Processing & Refining Crude Oil

Coal Liquefaction Equipment

Chevron’s Pascagoula Refinery processes 330,000 barrels (13.9 million gallons) of crude oil a day – an amount equal to the dimensions of a soccer field covered to a depth of forty ft.

Operators management the refining processes utilizing hello-tech computers situated in management centers situated throughout the refinery.

Hello-Tech Process Control

Using the most recent electronic know-how to watch and control the plants, operators run the process items 24 hours a day, 7 days every week. From management rooms positioned in each Operations space, operators use a pc-pushed course of management system with console screens that display coloration interactive graphics of the plants and actual-time data on the status of the plants. The process control system allows operators to “fine-tune the processes and respond immediately to process adjustments. With redundancy designed into the management system, secure operations are assured within the event of plant upset.

Refining’s Primary Steps

Most refineries, regardless of complexity, perform a number of primary steps within the refining process: DISTILLATION, CRACKING, TREATING and REFORMING. These processes happen in our primary operating areas – Crude/Aromatics, Cracking I, RDS/Coker, Cracking II, and at the Sulfur Recovery Unit.

1. Distillation

Fashionable distillation involves pumping oil via pipes in scorching furnaces and separating light hydrocarbon molecules from heavy ones in downstream distillation towers – the tall, slim columns that give refineries their distinctive skylines.

The Pascagoula Refinery’s refining course of begins when crude oil is distilled in two giant Crude Models which have three distillation columns, one that operates at close to atmospheric stress, and two others that operate at less than atmospheric strain, i.e., a vacuum.

Click on on the picture for
Distillation Column Diagram

Throughout this course of, the lightest materials, like propane and butane, vaporize and rise to the top of the primary atmospheric column. Medium weight supplies, including gasoline, jet and diesel fuels, condense within the center. Heavy materials, known as gasoline oils, condense in the lower portion of the atmospheric column. The heaviest tar-like material, called residuum, is referred to as the “bottom of the barrel because it by no means really rises.

This distillation course of is repeated in lots of other plants as the oil is further refined to make various products.

In some cases, distillation columns are operated at less than atmospheric stress (vacuum) to decrease the temperature at which a hydrocarbon mixture boils. This “vacuum distillation (VDU) reduces the possibility of thermal decomposition (cracking) on account of over heating the mixture.

As a part of the 2003 Clean Fuels Project, the Pascagoula Refinery added a brand new low-pressure vacuum column to the Crude I Unit and transformed the RDS/Coker’s VDU into a second vacuum column for the Crude II Unit. These and different distillation upgrades improved fuel oil restoration and decreased residuum volume.

Utilizing the newest computer control methods, refinery operators precisely control the temperatures within the distillation columns which are designed with pipes to withdraw the various forms of merchandise the place they condense. Merchandise from the highest, center and bottom of the column travel by these pipes to completely different plants for further refining.

2. Cracking

Since the market establishes product value, our aggressive edge depends on how effectively we will convert middle distillate, fuel oil and residuum into the very best worth merchandise.

At the Pascagoula Refinery, we convert middle distillate, gasoline oil and residuum into primarily gasoline, jet and diesel fuels by utilizing a series of processing plants that literally “crack massive, heavy molecules into smaller, lighter ones.

Heat and catalysts are used to transform the heavier oils to lighter products using three “cracking strategies: fluid catalytic cracking (FCC), hydrocracking (Isomax), and coking (or thermal-cracking).

The Fluid Catalytic Cracker (FCC) makes use of excessive temperature and catalyst to crack 86,000 barrels (3.6 million gallons) each day of heavy fuel oil mostly into gasoline. Hydrocracking makes use of catalysts to react fuel oil and hydrogen beneath high stress and high temperature to make each jet gasoline and gasoline.

Additionally, about fifty eight,000 barrels (2.Four million gallons) of lighter gas oil is transformed daily in two Isomax Items, utilizing this hydrocracking process.

We mix a lot of the products from the FCC and the Isomaxes straight into transportation fuels, i.e., gasoline, diesel and jet gasoline. We burn the lightest molecules as gasoline for the refinery’s furnaces, thus conserving pure gasoline and minimizing waste.

Within the Delayed Coking Unit (Coker), 98,000 barrels a day of low-worth residuum is converted (utilizing the coking, or thermal-cracking process) to excessive-worth mild products, producing petroleum coke as a by-product. The big residuum molecules are cracked into smaller molecules when the residuum is held in a coke drum at a excessive temperature for a period of time. Solely strong coke remains and must be drilled from the coke drums.

Modifications to the refinery during its 2003 Clean Fuels Project elevated residuum quantity going to the Coker Unit. The venture increased coke handling capability and changed the a hundred and fifty metric-ton coke drums with new 300 metric-ton drums to handle the elevated residuum quantity.

The Coker sometimes produces more than 6,000 tons a day of petroleum coke, which is bought for use as fuel or in cement manufacturing.


Whereas the cracking processes break many of the gas oil into gasoline and jet gasoline, in addition they break off some pieces which are lighter than gasoline. Since Pascagoula Refinery’s primary focus is on making transportation fuels, we recombine 14,800 barrels (622,000 gallons) each day of lighter elements in two Alkylation Items. This course of takes the small molecules and recombines them within the presence of sulfuric acid catalyst to convert them into high octane gasoline.

3. Treating (Removing Impurities)

The products from the Crude Models and the feeds to other units comprise some natural impurities, resembling sulfur and nitrogen. Utilizing a course of known as hydrotreating (a milder version of hydrocracking), these impurities are removed to reduce air pollution when our fuels are used.

As a result of about 80 p.c of the crude oil processed by the Pascagoula Refinery is heavier oils which can be high in sulfur and nitrogen, varied treating models throughout the refinery work to remove these impurities.

Within the RDS Unit’s six 1,000-ton reactors, sulfur and nitrogen are faraway from FCC feed stream. The sulfur is converted to hydrogen sulfide and despatched to the Sulfur Unit the place it is converted into elemental sulfur. Nitrogen is remodeled into ammonia which is removed from the method by water-washing. Later, the water is treated to get better the ammonia as a pure product to be used within the production of fertilizer.

The RDS’s Unit fundamental product, low sulfur vacuum fuel oil, is fed to the FCC (fluid catalytic cracker) Unit which then cracks it into excessive value products equivalent to gasoline and diesel.

Four. Reforming

Octane rating is a key measurement of how well a gasoline performs in an vehicle engine. A lot of the gasoline that comes from the Crude Models or from the Cracking Items doesn’t have enough octane to burn well in automobiles.

The gasoline process streams in the refinery that have a reasonably low octane ranking are despatched to a Reforming Unit the place their octane ranges are boosted. These reforming items make use of precious-metallic catalysts – platinum and rhenium – and thereby get the title “rheniformers. Within the reforming process, hydrocarbon molecules are “reformed into high octane gasoline elements. For instance, methyl cyclohexane is reformed into toluene.

The reforming course of actually removes hydrogen from low-octane gasoline. The hydrogen is used all through the refinery in various cracking (hydrocracking) and treating (hydrotreating) models.

Our refinery operates three catalytic reformers, the place we rearrange and change 71,000 barrels (about three million gallons) of gasoline per day to offer it the excessive octane automobiles want.

Product testing


A final and demanding step is the blending of our merchandise. Gasoline, for instance, is blended from handled parts made in a number of processing units. Mixing and Delivery Area operators exactly combine these to ensure that the blend has the correct octane stage, vapor stress rating and other vital specifications. All merchandise are blended in the same style.

High quality Control

In the refinery’s modernly-geared up Laboratory, chemists and technicians conduct high quality assurance tests on all completed merchandise, together with checking gasoline for correct octane rating. Techron® Chevron’s patented performance booster, is added to gasoline on the company’s advertising terminals, one in all which is located on the Pascagoula Refinery.

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