The adoption of good practices to effectively manage energy costs in refining operations is highly recommended when downstream investments are being planned; this applies not only for new operations but when technology upgrades are being considered for existing plants.
Nowadays, 40% of the total operating costs in a refinery are coming from energy consumption; this causes a huge impact in the business´ P&L. In addition to the financials, the environment is heavily impacted by the emission of pollutant gases directly related to combustion as these emissions are 38% of the total emissions released by a refinery operation.
For any investment in the refining business, it is necessary to have a set of good practices that not only support the operation but also support the strategic planning in an integrated fashion. The proposed set of good practices to optimize the energy costs includes infrastructure monitoring and surveillance routines that are fully integrated with the maintenance, quality and production management processes. The most innovative contribution of this approach is the interaction and integration with the refinery´s business plan in the short, medium and long term; this holistic approach will allow the management team to measure and plan the investments in an structured way while controlling effectively the energy costs of their operation.
The intensive use of a comprehensive framework for energy management including information technology solutions and human resources training have achieved savings for up to 15% in annual energy costs. This is not only an outstanding financial result but also an impressive achievement for the HSE performance as the greenhouse effect gases emission was dramatically reduced.
A description of these good practices is detailed in the paper along with the most relevant operational, financial and HSE KPIs required to efficiently managing the energy costs in a refinery.