IMO 2020 – Potential Impacts and Coker Refinery Case Study

On January 1st, 2020, the global shipping industry will undergo a radical change, with all ships having to reduce the sulfur content within marine fuels from 3.5% to 0.5%, as mandated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). As with all radical changes, winners and losers await, meaning there is significant opportunity everywhere.

In this paper, DrillingInfo uses a refinery optimization model to look at the potential effects of this regulation for a single complex refinery with a delayed coking unit.


What does the change mean for refineries?

Bunker fuel provides a valuable outlet for refineries as it has the highest sulfur content specification out of the major refinery products. The heavy bottom of the barrel fractions that have too much sulfur content to become diesel (0.0015% maximum sulfur content), No.2 oil (0.05%), or light sulfur fuel oil (1%) can still generate revenue as long as they meet the 3.5% specification for marine fuel in non-emission control areas (ECAs). Furthermore, the markets for light sulfur fuel oil and other relatively high-sulfur products are small compared to that of 3.5% bunker fuel (Figure 1) so as the new specification takes effect there will not be another “release valve” for high-sulfur fractions above the 0.5% threshold.

With the new IMO specification, the residual fractions that used to go into marine fuels will largely become waste unless they can be further processed and desulfurized. Refineries with delayed coking units stand to benefit from this change as they have the capability to process these fractions into other products, which most refiners lack.


What does a single refinery model look like?

The most standard refinery processing unit is an atmospheric distillation unit (ADU), which separates crude oil into different fractions depending on their volatility. This is the process which splits crude oil into the gases, naphthas, kerosene, gas oils, and residues that it consists of. The yields of these fractions, expressed as a percentage of the crude oil input, and their physical properties, including sulfur content among others, can vary greatly between different crude oil assays. In this case we are particularly interested in a heavy assay that produces a lot of residue, the type that is often refined in the US Gulf Coast, because the ability to process this type of crude gives complex coking refineries their advantage in the market. The yields of a standard Western Canadian Select (WCS) assay are illustrated in Figure 2.

After the fractions exit the ADU, their path through various refinery units is anything but standard. The flows of these fractions through the refinery depend not only on the available processing units and their capacities, but also on product specifications and prices as the refiner will decide how much of each fraction to send into each unit in order to maximize profit. This type of problem – maximizing a profit objective subject to operational constraints – is the perfect application for linear and nonlinear programming.

In this paper we utilize the OptiFlo-Crude model to look at a complex refinery based on a Gulf Coast facility with some modifications made for illustrative purposes. Our refinery has an ADU capacity of 335 MBbl/d, and it has the following units: vacuum distillation unit (VDU), hydrotreaters for naphtha (NHT), kerosene (KHT), and gas oils (GOHT), light naphtha isomerization (LNIS), hydrocracking unit (HCU), fluidized catalytic converter (FCC), reformer (RFO), alkylation unit (ALK), and delayed coking unit (DCU).

A typical refinery blends different assays together to maximize profit while considering the physical properties of the assays together with the state of the transportation network (bottlenecks, cost of transport, crude availability, etc.). While this blending is very important on a macro scale and is being modelled at DrillingInfo, for this single refinery case we consider only the WCS assay.


How does the refinery operate with current specifications and prices?

In the base case scenario, the selected refinery’s operations are optimized given today’s 3.5% maximum sulfur specification for bunker fuel. The past 12-month average prices for end products are used as inputs. Figure 3 illustrates the basic flow diagram for this refinery, from the ADU into the other units.

The optimal product outputs for this refinery are displayed in Table 1. On a volume basis, the outputs are 42% diesel, 35% gasoline, 8% jet fuel, and a combined 15% for all other products. Some demand constraints were imposed on the model to avoid overproduction that would flood a low-demand market with supply. For example, the 3.5 MBbl/d of light sulfur fuel oil produced at this refinery already makes up more than 6% of US production of this product (Figure 1) so the light sulfur fuel oil output was limited to 1% of the refinery’s production.


What happens when IMO regulations are implemented and the price of bunker fuel rises?

In scenario 2, the IMO 2020 regulations are implemented and the price of the new bunker fuel is set accordingly. Since the maximum sulfur specification of the new bunker fuel (0.5%) lies between that of No.2 oil (0.05%) and light sulfur fuel oil (1%), its price is set using an average of these two prices weighted by the strictness of the specification. The resulting price is $74.07/Bbl compared to $85.32 for diesel, $81.98 for No.2 oil, $65.29 for light sulfur fuel oil, and $62.11 for the current 3.5% sulfur bunker fuel.

The optimal product outputs for this refinery are displayed in Table 2. Interestingly, this refinery increases bunker fuel production from 7.2 MBbl/d in the base case to 23.2 MBbl/d with the new specification and price as it reduces the production of diesel by 17.4 MBbl/d.

The spec change and price increase in bunker fuel caused the refinery to shift hydrotreated lower sulfur fractions away from the diesel pool and into bunker fuel. The composition of bunker fuel (Figure 4) changed from mostly ADU/VDU fractions in the base case to mostly DCU/GOHT fractions in scenario 2. The light gas oil (1.4% wt. sulfur), heavy gas oil (2.3%), light vacuum gas oil (3%), heavy vacuum gas oil (3.7%), and heavy cycle gas oil (2%) could be blended together to meet the old 3.5% specification, but the new specification required hydrotreated heavy vacuum gas oil (close to 0%) blended with light cycle (1.1%) and heavy cycle (2%) gas oils coming out of the DCU.

Despite higher pricing, the estimated revenue of this refinery decreases from $27.44 million in the base case to $27.23 million in scenario 2. If we impose a maximum limit of 7.2 MBbl/d on bunker fuel production based on the base case, this refinery still reduces diesel production and increases the production of waste from zero to 0.5 Mkg/d, further reducing revenue to $27.18 million. This happens because the refinery does not have enough capacity to desulfurize the residual gas oils enough to blend them into a product.


What happens when distillate prices respond?

If refiners do start to shift production away from diesel, its price is expected to rise providing incentive to meet market demand. Given the opportunity cost of producing the new bunker fuel, the price of diesel must rise by $13/Bbl for this particular refinery to return diesel production to roughly equal to the base case. To avoid other readjustments of fraction flows, the prices of jet fuel and gasoline must also rise slightly, by less than $1/Bbl. The optimal outputs of this scenario are displayed in Table 3.

Although most products are back to roughly the same level of production as the base case, the output of new bunker fuel is significantly reduced as waste production is increased. It’s interesting to note that while volume of jet fuel increases, the mass of jet fuel is the same as the base case and the volume swell is entirely due to a change in specific gravity caused by changes in its fraction composition. The expected revenue for this refinery rises from $27.44 million in the base case to $29.13 million in scenario 3.

These results illustrate why the price of diesel must rise in response to the IMO 2020 sulfur regulations and why the change is expected to benefit complex coking refineries. The $13.00 (or 15%) rise in diesel price is specific to this refinery with this crude oil assay and will vary with other refinery and assay configurations.


Refinery modelling on a macro scale

DrillingInfo OptiFlo-Crude is a nonlinear programming model that considers the entire US refining network on a macro scale, linking production (upstream) to refining demand and exports (downstream) via all the transportation paths (midstream) across the country.  By understanding the demand for specific barrels by specific refineries based on the crude oil composition and refinery operations, we can predict how crude will flow, what price a certain barrel will command in the market, what pipelines and routes will be under/over utilized, where additional infrastructure is needed, where bottlenecks will emerge, and what slate of refined products will be produced in the US.

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Description Are you passionate about human space exploration or understanding the origins of the universe, and working with a dynamic and diverse team to make a difference?  If you are, we need you!   We need your commitment, teamwork, and energy to help us achieve great things that inspire humans all over the globe.  We need you to bring innovative
Ref#: 23170 Function: Engineering Location: US, CA, San Mateo OPENTEXT – THE INFORMATION COMPANY As the Information Company, our mission at OpenText is to create software solutions and deliver services that redefine the future of digital. Be part of a winning team that leads the way in Enterprise Information Management. #LI-POST The opportunity: The Opentext Analytics Magellan platform delivers information to
JOB SUMMARY: The Division Order Analyst is responsible for determining the ownership of minerals through detailed research and analysis of leases, title opinions, ownership documents, and other contracts. The incumbent must calculate mineral acres, determine royalty rates, and resolve ownership interest discrepancies. Through timely and accurate correspondence with various internal and external stakeholders, such as interest owners, operators, royalty owners, and land personnel, the Division Order Analyst will work to ensure proper
Date: Apr 11, 2019 Location: Pearland, TX, US Company: Dover Corporation Dover Precision Components delivers performance-critical solutions for rotating and reciprocating machinery across the oil & gas, power generation, marine, industrial, chemical and general processing markets. Comprising the Waukesha Bearings, Bearings Plus, Inpro/Seal and Cook Compression brands, our portfolio includes hydrodynamic bearings, active magnetic bearings, system and bearing protection, and reciprocating compressor valves,
Term: 18 Month Maternity Leave Coverage geoLOGIC is a Calgary-based company that provides innovative software and data solutions to the Oil and Gas industry. We value a respectful and diverse workplace with numerous opportunities for growth. Our flagship product geoSCOUT is the premier decision support tool in the industry. The geoLOGIC Data Center (gDC) supplies customers and software partners with
Date: Apr 11, 2019 Location: Aberdeen, ABE, GB, AB21 0GN We are looking for the right people — people who want to innovate, achieve, grow and lead. We attract and retain the best talent by investing in our employees and empowering them to develop themselves and their careers. Experience the challenges, rewards and opportunity of working for one of the world’s largest
Date: Apr 11, 2019 Location: Houston, TX, US, 77032 We are looking for the right people — people who want to innovate, achieve, grow and lead. We attract and retain the best talent by investing in our employees and empowering them to develop themselves and their careers. Experience the challenges, rewards and opportunity of working for one of the world’s largest providers
GE Oil & Gas Experienced Posted 4/11/2019 2:52:41 AM 3271193 Job Function: Field Operations Business Segment: Oil & Gas Oilfield Equipment Location(s): Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Viet Nam; Jakarta Role Summary:Field Service Engineer Manifold and Connection SystemsEssential Responsibilities:Safe and Compliant performance on all matters and or targets required by internal and external stakeholders regarding the Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Active participation in all safety
GE Oil & Gas Experienced Posted 4/11/2019 3:53:27 AM 3275206 Job Function: Services Business Segment: Oil & Gas Measurement & Controls Location(s): Qatar; Doha Role Summary:The Senior Staff Consultant is part of the APM professional services practice in BHGE and requires both Reliability Engineering subject matter and PM expertise. Responsibilities will include managing customer projects, delivering reliability services, leading training, advising customers on work
GE Oil & Gas Experienced Posted 4/11/2019 5:54:27 AM 3275225 Job Function: Engineering/Technology Business Segment: Oil & Gas Oilfield Equipment Location(s): Poland; Warsaw Role Summary:The Design Engineer will be an integral part of the Manifold team that is technical responsible for defining, developing and delivering subsea manifold systems to the clients. The Design group have the responsibility for engineering design activities for structures,
GE Oil & Gas Experienced Posted 4/11/2019 10:53:38 AM 3258636 Job Function: Engineering/Technology Business Segment: Oil & Gas Turbomachinery Process Solutions Location(s): Italy; Florence Role Summary:The Executive – EPC projects Leader, directs engineering area of EPC projects . In this role He/She will execute high exposure projects partnering with his main counterparts in ITO and OTR. Essential Responsibilities:• Accountable for technical consistency of
GE Oil & Gas Experienced Posted 4/11/2019 12:55:25 PM 3260579 Job Function: Project Management Business Segment: Oil & Gas Oilfield Equipment Location(s): United Kingdom; Bristol Role Summary:Responsible for support to the project managers for coordination of materials across the projects working within the Global Fabrication & Distribution Systems (GF&DS) product line (PL) within the Subsea Production Systems (SPS) business. Essential Responsibilities:Control and management
Date: Apr 10, 2019 Location: Jakarta, JK, ID, 12560 We are looking for the right people — people who want to innovate, achieve, grow and lead. We attract and retain the best talent by investing in our employees and empowering them to develop themselves and their careers. Experience the challenges, rewards and opportunity of working for one of the world’s largest providers
GE Oil & Gas Experienced Posted 4/10/2019 2:52:24 AM 3235808 Job Function: Services Business Segment: Oil & Gas Oilfield Equipment Location(s): United Kingdom; Aberdeen Role Summary:The Field Service Engineer provides offshore and onshore support to customers and BHGE for installation, maintenance, repair, operation and decommissioning of Subsea equipment and services. Essential Responsibilities:· Perform on-site installation and decommissioning of BHGE systems and equipment· Provide
GE Oil & Gas Experienced Posted 4/10/2019 2:52:29 AM 3273706 Job Function: Digital Technology Business Segment: Oil & Gas Oilfield Services Location(s): India; Mumbai, Kochi Role Summary:In this role, you will be responsible for leading Program Management Office (PMO) for OFS digital engineering team in India. You will be working collaboratively with product owners and functional management teams to ensure on time delivery
GE Oil & Gas Experienced Posted 4/10/2019 4:55:52 AM 3231329 Job Function: Digital Technology Business Segment: Oil & Gas Headquarters Location(s): India; Bengaluru Role Summary:Lead operations and critical projects in Industrial Equipment Area. He/She will work in both Predix/AWS and OLTP area with the responsibility of the Application lifecycle management: from the definition of ETL flows, up to the consumption of data through
GE Oil & Gas Experienced Posted 4/10/2019 3:54:09 AM 3274911 Job Function: Quality Business Segment: Oil & Gas Turbomachinery Process Solutions Location(s): China; JiangSu; Suzhou Role Summary:Focus on projects/process improvement to ensure that processes and products are designed with appropriate quality measurement systems. Minimize risk of poor quality. (eg-Master Black Belt and Black Belt). Requires mastery of a body of theoretical knowledge. Requires
GE Oil & Gas Entry-Level Posted 4/10/2019 2:52:32 AM 3273094 Job Function: Manufacturing Business Segment: Oil & Gas Measurement & Controls Location (s): Germany; Wunstorf Region Hannover Role Summary:The Manufacturing Engineer wants to be part of the Wunstorf Manufacturing Engineering team, and the individual will help develop and drive a strategic work plan, meet day-to-day shortterm objectives, and resolve issues through. Essential Responsibilities:– Knowledge
Date: Apr 10, 2019 Location: Oklahoma City, OK, US, 73118 Our core values — integrity and trust, respect, transparency and open communication, commercial focus and change leadership — are the lens through which we evaluate every business decision. As a dynamic, growing company that offers extremely competitive compensation and benefits, our employees are our most valued assets and the foundation of Chesapeake’s
Date: Apr 10, 2019 Location: Oklahoma City, OK, US, 73118 Our core values — integrity and trust, respect, transparency and open communication, commercial focus and change leadership — are the lens through which we evaluate every business decision. As a dynamic, growing company that offers extremely competitive compensation and benefits, our employees are our most valued assets and the foundation of Chesapeake’s
Req No.:  3718 Engineer Trainee – Frac Product Service:  Fracturing Location:  Required Travel:  75% – 100% Number of Openings:  1 FLSA Status:  Exempt Type of Position: Position Status:  Full Time Additional Available Locations: Position Summary As an Engineer in Training, you will learn firsthand the necessary daily operations to perform a stimulation job on a well. Your training will be done predominantly on wellsite locations with
Maidstone – Oasts Job Reference: 000894 Location: Maidstone – Oasts Closing Date: 10/05/2019 Posted Date: 10/04/2019 Employment Type: Full time, permanent Department: RRR – Contaminated Land Ops Sector: Built Environment Services Salary: £highly competitive + valuable benefits About the role: As an Assistant Environmental Scientist you will undertake field work and office reporting / project management duties in the fields of contaminated land and waste and environmental management
Date: 10-Apr-2019 Location: Artarmon, AU Company: Weir Minerals Business Need / Purpose of Role To support the Weir Minerals business through the effective delivery of compliant Engineering Operations including, but not limited to, all aspects of Engineering Policy, Engineering Process Framework and Better Practice. The role is responsible for the effective delivery of NPD through effective Phase Gate Review, Project Management performance and
Overview Job ID: 286066 Country: Norway Location: Bergen, Stavanger, Stjørdal, Oslo, Harstad, Trondheim Company: Equinor ASA Contact Name:gm_equinoremea@equinor.com Workplace: Onshore Discipline: Project Development Education Preferred: Bachelor or Master’s degree Experience Preferred: Not Indicated Closing Date: May 1 2019 Job Description We’re Equinor, an international energy company with a proud history. Formerly Statoil, we are 20,000 committed colleagues developing oil, gas, wind and solar energy in more than 30 countries
Overview Job ID: 286307 Country: Norway Location: Bergen, Stavanger, Stjørdal, Trondheim Company: Equinor ASA Contact Name:gm_equinoremea@equinor.com Workplace: Onshore/Offshore Discipline: Operation & Maintenance Education Preferred: Bachelor or Master’s degree Experience Preferred: 5 – 7 Years Closing Date: May 1 2019 Job Description We’re Equinor, an international energy company with a proud history. Formerly Statoil, we are 20,000 committed colleagues developing oil, gas, wind and solar energy in more than 30
Overview Job ID: 14080 Country: Norway Location: Stavanger, Bergen, Stjørdal, Harstad, Oslo, Trondheim Company: Equinor ASA Contact Name:gm_equinoremea@equinor.com Workplace: Onshore Discipline: Project Development Education Preferred: Bachelor or Master’s degree Experience Preferred: 5 – 7 Years Closing Date: May 1 2019 Job Description We’re Equinor, an international energy company with a proud history. Formerly Statoil, we are 20,000 committed colleagues developing oil, gas, wind and solar energy in more than
Overview Job ID: 294175 Country: Norway Location: Stavanger, Bergen, Oslo, Stjørdal, Kårstø Company: Equinor ASA Contact Name:gm_equinoremea@equinor.com Workplace: Onshore Discipline: Information Technology Education Preferred: Master’s Degree Experience Preferred: 3 – 5 Years Closing Date: May 24 2019 Job Description We’re Equinor, an international energy company with a proud history. Formerly Statoil, we are 20,000 committed colleagues developing oil, gas, wind and solar energy in more than 30 countries worldwide.
Overview Job ID: 285869 Country: Norway Location: Bergen, Stavanger, Oslo, Stjørdal, Harstad, Trondheim Company: Equinor ASA Contact Name:gm_equinoremea@equinor.com Workplace: Onshore Discipline: Operation & Maintenance Education Preferred: Bachelor or Master’s degree Experience Preferred: Not Indicated Closing Date: May 1 2019 Job Description We’re Equinor, an international energy company with a proud history. Formerly Statoil, we are 20,000 committed colleagues developing oil, gas, wind and solar energy in more than 30
Req No.:  3711 Product Service:  Wireline Location:   Williston, ND, US, 58801 CDL Required:  Yes Required Travel:  10% – 25% Number of Openings:  1 FLSA Status: Type of Position: Position Status:  Full Time Additional Available Locations: Position Summary Leads a crew in performing various oilfield services. Interacts with customer representatives at the well site to determine operations on the well. Drive equipment to
Date: Apr 10, 2019 Location: Keene, North Dakota, US ABOUT HESS CORPORATION Hess is a leading international independent energy company engaged in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas. We have an industry leading position in two key U.S. shale plays – the Bakken in North Dakota and the Utica in Ohio. Hess is also one of the largest
JOB SUMMARY: The SCADA Manager is responsible for designing and maintaining all SCADA systems, from the initial planning stages through completion, delivery and operational support. The SCADA Manager will lead the implementation of new projects. They will improve the productivity, reliability, and safety of existing SCADA systems through engineering optimization, talent development, and operational advancements. Through the effective use of automation and controls engineering practices, the SCADA Manager will direct the remote monitoring and control of company
Muscat – Shell Development Oman, Oman Skillpool group: Geoscience Updated: 09-Apr-2019 Reference ID: 104491BR Purpose: The Senior Quantitative Interpretation and Seismic Interpretation (QI/SI) Geophysicist will be part of a high-profile team of Petroleum Engineers, and Geoscientists responsible for the reservoir evaluation and field development planning of a portfolio of tight gas fields in Oman. The Senior QI/SI Geophysicist will report into the Field Development
Location:  Company:  ExxonMobil The Candidate The successful candidate will have a strong academic record and experience in 2D & 3D seismic acquisition and processing techniques as well as Office and Geoscience Applications. Professional experience from previous work assignments is an added advantage. The ideal candidate must meet the following requirements: Bachelors of Science with a minimum of Second Class (Upper Division) in Geophysics or Physics
Location:  Brussels / Machelen, BRU, BE Company:  ExxonMobil Exxon Mobil Corporation is the world’s largest publicly traded international oil and gas company, best known in the Benelux for its Esso and Mobil brands. With activities in nearly all countries around the world, ExxonMobil prides itself on its commitment to meeting the world’s growing demand for energy in an economically, environmentally and socially responsible
Location:  Rotterdam, ZH, NL Company:  ExxonMobil ExxonMobil Corporation is the world’s largest publicly traded international oil and gas company, best known in the Benelux for its Esso and Mobil brands. Active in almost 200 countries around the world, ExxonMobil prides itself on its commitment to meet the world’s growing demand for energy in an economically, environmentally and socially responsible manner. The company strives towards operational

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