Posted on 17 July 2018


What does ‘Smart Distillation’ mean?

As in all processing or manufacturing industries, in the aim at achieving higher margins, refiners must in particular:

  • – Optimize procurement cost,
  • – Increase the share of high value products,
  • – Reduce operating costs and avoid downtime.


Just as this applies to the refinery as a whole, the operation of the Distillation Unit must conform to these same three fundamental principles.

Beyond the fact that it remains essential to the right functioning of all the other units it feeds, this first unit plays a considerable role in both the plant’s ability to adapt and the search for optimized economic profitability.

In particular, the Distillation Unit must be able to process a broad spectrum of petroleum and in particular the so-called opportunity crudes (unconventional and/or heavier and/or more acid and/or higher TAN) whose market value is discounted compared to benchmark crude oils. Thus oil purchasing, which can represent up to 80% of the refinery’s operating costs, can be reduced and sometimes of several $/bbl. depending on market opportunities that are identified by traders (refineries that process crude oil blends above TAN 1.5 take advantage of significant economic benefits!).

Of course, the complete processing chain must meet the requirements related to these changes in crude oil characteristics, from desalting to HDT, conversion Units and other Amine Unit, SWS, Sulphur Unit, etc.

In any case, the Distillation Unit remains a compulsory step, it must therefore be part of the strategic approach aiming at generating savings by processing more difficult crudes.

Smart Distillation™ makes it possible to extend the specifications and the sources of petroleum thus giving access to an optimization of the purchased oil cost price.

Smart Distillation: Solutions & Technologies for Operational Excellence of Distillation Unit

Smart Distillation™ is a protected trademark by La Harpe d’Or