Oil and petrochemical industries
Oil and petrochemical industries are two important industries in the world. They provide energy, fuel, and other materials necessary for various activities. From transportation to manufacturing, these industries significantly impact our lives.
Petroleum and petrochemical products are used in almost every sector, from agriculture to energy production. The oil industry is responsible for supplying crude oil, which is then refined into various forms such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, etc. Petrochemicals are derived from petroleum products or natural gas liquids that can be used to make plastics, detergents, and even pharmaceuticals.
The oil and petrochemical industry is one of the most important sectors of the world economy. These industries have a wide range of applications, from powering vehicles to providing raw materials for various products, from plastics to pharmaceuticals. Petroleum and petrochemical industries play an important role in the global economy by providing energy, fuel, lubricants, chemicals, and other products necessary for modern life. These industries date back to the early 19th century when crude oil was first extracted from underground reservoirs.
Since then, these industries have grown exponentially in size and complexity as new technologies have made more efficient extraction methods and improved refining processes. Today, petroleum and petrochemical products are used in almost all industries worldwide, including production, agriculture, transportation, construction, and many others. The growth of this industry is due to the world’s increasing demand for energy and raw materials. Large-scale extraction of fossil fuels for energy and heat has increased the human population worldwide in the past few decades.
CFD analysis in oil and petrochemical industries
Oil, gas, and petrochemical industries, as their names suggest, are based on oil, gas, and their derivatives, and fluids (condensates and gases) and their flow are the most important issues of these industries. In other words, the scope of CFD application in oil, gas, and petrochemical industries is from well to wheel. Exploration, extraction, refining, and distribution are the three main stages in the oil and gas industry.
Therefore, in the fields of study and exploration, drilling and completion, flow assurance, enhanced oil recovery, and offshore and sub-sea structures. Safety (from fire, explosion, the release of toxic gases, etc.), piping, transport and storage, refining and processing, fuel formulation, electric machines, sensors, and CFD can be used for studying, analyzing, and simulating equipment and in general, any field in these three stages that includes any fluid including oil, gas or their derivatives.
In the following, we discuss CFD’s applications in this industry.
Oil extraction (oil platforms and wells)
CFD methods can be used in the following problems in oil extraction structures, which are generally metal structures in the sea and on land:
-Accurate loading of load forces on structures
– Investigating the effects of waves on structures
– Calculation severe aero-hydrodynamic loads caused by storms (wind and waves) and checking the effects of wind direction (Wind Heading)
– Simulating the release of heavy volumes of hydrocarbon gases and liquids inside offshore platforms
– Simulation and review of recovery methods such as thermal recovery, chemical injection, water injection, and CO2 injection to improve oil extraction from the well
– Simulating and calculating the profile and behavior of the flow and aerohydrodynamic forces around the helicopter landing strip
– Optimum positioning of the helicopter landing strip in terms of reducing the disturbance caused by the platform facilities
– Investigating critical wind speeds in different directions for landing and taking off helicopters
– Interaction of waves with floating structures and simulation of six degrees of freedom of moving platforms
– Investigation of corrosion caused by salt and dust particles on structures
– Evaluation of burner performance for different fuels and wind speeds
– Prediction of sudden fire and suggesting suitable solutions to avoid it
– Optimizing the appearance of the burner to achieve the highest combustion efficiency
– Assisting in the design and placement of torch support systems
– Investigating and studying the heat transfer caused by a lit burner, especially the radiant heat transfer
Reactive, multiphase, turbulent, and unsteady flows are the main flows governing the above problems. Fortunately, existing CFD software can simulate and solve these problems with great accuracy.
Transmission and distribution systems
Transmission and distribution systems include marine fleets (oil tankers), land fleets (trucks carrying tankers), pipes, pressure-boosting stations, and pressure relief terminals. The quality and guarantee of sending liquids and gases in these systems are paramount under flow assurance. The most important fluid issues in this field are as follows:
– Calculation of coefficients of aero-hydrodynamic forces and moments acting on oil tankers
– Investigating the effects of oil and condensate turbulence in the tanks of the sea and air fleets
– Optimizing the design of mobile tanks
– Investigating the effects of deep currents on oil pipes located on the seabed
-Study and investigation of the structure and effects of sludge/slug in pipes
– Simulation and evaluation of Slug Catcher units.
-Simulation of the formation and transfer of sand deposited on the bottom of pipes, corners, or sides of walls, etc.
– Checking and reducing the pressure drop in the transmission and distribution path
Corrosion check in pipes and transmission lines
– Evaluation of pressure booster or pressure breaker stations by flow simulation
Refining and petrochemicals
CFD can play a very effective and undeniable role in all refining and petrochemical units. The following are the most prominent examples of the possibility of using CFD in different units:
– Crude oil distillation unit by simulating the separation of crude oil in atmospheric pressure and considering multiphase turbulent flows
– Catalytic conversion unit to convert Oil into motor gasoline by simulating the isomerization process
-Hydrogen grid unit with the simulation of desulfurization, denitrification, deoxygenation, a saturation of aromatics, dehalogenation, etc.
– Catalytic cracking unit by simulating the actions and reactions of coke cracking on the catalyst and affecting the flow with chemical species and reactants in three sections of feed, reactor, and regeneration and in three fixed, mobile, and fluid beds.
– Viscosity reduction unit with the simulation of ethane removal, propane removal, and butane removal in related towers and, of course, caustic soda simulation for liquid gas washing
-Simulation of reactive multiphase flows in heavy naphtha treatment units with hydrogen (Heavy Naphtha Treating), light naphtha treatment with hydrogen (Light Naphtha Treating), gas oil HDS treatment unit, and sulfur preparation unit
– Amine treating unit simulates the absorption of hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, and other gaseous impurities using solvents such as monoethanolamide, diethanolamine, etc.
– Investigating and studying the performance of homogeneous catalysts and heterogeneous catalysts (catalysts)
– Investigating and studying the performance of different metallic, insulator, and semiconductor catalysts
Equipment for oil, gas, and petrochemical industries
The performance and life of oil and gas equipment and related industries such as regulators, valves, pumps, mixers, separators, burners, and many other things from the point of view of improving pressure drop, minimizing cavitation, thermal stresses, corrosion by parametric analysis and improving design, the constant goal of pioneers These are industries and CFD is one of the appropriate tools to do this. The following are issues that can be investigated, studied, and simulated using CFD.
– Analysis of all structural stresses and fatigue in all machines, pipes, and ducts under pressure or cavitation caused by multiphase flows
-Simulation and examination of operational conditions, selection of feeding location, speed of impellers, blending, suspension, reactions of multiphase flows in mixers
– Optimizing the geometry and arrangement of mixer components and calculating the forces on the impellers
– Optimizing the design of the Sloshing Separator Tank (Sloshing Separator Tank)
-Approximation of hydrodynamic forces caused by turbulence and calculations of six degrees of freedom
– Evaluation of damping and performance of baffles and coalescers
-Optimizing the shape and position of the inlets and outlets and the performance of each of the above gas separators.
– Optimizing the design of the liquid-liquid separator tank
– Optimum arrangement of baffles in improving the separation of liquids (separation of oil from water)
– Examining the effects of operational conditions such as inlet pressure and flow rate, the volume fraction of each liquid, inlet, and outlet diameters
-Troubleshooting and optimization of hydro cyclones
– Inlet shape design and separator geometry for high angular velocities
-Evaluating the separation efficiency of hydro cyclones for different water-to-oil and oil-to-water mixes
– Optimum placement of hydro cyclone overflow valve (Vortex Finder)
– Development of multi-stage separators (Multi-Stage Separator) or several (Collection of Separators).
– Checking the performance of different stages of separators separately or after assembly
– Reducing corrosion, increasing efficiency, and determining the range of device instability
– Optimal design for loading different particles
– Calculation of mass, diameter, and loading rate of different particles along with flow characteristics and pressure drop
-Troubleshooting and optimization of heat exchangers
– Investigating flow behavior in different parts of heat exchangers, including coolers, converters, boilers, heaters, condensers, chillers, etc.
-Evaluating the efficiency of heat exchangers
– Investigating and studying sedimentation and fouling and their effect on improper heat distribution
– Choosing the type and size of heat exchangers
– Helping with the structural and thermal design of pipes and baffles using pressure and temperature distribution data
Safety and emission reduction
Oil and petrochemical industries are essential to the global economy but pose safety and pollution risks. To ensure worker safety and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, oil and petrochemical companies need to improve their safety protocols and reduce their environmental impact.
By investing in new technologies and processes, oil and petrochemical companies can reduce greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining a safe work environment. In addition, they must also be aware of potential hazards associated with their operations, such as explosions or leaks that could injure people or harm the environment. By adopting these measures, oil and petrochemical companies can ensure the implementation of their obligations regarding safety standards and reduce emissions.
The most important safety and environmental issues that CFD can study are:
– Investigating and studying the formation and structure of flammable or toxic gas clouds
-Determining and predicting the time, place, and level of gas concentration
– Simulation of explosion and prediction of fire propagation profile
– Simulating the spread of fire and extinguishing it
– Interaction of blast waves with structures
– Simulation of a helipad and air rescue operations
-Determining and diagnosing the quality of circulation (Ventilation) in reducing the concentration of flammable gases or directing toxic gases
– Investigating the possible increase of explosive compounds in a field and the occurrence of potential sparks due to carelessness or workers working with machinery.
– Simulating and studying the optimal output of the smoke column from chimneys
– Optimizing the chimney systems of platforms, tankers, etc.