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Octane and Volatility Giveaway: A Necessary Evil?

While its existence is undesirable, gasoline giveaway is often regarded as a necessary evil.  Most refineries have some sort of system in place to record octane and volatility giveaway and track their own performance against industry metrics.   However, many refineries fall short of doing everything they can to actively track giveaway, set aggressive targets to reduce it, and then hit those targets.

Look for The Signs

How does a refinery begin the process of reducing giveaway?  The first step is to identify it.

Often, indicators of excessive giveaway do not raise a great deal of alarm.  In fact, if similar levels of giveaway have been recorded for extended periods of time, they may become perceived as normal.  This is a sign that a refinery doesn’t realize that their operation is suboptimal, and that conducting an industry benchmarking exercise is needed to identify the problems. 

There are various indicators that can be used to identify the presence of excessive giveaway.  For example, certified properties rarely align with predicted properties, poor blend optimization caused by inaccurate heel property and volume tracking, or highly variable lab results caused by inconsistent sampling practices.  These indicators, among others, signal that performance is below industry best practice levels.  

Look for Solutions

Once the causes of giveaway are confirmed, there are a number of steps that can be taken to minimize that giveaway in order to meet best industry standards.  While the solutions are unique to the configuration of a given operation, there are several underlying commonalities to them, as most of the root causes for blending inefficiency fall into three main categories:

  1. Non-optimized gasoline blending process;
  2. Insufficient tools to plan for excellence, execute reliably, and communicate performance effectively; and
  3. Behavioral issues or bad habits formed around the blending process.

Enhanced statistics-based targeting tools, improved analyzer performance tracking, and training to adapt behaviours to drive lower giveaway are among the remedies to address these root causes.   

It should be noted that the causes are rarely found to be stand-alone.  Giveaway is usually caused by a combination of inter-dependant factors, and require a complex solution designed with several simultaneous and carefully timed changes in mind.

Unlock the Benefits

Identification and mitigation of the root causes of blending inefficiencies can be a difficult exercise, and without a well-defined and structured approach, may yield disappointing results.

Done properly, however, the effort is well worth undertaking considering the degree of refinery margin improvement that can be achieved by bringing the blending operation to best-in-class levels.  As Energy Management consultants,Trindent works with our clients to achieve millions of dollars of savings by addressing this one area alone.

Click here to learn more about Trindent’s extensive experience in the energy sector and how we can help your refinery become best in class.