The location of refineries is scrutinized and the reversal of the trend towards building them mainly in the highly industrialized areas is noted. The current role of refining within the oil industry is described. The demand for refining capacity in the several areas of the world is compared with existing and planned facilities. Therefrom the investigation turns to the changing demand for the several distillation cuts and its repercussion upon plant construction. This is followed by reference to the move towards heavier crude oils at a time when lighter products will be required. Finally the establishment of source refineries, especially designed to use low-cost hydrogen for the formation of low-gravity, lowsulphur feedstock to be shipped to refineries near the markets is considered.


On a soigneusement étudié la localisation des raffineries et noté le renversement de la tendance consistant à les implanter surtout en zones très industrialisées. On a indiqué le rôle actuel du raffinage dans le cadre de l'industrie pétrolière. Les capacités de raffinage nécessaires dans les différentes régions du monde ont été comparées à celles des installations existantes ou en projet. Cela a orienté notre recherche vers les modifications des besoins concernant les différentes coupes de raffinage et leurs répercussions sur la construction de nouvelles unités. Cette étude a été suivie par le rappel de l'accroissement de densité des pétroles bruts à une époque où des produits plus légers sont nécessaires. Enfin on a examiné l'intérêt des raffineries spécialement conçues pour utiliser de l'hydrogène bon marché dans la fabrication de charges légères et à faible teneur en soufre, destinées à être embarquées vers des raffineries proches des marchés. 1. On two previous occasions-in 1959' and 1963*- the authors have reviewed refinery economics in papers prepared for World Petroleum Congresses, and this paper is once again designed to assess the changes to which the refining Set-up is being currently subjected.

One of the salient determinants of refinery location is the fact that the total volume of finished products is about equal to that of crude oil, whereas in other industries based on natural raw materials, e.g. aluminium, plant locations are to some extent determined by the fact that volume is being progressively reduced on the way from the source material to the end-use state. Thus the range of feasible locations of oil refineries is very wide and optimization depends on a number of other determinants-technological, economic and political-which are bound to change as time goes on.

In our earlier papers we have covered the spectacular shift of refining from the mainly resource-orientated centres in the Caribbea

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