Floods of Data

As featured in Hydrocarbon Engineering

It is almost 2020. The hydrocarbon industry is seeing refiners and petrochemical plant operators looking to decrease water consumption. More than ever, water is thought of as a precious resource in the petroleum industry. But it is hard to measure how many issues impact the amount and quality of water required for a plant to run. Many plant operations personnel feel unaware of their own water optimisation performance, or of opportunities to improve. Operations personnel may know that digital water management solutions exist but may not understand how much impact they can have. There are several new industry-specific factors that point refinery managers toward needing to think about plant upgrades and better water management techniques. For starters, the processing of dirtier crudes with specific gravities closer to water – such as slop oil, which is harder to separate from wastewater – plus desalting is more difficult. Sour crudes cause an abundance of wastewater contamination. There is also more public awareness of environmental issues, and plant operations personnel are seeking better environmental stewardship....