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2020 AFPM Summit: Increase agility with rapid, accurate crude measurements

Increase agility with rapid, accurate crude measurements



In an increasingly uncertain world of unpredictable demand and prices with tight refining margins, where crude oil qualities can change from cargo to cargo, it is more important than ever to know the quality of your crude oil receipt quickly and accurately. Assay data is often out of date because obtaining reliable assays for each new cargo is cumbersome and time-consuming using traditional assay methods.

AVEVA™ Unified Supply Chain 2020.3 includes Real-Time Crude (FIG. 1) that has been trained on actual crude samples from multiple customers to overcome the limitations of the standard assay process. Real-Time Crude uses small samples (~20 ml) of crude oil that can be sourced much more quickly and takes minutes to run. Real-Time Crude is a new solution using AVEVA software and the Schneider Electric ANALECT® RefinIR FTIR system.

FIG. 1. Real-Time Crude uses AVEVA software and the Schneider Electric ANALECT® RefinIR FTIR system to overcome the limitations of the standard assay process.

Rapid, accurate and reliable crude oil assays. AVEVA and Schneider Electric unveiled Real-Time Crude utilizing cutting-edge analytical equipment with powerful machine-learning techniques to generate rapid, accurate and reliable crude oil assays. This assay data supports optimal real-time crude purchase and refining operation decisions. The two elements of the system consist of (1) an extended-range Fourier-transform infra-red (FTIR) spectrometer, and (2) software trained using the latest machine-learning approaches to derive complete crude oil assays. Real-Time Crude allows complete crude oil assay data to be generated rapidly from a small crude sample. Real-Time Crude enables oil and gas downstream decisions to benefit from the rapid availability of crude oil quality information, improving efficiency, reliability and profitability.

AVEVA successfully developed an infrared model trained using samples from refining companies participating in the Real-Time Crude Program. The technology was verified by early adopters looking to integrate this innovative solution into their crude-purchasing business processes and refining operations. This low uncertainty of crude oil data unlocks value and minimizes margin leakage. While the approach has been tried before by others, the partnership between AVEVA, Schneider Electric and the early adopters verifying the models are making real-time usage a reality.

  • The highly reproducible Schneider Electric ANALECT® RefinIR FTIR system covers a wavelength range from 900 cm-1–7,000 cm-1. The extended range allows for a considerable increase in discrimination between different qualities of crude oil.
  • The sample requirements of crude oil are small. An approach to crude sample preparation was developed through extensive research. It allows a wide range of crude oil types to be measured, reliably, reproducibly and rapidly. The same robust sampling methodology forms part of the inline version of the equipment, allowing crude assays to be derived directly for crude unit blends in the refinery.
  • The data connection from the FTIR equipment to AVEVA’s unified supply chain software is direct: the software can read FTIR spectral files, and can instantly generate an assay for the crude using a previously-trained model. No manual steps are required.
  • The predictive approach consists of a pre-trained model, trained based on large numbers of known conventional assays and FTIR spectra. Unlike other industry approaches where qualities are predicted individually, we leverage 20 yr of experience in machine-learning techniques to predict assays in totality, providing a fully consistent characterization of the crude oil.

AVEVA Unified Supply Chain software offers a unified set of modules, spanning assay management, through scheduling to real-time operations control. Assays generated in the assay management module, directly from the IR spectrum, are immediately available in the planning module to allow re-optimization of operations, and in the real-time operations modules if refinery workflows permit real-time changes. Accurate measurements of your assays is the first step to optimizing your entire refining value chain. Value chain optimization is the only way to thrive in an uncertain world of unpredictable demand and prices with tight refining margins.

For more information, visit www.aveva.com.


JOE MCMULLEN is the Senior Portfolio Marketing Manager for Value Chain Optimization at AVEVA. He leverages his chemical engineering degree and his experience to understand customer problems to position potential solutions. Mr. McMullen is passionate about technology, the digital transformation of industry, the IIoT, SaaS, marketing and solving customer problems.

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