This Guide to Refinery Hydrocarbon Management summarises what is currently considered by company representatives from the UK Refineries and other members of the Energy Institute’s Hydrocarbon Management Refineries Panel to be 'best practice' in the areas of operation, accounting, hydrocarbon measurement and loss control. It is not intended that the methods and statements contained herein should be regarded as representing the only approach to monitoring and managing hydrocarbons, but rather the techniques described are proven, practical and effective.
The Guide does not attempt to cover in detail the individual methods of measurement, sampling etc. that are recommended for optimal hydrocarbon management. Wherever possible, recognised best industry practice standards or procedures have been cross-referenced.
Good management of hydrocarbons can offer significant cost savings for the operator and assist in reducing environmental impact. The precept behind the approach adopted in this document towards hydrocarbon management is:
'To manage we have to control. To control we have to measure'
With this in mind much of the Guide is dedicated to the principles and effects of measurement on the accounts (yield) figures and an understanding of the errors and inaccuracies that may be involved. This should in turn lead to better management of the hydrocarbon inventory. It should be noted that quantitative 'loss' data do not equate to Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emission figures.
There are, however, in hydrocarbon management, other influences that are perhaps less obvious, but equally important, such as personal motivation and management commitment. These may be influenced by internal company factors and by external legislation constraints.
Obviously the design status of plant and equipment, and the monitoring of their condition are important elements in hydrocarbon management. High standards, if applied, make a significant contribution to minimising loss. Experience suggests though, that motivation is a driver that has the largest impact. To be effective this motivation needs the full support of management and, with that, the full co-operation of the work force.
High levels of publicity of both the financial and environmental impacts of sub-optimal hydrocarbon management together with the recognition of the benefits of improved hydrocarbon management and control may be associated with some form of incentive scheme, publicising targets and achievements, and could involve a performance-related salary element.