Research into alternative methods to dispose intermixture.
Naidoo, Leslie Colin.
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It is the purpose of this research to provide a brief background to the South African Petroleum Industry and to focus in particular to Petronet with regards to finding an amicable solution to dispose the excess intermixture created, as a result of the Oil Industry reviewing the current blend rate at which intermixtures can be blended into pure products. The pipelines operated by Petronet are mainly multi-product pipelines i.e. many different refined petroleum products use the same pipeline at the same time and there is a level of co-mixing between each product which is termed intermixture. The primary method that Petronet disposes intermixture is on continuous process into pipeline deliveries to clients (commonly known as blending). This means that while a delivery to a client is being made, careful analysis and calculation are done to blend some intermixture into this delivery, making absolute certain that the end product to the client remain within the predetermined specification. Originally, Petronet was allowed to blend 0,5% diesel into petrol and 0,25% petrol into diesel, provided that in the case of petrol the FBP of 215°C was not exceeded and that the residue content did not exceed 2%. With Motorcar manufacturers now producing hi-tech cars that require high quality fuel to be compatible with the extended service intervals, Industry have revised the original blending rates of diesel into petrol from 0,5% to 0, 25%. This means that Petronet cannot blend more intermixture as it did in the past, as a result there will be an accumulation of excess intermixture. The impact of this revision has and is adversely affecting the nature in which Petronet operates. This research seeks to explore alternative methods in which Petronet can use to address the excess intermixture problems. Three solutions are identified namely: short, medium and long term solution. The short being the sale of excess intermixture, the medium being the re-processing of excess intermixture by refineries and the long term sustainable solution is for Petronet to invest in its own Refractionator unit. This unit would be the ultimate and the best solution as it allows Petronet to re-process the intermixture back to its base and this product can then be blended back at a much higher rate.