294028 Petrobras in-House Process Simulator As a Strategic Advantage

Wednesday, May 1, 2013: 2:30 PM
Republic B (Grand Hyatt San Antonio)
Renato A. Barbosa1, Jacques Niederberger1, Letícia C. Santos1, Carlos A. D. Moura1, Joyce S. S. Aires1, Lara S. S. Teixeira1, Victor R. R. Ahon2, Vinicius M. Silva2, Carmen E. Vargas2, José A. Silva3, Anna E. B. Zobolli2, Cláudio A. S. Aquino1 and Ellen P. Silva2, (1)Research and Development Center (CENPES), Petrobras - Petróleo Brasileiro S.A., Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, (2)GENPRO Engenharia S.A., (3)SPASSU Tecnologia e Serviços

PETROBRAS is an energy company, which operates in oil and gas production and refining, petrochemicals and biofuels production, but it is also a technology developer. In this sense, in-house process simulators are strategic to standardize and disseminate technological innovations amongst engineers of the entire company.

Due to the need to have a uniform environment for simulation and design, PETROBRAS has   teams dedicated to provide support and to develop applications required by users, based on proprietary technologies and/or scientific literature.

PETROX is a steady state refining process simulator developed by PETROBRAS Research and Development Center (CENPES). It has been successfully applied in different business fields in PETROBRAS: revamp and design of new units such as: Atmospheric and Vacuum Distillation, Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC), Delayed Coking, Hydrotreating (HDT), Hydrocracking, Natural Gas Processing, Basic Petrochemicals Production, Offshore Production Facilities and Treating units like Sour Water Treatment and Sulfur Recovery. PETROX is the standard simulator for several groups in the areas of process design, operation simulation, and improvement of the company processes. Its usage allows significant improving on quality and productivity of process design, optimization, equipment sizing and operational conditions specification, as well as dealing with environmental issues.

PETROX incorporates the main characteristics of the modern commercial simulators. It has a graphic user-friendly Windows-based interface, with process flowsheet visualization. Unit operations and equipments are simulated by the sequential modular approach.

Owning an in-house process simulator allows customization and implementation of new features on a permanent basis, which could not be feasible with commercial software or, at least, would be considerably more difficult.

It has a pure component properties database, into which new components are frequently added as required by users. There is also a large, constantly updated database of national and international oils, including recent discovered crudes from the pre-salt area, containing complete assays measured by PETROBRAS or acquired from suppliers. There is a wide variety of methods, obtained from literature or developed by the PETROX team, to estimate physical properties of pure components, petroleum fractions (pseudocomponents) and mixtures. As many Brazilian crude oils are heavier than the average imported abroad, new correlations had to be developed in order to better simulate oil blend properties and process units.

Different thermodynamic models are available to simulate crude oil refining, gas processing, offshore production facilities, and petrochemical units. Those include equations of state, activity coefficient models and sour water model.

There are several unit operations models on PETROX, including rigorous distillation column, reactors, compressor and gas separation membrane. Among them, there are PETROBRAS proprietary conversion models, which are available as separated programs or as PETROX modules. They include Delayed Coking unit, FCC unit, Residue FCC unit, HDT reactor, and Shale Oil Retorting.

PETROX has also the usual features such as: sensitivity analysis, phase envelopes, heating curves calculation, and importing/exporting data.

It is possible to integrate PETROX to other process design and process analysis tools from PETROBRAS technology, partnership with Universities or commercial tools. Through this integration, engineers can simulate rigorous heat exchanger, design heat exchanger networks, export data to CAE systems, perform a column Pinch analysis or exchange data with a Furnace simulator, for example.

PETROX is accessible to the whole company. As it is based on a cloud network platform, our users always have access to the newest version of the programs, with updated data and features.

PETROBRAS process simulation technology has also been employed in real time application. For example: FoulingTR, also developed by PETROBRAS teams, is a tool for monitoring heat exchangers and heat exchanger trains, which uses a PETROX application for on-line plant data acquisition and  simulation.

As matter of fact, the effort of  PETROX development during more than twenty years is a proof of  PETROBRAS commitment with R&D investment.

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See more of this Session: Advances in Plant Simulation and Design
See more of this Group/Topical: Topical 7: 16th Topical on Refinery Processing