Chevron’s Pascagoula Refinery processes 330,000 barrels (13.9 million gallons) of crude oil a day – an amount equivalent to the scale of a football area coated to a depth of 40 ft.

Operators control the refining processes utilizing hi-tech computer systems positioned in control centers situated all through the refinery.

Hi-Tech Process Control

Utilizing the newest electronic know-how to monitor and management the plants, operators run the method units 24 hours a day, 7 days every week. From control rooms positioned in each Operations area, operators use a computer-pushed course of control system with console screens that show coloration interactive graphics of the plants and actual-time knowledge on the status of the plants. The process control system allows operators to “fine-tunethe processes and reply instantly to course of changes. With redundancy designed into the management system, safe operations are assured in the event of plant upset.

Refining’s Primary Steps

Most refineries, no matter complexity, carry out a couple of fundamental steps within the refining process: DISTILLATION, CRACKING, TREATING and REFORMING. These processes occur in our most important working areas Crude/Aromatics, Cracking I, RDS/Coker, Cracking II, and on the Sulfur Recovery Unit.

1. Distillation

Fashionable distillation includes pumping oil by means of pipes in sizzling furnaces and separating gentle hydrocarbon molecules from heavy ones in downstream distillation towers the tall, slim columns that give refineries their distinctive skylines.

The Pascagoula Refinery’s refining course of begins when crude oil is distilled in two giant Crude Items which have three distillation columns, one that operates at close to atmospheric pressure, and two others that operate at less than atmospheric pressure, i.e., a vacuum.

Click on on the image for
Distillation Column Diagram

Throughout this process, the lightest supplies, like propane and butane, vaporize and rise to the highest of the primary atmospheric column. Medium weight supplies, including gasoline, jet and diesel fuels, condense in the middle. Heavy supplies, called fuel oils, condense in the lower portion of the atmospheric column. The heaviest tar-like material, known as residuum, is referred to because the “bottom of the barrelas a result of it never actually rises.

This distillation process is repeated in many other plants as the oil is further refined to make various merchandise.

In some instances, distillation columns are operated at lower than atmospheric strain (vacuum) to decrease the temperature at which a hydrocarbon mixture boils. This “vacuum distillation(VDU) reduces the possibility of thermal decomposition (cracking) as a result of over heating the mixture.

As part of the 2003 Clear Fuels Undertaking, the Pascagoula Refinery added a new low-pressure vacuum column to the Crude I Unit and converted the RDS/Coker’s VDU right into a second vacuum column for the Crude II Unit. These and other distillation upgrades improved gasoline oil restoration and decreased residuum volume.

Utilizing the most recent computer control techniques, refinery operators exactly management the temperatures in the distillation columns which are designed with pipes to withdraw the assorted varieties of products where they condense. Merchandise from the top, middle and backside of the column journey by these pipes to different plants for additional refining.

2. Cracking

Because the marketplace establishes product worth, our aggressive edge depends upon how efficiently we can convert middle distillate, gasoline oil and residuum into the best value merchandise.

On the Pascagoula Refinery, we convert middle distillate, fuel oil and residuum into primarily gasoline, jet and diesel fuels by utilizing a collection of processing plants that actually “cracklarge, heavy molecules into smaller, lighter ones.

Heat and catalysts are used to convert the heavier oils to lighter products using three “crackingmethods: fluid catalytic cracking (FCC), hydrocracking (Isomax), and coking (or thermal-cracking).

The Fluid Catalytic Cracker (FCC) uses high temperature and catalyst to crack 86,000 barrels (3.6 million gallons) every day of heavy gasoline oil mostly into gasoline. Hydrocracking makes use of catalysts to react fuel oil and hydrogen below excessive pressure and excessive temperature to make both jet gas and gasoline.

Additionally, about fifty eight,000 barrels (2.Four million gallons) of lighter fuel oil is converted every day in two Isomax Items, utilizing this hydrocracking course of.

We blend most of the merchandise from the FCC and the Isomaxes directly into transportation fuels, i.e., gasoline, diesel and jet gasoline. We burn the lightest molecules as gasoline for the refinery’s furnaces, thus conserving pure gas and minimizing waste.

In the Delayed Coking Unit (Coker), 98,000 barrels a day of low-value residuum is converted (using the coking, or thermal-cracking process) to excessive-worth gentle products, producing petroleum coke as a by-product. The big residuum molecules are cracked into smaller molecules when the residuum is held in a coke drum at a high temperature for a time frame. Solely strong coke stays and have to be drilled from the coke drums.

Modifications to the refinery during its 2003 Clear Fuels Mission increased residuum quantity going to the Coker Unit. The mission increased coke handling capability and changed the one hundred fifty metric-ton coke drums with new 300 metric-ton drums to handle the increased residuum volume.

The Coker typically produces greater than 6,000 tons a day of petroleum coke, which is bought for use as gas or in cement manufacturing.


While the cracking processes break a lot of the gasoline oil into gasoline and jet gas, additionally they break off some pieces that are lighter than gasoline. Since Pascagoula Refinery’s main focus is on making transportation fuels, we recombine 14,800 barrels (622,000 gallons) every day of lighter parts in two Alkylation Items. This process takes the small molecules and recombines them within the presence of sulfuric acid catalyst to convert them into excessive octane gasoline.

Three. Treating (Removing Impurities)

The merchandise from the Crude Items and the feeds to different items contain some pure impurities, akin to sulfur and nitrogen. Utilizing a course of called hydrotreating (a milder version of hydrocracking), these impurities are eliminated to scale back air pollution when our fuels are used.

As a result of about 80 % of the crude oil processed by the Pascagoula Refinery is heavier oils which might be high in sulfur and nitrogen, various treating models all through the refinery work to remove these impurities.

Within the RDS Unit’s six 1,000-ton reactors, sulfur and nitrogen are removed from FCC feed stream. The sulfur is converted to hydrogen sulfide and despatched to the Sulfur Unit where it is transformed into elemental sulfur. Nitrogen is remodeled into ammonia which is removed from the process by water-washing. Later, the water is treated to recuperate the ammonia as a pure product to be used in the production of fertilizer.

The RDS’s Unit primary product, low sulfur vacuum gas oil, is fed to the FCC (fluid catalytic cracker) Unit which then cracks it into high value merchandise such as gasoline and diesel.

Four. Reforming

Octane ranking is a key measurement of how nicely a gasoline performs in an automobile engine. A lot of the gasoline that comes from the Crude Units or from the Cracking Items doesn’t have sufficient octane to burn effectively in automobiles.

The gasoline course of streams within the refinery which have a reasonably low octane ranking are sent to a Reforming Unit the place their octane levels are boosted. These reforming items make use of treasured-steel catalysts platinum and rhenium and thereby get the title “rheniformers.Within the reforming course of, hydrocarbon molecules are “reformedinto high octane gasoline components. For example, methyl cyclohexane is reformed into toluene.

The reforming process really removes hydrogen from low-octane gasoline. The hydrogen is used all through the refinery in varied cracking (hydrocracking) and treating (hydrotreating) models.

Our refinery operates three catalytic reformers, where we rearrange and change 71,000 barrels (about three million gallons) of gasoline per day to provide it the excessive octane cars need.

Product testing


A final and critical step is the mixing of our merchandise. Gasoline, for example, is blended from handled components made in a number of processing models. Blending and Transport Space operators precisely mix these to ensure that the blend has the appropriate octane degree, vapor strain rating and different essential specs. All products are blended in an analogous style.

Quality Control

Within the refinery’s modernly-equipped Laboratory, chemists and technicians conduct high quality assurance checks on all finished merchandise, including checking gasoline for proper octane rating. Techron® Chevron’s patented performance booster, is added to gasoline on the company’s advertising and marketing terminals, one among which is situated on the Pascagoula Refinery.

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