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Petroleum Processing

Product Blending


Product Blending

Product blending plays a key role in preparing the refinery products for the market to satisfy the product specifications and environmental regulations. The objective of product blending is to assign all available blend components to satisfy the product demand and specifications to minimize cost and maximize overall profit [5]. Almost all refinery products are blended for the optimal use of all of the intermediate product streams for the most efficient and profitable conversion of petroleum to marketable products. For example, typical motor gasolines may consist of straight-run naphtha from distillation, crackate (from FCC), reformate, alkylate, isomerate, and polymerate, in proportions to make the desired grades of gasoline and the specifications.

Basic intermediate streams can be blended into different finished products. For example, naphthas can be blended into gasoline, or jet fuel streams, depending on the demand. Until the 1960s, the blending was performed in batch operations. With computerization and the availability of the required equipment, online blending operations have replaced blending in batch processes. Keeping inventories of the blending stocks along with cost and physical data has increased the flexibility of and profits from online blending through optimization programs. In most cases, the components blend nonlinearly for a given property (e.g., vapor pressure, octane number, cetane number, viscosity, pour point), and correlations and programming are required for reliable predictions of the specified properties in the blends [3].

[3] U.S. Refinery Sulfur Production Capacity
[5] Petroleum Refining, by J. H. Gary, G. E. Handwerk, M. J. Kaiser, 5th Edition, CRC Press NY, 2007, Chapter 12, Product Blending, p.267.