Operating Solutions

In December, KBC was awarded a new three-year software contract with Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras) for the licensing of our refinery simulation software, Petro-SIM™. The contract encompasses KBC's state-of-the-art reactor models, the Petro-SIM engineering flowsheet, and support for the development of models. The scope includes all of Petrobras' domestic refineries, certain international sites, and head office operations in Rio de Janeiro. This represents the upgrading to the latest technology of simulation software provided to Petrobras during the first half of the decade when KBC performed several large profit improvement projects. Petrobras continues to upgrade its existing refining capabilities as well as focus on construction of new capacity to meet domestic demand as well as capture export market opportunities. Emerging market refineries will continue to influence the export markets and, thus, a focus on maintaining globally competitive operating cost structures is a priority. Our Petro-SIM product is recognised in the sector as one of the leading refinery process simulation packages, and it is used both by clients and KBC consultants in the execution of capital and operating solutions projects.

Refinery Simulation for improved Refinery efficiency and Refinery Energy
Industries | Refining

KBC works across all elements of the business construct in refining to maximise Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) through maximising revenues and minimising costs whilst minimising capital employed and maintaining operator's "licence to operate". We create and sustain value by effectively converting strategy to results through technical excellence under-pinned by engineering simulation and analytics, sustaining performance through winning operating models and best practices that are powered by cloud, manufacturing execution system (MES) and automation technologies.

Over the medium and long-term, worsening refining over-capacity, changing demand and re-adjustment of refined product prices will challenge the survival of most refiners. Therefore the market will need to balance new complex capacity coming to market in the coming years in the Middle East, India, Russia and other parts of Asia with closure of further uncompetitive capacity elsewhere.
 
The continuing shift to higher levels of conversion capacity versus primary distillation is expected to continue on its upward trend as refiners strive to produce higher quality products.

 

Strategy and Business Excellence

Success in refining, demands cost leadership and operating flexibility. Where capital is constrained, market volatility is high and significant plant overhauls aren’t a viable option, achieving a competitive advantage doesn’t just mean scale and complexity. Delivering production-centred competitive advantage starts with holding the optimum portfolio of assets and projects in relation to the business environment and managing working capital through optimal sourcing of feedstocks and just in time product delivery to market.

Enabled by KBC Energy Economics’ capabilities in petroleum market economics analysis, we deliver data-driven investment decision support to refiners to help them deliver maximum value to shareholders through:

  • Business and financial analyses / modelling
  • Crude and product price forecasts based on market fundamentals
  • Market insights, studies and competitor analyses
  • Crude valuation based on 5-cut yield gross product worth (GPW) methodologies
  • Capital allocation and portfolio evaluation
  • Feasibility studies, investment appraisals and due diligence (technical, commercial and HSE)

In refinery operations, converting strategy to results requires the alignment of people, systems, and tools in the business operating model to deliver safe and reliable production while ensuring value to all key stakeholders. Our Operational Excellence model contains the processes, practices, and procedures of how the business should be operated and monitored, and how the staff interact with and influence the business. The model outlines the vision, objectives, and ambitions of the business, defines the operating business model and continuous improvement process, and clarifies the roles, behaviours, codes of conduct, and governance that the staff utilise as part of their involvement in the business.

Production Optimisation

Over the short term, market volatility will be a key influencer of the fortunes of many refiners. Their ROCE performance, and indeed survival, will be determined by their ability to maximise revenue generation by riding fluctuations in the market which means being agile. Agility for refiners means possessing operational flexibility to readily ramp up production to exploit market opportunities and turn down production to mitigate risk.

We provide solutions that enable refiners to generate maximum revenues by safely maximising production of the highest value products demanded in the market at any point in time based on plant constraints and the best available crude and process unit feeds. We minimise losses, feed quality constraints and process constraints inhibiting achievement of optimal yields and throughputs from process units and the plant. We do this safely through facility and unit feed quality changes, facility and unit debottlenecking, facility and unit revamps / upgrades and other changes to facility and unit operating conditions.

Cost Optimisation

One of the key levers for refiners to enhance their ROCE performance is minimising operating costs and also ensuring capital efficiency associated with capital project development. Our solutions to these challenges are rigorous, accurate and holistic in representing unit-specific and refinery-wide interactions. We combine technical excellence, deep industry domain knowledge and operating experience to provide solutions in both of these areas:

  • Operating costs. We minimise operating costs through energy efficiency optimisation and improvement in asset care and maintenance (including reliability and maintenance).
  • Capital project efficiency. We improve capital efficiency associated with plans to build new facilities, upgrade or revamp existing ones by undertaking cold-eyes reviews of concepts to ensure they sustainably meet the needs of the market over the life of the asset, as efficiently and profitably as possible, entailing minimum capital expenditure.

 

People and Organisation

Any successful refinery operating model which converts strategy into results requires alignment of people, systems, and tools in the business operating model to deliver safe and reliable production while delivering value to all key stakeholders. People require clear definition of decision rights and governance. Results can only be achieved by effective human capital management – having the right people, in the right place, at the right time, with the right skills applied in the right way, with the right management system infrastructure around them. This is no easy task with the crew change occurring in the industry, tightening HSE legislation and growing oil demand requiring new production.

At the shop floor level, our training solutions leverage experience from working with hundreds of production facilities around the world to develop comprehensive training models that drive performance excellence for the shift team positions. These models are comprised of a combination of standard principle-level training and custom-developed, site-specific training.

Cloud Enabled Performance Management

Cloud computing and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) have created the opportunity to remotely access data from clients’ operations and their supply chains, enabling delivery of new ways to sustain performance at lower cost. Facility process data when combined with unstructured data such as operators’ written logs, creates “Big Data”. We apply real-time analytics such as statistical and rigorous models to interpret this data and produce actionable information.

Our methodologies for sustaining performance are progressive. We provide innovative and effective performance management solutions under our Sustainability and Continuous Improvement Program (SCIP) in each of the three areas influencing sustained operational excellence: People, Processes and Facilities.

Applied Technology

Refinery operations are highly complex and very risky. There are a number of engineering variables and trade-offs which need to be taken into consideration, such as variation in quality specifications, fluctuating product demand, yield and energy trade-offs, process unit design capacities, catalyst degradation, fluctuating feed quality, supply chain planning and scheduling, variable equipment degradation rates based on operating  modes, etc.

 

TECHNOLOGY

Operate your facilities more profitably, manage environmental and operational risk, optimize Refinery Maintenance and Refinery Energy Efficiency, improve Refinery Economics and deliver effective capital-investment projects with KBC's market-leading Refinery Simulation software solutions. LEARN MORE >>

 

 

 

 

 

 

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