Petroleum industry is nowadays a very complex and competitive business due to many changes in the dynamic global market place. These changes include most stringent environmental regulations, increasing in oil prices, increasing demand for petroleum products, etc . For this reason, planning tools are very useful and essential for the economic success of petroleum companies. Despite this fact, the commercially available planning tools provide only an optimal solution point which is usually impossible to implement in the refinery operation. In other words, these planning tools do not give detailed information about the optimal operation region without degradation of the whole refinery profit .
This paper is focused on the implementation of rigorous analysis of the optimal solution to petroleum refinery planning problems by using advanced optimization techniques such as solution ranging, parametric analysis, and goal programming . These optimization techniques provide an a-priori evaluation of solution robustness and flexibility of refinery operating plans. An ECOPETROL´s refinery planning tool (also called SIGMA-PLANNING) based on the nonlinear programming (NLP) technique was used for the implementation of all these advanced optimization techniques. Finally, many case studies for two ECOPETROL´s refineries were evaluated in order to show the applicability and usefulness of these advanced optimization techniques in the petroleum refinery planning.
 Shah, N.K, Zukui, L. and Ierapetritou, M. G, Petroleum Refining Operations: Key Issues, Advances, and Opportunities. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 2011 50 (3), 1161-1170.
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