Tank farm automation for oil movement and storage in refinery off-sites spans multiple technologies. These include level, temperature, and flow measurements; DCS; PLC; preset controllers; advanced control and optimization; safety systems, supply chain systems; and transactional business information systems. Since refinery off-sites are often key for monetizing production, best practices are needed to enable these different technologies to work together as an integrated whole to support overall operational flexibility.
The often massive storage tanks and extensive auxiliary equipment and instrumentation represent expensive assets. These provide surge volume for the transition of batch crude oil receipts and batch finished product shipments while the refinery operates continuously for years at a time.
Receiving/distribution terminals are associated with refinery off-sites that receive gasoline and distillates from refineries via pipelines, rail cars, barges, and/or marine carriers. Such terminals may blend ethanol or butane, into raw gasoline from the refinery and typically have truck loading operations to distribute the petroleum products to gas stations and fuel oil companies.
Operational Flexibility Is Key
A key goal of tank farm automation in refinery off-sites is to support overall operational flexibility. This enables safe operation within operational constraints. The ability to accommodate a low-cost crude purchase or deliver a finished, on-spec product when needed and with minimum quality giveaway provides financial benefits for both refinery operations and supply chain management.
Operational flexibility allows the refinery to run with fewer changes to the refinery unit operations.
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Keywords: Oil Movement and Storage, Tank Gauging, Tank Farm, DCS, Level Measurement, Gasoline Blending, Procedural Automation, Planning and Scheduling, Operator Training, Supply Chain, ARC Advisory Group.