Transportation of crude oil and petroleum products through pipelines is the backbone of inland transportation, as it is the safest and cheapest mode for any hydrocarbon supply chain. Pipeline transport plays a vital role in sustaining the supply of crude and products across India. However, the scheduling of pipeline operation with respect to batch formation, minimum tanker demurrage (penalty laid for not discharging the tanker), minimum transportation and inventory cost has always been a complex issue, which the pipeline scheduler must address on a monthly as well as daily basis. The scheduling problem is more complex if the pipeline is to be operated and scheduled in a manner integrated with refinery operations. Historically, these scheduling operations have required expert schedulers working on a case-by-case basis to address these issues. The availability of pipeline scheduling tools with optimization features has made complex pipeline scheduling simpler and more cost effective. The Crude Pipeline Scheduling (CPS) package can improve not only pipeline operations but also refinery operations by delivering the desired crude parcel at the right time with the least transportation cost. Recently Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL - one of the major Indian oil companies), under its ambitious Supply ChainManagement (SCM) project, has taken up a project to develop and customize CPS in association with M/s. TataHoneywell, Pune and M/s. Energy Solutions International, Hyderabad. This solution is based on the Batch ShipmentScheduler (BSS) scheduling package integrated with additional modules: the Initial Batch Plan (IBP) automatic batch schedule generation module, the Crude Mix module which will give crude composition at terminals, SCADA, and the SAP R/3 package. This development takes advantage of the synergy between IOCL's vast experience in pipeline operations and the vendor's software application capability. The combined package generates a feasible batch plan which meets refinery demand while using line-balancing and terminal tanks to simultaneously satisfy several optimization goals: minimizing tanker detention, minimizing in-line batch mixing, minimizing operating cost, and maximizing direct pumping (as opposed to floating operation) at the linebalancing tanks.


IOCL owns and operates seven of the India's seventeen refineries with a combined capacity of 38.15 Million Metric Tonnes per Annum (MMTPA) which is about 41 % of India's total refining capacity. Six of these are inland refineries and four refineries process domestic as well as imported crude. The Salaya Mathura Crude Pipeline carries imported crude from the Salaya port to three of these refineries: Mathura, Panipat, and Gujarat. These refineries process high and low sulfur imported crude and Bombay High crude. The transportation of crude from port to these refineries and products from refineries to marketing terminals or depots with minimum transportation cost is a challenge.

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