Thursday, February 27, 2014

Daniel Yergin on the future of global energy - McKinsey

Recorded in March 2012, Mr. Yergin's observations are still relevant for 2014.

Daniel Yergin is a pulitzer prize winning author and global energy expert, and makes macro-economic and geopolitical observations on the future of the world's energy development and mix.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Fuel Quality Control Supports Etihad Airways’ Biofuel Powered Demonstration Flight

Intertek provided the bio-jet fuel quality testing for Etihad Airways’ historic demonstration flight of a Boeing 777 using the first UAE-produced bio-kerosene, based upon innovative plant biomass-processing technology. Before the flight, Intertek conducted the final quality control testing for the jet biofuel blend, a new fuel which was partially converted from biomass. The UAE is one of a handful of countries that have produced and flown commercial aircraft using their own bio-kerosene (jet fuel).

Learn more at about the Etihad Airways jet biofuel project:

 Learn more about Intertek's role in the Etihad biofuel project:

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Oil Refineries Need Proper Feeding To Thrive.

An Oil Refinery must be fed with care. 

Oil refineries may look like large and impressive examples of industrial might, but in reality they suffer from delicate disgestive systems which can be easily upset if they are put on the wrong diet of crude oil feed-stocks.

Refineries take an expensive, but nearly useless, hazardous material (crude oil), and convert this gooey mess into usable and valuable refined products. An oil refinery makes its living consuming crude oil and turning that crude into a wide range of fuels (including gasoline, diesel, jet, fuel oil), petrochemicals, and other products. These refined products help power, build, and move our modern civilization.

Does the Refinery need a little extra Vitamin C today?
The challenge for every refiner is that crude oil comes in a diverse range of quality and compositions. When it comes to crude oil feed-stocks, "one size fits all" in not an option for petroleum refiners.

If a particular crude oil agrees with the configuration of particular refinery, then refined product production is good and the refining yield is optimized. If a particular crude oil disagrees with how a refinery is configured, results will be less than optimal, cause multiple problems and can even upset (disrupt) the refinery.

Crude oil widely ranges in quality. Variables in crude oil include sulfur (sweet to sour), heavy metals, light versus heavy content, waxes, asphaltenes, water, mercury, and many other components which can greatly affect a refinery's ability to refine and optimize production. Blended crudes pose additional challenges. Crude oil selection can help or hurt a refiner's efforts to meet client quality and government regulatory requirements.

To manage this problem, every petroleum refinery in the world has a unique and customized design, using a wide range of engineering, process, and technology options to build individual refining processes which will 'optimize' the production and profit for each refinery. The degree of technology and processes used to optimize crude oil refining can be described as 'complexity'. Some refineries are more complex than others, depending upon the crude oil feed-stocks each refinery is built to digest.

An important resource in every refiner's tool kit is the ability to scientifically measure the components in each crude oil stream the refinery is looking to purchase for consumption. Called "Crude Oil Assay" analysis, this detailed collection of laboratory tests are equivalent to a nutrition label on a package of food. Armed with important quality data concerning a particular type of crude oil, decisions can then be made to purchase the crude or avoid it entirely. Refiners can also reconfigure their refinery, after some cost and investment, to take on any new crudes they like.

Petroleum engineers and refinery managers pay close attention to the ingredients of a barrel of crude oil going into their refinery. Unlike humans, when an oil refinery has 'indigestion' the costs incurred are a lot more than just the price for a package of antacids or milk of magnesia!

Attention Oil Refinery: Dinner is Served.
Knowing what you should get from a specified barrel of oil to feed your refinery is one thing. What you actually get from that barrel can be quite another. Crude oil stocks contracted for refinery usage can become contaminated or fail other contractual quality and quantity specifications. This is why crude oil feed-stocks are routinely inspected and tested for both quality and quantity before they are injected into the refinery for processing. Crude oil feed-stock testing and inspection before use at a refinery is equivalent to having your food 'tasted' before you eat it.

To learn more about crude oil assay testing, please visit Crude Oil Assay: What it Means to Refiners.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Boiling Eagle Ford Crude Condensate Video

Eagle Ford Condensate
Grade "Crude Oil"
Light crude oil condensates and natural gas liquids (NGL) found in some shale formations can "boil" at room temperature, depending upon the composition and amount of light-ends.

This short video from Intertek's Corpus Christi laboratory demonstrates just how many light-ends were present in this 'retro-grade' condensate from a crude oil well in the Eagle Ford Shale.

When the Beverly Hillbillies discovered "a bubblin' crude" they weren't thinking of Eagle Ford shale condensates, but as this video shows, bubbling condensate liquids full of light ends are being produced in the region, with an API gravity well in excess of 50.

Bubbling Crude: Eagle Ford Condensate Video

Learn more about crude oil and natural gas reservoir condensates at:
Neither Fish nor Fowl – Condensates Muscle in on NGL and Crude Markets. By Rusty Braziel, RBN Energy.

Learn more about Intertek's shale oil and gas testing, inspection, and measurement services.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Base Oils and Petroleum Refining

Petroleum Refinery base oils lubricate the global economy.

Along with fuels and petrochemicals, petroleum refineries produce refined base oils from crude oil feedstocks. These refinery base oils form the foundation of many lubricants used in the world today. The production of lubricating base oils by the petroleum refining industry is an important contributor to lubricants manufacturing, helping 'grease the skids' of the global economy.

Petroleum refined base oils are produced as part of the overall crude oil refining process, and undergo a sequence of processing steps. These base oil production stages are commonly described as distillation, refining, dewaxing, and finishing. Also known as "mineral oil", base oils are usually clear and without odor. Depending upon refinery feedstocks and processing, petroleum refinery base oils are usually classified as naphthenic, aromatic, or paraffinic.

Most lubricants consist of a high percent of base oil as the main component, with additives making up the rest. While refined petroleum base oils (mineral oils) dominate base oil sources, other materials are also used as base oils, including edible oils (vegetable and animal oils and fats) and various synthetic liquids.

Without lubricants, many power generation, industrial, and manufacturing applications would literally grind to a halt. The condition of lubricant quality in sensitive applications such as heavy transportation, production and other uses can become a serious issue if machine failure, downtime, and repair problems occur.

To support clients and extend the life of equipment and reduce repairs and downtime, Intertek operates a global network of base oil and lubricant oil condition monitoring (OCM) testing laboratories. The analysis provided by these OCM labs is helping meet increasing demand for improved equipment maintenance and reliability.

Petroleum refinery base oil products
lubricate the world's manufacturing
 and transportation industries.
Analysis of lubricants, including contamination and trouble-shooting projects, can include base oil, additive, and lubricant analysis, used-oil testing, ferrography, and oil conditioning monitoring services.

Oil condition monitoring helps to identify the risk of potential damage to expensive machinery. By measuring wear metals and other components, OCM scientists and technicians spot lubricant and machine quality and operational problems early and assist customers avoid expensive repairs and shutdowns. OCM lubricant testing data provides customers with an early warning "damage prevention" service, catching developing problems before they become costly failures.

Lubricants testing provides lubricant manufacturers with feedstock and product quality control analysis, and conducts automotive engine qualifications testing to assist lubricant manufacturers develop products approved for new government regulations and industry standards.

Learn about Intertek base oil and oil condition monitoring services: