unless
the impact of natural calamities has been considered during
selection of the site and designing of the facilities to withstand the
impact. Even then unforeseen events may occur. It is very

UNIT 22: Health, Safety and Environment

important to have an Emergency Response Plan and mitigation


plan for such contingencies.
Lack of monitoring as per operating and maintenance procedures
are often cause of accidents. As a simple instance, let us take the
case of a long distance cross country pipeline carrying
hydrocarbons. Regular surveillance of the pipeline is very
important to avoid unauthorized work along the pipeline route,
digging, sabotage etc. Normally this is done by use of helicopters,
automobiles, satellite images etc. Still a surprisingly high number
of accidents occur in gas pipelines due to unauthorized digging.
Training is a very important aspect for minimizing the risk of
accidents. Training is needed for all disciplines and levels and for
all aspects of management and operation of the facilities. While
developed countries pay a lot of attention to it, in developing
countries like India it is often ignored and overlooked. In case of an
accident, cost of loss in assets and human lives can be so large that
expenditure on training can always be justified.
Drill also forms part of training. An emergency response plan
fail totally if drill is not carried out at regular intervals. In
developed countries, even in commercial office buildings, a
incident drill is carried out at regular intervals by sounding
alarms to ensure that:

can
the
fire
fire

All equipment and facilities for fire fighting are working,


People know how to use them, and
People are aware of building evacuation plan.

Safety Management Techniques in Plant Life Cycle


In the entire life cycle of a process plant, starting with the project
conceptual and engineering design phase, there is considerable
scope to remove or minimize hazards. It is during this phase that
provision can be made to reduce the risks associated with a
process, system or facility to a level that is as low as reasonably
practical (ALARP).
This can be achieved in a number of ways. In order of preference
these are:
Removal of hazards in design phase.
Reducing the probability of hazardous events occurring.

275
Notes
Activity
Using
the Internet, find out
___________________
more about ALARP.
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
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276
Notes
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___________________
___________________

Minimizing the risk of escalation in case a hazardous event


occurs.
Once the hardware has been installed, retroactive implementation
becomes relatively more difficult and considerably more expensive.
It is crucial therefore that the opportunities available for
minimizing risk in the design and engineering phase are not lost.

___________________

Concept Development

___________________

It is during this phase that most of the major hazards and effects
will be identified and an initial assessment of their importance will
take place. In this phase there is considerable scope for removing
potential hazards. As an example, even site selection is important
for HSE.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

HSE Aspects of Site Selection


The importance and vulnerability of various components in the
existing environment should be assessed. These include:
People living in the vicinity who could be exposed to noise,
vibrations, dust and gaseous contaminants, or other health
effects associated with water and food contamination.
The potential consequences of accidents (fire, explosion, escape
of toxic materials) must be considered.
Wildlife and natural habitats which could be damaged during
the clearance and construction stages or later when the project
is operational. Examples are forest damage by air pollution
and death of fish or other aquatic organisms by effluents. A
key component is consideration of the amount of damage that
may be tolerated by the habitats and species concerned.
Resources (agricultural and others) which may be susceptible
to damage from the project in a similar manner to natural
habitats.
It is necessary to use environmental specialists to conduct a
baseline study to describe the physical and biological status of
environmental components which are likely to be affected.
In less industrialized areas, where local restrictions may still be
limited, it is important to be aware of potential future
developments. In industrialized areas, local regulations
determined by authorities often define the environmental
conditions for the project during construction and operations.

UNIT 22: Health, Safety and Environment

The project should consider various operations and the predicted


flow rates of pollutants in gaseous emissions and aqueous
discharges, together with physical nuisances such as noise and its
impact on health, safety and environment in the neighbourhood.
The selection of site should also include consideration of wastes.
These include industrial waste, in particular hazardous waste in
the form of liquids, solids and semi- solid materials. The manner in
which these wastes are handled could be a significant factor in the
overall impact of the operational activities on the environment.

277
Notes
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___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

The tragedy at Bhopal due to toxic gas leakage from Union Carbide
plant is an example of tragedy due to faulty site selection for a
plant handling lethal chemicals.

___________________

Techniques of Hazard Identification (HAZID)

___________________

What is HAZID?
HAZID (HAZard IDentification) is a technique for early
identification of potential hazards and threats. The technique has
two styles, Conceptual and Detailed and should be applied at the
very outset of a new venture or during the early stages of the
project. It is therefore likely to be the first formal HSE related
study for any new project. The major benefit of HAZID is that early
identification and assessment of the critical HSE hazards provides
essential input to project development decisions. This will lead to
safer and more cost-effective design options being adopted with a
minimum cost of change penalty.
HAZID study addresses the layout and operation of the entire
system under review. A HAZID study uses a guideword driven
methodology based on a comprehensive list of typical hazards. The
installation or subject of review is divided into areas of a similar
nature (e.g. process area, utilities) based on the location of these
areas and their function. The broad nature of the guide words help
in the identification of the hazard. For each identified hazard the
potential consequences are described and the control/mitigation
measures are listed.

Why Use HAZID


HAZID has been developed specifically to reflect the importance of
HSE issues on the fundamental (and often non-HSE-related)
decisions that are made at the inception of all development projects

___________________
___________________

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278
Notes
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___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

(e.g. design concept and location). HAZID is the first opportunity to


collect experienced line and HSE staff together to address, in a
short time frame, the issues surrounding a new venture or
development.
The benefits of using HAZID include:
Full recognition of the importance and interdependence of all
HSE aspects at the outset of the development.
Identification of specific hazards and threats within a project
life-cycle phase or during operation.
Identification of all the intended continuous emissions from
the facility. This will focus design effort on the minimization of
such emissions as well as compliance with company and third
party requirements.

When to Use HAZID


Normally HAZID is carried out during conceptual and
development phase of the project. There are two types of HAZID
Conceptual and Detailed.
Conceptual HAZID
The optimum (early) timing of a conceptual HAZID study
inevitably means that the formal documentation available to the
team will be minimal and at conceptual or policy level. Some of the
key documents or information used for conceptual HAZID are:
Project Initiation Notes
Policy Statements
Feasibility Studies
Key (development) Discussion Papers
Project Development Plans
Relevant Company Group Standards
Project Design Basis
Description of Operational Environment
Key Legislative Documents
Key Philosophy Documents (e.g. Operations Philosophy, Safety
Logic, etc.)
Environmental Regulations

UNIT 22: Health, Safety and Environment

Detailed HAZID
The detailed study is conducted later in the engineering design
process, once design options have been identified but before any
final decisions have been made. A significant number of additional
documents and drawings will be available. The additional
documents would include, for each design option, preliminary
issues of:
Process Flow Schemes (PFS) with possibly Process
Engineering Flow Schemes (PEFS) at block diagram level with
mass balance information (for each competing design option)

279
Notes
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___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Plot Plan and Layouts

___________________

Process description including all planned operating cases

___________________

Project description including all options, life cycle issues and


planned plant flexibility

___________________

Safety philosophy
Operating philosophy
Raw material and product handling
Environmental assessment

HAZOP and Fault Tree


Special techniques like HAZOP, Fault Tree Analysis, FMEA, What
If are used at this stage.

Figure 22.5: Hazard Identification at Design Stage

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280
Notes
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___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

They show outcomes in all possible situations and tell how likely
they are to occur. What this means for the decision makers is that
they finally have, if not perfect information, the most complete
picture possible. They could see what could happen, how likely it is
to happen, and therefore be able to judge accordingly which risks
to take and which ones to avoid. Design need to be modified as per
outcome of the process (Figure 22.5).
The essential features of a HAZOP study are:
It is systematic and detailed. A series of guide words is
repeatedly used to ensure consistency and repeatability.
It is conducted by a team who know most about the project or
facility, typically those who designed and those who must
operate it.
It concentrates on exploring the consequences of deviations
from the usual operating conditions.
It is an audit of the completed part of a design.
Traditionally the HAZOP procedure examines process equipment
on a system by system basis, reviewing the process parameters
using a checklist of guide words, which suggest deviations from the
normal operating conditions.

Safety Audit A Key to Safe Operation


Safety Audit is the act of verifying the existence and
implementation of elements of safety and health system and for
verifying the systems ability to achieve defined safety objectives. It
checks the design, selection/construction and maintenance of
premises, plant, equipment and substances. It monitors
performance of the system and compares actual performance with
the standards or appropriate performance indicators. It performs
quality management and environment management. It identifies
data critical to the management of health and safety. It is periodic
in nature.
Objectives of the safety audit are to identify:
Design deficiencies
Weaknesses which might
modifications /additions

have

cropped

Fire protection arrangements and safety systems

up

during

UNIT 22: Health, Safety and Environment

Operating /maintenance procedures-degraded with time


Training methods, adequacy and implementation
Preparedness for handling emergencies
In summary, safety audit is a systematic independent review to
verify conformance with established guide lines or standards. It
employs well defined review process to ensure consistence and to
allow the auditor to reach conclusions.
Due to complexity of a large plant, use of IT is made for
implementing such an audit.

281
Notes
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___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Safety Facilities in Process Plant


For safe operation and control of a plant a number of safety
features are put in the design stage. Some examples of typical
systems for safe management of the production process are:
The Process Control System (PCS) which maintains the
process within defined operating limits of flow, temperature,
level and pressure. Completely computerized digital systems
with graphics of the plant is used for process plants.
Process Shutdown System (PSD) designed to shutting
down of selected equipment and control devices on the
platform that will stop production totally but will not blow
down the hydrocarbon contents of the equipment. This
shutdown is initiated either automatically or manually
through field instrumentation, for conditions like gas
detection, or any unusual operating situation.
Emergency Shutdown System (ESD) designed to shutting
down of all process facilities and utilities (except emergency
facilities such as firewater system) accompanied by blow down
of hydrocarbon/chemicals contained in all process facilities. This
type of shutdown is initiated automatically through detection
devices upon detection of fire or smoke. It can also be manually
activated through shutdown hand stations (push buttons).
Pressure Safety Valves mounted on equipment, which will
relieve over pressure, letting the released process fluid to go to
the flare.
Temporary Shutdown (TSD) which will occur on a limited
number of process inputs and will cause production to stop,
but will leave the systems in such a state as to facilitate a
prompt restart.

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Notes
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___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Gas Detection, Smoke Detection and Fire Detection


Systems are installed which can not only detect but also
trigger alarm system or shutdown system as per design
specifications of the plant.
Fire Fighting Facilities are provided which include Fire
Water System, Foam Tenders, Halon System, etc.
It is imperative that an operating company develop its own safety
philosophy, which can form the basis of safety considerations in
the design stage itself.

___________________

Construction Safety

___________________

The duration of the construction phase for a typical process plant


such as oil, gas processing or refinery complex is much shorter than
the facilitys subsequent operational life. But the nature of the
activities involved and the total manhours spent in a typical
construction project can expose the construction workforce to a level
of risk higher than that of the personnel involved in the subsequent,
longer operational phase. In addition a high proportion of
construction activities take place on brown field sites (meaning sites
where plant is already operating), where hydrocarbons are likely to
be present, thus increasing the potential consequences of incidents.

___________________
___________________

The difficulty in implementing HSE norms in construction phase is


due to the nature of the circumstances under which construction
contracting is carried out:
High turnover of personnel, often new to the country and not
familiar with the work culture.
Communication difficulties between people from countries
with language and cultural differences.
Pressure to work in short time horizons and comply with the
fast-track approach.
Diversity of parties involved (contractors) and resultant long
communication lines and frequent use of subcontractors.
This in turn can result in the following effects:
Low priority on construction planning at an early
enough stage: There is often a perception that all
construction activities are similar. There is therefore a
tendency to believe that the next project can be treated like
the last one with much of the planning work done once
contracts are awarded and site work commences.

UNIT 22: Health, Safety and Environment

Use of inappropriately qualified contractors: Often this is


caused by a change to the management and/or workforce of a
previously acceptable contractor.
Inadequate training (e.g. workers unaware of hazards):
Sometimes by external pressures to accept locally resourced
contractors who may not have the highest levels of training
and expertise. This is because of low priority on training,
mobilization of construction workers at a short time span and
lack of in-house expertise on HSE with the contractor.

283
Notes
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___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Short-cuts in order to meet ambitious schedules

___________________

Hazardous nature of construction sites

___________________

The potential for the occurrence of injuries and fatalities can be


high due to:
The close proximity of large numbers of personnel to heavy
equipment and movement of materials.
Need to carry out activities in arduous weather conditions.
Long working hours, particularly when trying to meet
ambitious deadlines.
Working in locations that present extra risk (e.g. at height,
over water, underwater, in confined spaces etc.).
Handling of toxic and hazardous substances.
Perception by the workforce of it being satisfactory to bend the
rules to achieve faster progress with little risk of incidents in
routine tasks and operations.
Surveys of incidents in the construction industry generally show
that a large proportion of injuries and fatalities occur, during the
performance of normal, routine general workplace practices (e.g.
scaffolding, welding, use of power tools), This is purely due to lack
of HSE System.
Thus induction of contractors having a sound HSE Policy or
training the contractors on owners HSE Policy is of paramount
importance. HSE policy is now rigorously implemented in most
developed countries. It has not yet come in a big way in India.

Safety Layers in a Plant


It must be remembered at this stage that the plant is designed
with safety in mind. As the final layer of design safety, Safety

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284
Notes
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___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Instrumented Systems (SIS) are built in which cause shut down of


the plant in unsafe situations.
SIS is a system composed of sensors, logic solvers, and final control
elements for the purpose of taking the process to a safe state when
predetermined conditions are violated.
But 100% safety is not possible and failures do occur. There are
multiple independent safety layers and SIS in the plant as shown
in Figure 22.6.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 22.6: Safety Layers

As shown in the figure, the final layer is that of emergency


response. Every major hydrocarbon facility must have an
Emergency Response Plan.

Elements of an Emergency Response Plan


The Owner must develop an emergency response plan for
emergencies which must address the following as a minimum:
Pre-emergency planning and coordination with outside parties.
Emergency Command System
Personnel roles, lines of authority,
communication in the command system.

training,

and

Emergency recognition and prevention.


Safe distances identification.
Site security and control.
Emergency medical treatment and first aid.
Emergency alerting and response procedures.
List of emergency equipment and their location
Emergency response organizations may use the local
emergency response plan or the state emergency response plan
or both, as part of their emergency response plan to avoid
duplication.

UNIT 22: Health, Safety and Environment

Environmental Aspects
The environmental aspects can be stated as follows:

285
Notes
___________________

Sources of Pollution

___________________

The overall block diagram from oil well to petrochemical is


presented in Figure 22.7. The effluent or pollutant it generates is
presented alongside in Figure 22.8.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 22.7: The Oil and Gas Chain

Hazardous waste is a waste which because of its physical, chemical


or infectious characteristics has the potential to cause harm to
human health or the environment when handled, stored,
transported, treated or disposed of.
The gaseous emissions, aqueous and gaseous effluents and
discharges of hazardous waste materials from operating units are
the major sources of pollution are known to have a negative impact
on the environment.
The effluents could be solid, liquid or gaseous. Some of the major
sources of effluent are summarized in the table below.
The effluents are emitted in three ways:
(a) during the processing of oil and gas
(b) when we consume them as fuel
(c) when we consume the end products

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

286

Table 22.2: Solid, Liquid and Gaseous Effluent

Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

The hydrocarbon industry is thus a major source of pollution in the


world. The three parties involved the industry, the government
and the consumers have to partner together to control the effects of
pollution.
What the governments are doing:
Stringent product specifications for reducing environment
impact by consumption of the product.
Setting of stringent effluent discharge specifications
Enacting environment related laws and enforcement
What the industry is doing:
Investing in technology and treatment plants to meet the
specifications
Improving the
generation

processing

scheme

to

reduce

pollutant

Developing new technologies to treat the effluents


What the consumers can do:
Reduce wasteful consumption of products
Reduce wasteful consumption of energy
In the next section we shall cover some major sources of pollutants
in the industry, the technologies for treatment of waste.

Figure 22.8: The Effluents Oil Well to Petrochemicals

UNIT 22: Health, Safety and Environment

Waste from Oil Production


Produced water accounts for about 98% of the total waste in the
oilfield. The water coming out with the oil can be as high as
60-70% of oil in a depleted field. Hence the volume of produced
water to be treated can be very large. For example in the USA,
about 21 billion barrels per year of produced water has to be
treated.
The other waste in oilfield is mainly drilling waste i.e. wastes that
come out of the well during drilling before completion of well. The
drilling waste is mainly mud with oil and chemicals used during
drilling. These are often discharged in a pit at the well site.
Toxic drilling wastes fill an open reserve pit is shown in
Figure 22.9. Such pits are often abandoned by oil companies
without treating or cleaning it.

Figure 22.9: Drilling Waste

The major contaminants in the produced water are:


Dissolved solids (primarily salt and heavy metals)
Suspended and dissolved organic materials (hydrocarbons, oil)
Hydrogen Sulfide/ Carbon Dioxide
The produced water is treated in the following step:
Removal of oil by skimming and use of floatation cells, where
oil particles are moved to surface by dispersing gas through
the produced water.
Removal of dissolved hydrocarbons by biological process,
precipitation, ultraviolet irradiation and oxidation.
Removal of suspended solids by gravity separation, filtration
and coagulation.

287
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

288
Notes

Removal of dissolved solids by ion exchange, precipitation,


reverse osmosis, evaporation and biological process.

___________________
___________________

Pollutants during Transportation

___________________

One of the biggest pollution hazards facing the world today is oil
spill from large oil tankers carrying crude oil. Oil spillage occurs
when the ship leaks due to crashing in a reef or rock, any other
type of accident with the ship. Leakage can also occur during
loading/unloading and normal movement of the ship.

___________________

Oil spills cause enormous damage to ecosystem and marine life.

___________________

There are two stages of dealing with an oil spill containment and
recovery.

___________________
___________________
___________________

___________________
___________________

Containment is done by containment booms, which could be of


floating type or inflatable type. These are laid around the spill area
by high speed boats (Figure 22.10).

Figure 22.10: Containment Boom

Once contained, the oil layer is recovered by skimmers (Figure


22.11) or by adsorbents or by using microorganisms for
biodegradation of the hydrocarbons. The skimmed oil is put in a
temporary storage and treated for reuse.
For oil coming over to the beaches other methods including
vacuum cleaning is used.

Figure 22.11: Recovery of Oil Spill by Skimmer

UNIT 22: Health, Safety and Environment

Wastes from refinery include free and emulsified oil from leaks,
spills, waste caustic, caustic and acid sludge, tank bottom sludge,
acid water, waste catalyst etc.
Crude oil storage tanks also are a large contributor to refinery waste.
It includes oily water, organic sulfur compounds, suspended matter,
insoluble and soluble salts, asphaltic compounds, H2S and Co2.
Most of the refinery waste come into the drainage headers along
with the waste water in various parts of the refinery and are
collected for treatment in the effluent treatment plant.
Petrochemical plant wastes are more complex due to wide range of
raw materials, intermediate chemicals and products. The design of
the Effluent Treatment Plant has to tailor made to suit the
effluent characteristics and discharge specifications. Wide range of
effluent processes are available to treat different types of effluents.

Waste Water Treatment


In this section, the discussion will be limited to normal waste
water treatment facility.
A typical generic schematic diagram for waste water treatment is
shown in Figure 22.12. Of course the specific treatment method will
vary depending on the characteristics of the effluent. Some of the
equipment needed for the treatment are shown in Figure 22.13.
The major steps are:
Removal of free oil particles by skimming
Removal of emulsion particles by floatation of oil particles
aided by purging with gas or air bubbled from the bottom of
floatation cell.
Oxidation of the organic material by aeration and bacterial
method using activated sludge.
Finally filtration to remove suspended solids.

Figure 22.12: Treatment of Waste Water

289
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

290
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 22.13: Waste Water Treatment Equipments

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. Oil spills cause enormous damage to ecosystem and
life.
2. is a system composed of sensors, logic
solvers, and final control elements for the purpose of
taking the process to a safe state when predetermined
conditions are violated.

UNIT 22: Health, Safety and Environment

Summary
Health, Safety and Environment aspects have gained tremendous

291
Notes

importance in the entire plant life cycle. A plant can be made safe

___________________

if safety aspects are looked into and managed from conceptual

___________________

stage to operation and dismantling.

___________________

In this unit, at first the types of hazards, both fire/explosion and

___________________

release of toxic material were identified. Some accident cases were

___________________

presented to highlight the importance of management of safety at

___________________

all stages of plant life cycle.


This was followed by hazard identification techniques. Overview of
techniques like HAZOP were presented.

___________________
___________________
___________________

Safety aspects during plant operation and maintenance were


highlighted.
Lastly various sources of pollution and release of hazardous
material in the hydrocarbon industry were identified. Some major
pollutants were described and a few generic methods of combating
pollution were described.

Lesson End Activity


Make a presentation on HSE System.

Keywords
Hazards: These are defined as having the potential to cause
harm, including ill health and injury, damage to property, products
or the environment, production losses or increased liabilities.
Threats: These are possible causes that could potentially release
the hazard and produce an incident.
Incidents: These are defined as an unplanned event or chain of
events, which have caused or could have caused injury, illness and
or damage (loss), to assets, the environment, or third parties.
Benzene: Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon, which can be
present in very low concentrations in some crude oils.
HAZID (HAZard IDentification): It is a technique for early
identification of potential hazards and threats.

___________________

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292

Questions for Discussion

Notes
___________________

1.

List the various causes of accident in a hydrocarbon


processing facility.

2.

What is a fire triangle? Give example from an actual plant.

3.

Name two very toxic chemicals that oil and gas processing
industry has to handle and identify with block diagram at
what stages of processing there are likelihood of hazard from
these chemicals.

4.

What is HAZOP? For what purpose it is used? Briefly describe


the technique.

5.

Explain with block diagram various sources of solid, liquid


and gaseous pollutants from the entire chain of hydrocarbon
industry from oil field to petrochemicals.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Further Readings
Books
Fundamentals of Oil & Gas Accounting, Charlotte J. Wright,
Rebecca A. Gallun Business & Economics 2008
Introduction to the Global Oil & Gas Business, Samuel Van Vactor
Business & Economics
Oil and gas production in non-technical language, Martin
Raymond, William L. Leffler Technology & Engineering 2005

Web Readings
ww.api.org/ehs/
www.touchoilandgas.com/health-safety-c7.html
www.ogp.org.uk/pubs/254.pdf
www.ogj.com/blogs/health-safety-and-environmental.html

UNIT 23: IT Applications in Hydrocarbon Industry

Unit 23
IT Applications in Hydrocarbon
Industry

293
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Objectives

___________________

After completion of this unit, the students will be aware of the following
topics:

___________________

Plant life cycle in the Oil and Gas Industry

___________________

Overview of the application of Information Technology during various


phases of project

___________________

Types of software used and their capabilities

___________________
___________________

Introduction
Like most of the other industries, the hydrocarbon industry is also
facing the pressure and challenges from expanding global
competition. Further, there have been huge investments and
expenditure arising out of the stringent environment and pollution
regulatory controls and greater concerns for safety. This is driving
the hydrocarbon industry towards more consistent higher quality
products involving stricter requirements on the traditional plant
operation.

Application of Information Technology


To be profitable in the venture, every industry is looking for cost
effectiveness in the total life cycle of the process plant in all
business sectors and professional disciplines. In order to achieve
these objectives and meet the challenge, the Process Industry in
Hydrocarbon area is endeavouring to reap the benefits of
computing technology. In that respect the role of software
programs can never be over emphasized.

Plant Life Cycle


The Plant Life Cycle (Figure 23.1) starts with exploration for oil,
and its production. This is followed by development of numerous

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

294

downstream plants. The life cycle comprises of their design,

Notes
Activity

operation, production, maintenance, safety, profitability, revamp

Make
a presentation on
___________________
FEED.
___________________

and expansion. It is a complex series of technical, commercial and

___________________
___________________

management activities, requiring high level of technological skills,


improvement of operating efficiency, information generation,
information

management

and

overall

management

skills.

Information technology and use of computers plays an extensive

___________________

role in the design, operation and management of hydrocarbon

___________________

industry.

___________________

Substantial developments have taken place in the application of IT

___________________

in Process Industries, due to the collaborative efforts from process

___________________

engineers, professionals from all engineering disciplines and

___________________

software program developers. Use of IT during various phases of


plant life cycle is summarized in Figure 23.1.

Project Cost Estimation and Feasibility Study


Cost estimate is an assessment of the cost of a project based on the
facts available on the project and historical records of similar
projects. The better and more precise the facts, the more accurate
is the estimate.
Cost estimates of progressively increasing accuracy are required at
every stage of project since they provide the basis for economic
analysis, management decisions, approval of budgets and cost
control.
With larger projects, it is common to ask for phased approval of
expenditure because of the limited technical definition against
which preliminary estimates are often prepared. At first a ballperk type or order of magnitude type of estimate may be required.
For budgetary approval to pursue the project, a feasibility study is
required. If the preliminary estimate (feasibility report) looks
attractive, funds may be sanctioned to allow Front End
Engineering Design (FEED) to take place. A more definitive
estimate is based on FEED.
FEED allows for accurate sizing and layout of the equipment and
facilities in the plant and get more accurate and detailed cost
estimate from past data on similar equipment or fresh quotations
on the equipment and facilities.

UNIT 23: IT Applications in Hydrocarbon Industry

295
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
Figure 23.1: IT Application during Plant Life Cycle

The final approval for a project to proceed is usually given on the


basis of this detailed estimate.
In short, there are two types of estimate done before start of a
project:
z

Feasibility Study

Detailed Feasibility Report (Also called Detailed Project


Report or Definition of Facilities).

In feasibility study stage often the accuracy is defined as 25 or


30% estimate. In such cases factored cost figures are used. In
Detailed Feasibility Report or Project Definition Report a more
definitive cost (10% accuracy) is required and more accurate
estimation of hardware and services are required and factoring is
minimized.

Key Features of Cost Estimate Software Programs


Software programs are available where estimates are broken down
and structured in such a way that they reflect the project
organization, the requirements of any applicable budgetary
control, accounting requirements and agreements. The structure of
such a software is given in Figure 23.2. The programs generally
have the following features:
z

Breakdown the project into cost heads (Table 23.1) and to a


level of detail appropriate for the type of estimate required.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

296

For example these could be equipment cost, hardware or bulk


material (piping, cables etc.) cost, services cost, financial cost
etc.

Notes
___________________
___________________

Further breakdown of each cost head into discrete project


activities, unit rates for each activity covering the entire
project span and scope.

One of the key elements is to estimate the equipment and


hardware cost as accurately as possible. Depending on the
accuracy required, it could be taken from an existing cost data
base, related to specification of the major equipments. Again
depending on the accuracy of the equipment required,
approximate sizing or engineered specification of equipment is
done.

Cost database in the software contains collection of data


obtained from records of plants built earlier. Data base are
correlated and updated from time to time. Usually the input
data is cost of equipment and major items obtained from
quotations or records.

Major equipment cost forms the base cost for various types of
estimates. For feasibility study estimates, other cost heads are
often factored. It estimates cost of erection, piping,
instrumentation, electrical items, civil etc. by adding a series
of factors over the equipment cost. Inflation indices are
introduced.

When an engineered detailing of the plant is done, often for


the sake of accuracy, current quotations and rates are taken
from vendors as input to the software database.

Add appropriate allowances and contingencies to the


individual estimates at Hardware Item or Project Function
level.

Phase the components of the total cost estimate to obtain


expenditure profile which reflects the project schedule.

Develop the complete estimate by adding up all the cost heads


from the definition of scope, through the definition of
quantities/services and the application of unit cost rates to the
final estimated-cost of the project.

Most of the software have additional features like carrying out


cash flow calculations, financial analysis and profitability
based on the estimates made and inputs on financial cost and
operational cost.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

UNIT 23: IT Applications in Hydrocarbon Industry

It is possible to use these programs along with design or flow-sheet


simulation programs to optimize and estimate. Thus by use of
modern cost estimate software, design and costing can be brought
together. There is an immediate feedback on information on
improved design and lower costs.
Table 23.1: Major Cost Heads for Process Plant
Some of the major cost heads for capital cost are:
Equipment and Material Cost
z
Land Development Cost
z
Infrastructure Cost
z
Construction Cost
z
Commissioning Cost
z
Project Management Cost
z
Engineering and Design Cost
z
Cost of Financing
z
Contingency Allowance
Some of the cost heads can be factored based on equipment cost.
z

Linear Programming Applications in Process Plant


Linear Programming (LP) application software is used for process
plant cost optimization or optimization of production plan. It is
designed to provide plants with an economic advantage in todays
highly competitive environment. This system uses feedstock
properties, plant models, and economic considerations to help
planners maximize profitability over a broad operating rangeboth
in conceptual and design stage as well as to optimize the operation.
It takes into consideration of all the constraints and variables
expressed in the form of linear equations. The ideal application of
LP model is where:
z

There are many potential solution

Certain objectives to be optimized

Interconnectedness between the variable elements of the


system.

Oil refineries face an enormous number of options in their


operations:
z

Which crude oils to refine

What processing conditions to use

Which products to sell

How to blend them from the intermediate components

297
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

298
Notes
Activity
Write
a report on Autocad
___________________
Software.
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

There is a straightforward objective to arrive at optimized


solutions: the profit. The operations of the refinery are intrinsically
interconnected: it is a sequential process with one decision
affecting the other; for example, choosing to process one crude
means that you have less processing capacity available for others.
Thus the problems which a refinery faces have the characteristics
of a LP solution.
A typical structure of LP software for optimization of a refinery
(conceptual stage) as well as optimization of operation of existing
refinery is shown in Figure 23.2.

___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 23.2: LP Software Structure

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. .. is an assessment of the cost of a project
based on the facts available on the project and historical
records of similar projects.
2. .. application software is used for process
plant cost optimization or optimization of production
plan.

IT Application in Design and Engineering


Process Design and Engineering
In the process industry, the design phase starts with the Process
Design and followed by Engineering Design for other disciplines.

UNIT 23: IT Applications in Hydrocarbon Industry

Two of the most important drawing documents in this stage are:


A Process Flow Diagram (PFD) shows all equipment in the process
scheme like pumps, compressors, heater, reactor and distillation
column that is required for processing, and links them up in the
form of a flow diagram showing materials flow and heat flow
through each of the equipment.
Simulation and optimization of the flow diagram is carried out by
making use of process simulation software available from reputed
software companies like SimSci, Aspentech, Hyprotech and others.
These enable the Process engineers to design new processes,
evaluate alternative plant configurations and arrive at the
optimum design.
The other most important drawing is Piping and Instrumentation
Diagrams (P&IDs) showing all interconnecting pipe sizes, pipe
specifications,
control
systems
and
control
instrument
specifications. It also gives major equipment sizes and performance
specification.
In earlier days, P&IDs were being conceived and drafted totally
manually. Now P&ID software programs provide the capability to
build schematics intelligently as well as perform design checks for
consistency and compatibility of components. Once the process
simulation is done, the actual drafting works are carried out by
software programs like AutoCAD, Microstation and other software.
A typical P&ID generated by process design and drafted by
Autocad software is given in Figure23.3.

Figure 23.3: A Typical P&ID

299
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

300

Detailed Engineering Using 3-D Model

Notes

Once the process design is over, a multi-disciplinary engineering

___________________

team starts what is known as detailed engineering. While

___________________

mechanical engineers carry out the mechanical design and

___________________

drawings of the equipment, electrical engineers estimate the power

___________________

requirement in the plant and start making drawings for cable


layout and power distribution. Similarly piping engineers make

___________________

piping layout drawings and civil engineers start foundation and

___________________

structural drawings. For each discipline, there are specific design

___________________

tools (software).

___________________

The

___________________
___________________

drawings

were

generally

done

earlier

using

2-Dimension drafting software like AutoCAD, Microstation, etc.


With the complexity of integrating multi-disciplinary designs and
drawings, 2-D systems for drafting and modeling had become
inadequate. A number of good 3-D modeling for engineering design
of process plants along with data management and a lot of other
options are available now. Examples of such software are PDMS,
PDS, AUTOPLANT, etc. Some of the features in these software are
described below.
The 3-D software allows interaction between all disciplines in the
3D design workflow by allowing a comprehensive set of integrated
applications covering all engineering disciplines at its core.
Through the design, standard and automated deliverables can be
generated directly from the model. The in-built linkages within the
software allows for updating of sequential designs or drawings for
any changes in the input, minimizing the possibility of errors,
when a series of drawings are generated.
Typical 3-D model generated by such software is shown in Figure
23.4. Such software allows the projects to be executed within an
unlimited, multi-user, multi-site access environment globally using
low bandwidth technology on multiple platforms.
The major advantages of the 3-D software provides over
conventional 2-D software are:
z

Saving in time

Saving in material as the impact on bill of material for


changes in design is taken care of more effectively by this kind
of software.

UNIT 23: IT Applications in Hydrocarbon Industry

Visualization of the 3-D model, which helps in better


judgement in design and operability. In the specialized world
of plant design, it is called immersive group visualization a
theatre style system enabling a group of engineers and their
customers to take a big-screen ride through a proposed new
plant.

Figure 23.4 presents typical networking for a global engineering


design operation.
With the improvements in software system and communication,
engineering services outsourcing is gradually getting as common
as outsourcing in the IT industry.

301
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 23.4: Typical Networking for a Global Engineering Design


Operation

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. show all interconnecting pipe sizes,
pipe specifications, control systems and control
instrument specifications.
2. Piping engineers make drawings.

IT Application in Operation
Nowadays computer and software application are extensively used
for operation, control and monitoring of a process plant.

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

302
Notes
___________________
___________________

First let us understand what kinds of functions are required for


optimum and safe operation of a plant. The main functions to be
carried out in a plant are:
z

Local plant control and management

Plant optimization functions.

Communication system between plants and between plant and


a central control station and management of the
communication

___________________

Plant maintenance functions

___________________

Overall production planning, monitoring and control

___________________

Management functions.

___________________

To do all these functions a lot of plant operating data and other


parameters need to be collected and processed. Let us understand
what kind of data is collected:

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Normally, an oil gas related plant is a complex of several


process units spread over a large area.

In each process unit, there are numerous measurements of


operating conditions in various equipments which affect the
plant operation. Some of the parameters are pressure,
temperature, flow rate, level of liquid, composition of
feedstock, composition of products, properties of feed and
products and numerous other information.

For optimum and safe operation of the plant many of the above
parameters need to be monitored and controlled.

Also in each plant numerous equipment oriented data are collected


such as:
z

Equipment status (on-off, in line, isolated, on maintenance)

Equipment
health
parameters
temperature, corrosion status)

(vibration,

bearing

For all these functions to be effectively done a lot of measurement


and recording of data, data processing, optimization and control of
operating conditions to meet the production are required. Till 1960
it was done either manually or through local control. Later with
increasing computer application, a completely centralized control
system was developed. But after mid-seventies, with the
development of powerful micro-processors, Process Control System

UNIT 23: IT Applications in Hydrocarbon Industry

(PCS) and software technology, modern distributed control system


(DCS) gained ground. Now Advanced Process Control System are
used, which combines DCS with process dynamic model and
management information system into one.

303
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Notes:
APC: Advance Process Control
DCS / DDCS: Distributed Control System / Digital Distributed Control System

Figure 23.5: Advanced Process Control Hierarchy

Figure 23.5 depicts visualization of a typical control of a petroleum


product storage and despatch system. Here a large number of
parameters and logistics are to be managed and controlled:
z

Filling of the tanks by products from the plant or raw material


from external sources,

Emptying the tanks during loading in tankers or pumping to


pipeline,

Measuring and
despatched,

Quality of the various products and raw material are to be


maintained.

monitoring

the

material

received

and

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

304
Notes
___________________
___________________

In a large storage terminal with a number of storages, pumps,


loading racks, tanker movements, it becomes a complex operation
and may have logistics problems. Today the whole operation is
carried out by DCS system using software to manage the logistics.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 23.6: Automation of Storage and Handling of Products

For monitoring and control of facilities laid over long distances and
integrated together (e.g. pipeline) SCADA system was developed.
Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP) now sits above DCS
and other software for overall planning and asset management.
Description of some of these IT applications is given below.

Distributed Control System (DCS) in Process Plant


Distributed Control System for plant operation and management is
very popular nowadays. It is so called, because in a large complex
of plant facilities the data is stored where they have been created
and where they will be needed. Similar principles hold for the
control and operating functions also. But certain information and
functions are centralized. Typically:
z

Local control and supervision of plant is located next to the


plant instrumentation.

Processing

of

data

for

higher

purposes

(optimization,

calculations of set point value, etc.) is allocated in central


control room.

UNIT 23: IT Applications in Hydrocarbon Industry

Production planning and plant management is located closer

305
Notes

to the relevant plant management staff.


As shown in Figure 23.7, the operators console in the control room

___________________

is connected through a shared communication facility to several

___________________

distributed local control units.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 23.7: DCS System

DCS has three essential features:


1.

DCS distributes its functions into smaller sets of semiautonomous sub-systems covering specific process or
geographic areas of the plant complex.
The functions generally are:

2.

3.

Data Collection

Process Control

Process Analysis and Supervision

Storage and Retrieval of Information

Presentation of Information and Reports

The second is to automate the manufacturing process by


integrating advanced regulatory control logic and procedural
languages with advanced application packages, expert
systems, including information to support such manufacturing
enterprise application as:

Production scheduling and dispatching

Preventive and predictive maintenance scheduling

Information
application

exchanges

with

business

and

logistics

The third characteristic is the system aspect of the DCS, which


organizes information flow between the constituent parts so

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

306

that a single automation system


autonomous sub-systems is created.

Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________

unifying

the

semi-

DCS has been used extensively for all round application in


operation, process control, maintenance, equipment availability
etc. A typical imprint from the monitor of a control room with DCS
is shown in Figure 23.8.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
Figure 23.8: Monitor Imprint from Control Room

Dynamic Simulation Model and Advanced Process Control (APC)


Building the system model involves entering the details about each
item in the process system. Much of the information needed to
build the model is obtained during the design stage. It is always
best to create the model during the design stage and keep the
model current through start-up and operation.
Dynamic model predicts responses of various equipment and
process parameters due to any change in:
z

Feedstock quality or quantity

Operating conditions

Utility parameters (e.g. fuel gas quality for the furnace)

Price of products.

The software can have in built process optimization system. It


calculates the new sets of operating conditions required for each
part of the flow system to get the requisite yield and quality of
products in the most economic way.
The program allows the operator to calculate new control set points
to achieve optimum performance, carry out studies and determine
where problems are occurring and what the reasons are.
In Advanced Process Control System, the model transmits the
corrective actions required to the plant control system, which
automatically resets the plant operating parameters.

UNIT 23: IT Applications in Hydrocarbon Industry

Training Simulators
Plant operating personnel need to know how the plant will operate
during a variety of conditions. They can either gain that experience
by actually putting the plant into that condition, or they can
simulate the operation using training simulators. Using software,
an operator can safely simulate the operation of the process system
in these infrequent or potentially dangerous system-operating
conditions. Thus a plant operator gains experience in system
operation without affecting the operation of the physical plant.
The program allows the operator to determine optimum product
distributions based on current economic conditions, calculate new
control set points to achieve optimum performance, carry out
studies and determine where problems are occurring and why.

SCADA System
SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. It
refers to the combination of the fields of telemetry and data
acquisition. It is extensively used in facilities covering very large
area (e.g. cross country pipeline or a complex of offshore platforms)
monitoring, control, operations, maintenance and management.
SCADA encompasses the following:
z

Collection of the information

The method of measurement and transfer of the information


from the remote site by telemetry and telecommunication.

The analysis and control of the system and display of the


received information. SCADA facilitates the capability to
monitor and control network operations in real time.

SCADA systems are distinguished from traditional control systems


by their extensive use of telemetry to link physically isolated
measurement and control points. SCADA systems are
predominantly used in Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Processing and
pipeline industries. Basic SCADA structure comprises:
z

Master Terminal Unit (MTU) or Master Control Station (MCS)


for processing of the data and presenting it to console
operators.

Communication System for transmitting remote data to the


MTU and control commands to the remote sight for device
controlling.

307
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

308
Notes
___________________

Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) for acquisition of device status


and data at remote sites.

The communication could be through optical fibres, radio, cable or

___________________

satellite. But for its functioning extensive range of software are

___________________

used. Besides Operating System Software, the following are

___________________

essential for SCADA system:

___________________

Application software related to a specific application. For example,

___________________

for a typical pipeline SCADA system, the application software will

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

be transient model of pipeline dynamic flow operations including


real-time leak detection and location software.
The modules to be included are:
z

Flow measurement

Meter proving

Batch tracking

Interface detection/composition tracking

Pig tracking

Over or under pressure protection module

Pipeline efficiency module

Predictive module

SCADA software comprises System and database configuration:


z

Generation of current raw database and processed data base


(telemetered information)

Generation of historic data for trending and archival

Alarm handling including information display and print out

Generation, storage, presentation of mimic diagrams with


dynamic information (presented on VDUs)

Display management for alarm, mimic diagrams, analog and


digital values, trend graphs, bar charts in high resolution
colour graphic modes

The calculation software package

Free format report generation storage and print out

Transmission

of

control

commands

and

configuration

parameters to out stations in system with fast update of


related information on Man Machine Interface (MMI).

UNIT 23: IT Applications in Hydrocarbon Industry

309

Check Your Progress

Notes
Activity

Fill in the blanks:


1. Unit in SCADA is for acquisition of
device status and data at remote sites.
2. Unit is for processing of the data and
presenting it to console operators.

Make
a presentation on the
___________________
different
Maintenance
___________________
Management
Software
available.
___________________
___________________
___________________

Maintenance Management Software


The following are
Software available:

the

different

Maintenance

___________________

Management

___________________
___________________

Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS)

___________________

CMMS integrates routine maintenance, preventive maintenance,


work orders, inventory and purchasing in an intuitive interface.
Specifically designed to be easy and powerful, minimizing operator
input during startup and normal operations.

___________________

Planned as well as Preventive Maintenance Tasks are scheduled


by Days, Shifts or Meter readings. Any maintenance tasks that are
not completed are rescheduled for the next week. A critical
preventive maintenance work order is never missed because they
are automatically regenerated until completed.
Field condition and process information data are accumulated and
passed on to Computerized Maintenance Management System
(CMMS) software for analysis. However, this information cant tell
the user what actually went wrong or how severe the problem is.
Specialized condition-monitoring equipment e.g. corrosion
monitoring to identify corrosion problems in piping and vessels,
vibration monitoring to identify rotor dynamic and bearing faults,
and performance monitoring to identify performance degradations,
are needed.

Condition Monitored Maintenance Software


Intelligent field devices and smart chips combined with maintenance
management software are now helping process industry companies
move toward predictive maintenance in their plants.
It collects data generated by smart field instruments, organizes
this data for various maintenance functions, and monitors for early
warning signs of field device stress or deterioration so that
corrective action can be taken before a serious equipment failure

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

310
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

occurs. There are diagnostic software to actually carry out the


diagnosis of the problem and recommend preventive actions.
The program reduces overall maintenance costs and increases
process uptime by providing advanced warning about potential
equipment failures. Automating work order creation and
eliminating manual data entry further reduce the chance for human
error in handling maintenance information. By combining these
important maintenance tools, the user can establish a predictive
maintenance environment to keep the plant running at top
efficiency. Potential problems are corrected before serious damage
occurs, and the cost of maintenance is reduced significantly.
Direct interfaces between the Computerized Maintenance
Management System (CMMS) and other diagnostic and monitoring
systems such as compressor and pump automation, predictive
maintenance, and product quality testing equipment can assist
greatly in streamlining
the maintenance process. It allows
maintenance personnel to respond to early warning signals before
they escalate into critical repair problems. CMMS build upon these
types of interfaces to automatically create work orders and update
equipment histories based upon alarms and test results received
through these interfaces.
CMMS provides maintenance professionals with:
z

An easy-to-use library of possible problems for major capital


expenditure assets and critical patient care items

Problem diagnosis techniques

A recommendation to repair the cause of the problem and


avoid repeated wasting of money treating its symptoms rather
than the actual cause.

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. .. integrates routine maintenance,
preventive maintenance, work orders, inventory and
purchasing in an intuitive interface.
2. Field condition and process information data are
accumulated and passed on to .. software
for analysis.

UNIT 23: IT Applications in Hydrocarbon Industry

Enterprise Resource Planning and Management (ERP)

311
Notes
Activity

What is ERP?
Earlier, most of the large process plant complex used to maintain
independent information centre/databank for individual functions
like Planning, Operation, Maintenance Management, Finance and
Marketing. However, now software programs integrate
information from those activities. But modern Enterprise Resource
Planning software (ERP) combines information, data and reports
from all departments together into a single, integrated software
program with a single data base, from which all can share
information and communicate with each other.
Members of staff of different departments see the same
information and can update it. Accountability, responsibility and
communication are the major benefit of the ERP.
In short, ERP consists of the following modules:
z

Asset Management,

Controlling,

Financial Accounting,

Human Resources,

Industry Specific Solutions,

Plant Maintenance,

Production Planning,

Project System,

Quality Management,

Sales and Distribution,

Materials Management,

Business Work Flow.

Major Benefits of ERP


ERP consists of the following benefits:
z

Integration of financial information: ERP integrates and


creates a single version of format that cannot be questioned
because everyone is using the same system.

Write a report stating the


___________________
different uses of ERP in any
two ___________________
sectors, along with
examples.
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

312
Notes

Integration of customer order information: ERP systems


manages all information from enquiry to ordering, shipping,
delivery and payment. By having this information in one
software system, rather than scattered among many different
systems, companies can keep track of orders more easily, and
coordinate production, inventory and shipping. It helps in
reducing inventory.

Standardize HR information: Especially in companies with


multiple business units, ERP can provide a unified, simple
method for tracking employees time, utilization, and
communicating with them about benefits and services.

Integration with Operation: ERP systems provide a


platform that links sales, inventory and quality with the
production data, operation and production planning. The interphasing with the plant operation is done by interaction with
DCS system by transmitting key production and operating
information for the management.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

By providing the link between ERP and plant operation, the


program enables true plant optimization.
Integration with Maintenance: Like integration with operation,
ERP can sit over and inter-phase with the maintenance software
also.
Essentially through modern ERP system, all departments covering
management functions, production functions, maintenance
functions, marketing functions and safety functions are managed
and monitored.

Project Management
Discussion on IT application is incomplete without mention of
project management software like Primavera, MS Project etc. Such
software are extensively used to meet specific objectives to make
the project on time, within budgeted cost and meeting quality.
Such software have both text and graphic interfaces to carry out
functions like:
z

Planning and scheduling: Gantt Chart, PERT Chart, Bar


Chart

Cost control: Ordering, purchase order, budget vs. actual

Resource Management

UNIT 23: IT Applications in Hydrocarbon Industry

Progress Monitoring: Engineering progress, ordering


progress, vendor shop status, delivery schedules, construction
progress, projected and actual progress curves (S-Curves).

Such software have the capability of integrating the project related


activities of the entire company (Figure 23.9)

313
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 23.9: Enterprise Project Management

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. . integrates and creates a single
version of format that cannot be questioned because
everyone is using the same system.
2. . software combines information, data
and reports from all departments together into a single,
integrated software program with a single data base,
from which all can share information and communicate
with each other.

Summary
This unit gave a complete overview of IT application in the
hydrocarbon industry. The entire operation in a project life cycle
from conceptualization of the project to the project feasibility
study, design, construction, operation, maintenance and
management has extensive application of IT.
The project life cycle and application of IT in various phases of
plant life was at first identified. This was followed by description of
software application in each of the above phases. Examples of IT
application in design, operation and maintenance were explained

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

314
Notes

in detail. Capabilities and uses of modern ERP software were


explained.

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Lesson End Activity


Using the Internet, find out more information on Gantt Chart,
PERT Chart and Bar Chart.

Keywords
SCADA: It stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. It
refers to the combination of the fields of telemetry and data
acquisition.
Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS):
CMMS integrates routine maintenance, preventive maintenance,
work orders, inventory and purchasing in an intuitive interface.
Enterprise Resource Planning-software (ERP): It combines
information, data and reports from all departments together into a
single, integrated software program with a single data base, from
which all can share information and communicate with each other.

Questions for Discussion


1.

What are the various phases in plant life cycle where IT


application is commonly used?

2.

Explain the extent of integration in IT application for


management, operation and maintenance in the hydrocarbon
industry.

3.

Expand the following terminologies:


(a) ERPLP
(b) P&ID
(c)

PFD

(d) DCSAPC
(e)

SCADA

(f)

FEED

(g) DFRDPR

UNIT 23: IT Applications in Hydrocarbon Industry

4.

What is Condition Monitored Maintenance (CMM) and how is


it used for the purpose?

5.

What is SCADA? Explain a SCADA system for a cross country


pipeline.

315
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Further Readings

___________________

Books

___________________

Applied homogeneous catalysis with organometallic compounds:


A ..., Volume 1 Boy Cornils, Wolfgang A. Herrmann - Science
1996

___________________

Handbook of Industrial Hydrocarbon Processes James G. Speight


Technology & Engineering 2010
Classics in hydrocarbon chemistry: Syntheses,
perspectives Henning Hopf Science 2000

concepts,

Organic electrochemistry Henning Lund, Ole Hammerich Science


2001

Web Readings
www.geosocindia.org/Goldenjubilee/lucknowseminar.pdf
vinci.celuga.net/images/contenu/documents/Rock%20Eval% 206.pdf

___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

316
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

UNIT 24: Economics and Technology Trends

Unit 24
Economics and Technology
Trends

317
Notes
Activity
Make
a presentation on
___________________
FEED.
___________________
___________________
___________________

Objectives

___________________

After completion of this unit, the students will be aware of the following
topics:

___________________

Trends on prices and business cycles

___________________

Strategies being adopted by major companies for competitiveness and


to overcome Troughs in the business cycles

___________________

Trends on innovation and emerging technologies

___________________
___________________

Introduction
Oil and natural gas dominate as main source of energy due to low
cost and ease of handling compared to other commercially viable
energy sources.
Coal is cheaper as raw material but more difficult to transport.
Coal has lower calorific value, lower efficiency of combustion and
greater environment pollution problem.
Technology of non-conventional sources of energy like solar energy,
wind energy, ocean energy or fuel cells are getting more attractive
but still a far cry for bulk production. At currently prevailing
prices of oil and gas, any major shift towards other sources of
energy is not expected in the near future.
Between oil and natural gas, the latter is cleaner and more
efficient fuel. But it is difficult to transport, difficult to store and to
fill in automobiles. Till now gas played second fiddle to oil as a
resource. Natural gas being a clean and efficient fuel and due to
improvements in the economics of liquefaction and re-gasification
technology, natural gas is gradually increasing its share in the
world energy supply.
Price fluctuation, competitiveness and changing business cycles
are characteristics of hydrocarbon industry. The huge turnovers
often in billions of dollars by major players and large profits during

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

318
Notes
Activity
Make
a presentation on the
___________________
International
Gas
price
___________________
scenario.
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

upswing period of business cycle, generates enough funds to


innovate and improve technology to remain competitive.
To get the feel of business in hydrocarbon area, it is necessary to
know the various trends in pricing, business trends, economic
trends and technological changes. Some of these aspects are
highlighted in this unit.

Natural Gas Trends


The emergence of natural gas as fuel had been slow mainly due to

___________________

transportation costs. For example gas pipelines are 3 to 4 times

___________________

more

___________________

liquefaction and transportation have created large market for

___________________

LNG. Also very large reserves of gas have been discovered in


places

expensive

like

than

Qatar,

oil.

Improvements

Indonesia

and

in

elsewhere,

economics

of

substantially

enhancing the availability of gas. Also stricter environmental


regulation both for product specification and effluent discharge has
made use of gas more attractive.
The price of gas, availability of gas, environmental regulations and
efficiency of gas as fuel makes natural gas fuel for the immediate
future.
The price of gas at the source varies from place to place. Earlier
the stress was on exploration of oil. The gas fields found in course
of exploration were capped and not exploited. These are called
stranded gas in the USA. Such gases are often given negligible
value at source. The netback or profit comes after the gas is
exploited and distributed to the consumer through pipeline
network. As a result, gas has always been valued at a price much
lower than crude oil for equivalent amount of energy value.
Natural gas price unlike oil is expressed traditionally in terms of
calorific value as US$ per Million BTU or in short US$ per
MMBTU. One million BTU equivalent of gas is roughly equal to
0.182 barrels of crude (thumb rule conversion). That means to
convert US$/MMBTU to US$ per barrel, the conversion factor will
be roughly 1.0 divided by 0.182 or 5.5. Thus we can use a factor of
5.5 to multiply US$ per MMBTU to get equivalent US$ per Bbl
price for natural gas for comparison to oil price.

UNIT 24: Economics and Technology Trends

International Gas Price Scenario

319

It is interesting to note that, the USA in spite of having large

Notes

resources of gas available at a low price is looking into

___________________

supplementing its gas requirement by import of LNG.

___________________

In the early nineties, the price of LNG has been high compared to

___________________

the price of gas in the United States. Costs of delivery were around

___________________

$2.50 to 3.00 per MMBTU (not including the netback price to the
owner

of

the

stranded

gas

reserves).

Assuming

US$

___________________

1.00/MMBTU netback to the producer, a total deliverable gas price

___________________

of around $3.50 to $4.00/MMBTU could possibly be attained on a

___________________

cost basis.

___________________

Now due to competition and improvements in technology, the total

___________________

cost of LNG production and re-gasification has been reduced.

___________________

This LNG price is almost $1.00/MMBTU less than a decade ago.


This is a thumb-rule price, which will actually depend on the price
at source, distance of transportation, volume of supply and type of
contract.

Relationship between Oil Price and Gas Price


The price of gas has some effect on the change in the price of oil.
Only around 5 to 10% of the gas comprising of ethane, propane and
some of the methane goes into production of petrochemicals. Most
of the gas is used for generation of power and for heating in the
developed countries.
The other fuel used for these purposes are fuel oil and naphtha
from the crude. There are impacts of crude price variation on the
naphtha and fuel price. Natural gas for power plant needs to be
priced so that it is competitive with the naphtha price.
It is important to understand that there has to be a link between
oil price and LNG price. Japan, which is one of the largest buyers
of crude oil as well as LNG, has a definite correlation between the
two. This is presented in Table 24.1

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

320
Notes

Figure 24.1: Relationship LNG Price and Oil Price at Japan

___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

One of the biggest anomalies in the North American natural gas


market over the past year has been how disconnected natural gas
prices have become from those of its close substitutes oil and
coal. The historical relationship between the price of natural gas
and oil, which has averaged 10:1 over the past two decades, has
now moved to approximately 20:1.
Changes in environmental regulations that favour use of natural
gas over coal as feedstock for electricity generation facilities
coupled with a spike in coal prices, have caused natural gas to
trade below the coal floor for more than a year. The coal floor is
the price at which electrical utilities shut down coal plants and
increase use of natural gas fired power plants.
In this section you will examine the connection between natural
gas prices and those of oil and coal from a variety of angles. Also,
it will show that while a number of factors may move prices beyond
historical norms in the short-run, there still exist powerful forces
that will revert these relationships back to the mean in the longterm. A reversion to historical pricing norms is strongly bullish for
natural gas prices.
It provides several ways to profit from this trend. While there has
been much written about the correlation between gas and oil prices
over the years, no authors have presented the relationship more
succinctly than Stephen Brown and Mine Yucel, two researchers at
the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. In their 2007 white
paper/presentation entitled, What Drive Natural Gas Prices? the

UNIT 24: Economics and Technology Trends

authors present a very thorough review of three of the most


commonly used rules of thumb when comparing oil and gas prices.
They are as follows:
10-to-1 rule: Under the 10-to-1 rule, the natural gas price is onetenth the price of oil. For example, a $50 price for a barrel of WTI
crude oil would indicate that natural gas should trade at $5.00 per
million BTU at Henry Hub. The 10-to-1 gas/oil relationship has
been the most accurate rule of thumb over the past 10 years as
evidenced by the below figure:

321
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Figure 24.1: The 10-to-1 gas/oil relationship


6-to-1 rule: Another common rule of thumb for the relationship
between gas and oil prices reflects the energy content of the two
commodities. Since one barrel of oil contains the energy equivalent
of the 5.825 million BTU of natural gas, the 6-to-1 rule was
developed. Applying this rule, should oil prices trade at $50 per
barrel of WTI, natural gas should trade at $8.58. Brown and Yucel
observed that although the 6-to-1 rule is less accurate than the
10-to-1 rule over long observation periods, in times of rising gas
prices, the 6-to-1 rule is a more accurate predictor of natural gas
prices. In periods of declining natural gas prices however, the
10-to-1 rule is a more accurate predictor.
Burner Tip Parity: The burner tip party rule is more complex
than either of the two previously discussed rules in that it takes
into account the relationship between natural gas and the
petroleum production with which it competes at the burner tip.
According to Brown and Yucel, the burner tip parity rule shows

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

322
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

natural gas pricing yielding parity with residual fuel at the burner
tip, and the price at Henry Hub adjusting to whatever is necessary
to achieve burner-tip parity. Since a barrel of residual fuel has an
energy content of 6.287 BTU, and historically residual fuel is
priced at 95% of WTI, the burner tip parity rule would suggest that
a $50 price per barrel of WTI would result in a $7.06 per million
BTU price for natural gas.
In addition to the above three rules for describing the correlation
between oil and natural gas prices, Brown and Yucel also discuss
other factors that impact the oil-gas price relationship. One little
discussed influence on U.S. natural gas prices is the worldwide
price of petrochemical products. The authors point out that since
the U.S. petrochemical industry relies heavily on natural gas as a
feedstock, while a significant portion of the international
petrochemical industry uses oil as a feedstock in its manufacturing
processes, a pricing arbitrage exists during periods of low gas
prices in the U.S. Therefore, should U.S. natural gas prices
remain below their historical norms for an extended period,
petrochemical imports into the U.S. will decline and domestic
manufacturing will expand and increase demand for natural gas.
Another factor influencing the oil to gas price relationship in the
U.S. is the price of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). With an
increasing percentage of the world LNG pricing linked to world oil
prices (exporters are now demanding oil linked pricing), LNG
imports into the U.S. will remain at very depressed levels unless
natural gas prices rise substantially. Imports into the U.S. are
currently approximately 1 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) despite
approximately 12 bcf/d of import capacity. However, if we look at
gas prices in the U.K., a country which has seen domestic gas
production fall and now relies more heavily on LNG imports, we
see a much closer link between oil and gas prices. On 1/26/2011
spot natural gas in the U.K. was priced at $8.64 per million BTUs
and Brent crude priced at approximately $95. Therefore, the
current gas-to-oil ratio in the U.K. is approximately 11:1. Since
the U.S. imports virtually no natural gas via LNG on a long-term
fixed contract basis and the UK will likely continue to offer the
best terms for spot cargoes in the Atlantic Basin due to further
declines in domestic production, there will be no increase in LNG
imports into the U.S. until spot prices are well over $8.00US per
million BTUs.

UNIT 24: Economics and Technology Trends

Brown and Yucels final reason oil prices drive natural gas prices is
the reallocation of drilling funds by natural gas producers away
from natural gas projects and towards oil projects. In todays
world of approximately $89US per barrel WTI oil prices and
$4.35US per thousand cubic feet (mcf) natural gas prices, operators
are aggressively redirecting funds towards oil projects. It comes
as no surprise that most independent operators are now
concentrating on their oil projects given that oil and gas wells cost
about the same to drill and oil wells generate nearly three times
the revenue on a barrel of energy equivalent basis. The focus on
oil projects and liquid rich natural gas projects has led to a drop off
in the natural gas directed rig count in recent months and a
concurrent increase in the oil directed rig count. We see the
preference for oil drilling over natural gas drilling displayed very
clearly in the weekly Baker Hughes rig counts. The below graph
shows the large upswing in both gas and oil directed drilling over
the past two years as well as the recent fall off in natural gas
directed drilling:
There are two important reasons oil directed drilling will continue
to rise and natural gas directed drilling should continue to fall.
First, a significant portion of todays natural gas directed drilling,
as much as 25%, is being conducted to hold soon to be expiring
leases. Many leases in the Haynesville and Fayetteville shale were
signed with terms stipulating that to maintain the lease in good
standing; a well must be drilled within three years of lease
signing. With much of the prospective acreage already held by
production (HBP) in these two shale plays, operators have begun
reducing operations in these areas until economics improve.
According to Baker Hughes, Louisiana and Arkansas, home to the
Haynesville and Fayetteville shale plays, have fewer rigs operating
than at the same time last year due to declines in shale directed
drilling. While rig efficiency gains, such as pad drilling will reduce
drilling time per well and will certainly offset fewer rigs active in
natural gas shale plays, drilling more shale wells closer together
will not grow shale gas production enough to offset an expected
10% decline in conventional US natural gas production this year.
A final reason oil prices are now driving natural gas prices is that
inflation in oilfield services, especially pressure pumping, have
driven up drilling costs to the point where most natural gas wells
are uneconomic at todays prices. Pressure pumping is the

323
Notes
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Understanding Oil & Gas Business

324

pumping of water and sand into a wellbore that has been

Notes

perforated to prop open fractures to allow hydrocarbons to flow to

___________________

the wellbore. With new unconventional oil plays coming online in

___________________

the past year and operators drilling more and longer lateral wells

___________________
___________________

requiring more fracture stimulation jobs than ever before, demand


for pressure pumping services has risen dramatically.

Check Your Progress

___________________
___________________

Fill in the blanks:

___________________

1. The . rule shows natural gas pricing


yielding parity with residual fuel at the burner tip, and
the price at Henry Hub adjusting to whatever is
necessary to achieve burner-tip parity.

___________________
___________________
___________________

2. Under the . rule, the natural gas price is


one-tenth the price of oil.

Coal vs. Natural Gas


A number of factors have distorted the traditional relationship
between coal and natural gas prices to unsustainable levels. Since
most of Americas utilities have the ability to employ natural gas
fired power plants in lieu of coal fired power plants when natural
gas is priced advantageously, utilities have been ramping up
natural gas consumption and reducing their usage of coal. With the
price of Central Appalachian (CAPP) coal currently trading at $73
per ton, up from $60 per ton for much of last year, a recent study
by Credit Suisse (CS) indicates that natural gas prices would need
to rise to approximately $6.30 per mcf before coal and natural gas
trade at parity for electricity generation. As you can see from the
below graphic, natural gas is well below parity for not just 2011
but also for the next several years:
With such a large gap between coal and gas pricing parity, we have
already seen a substantial amount of switching by utilities from
coal to natural gas. According to CS, in October 2010, natural gas
usage for electricity generation was up 6% year over year while
consumption of coal for electricity generation was down 4% year
over year. More importantly, CS sees even more switching to
natural gas in the months and years ahead as tighter
environmental rules make coal usage increasingly expensive. For

UNIT 24: Economics and Technology Trends

example, CS sees natural gas demand increasing 5 bcf/d should


new EPA rules regarding release of nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides
and mercury by coal fired power force the closure of all small coal
fired power plants without environmental controls (60 GW of 340
GW total) by 2017 and a potential 10.2 bcf/d should all small and
large dirty coal plants (100 GW total) be closed by 2017.
Despite the all of the evidence that todays natural gas prices are
unsustainable in relation to oil or coal, many of todays biggest gas
traders are still betting big that the recent jump in prices to $4.75
per mcf on the NYMEX was just a fluke. No natural gas futures
contract on the NYMEX trades over $5.00 until January 2012.
While shorting natural gas has been a very profitable strategy over
the past two years, and a very popular one as well, the
fundamentals of natural gas will soon get the long Awaited rally in
natural gas started. When shorts start covering we will see a
spectacular rally in natural gas. There are many great ways to
participate in the bull market for natural gas such as the several
gas-weighted equities in my newsletter Model Portfolio as well as
several commodity ETFs.
As a result of all this the following changes have taken place in
LNG trade:
z

LNG contracts in the eighties were very rigid with stringent


penalty clauses for failure to supply as well as failure to lift
agreed quantities. They were also long term contracts so that
huge investment needed for production (seller) and utilization
of LNG (buyer) get paid out. LNG contracts are now gradually
becoming less rigid and more flexible.

New long term contracts between seller and buyer specify a


relatively smaller commitment of supply which can be later
supplemented

by

short

term

contracts

for

additional

requirements. Thus it is more flexible.


z

Short term contracts as a result have grown from 1% in the


early nineties to around 10%.

The future is going to see increased activity in LNG trading to


satisfy the increasing energy needs of some countries. There are
today 150 LNG tankers with another 50 plus tankers under
construction to be added in near future.

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India and China are going to become major buyers of LNG.


European countries which do not have major gas resources and
USA will also be the major players in LNG downstream.

___________________
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Indian Scenario

___________________

Gas Demand and Supply

___________________

The demand of gas has been projected by various estimates

___________________

depending on assumed user pattern at figures between 150 to 200

___________________

million SCMD. Major consumption of Natural Gas in India will be


in the Power and Fertilizer sectors. Thus there is a large gap to be

___________________

filled.

___________________

A major part of the gap is expected to be filled by LNG. Petronet

___________________

LNG Ltd. was formed by participation of PSUs. Petronet has


entered into agreement with Ras Gas (Qatar) for import of LNG.
Their terminal at Dahej is nearing completion and another will
come up at Kochi. Shell is constructing a LNG Terminal at Hazira
with Shell Oman as supplier of LNG. A number of other projects
are expected to come up.
Other possibility of gas import is directly by pipeline from Iran,
Turkmeinistan, Bangladesh or Myanmar and connecting them to
existing gas grid like HBJ Pipeline.

Indian Pricing Scenario


The pricing of natural gas in India is currently based on a pooling
concept, with the consumer price being fixed by the Government.
The consumer price of natural gas is currently subsidized, with the
subsidy being borne entirely by the nationalized oil companies,
which receive sub-optimal prices for their production of natural
gas. The private sector joint ventures receive international prices
for the natural gas they produce.
This was feasible as long as the gas ownership and distribution
was by public sector companies. However, this pricing mechanism
is set to change due to:
z

The recent gas finds in the Krishna-Godavari Basin by


Reliance

Commencement of LNG imports.

UNIT 24: Economics and Technology Trends

Natural gas from these two sources would have cost structures
quite different from that for the existing sources of supply. The
supply from these sources would also be of substantial volume
exceeding the current availability of gas. This would lessen
government control on gas pricing and would force changes in the
pricing mechanism.
Perhaps in the long run, the market forces will settle the gas price
in India.

327
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Energy Source Trends


Hydrocarbon will continue to maintain its base as prime energy
source for at least the next 20 years. Between oil and gas, their will
be substantially increased share of gas as energy source for two
reasons:
z

Natural gas is clean and environment friendly fuel

There have been very large finds of natural gas in recent times
(e.g. Qatar, Indonesia). In future too greater proportion of gas
finds (compared to oil) are expected.

Dominance of natural gas as fuel had been slow mainly due to


transportation costs. For example gas pipelines are 3 to 4 times
more expensive than oil. Improvements in economics of
liquefaction and transportation have created large market for
LNG. Price of gas, availability of gas, environmental regulations
and efficiency of gas as fuel makes it fuel for the immediate future.

Synfuel as Alternative to LNG


The key thing is to solve the transportation aspect by converting
gas to liquids. There are choices now for conversion liquid
Convert it to methanol, LNG or Synfuel. With oil price crossing
US$ 30 per barrel, two important sources of energy may start
gaining ground:
z

Synfuel - It is essentially natural gas converted to light oil by


reaction processes with gasoline and diesel as products.

Fuel cell - Which converts fossil fuel directly to power.

Synfuel technology is also called GTL (Gas to Liquid). A number of


technologies are available such as Fischer Tropsch technology,
Mobil, Haldor Topsoe, etc. The Fischer Tropsch route has the
steps:

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Understanding Oil & Gas Business

328
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Steam reforming at 800C: CH4 +H2O = CO + 3H2

Conversion of CO and H2 to long chain hydrocarbons by


reaction between the carbon atom of CO and H2.

___________________

Fuel Cell

___________________

A fuel cell is an electrochemical energy conversion device, similar


to a battery.

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It provides continuous DC power, which converts the chemical


energy from a fuel directly into electricity and heat.
When operated directly on hydrogen, the fuel cell produces this
energy with clean water as the only by-product.
Unlike a battery, which is limited to the stored energy within, a
fuel cell is capable of generating power as long as fuel is supplied.
Hydrogen is the primary fuel source for fuel cells. Reforming
process is used for the extraction of hydrogen from more widely
available fuels such as natural gas and propane or any other
hydrogen containing fuel. There is R&D effort going on to extract
hydrogen from water.
Fuel cell systems offer the potential for reliable, efficient, and costeffective energy generation. Capable of operating on multiple fuels,
such as natural gas, propane and hydrogen, fuel cell systems can
be deployed to operate in parallel with the grid, as independent
energy sources or to complement solar and wind power generating
systems.
With a higher efficiency than conventional power generation, little
or no pollution and greater flexibility in installation and operation,
they will offer commercially viable alternatives to existing power
sources.

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. Major consumption of Natural Gas in India will be in
the .. and .. sectors.
2. .. is the primary fuel source for fuel cells.

UNIT 24: Economics and Technology Trends

Petrochemical Business Scenario


In the paragraphs given below we will learn about the
Pertrochemical business scenario right now.

329
Notes
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Petrochemical Business Cycle


It has been noticed that the petrochemical business follows a
definite business cycle. These cycles follow a span of around 7 to 10
years.
There is a set pattern. Most operating companies in the
hydrocarbon process industry study the business cycle and trends
thoroughly and expand the petrochemical business, matching the
construction of new facilities during the lean period. As a result,
the new projects start-up during peak period. This results in over
saturation. Consequently, supply exceeds demands resulting in
dropping of margins after a period. Other sectors of the industry
too undergo difficult times. The industry had been through the
lean period till 2003 and upswing is expected now. But many large
naphtha/ethane/propane crackers are in the offing and the political
scenario is changing. These too affect the cycle.
This has lead to a situation where companies have evolved
strategies to survive the lean period and make profits in the
up-swing period.

The Ethylene Based Petrochemical Industry


Ethylene is called the king of petrochemicals. Ethylene based
petrochemicals have the largest share of the petrochemical
industry. Ethylene demand determines the petrochemical business
cycle.
Polythene, Ethylbenzene (EB- goes to make Polystyrene),
Ethylene Oxide (EO- leads to Ethylene Glycol), Ethylene
Dichloride (EDC), PVC and many other useful petrochemical are
ethylene derivatives. Polythene takes the major share of
ethylene based petrochemicals and is perhaps the most
important petrochemical.
The growing economies of China and India still have relatively
small share and is expected to determine the growth of the
industry.

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Global Trend
Earlier the ethylene business was more regional limited to trade
within European region, the Americas and the Asia Pacific region.
Now global players are emerging in the ethylene and derivative
market. The Middle East is emerging as large manufacturing base
to supply globally. China is emerging as a major producer.
However, most of the big players are still making a profit, just not
as big as the profits they made over the past two or three boom
years. Other positive factors include lower oil prices meaning lower
feedstock prices and the drop in the cost of raw materials has
meant that many companies have been able to trim billions of
dollars from major projects.

Planning for Competitive Edge


Business Strategy
With the low margins in the refining industry and fluctuation of
fortunes in the petrochemical industry, the major investors and
companies have adopted strategies to make the industry attractive
using the well known principles:
z

Economy of scale

Integration under same ownership

Mergers

Proximity of raw material provider, and user

Shared infrastructure and shared utilities

Shared effluent treatment

Technological innovation and energy audit

Integrated Refinery and Petrochemical Complex


In the 1970s and 80s, the oil companies were mainly in the
refinery business besides oil production. With the low margins in
the refinery industry, integration with petrochemicals has become
one of the key strategies for major companies. One tries to
integrate as much as the business environment permits and
availability of funds and market.
One of the best examples of integration is Reliance Industries, who
started as a fabric company. Later they step by step integrated
vertically to fibres, then to petrochemicals to make the fibres,

UNIT 24: Economics and Technology Trends

refinery to make the petrochemicals and then to oil and gas


production. In India the PSUs also are trying to integrate into
their non-traditional areas. For example, companies like IOCL and
BPCL are planning to get into both petrochemicals and oil/gas
exploration. Similarly, ONGC is investing in refineries.

331
Notes
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Mergers and Acquisitions

___________________

Integration of operation between upstream and downstream and


mergers have been the major consolidation done by many major
organizations in order to get a competitive edge. Some examples of
merger are:

___________________
___________________
___________________

Exxon and Mobil- merged to form ExxonMobil

___________________

BP/Amoco/Arco merged. BP acquired other companies like


Erdoel Chemie

___________________

Total/Fina/Elf Aquitaine merged to form TotalFinaElf

Chevron/Texaco

Dow/UCC

Montell/Targor/Elenac merged to form Basell

Chevron/Phillips merged chemical interests

Dow/UCC merged

Each of them has a wide portfolio of a range of oil, gas,


petrochemical and chemical business areas. One can see that oil
companies have integrated their business into refinery and
petrochemicals.

Check Your Progress


Fill in the blanks:
1. Exxon and Mobil merged to form ................. .
2. Total, Fina and Elf Aquitaine merged to form ............... .

Future Developments
Given below are the future developments that have been planned
in this area.
Hydrates as Energy Source
Hydrates are unstable compounds of hydrocarbons like methane
and water. They are solid and look like ice. In natural gas, the

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Understanding Oil & Gas Business

332
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saturation level moisture contained forms hydrates at moderate


temperatures (5 to 20C) at high pressure.
In many parts of the world huge deposits of hydrates have been
identified below the sea. Natural gas that seeped out of the
deposits below the earth, under pressure of water at certain depths
of sea, at the prevailing temperature formed hydrates. The
quantities are huge and research is going on how to mine them
from sea bed.
Another application of hydrates could be in the transportation of
natural gas by converting gas to hydrates in stead of liquefying to
LNG.
Norwegian University of Science and Technology has carried out
R&D in this area and found that:
1.

Large-scale and long-distance transport of natural gas at


atmospheric pressure in hydrate form is feasible.

2.

Experimental studies in Norway and Russia have shown that


natural gas hydrates are stable for up to two years when
stored at -15 to -5C at atmospheric pressure, compared to
LNG at -160C.

3.

The estimated total capital cost of hydrate production and


melting processes was approximately one-quarter less than
LNGs equivalent liquefaction and re-gasification processes.

4.

For the same natural gas carrying capacity, the capital cost of
seven Natural Gas Hydrate ships was also estimated at
approximately one-quarter less than that of three LNG ships.

Gasification of Refinery Residues


Refineries always look for elimination of the residues which are
difficult to dispose off as fuel due to environmental regulations.
Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) is gaining ground
for the utilization of refinery residues to generate power.
Refineries in the USA and Europe have taken lead in the IGCC
projects. The IGCC process essentially converts the residue into
synthesis gas (mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen) by
reaction with steam at high temperatures. The acid gas bearing
sulfur is removed to purify the synthesis gas.
Synthesis gas generated through the gasification of refinery offers
scope to manufacture chemicals like methanol as co-production
and get further downstream into petrochemicals. Larsen and

UNIT 24: Economics and Technology Trends

Toubro has carried out some work in this direction and proposed
integrated approach for co-production of methanol and acetic acid
along with power generation.

___________________

Smart Chips

___________________

Use of microchips for equipment conditions and health is expected


to find widespread application. There could be smart chips
embedded in various parts of equipment conveying many aspects of
equipment status, health, functioning, warnings and even
diagnosis of problems.

333
Notes

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Business Diplomacy to Overcome Politics

___________________

Till the recent past, oil and gas have generated politics, power
struggle and war. But in South Asia, diplomatic moves are on to
overcome the politics that divides the subcontinent with gas as the
driving force behind it.

___________________

India is hungry for energy supply, with current annual average


growth, expected to go up. Turkmenistan and Iran have huge
reserves of gas, which they want to transmit to India by pipeline
through Pakistan. But 50 years of quarrel and suspicion is the
obstacle towards its implementation.
Bangladesh and Myanmar have gas and India is their nearest
market. But politics in Bangladesh is trying to prevent sale of gas
to India. A pipeline from Myanmar through Assam (a gas rich
state) makes good business sense.
Major multinationals have their eyes on these potential
mega-projects. They are also beneficial to each of the participating
countries. To quote The Times of India, The great game or the
potent mix of oil, gas and diplomacy in Central Asia has reached
India. ......The three pipelines have the potential to metamorphose
the geopolitical and economic topography of Central and South
Asia...
The economic need of the countries involved, pressure from the
multinationals and vested interest of some major countries is
generating business diplomacy, which could spur growth in
Central and South Asia and give peace a chance in the Indian subcontinent.
South East Asia had set the trend of looking into business as the
driving force giving politics a back seat. China is following the
same path. Could the Indian subcontinent be the next?

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Understanding Oil & Gas Business

334

Check Your Progress

Notes
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___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Fill in the blanks:


1. .. are unstable compounds of hydrocarbons like
methane and water.
2. Experimental studies in Norway and Russia have shown
that natural gas hydrates are stable for up to two years
when stored at ..C at atmospheric pressure.

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Summary
We started with the description of history and trends in the prices
of oil and natural gas. Emergence of natural gas as a source of
energy in the immediate future was noted. The growth in LNG
trade for supply of natural gas to both developed countries and
emergent economies of China and India was described.
Hydrocarbon resources being limited, major companies are
working towards developing new sources of energy. Gas to Liquid
technology, Hydrates and Fuel cells as a future source of energy
was identified.
The economics of the refining industry was discussed and low
margins in the industry were identified. This was followed with
description of the business cycle in the petrochemical industry was
described.
The strategies adopted by major companies to be competitive and
overcome the low periods of business cycle were stated with
examples.

Lesson End Activity


Using the Internet, write a short note on Brown and Yucel.

Keywords
Synfuel: It is essentially natural gas converted to light oil by
reaction processes with gasoline and diesel as products.
Fuel Cell: It is an electrochemical energy conversion device,
similar to a battery
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE): Equipment/clothing
which offers protection against risks to health and safety.

UNIT 24: Economics and Technology Trends

Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC): It is gaining


ground for the utilization of refinery residues to generate power.

335
Notes

Injury Frequency (IF): Number of injuries per million man hours


worked.

___________________

Injury Rate (IR): Number of injuries per one hundred employees.

___________________

___________________

___________________

Questions for Discussion

___________________

1.

What are the factors that affect crude oil price?

___________________

2.

Why is natural gas emerging as major source of energy


supply?

___________________

What are hydrates? What are the new ideas coming up with
respect to the hydrates?

___________________

3.
4.

Describe the principles of fuel cells. Explain with sketch.

5.

What are the principles adopted to make oil, gas and


petrochemical business competitive? Explain with examples.

6.

Name five petrochemical products based on ethylene.

Further Readings
Books
May 2003 An Outlook for Natural Gas Market in the APEC Region
- Symposium on Pacific Energy Cooperation(SPEC) 2003, Tokyo,
Yonghun Jung, Ph.D, Vice President, Asia Pacific Energy Research
Centre,
LNG Projects & Gas Transportation Infrastructure in India- Dr U
D Choubey, General Manager, Gas Authority Of India Ltd. , IndoUS Conference, April 17th2002

Web Readings
www.plugpower.com
www.indialpg.com

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Understanding Oil & Gas Business

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UNIT 25: Case Study

Unit 25

337
Notes

Case Study

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___________________

Objectives
After analyzing this case, the student will have an appreciation of the
concept of topics studied in this Block.

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Case Study: BP Oil Spill


The Gulf of Mexico is bordered by five of the United States:
Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. It is also
bordered by Mexico and is the location of Cuba. The gulf itself
covers an expanse of 600,000 square miles and has a developed a
circulation pattern for the waters (General Facts about the Gulf of
Mexico, 2011). Water enters the Yucatan Strait, flows through the
Loop Current, and exits through the Florida Strait (2011). The
way in which the water flows creates the well-known current, the
Gulf Stream. The Gulf Coast acts as a major drainage pool for the
thirty-three major rivers and two-hundred and twenty-seven
estuaries from the United States alone (2011).
The states that line the Gulf have excellent opportunities to take
advantage of the resources the gulf has to offer. With 16,000 miles
of coast in the United States alone, the Gulf provides easy access
to fishing, natural resources, and recreation opportunities (2011).
The population of the Gulf is expected to hit 61.4 million by 2025
with Florida and Texas expected to house most of the new
population (2011). Tourism boosts the economy by $20 billion each
year and seven of the top-ten seaports are located along the Gulf
Coast (2011). The Gulf yields more finfish, shrimp, and shellfish
annually than the south and mid-Atlantic, Chesapeake, and New
England areas combined, and is home to about 45,000 bottlenose
dolphins (2011).
About the Oil Spill
On April 20, 2010, a tragic disaster hit the Gulf Coast. British
Petroleums (BP) Deepwater Horizon rig exploded spewing crude
oil into the ocean from the three major cracks in the rig. It rivaled
the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill within days of exploding (Gerstein,
2010). A few years earlier, BP was fined $20 million for neglecting
to prevent leaks in a pipeline in Alaskas Prudhoe Bay (2010).
From June 5, 2010 to June 14, 2010, BP had collected 127,000
Contd

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Understanding Oil & Gas Business

338

___________________

barrels of oil in their containment cap alone; while it is believed


that a total 60,000 barrels of oil a day are gushing into the Gulf
(Gerstein, 2010). The oil slick can be seen from space and covers
an area of 130 miles by 70 miles even though BP has dumped
50,000 barrels of heavy mud on the leaks to help stop the flow of
oil (2010). After the insistence from government officials, BP
began drilling a relief well that will intersect with the original
well and will pull up oil so that BP can dump more mud and
concrete into the old well and retire it for good (Walsh, 2010).
During the period between the explosion and BPs decision to drill
the relief well, they had attempted to use a variety of tactics to
quell the leaks.

___________________

How the Spill has Affected the Gulf

___________________

Im not too worried about oil on the surface, says one scientist.
Its the things we dont see that worry me the most (Begley,
2010). The oil that has been leaking from the well has done more
than float to the surface and become an eyesore; it has also been
trapped beneath the surface of the waves and carried methane to
other parts of the Gulf (2010). At first officials (both for the
government and BP) attempted to dispel these finding, however,
the independent scientists who boldly made these claims have
been proven correct (2010). Not only has the oil spill affected the
shorelines and marshes, it has also seeped into unexplored ocean
and could possibly disrupt the natural ecosystems that thrived
there before the spill (2010). Louisiana State 2 University
chemist, Ed Overton, said, It's [the oil spill] going to cause very
substantial and noticeable damagemarsh loss and coastal
erosion and impact on fisheries, dead birds, dead turtlesbut we'll
know what that is. It's the things we don't see that worry me the
most. What happens if you wipe out all those jellyfish down there?
We don't know what their role is in the environment. But Mother
Nature put them there for a reason, (2010). The dispersants that
are used to help break up oil spills are making the environment
under water even worse by changing the chemistry and physics
of the oil, says biological oceanographer Ajit Subramaniam of
Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. They
are creating micro layers of oil that are being carried by the deep
currents. Even without dispersants, the crude gets broken into
zillions of droplets suspended in the water column and corralled
there, prevented from rising to the surface (2010). Two main
plumes of the oil and methane mix have been found and the
largest is 22 miles long, 6 miles wide, and 3,000 miles thick
(2010). Not only do the plumes deprive the areas of oxygen but
they also suffocate marine-life by clogging up their respiratory
systems with oil (2010).

Notes
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___________________

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Contd

UNIT 25: Case Study

If large marine animals are not affected directly as a result of the


oil spill, their dietary needs will eventually harm them as an
indirect consequence of the oil spill. Plankton will likely ingest
the oil and as one of the lowest organisms on the food chain, the
oil they ingest will find its way up to the top of the food chain; and
linchpins (organisms that act as the garbage collectors
underwater) will fail to clean up the dead organisms that will pile
up on the ocean floor, therefore, depriving other creatures of
nutrients that are by-products of the disposal of the dead
organisms (2010). The list of marine-life that could potentially be
affected by the oil spill goes on and on, anything from coral reefs
to fish to crustaceans to tube worms (2010).
The costs of the spill are overwhelming: 12,000 people from
Louisiana alone have applied for unemployment since the spill,
most from the southern part of the state; the cost of the spill for
BP as of June 14, 2010 was $1.6 billion; it is estimated that the
spill will cost taxpayers $1.5billion because the government had
put a $75 million cap on oil company liability for oil spills (though
this cap may be raised to $10 billion); and as of June 14, 2010,
26,500 Gulf residents have been paid $62 million in tax claims
due to the oil spill (Gerstein, 2010). It is estimated that four
hundred species are going to be affected by the spill; at least
thirty species of birds will be affected due to the spill also
coinciding with breeding season; 25 million migrating birds could
potentially be scarred by the spill (2010).
It is not just wildlife being affected by the spill. The tourism
industry has also been pummeled. Oil coming onto shores has
caused authorities to advise people against going to the beaches
for swimming and people have been cancelling their trips to the
Gulf. For Mississippi, it could mean a loss of $120 million in
revenue from tourism (Jervis, 2010). A big fear for tourism
agencies in the Gulf is that previous repeat tourists who were
forced to travel somewhere new for the summer will continue to
go to new places in future years (2010). This in turn will continue
to decrease revenue brought in by tourism.
Questions
1. For the states affected by the oil spills, what would be some
ideas on how to invigorate their tourism numbers? What types
of strategies could be employed?
2. Has BP done enough to help the Gulf Coast? Why or why not?
Source: http://www.castonline.ilstu.edu/hurd/KNR378/Articles/BP%20Oil%20Spill%20case_class.pdf

339
Notes
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Notes
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Glossary

Glossary

341
Notes
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Absorption Process: These use liquid absorbents which absorb


the moisture from the gas.

___________________

Adsorption Process: These are solid bed processes using reagents


like Molecular Sieve or Alumina as adsorbents.

___________________

Aromatics: They are compounds having a ring of six carbon atoms


with alternating double and single bonds and six hydrogen atoms.
Benzene: Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon, which can be
present in very low concentrations in some crude oils.
Bottom Loading: In bottom loading the product is loaded by
connecting the loading arm/hose to a dedicated self-sealing
coupling at the bottom of the vehicle.
Calorific Value of a hydrocarbon is measure of heat released by
burning unit volume or weight of the hydrocarbon.
Calorific Value of a Hydrocarbon: It is the measure of heat
released by burning unit volume or weight of the hydrocarbon.
Catalytic Reforming: It is a chemical process used to
convert petroleum refinery naphthas, typically having low octane
ratings, into high-octane liquid products called reformates which
are components of high-octane gasoline.
Christmas Tree: It is a primary production facility comprising a
Manifold on top of the well.
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG): This is natural gas in highly
compressed form but not liquefied.
Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS):
CMMS integrates routine maintenance, preventive maintenance,
work orders, inventory and purchasing in an intuitive interface.
Cone Roof Tanks: These types of tanks are very widely used for
storing oil, products and chemicals at atmospheric pressures.
Control Room: It is a room housing any kind of control
equipment.
Crude Oil Dehydration: Removal of water from crude oil. This
process is called crude oil dehydration

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Understanding Oil & Gas Business

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Notes
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Crude Oil: It is predominantly made of hydrocarbons. It is


composed of three main hydrocarbon groups: Paraffins,
Naphthenes, and Aromatics.
Demulsifier Chemicals: Are used to break emulsions of water in
oil or oil in water.
Dew Point Depression: It is the process of chilling the gas to
moderately low temperatures to prevent further condensation in
the pipeline.
Downstream: Includes Gas Processing, Refinery, Petrochemicals,
Power Plants and other gas based industries
Dry Bed Adsorbent: is a process, where moisture is adsorbed on
the porous surface of the drying medium, which are solid particles.

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Enterprise Resource Planning-software (ERP): It combines


information, data and reports from all departments together into a
single, integrated software program with a single data base, from
which all can share information and communicate with each other.
Ethylene: It is made by cracking ethane.
Exploration Costs: include the cost of seismic surveys and
exploratory drilling and varies between US$ 1 per bbl in prolific
oilfields to more than US$ 12 per bbl, where the environment is
difficult and production per well is low.
Flare System: An important facility plant processing oil or gas. It
is essentially a tall stack made of steel pipe along with a flare tip
(burner) at top and ancillary equipment.
Flare Tripod: If the flare has a large gas flaring capacity, it is
installed away from a platform to minimize heat radiation to the
operating area of the platforms and is installed in a tripod
structure piled into the sea.
Flash Point: It is the minimum temperature at which the product
generates enough vapour to form an explosive mixture with air
Fuel Cell: is an electrochemical energy conversion device, similar
to a battery
Gas Sweetening: Removal of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide
from gas is called gas sweetening

Glossary

Hazards: These are defined as having the potential to cause


harm, including ill health and injury, damage to property, products
or the environment, production losses or increased liabilities.
HAZID (HAZard IDentification) is a technique for early
identification of potential hazards and threats.

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Notes
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HBJ Pipeline: It provides feedstock to numerous fertilizer plants,

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power plants and petrochemical plants on its route.

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Horizontal Drilling: An important technology which makes oil


production more economic.
In Situ Combustion: This method of EOR is used for very viscous
crude oils.

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Incidents: These are defined as an unplanned event or chain of


events, which have caused or could have caused injury, illness and
or damage (loss), to assets, the environment, or third parties.
Industrial Revolution: The rapid development of industry in
Britain in the late 18th and 19th centuries, brought about by the
introduction of machinery.
Injury Frequency (IF): Number of injuries per million man hours
worked.
Injury Rate (IR): Number of injuries per one hundred employees.
Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) is gaining
ground for the utilization of refinery residues to generate power
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG): This is bulk of the natural gas in
liquefied form and is re-vaporized after receiving it at its
destination from tankers, to be used as natural gas.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG): It is the propane/ butane
component of the natural gas is liquefied under moderate
pressures and is supplied as cooking gas fuel.
Living Quarters Platform: They are the living quarters for
production and maintenance personnel for an offshore facility who
stay for long periods of shifts in an offshore platform.
Molecular Sieves are zeolite granules manufactured under
controlled conditions to create microscopic pores at its surface.
Monomers: They are organic molecules with double or triple bond
which have a tendency to join together several times to form a
large molecule.

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Understanding Oil & Gas Business

344
Notes
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Natural Gas Liquids (NGL): It is formed during production or


transportation of gas, when the heavy components such as pentane
or hexane, condense due to natural cooling and separate out as
liquids.
Octane Number: It is defined as the percent volume of iso-octane
in a mixture of iso-octane and normal heptane that gives the same
knocking as that of the fuel when tested under defined conditions.
This signifies ignition quality of the gasoline in automobile
engines.

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Oilfield Processing: The well fluid is processed in or in the

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vicinity of the oilfield.

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Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC): It is


an organization formed in 1961 to administer a common policy for
the sale of petroleum.

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Personal Protection Equipment (PPE): Equipment / clothing


which offers protection against risks to health and safety.
Petrochemical Industry: means manufacture, supply and
distribution of plastics, fibres and chemicals which are produced
from one of the petroleum products as starting material or
feedstock.
Petrochemicals: They are usually plastic products and chemicals
that are derived from petroleum or natural gas and are made on a
large scale.
Petroleum: It essentially comprises of naturally occurring
hydrocarbons i.e. compounds made of carbon and hydrogen atoms.
Pig: A pig is a cylindrical or spherical in shape, made of metal or
plastic with or without brushes at the edge and having diameter
close to the pipe diameter.
Pigging: It is primarily the processes or activities of sending a Pig
through a pipeline.
Pipeline End Manifold (PLEM): It is essentially a set of valves
and flanges along with pipe header supported by steel structure,
from where the pipeline carrying oil, gas or any other material
starts.
Polyethylene terepthalate (PET): They are glass like material
used to make transparent bottles.

Glossary

Primary Production: It is the kind of production of oil on its own


pressure.

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Notes

Process Platform: Process Platforms are the biggest platforms in


an offshore complex, which is equivalent to a GGS onshore.

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Production Platform: Production platform contains certain


minimum processing facility like separation and stabilization of
crude oil.

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Propylene: It is made by cracking petrochemical feedstock like


propane, butane or naphtha.

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PVC: Polyvinyl chloride is the plastic commonly known as PVC. It


finds wide applications in PVC pipes for transportation of water.

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Reservoir: A large formation of rocks of bearing hydrocarbons

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SCADA: It stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition.


It is a central monitoring system, which monitors the entire
pipeline parameters over several hundred kilometres by telemetry
and tele-control.

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Separator: is essentially a vessel having some internals to


facilitate separation.
Smoke Point: It is the length of flame in a standard laboratory
test, which produces smoke.
Specific Gravity of a Gas is defined as the weight of a given
volume of the gas compared to the weight of the same amount of
air at the same temperature and pressure, where air weight is
taken as reference (= 1).
Synfuel: It is essentially natural gas converted to light oil by
reaction processes with gasoline and diesel as products.
Threats: These are possible causes that could potentially release
the hazard and produce an incident.
Upstream: Includes Oilfield Processing and Transportation of oil
and gas
Utilities Platform: For large facilities the utilities like power
generation, instrument air system etc. are installed in a separate
platform called Utilities platforms.
Utility: It is the state of being useful, profit-able, or beneficial.
Well Fluid: It a mixture of crude oil, natural gas and saline water
along with small amounts of sand and sludge.

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