464492 Multiperiod Inventory Pinch Algorithm for Integrated Planning and Scheduling of Oil Refineries

Tuesday, November 15, 2016: 1:08 PM
Carmel II (Hotel Nikko San Francisco)
Pedro Castillo Castillo, Chemical Egineering, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada, Pedro M. Castro, Centro de Matemática Aplicações Fundamentais e Investigação Operacional, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal and Vladimir Mahalec, Chemical Engineering, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada

A petroleum refinery plant transforms raw crude oils into more valuable products that can be found almost anywhere such as liquid fuels, plastics, oils, solvents, asphalt, and many chemicals used in production processes across different industries. Oil refineries involve several intertwined complex physical and chemical processes, and they operate in a highly competitive and dynamic market under strict safety, environmental, and governmental regulations. For these reasons, planning and scheduling of refinery operations are very important tasks. Moreover, in order to obtain high quality solutions, integration of planning and scheduling decisions is necessary1.

Commercial software found in industrial practice to compute production plans for a refinery employ multiperiod models and solve them using linear programming or successive linear programming techniques, e.g. Aspen PIMS, Haverly GRTMPS, and Honeywell RPMS. Nonlinear programming (NLP) algorithms can be found as well, e.g. Aspen PIMS AO. However, in order to avoid intractable problems, such software often use simplified process unit-operation models2. Refinery scheduling is usually carried out via interactive simulation (e.g. Aspen Petroleum Scheduler and Haverly H/Sched) with the production plan targets used as constraints. Mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) optimization techniques to solve the scheduling problem represent an opportunity for companies to improve their operations and profits; however, more efficient and reliable MILP models and solution algorithms are required to be developed in order to be applied in practice.

Regarding planning models, current trend is to increase their accuracy by considering their nonlinear nature and developing formulations that can be tractable2,3,4. For the scheduling problem, several MILP models have been published in the literature for the entire refinery or some of its subsystems5,6,7. Maravelias and Sung1 reviewed different strategies to integrate planning and scheduling levels. They discussed the importance of developing more computationally effective models and improving decomposition and iterative algorithms, as well as hybrid methods. Several researchers have formulated full-space models (i.e. simultaneous planning and scheduling), usually as mixed-integer nonlinear programming (MINLP) models, and proposed algorithms to solve them8,9,10. In general, these models can be solved directly only for a small number of time periods. Various bi-level decomposition algorithms for MILP and MINLP models have been proposed11,12,13. Castillo-Castillo and Mahalec14 developed a three-level decomposition approach based on the inventory pinch concept to integrate planning and scheduling decisions in gasoline blending operations, which reduces the number of blend recipes and can handle nonlinear blending rules.

Based on the work by Castillo-Castillo and Mahalec14, we present a multiperiod inventory pinch algorithm, denoted as “extended MPIP-C algorithm”, to integrate planning and scheduling decisions of an oil-refinery (not only for the gasoline blending section). The original full-space problem is decomposed into three levels: 1) optimization of operating conditions, 2) derivation of an approximate schedule, and 3) computation of a detailed schedule. At the 1st level, a multiperiod NLP model is formulated, where periods are delineated initially by inventory pinch points of various product pools (e.g. gasoline and diesel). This reduces the number of periods and number of different blend recipes. Various formulations for the processing unit models can be utilized (e.g. fixed yield, multi-mode, or nonlinear). A global optimization algorithm is employed to solve the 1st level if such model is nonconvex. The 2nd level is solved via multiperiod MILP model, where periods are delineated by scheduler based on the demand and supply data, and the minimum time requirements to complete major tasks (i.e. blend runs, product tank service). The 3rd level uses a continuous-time MILP model to determine the exact times to carry out the necessary tasks to meet the targets imposed by the 2nd and 3rd level solutions. The 2nd and 3rd levels are MILP models since the nonlinear constraints associated with the operating conditions are solved at the 1st level, and the optimal conditions found at the 1st level are fixed at the other levels. The algorithm minimizes the total cost comprised by the crude oil cost, production cost, switching cost, and demurrage cost. Switching cost involves blend runs, delivery runs, product changeovers in the swing tanks, and mode transitions in the processing units. The algorithm eliminates infeasibilities found at the 2nd and 3rd levels by re-optimizing operating conditions at the 1st level.

For our case studies, the refinery system consists of a crude distillation unit, a catalytic reformer, a hydrocracker, a fluid catalytic cracking unit, five hydrotreaters, three blenders, and various mixers and splitters. We consider five products and eight quality properties under specification, as well as different demand and supply scenarios. Results show that the extended MPIP-C algorithm computes solutions close to the optimum and in relative shorter execution times than solving the full-space model. Most of the computational time is spent at the 1st and 3rd level models. Future work will be to test mathematical decomposition strategies to solve the 3rd level model (detailed scheduling) more efficiently.


  1. Maravelias CT, Sung C. Integration of production planning and scheduling: Overview, challenges and opportunities. Comput Chem Eng. 2009; 33(12): 1919-1930.
  2. Menezes BC, Kelly JD, Grossmann IE. Improved swing-cut modeling for planning and scheduling of oil-refinery distillation units. Ind Eng Chem Res. 2013; 52(51): 18324-18333.
  3. Fu G, Sanchez Y, Mahalec V. Hybrid model for optimization of crude oil distillation units. AIChE J. 2016; 62: 1065-1078.
  4. Li J, Boukouvala F, Xiao X, Floudas CA, Zhao B, Du G, Su X, Liu H. Data‐driven mathematical modeling and global optimization framework for entire petrochemical planning operations. AIChE J. 2016. DOI: 10.1002/aic.15220
  5. Shah NK, Ierapetritou MG. Short‐term scheduling of a large‐scale oil‐refinery operations: Incorporating logistics details. AIChE J. 2011; 57(6): 1570-1584.
  6. Shi L, Jiang Y, Wang L, Huang D. Refinery production scheduling involving operational transitions of mode switching under predictive control system. Ind Eng Chem Res. 2014; 53(19): 8155-8170.
  7. Castillo-Castillo PA, Mahalec V. Improved continuous-time model for gasoline blend scheduling. Comput Chem Eng. 2016; 84: 627-646.
  8. Kopanos GM, Puigjaner L, Maravelias CT. Production planning and scheduling of parallel continuous processes with product families. Ind Eng Chem Res. 2010; 50(3): 1369-1378.
  9. Yue D, You F. Planning and scheduling of flexible process networks under uncertainty with stochastic inventory: MINLP models and algorithm. AIChE J. 2013; 59(5): 1511-1532.
  10. Gutiérrez-Limón MA, Flores-Tlacuahuac A, Grossmann IE. MINLP formulation for simultaneous planning, scheduling, and control of short-period single-unit processing systems. Ind Eng Chem Res. 2014; 53(38): 14679-14694.
  11. Dogan ME, Grossmann IE. A decomposition method for the simultaneous planning and scheduling of single-stage continuous multiproduct plants. Ind Eng Chem Res. 2006; 45(1): 299-315.
  12. Li Z, Ierapetritou MG. Integrated production planning and scheduling using a decomposition framework. Chem Eng Sci. 2009; 64(16): 3585-3597.
  13. Chu Y, You F, Wassick JM, Agarwal A. Integrated planning and scheduling under production uncertainties: Bi-level model formulation and hybrid solution method. Comput Chem Eng. 2015; 72: 255-272.
  14. Castillo-Castillo, PA, Mahalec V. Inventory pinch gasoline blend scheduling algorithm combining discrete-and continuous-time models. Comput Chem Eng. 2016; 84: 611-626.

Extended Abstract: File Not Uploaded
See more of this Session: Industrial Applications in Design and Operations
See more of this Group/Topical: Computing and Systems Technology Division