Chevron’s Pascagoula Refinery processes 330,000 barrels (13.9 million gallons) of crude oil a day – an amount equal to the scale of a soccer subject coated to a depth of forty ft.

Operators management the refining processes using hello-tech computers situated in control centers situated throughout the refinery.

Hello-Tech Course of Control

Using the most recent electronic technology to watch and control the plants, operators run the method units 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. From management rooms located in every Operations space, operators use a computer-pushed course of management system with console screens that show shade interactive graphics of the plants and actual-time knowledge on the status of the plants. The method control system permits operators to ine-tunethe processes and reply immediately to process modifications. With redundancy designed into the control system, secure operations are assured in the occasion of plant upset.

Refining Primary Steps

Most refineries, no matter complexity, carry out just a few basic steps within the refining process: DISTILLATION, CRACKING, TREATING and REFORMING. These processes occur in our main working areas Crude/Aromatics, Cracking I, RDS/Coker, Cracking II, and at the Sulfur Restoration Unit.

1. Distillation

Trendy distillation includes pumping oil by way of pipes in sizzling furnaces and separating gentle hydrocarbon molecules from heavy ones in downstream distillation towers the tall, slim columns that give refineries their distinctive skylines.

The Pascagoula Refinery refining process begins when crude oil is distilled in two giant Crude Models which have three distillation columns, one that operates at near atmospheric pressure, and two others that function at lower than atmospheric pressure, i.e., a vacuum.

Click on on the image for
Distillation Column Diagram

During this course of, the lightest materials, like propane and butane, vaporize and rise to the top of the first atmospheric column. Medium weight materials, including gasoline, jet and diesel fuels, condense in the middle. Heavy materials, called gasoline oils, condense within the decrease portion of the atmospheric column. The heaviest tar-like materials, referred to as residuum, is referred to because the 鈥渂ottom of the barrelbecause it by no means actually rises.

This distillation process is repeated in lots of other plants because the oil is additional refined to make various products.

In some cases, distillation columns are operated at lower than atmospheric pressure (vacuum) to decrease the temperature at which a hydrocarbon mixture boils. This 鈥渧acuum distillation(VDU) reduces the possibility of thermal decomposition (cracking) resulting from over heating the mixture.

As part of the 2003 Clear Fuels Venture, the Pascagoula Refinery added a new low-strain vacuum column to the Crude I Unit and converted the RDS/Coker VDU right into a second vacuum column for the Crude II Unit. These and other distillation upgrades improved gasoline oil recovery and decreased residuum volume.

Using the most up-to-date laptop management systems, refinery operators exactly management the temperatures within the distillation columns that are designed with pipes to withdraw the assorted kinds of products where they condense. Merchandise from the top, center and bottom of the column travel by way of these pipes to totally different plants for further refining.

2. Cracking

Since the marketplace establishes product worth, our aggressive edge depends on how efficiently we can convert middle distillate, gasoline oil and residuum into the very best worth merchandise.

On the Pascagoula Refinery, we convert middle distillate, gasoline oil and residuum into primarily gasoline, jet and diesel fuels through the use of a collection of processing plants that literally 鈥渃rackgiant, heavy molecules into smaller, lighter ones.

Heat and catalysts are used to transform the heavier oils to lighter merchandise using three 鈥渃rackingmethods: fluid catalytic cracking (FCC), hydrocracking (Isomax), and coking (or thermal-cracking).

The Fluid Catalytic Cracker (FCC) uses high temperature and catalyst to crack 86,000 barrels (3.6 million gallons) each day of heavy fuel oil principally into gasoline. Hydrocracking uses catalysts to react gasoline oil and hydrogen under excessive strain and excessive temperature to make both jet fuel and gasoline.

Also, about fifty eight,000 barrels (2.Four million gallons) of lighter gasoline oil is transformed daily in two Isomax Items, using this hydrocracking process.

We blend most of the merchandise from the FCC and the Isomaxes instantly into transportation fuels, i.e., gasoline, diesel and jet gasoline. We burn the lightest molecules as gasoline for the refinery furnaces, thus conserving natural gas and minimizing waste.

In the Delayed Coking Unit (Coker), 98,000 barrels a day of low-worth residuum is transformed (utilizing the coking, or thermal-cracking process) to high-worth gentle products, producing petroleum coke as a by-product. The large residuum molecules are cracked into smaller molecules when the residuum is held in a coke drum at a excessive temperature for a period of time. Only stable coke remains and should be drilled from the coke drums.

Modifications to the refinery during its 2003 Clean Fuels Undertaking elevated residuum quantity going to the Coker Unit. The undertaking increased coke dealing with capacity and changed the a hundred and fifty metric-ton coke drums with new 300 metric-ton drums to handle the elevated residuum quantity.

The Coker typically produces more than 6,000 tons a day of petroleum coke, which is offered to be used as gasoline or in cement manufacturing.


While the cracking processes break a lot of the gasoline oil into gasoline and jet gas, they also break off some items which might be lighter than gasoline. Since Pascagoula Refinery major focus is on making transportation fuels, we recombine 14,800 barrels (622,000 gallons) every day of lighter parts in two Alkylation Models. This process takes the small molecules and recombines them in the presence of sulfuric acid catalyst to convert them into high octane gasoline.

3. Treating (Removing Impurities)

The merchandise from the Crude Items and the feeds to different units contain some natural impurities, corresponding to sulfur and nitrogen. Using a course of known as hydrotreating (a milder version of hydrocracking), these impurities are eliminated to scale back air pollution when our fuels are used.

As a result of about 80 p.c of the crude oil processed by the Pascagoula Refinery is heavier oils which can be excessive in sulfur and nitrogen, various treating models throughout the refinery work to take away these impurities.

Within the RDS Unit six 1,000-ton reactors, sulfur and nitrogen are removed from FCC feed stream. The sulfur is converted to hydrogen sulfide and sent to the Sulfur Unit where it’s converted into elemental sulfur. Nitrogen is remodeled into ammonia which is removed from the process by water-washing. Later, the water is treated to get better the ammonia as a pure product to be used within the production of fertilizer.

The RDS Unit primary product, low sulfur vacuum gas oil, is fed to the FCC (fluid catalytic cracker) Unit which then cracks it into high worth products such as gasoline and diesel.

4. Reforming

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Octane score is a key measurement of how properly a gasoline performs in an car engine. Much of the gasoline that comes from the Crude Units or from the Cracking Items does not have enough octane to burn well in automobiles.

The gasoline course of streams within the refinery which have a fairly low octane ranking are sent to a Reforming Unit the place their octane levels are boosted. These reforming items make use of precious-metallic catalysts platinum and rhenium and thereby get the title 鈥渞heniformers.Within the reforming course of, hydrocarbon molecules are 鈥渞eformedinto high octane gasoline parts. For instance, methyl cyclohexane is reformed into toluene.

The reforming course of truly removes hydrogen from low-octane gasoline. The hydrogen is used all through the refinery in various cracking (hydrocracking) and treating (hydrotreating) models.

Our refinery operates three catalytic reformers, the place we rearrange and alter 71,000 barrels (about 3 million gallons) of gasoline per day to present it the high octane cars want.

Product testing


A final and important step is the blending of our merchandise. Gasoline, for instance, is blended from treated parts made in a number of processing models. Blending and Delivery Area operators exactly mix these to make sure that the blend has the best octane level, vapor strain ranking and other necessary specifications. All merchandise are blended in an identical style.