The efficient use of energy in the petroleum industry is becoming increasingly important. Energy consumption is an important factor which intervene in the crude oil refining cost. In this paper, the different areas where energy consumption can be reduced in the petroleum refining and petrochemical industry are described. Guidelines for energy survey are given.

Energy losses once identified can be reduced with little investment. Up to 15% savings can be obtained through an energy saving program. Important savings can also be made with operational improvements in the process and better maintenance of production equipment such as furnaces, boilers and heat exchangers.

The use of new designs equipment in the process such as compact heat exchangers and cogeneration systems can improve performance and increase the profitability in an existing refinery. Saving energy in the process will also reduce the amount of gas emissions.

A study on energy savings and its environmental impact in a local refinery is presented.


The energy saving became a need which is essential to take into account in the management of the existing refineries and also in the design of new refining units. The research of energy saving is divided primarily into three categories:

  • A better maintenance of the equipment of production, such as, maintenance of fired heaters, boilers and heat exchangers. Significant savings can be realized there, with little investment.

  • The recovery of the scraps, which frequently imply traditional technologies. One of the aspects most significant is the recovery of the waste heat. Another aspect is the cogeneration of electricity.

  • The technological innovation, which requires a new design of the processes and products, as well as considerable

investments in tools representing of more effective technologies.

In the first part of this paper, the different ways to carry out energy savings in the process and utilities in the refining industry are presented. The second part refers to the impact of energy savings on the environment. An example on energy pre audit in a local refinery is provided.

Ways allowing to carry out energy savings

There are several ways to carry out energy savings in the refining and petrochemical industries.

Improvement of processes

The optimisation of the operation of the refining units by a good adjustment of the operational parameters is an important action in the programmes of energy saving. Certain energy saving can be carried out without investments.

Combustion control: The combustion control system regulates the fuel air mixture to achieve efficient combustion. Using high excess air will lower the flame temperature by diluting the combustions gases and will increase volume of gases that exhausted from the process. Using low excess air will result in unburned fuel gas.

Operating burners near the optimum fuel - air ratio will lower the fuel consumption and will lead to substantial energy savings.

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