Marathon Oil Case Study

Topics: Petroleum, Oil refinery, Hydrodesulfurization Pages: 4 (1426 words) Published: May 6, 2011
Assignment #3: Production and Operations Management
Marathon Oil – Case Study
November 10.2010
BUS 508: The Business Enterprise

Explain one possible option that Marathon could take to reduce the time involved in the production process. Oil refineries are huge sized plants, processing an average of a hundred thousand to several hundred thousand barrels of crude oil a day. Using process optimization, Marathon could reduce the time involved in the production process. The goal is to maximize one or more of the process conditions, while holding all others within their restrictions when optimizing a process. There are three factors that can be tuned to affect optimal performance, equipment optimization, operating procedures, and control optimization. Proving the current equipment is working to its fullest benefit is vital to identify equipment bottlenecks and should be step one in optimizing a process. According to Mustafa and Hanni (Doctor & Mustafa, 2010), refinery crude processing positions on crude with all impurities as input. Step by step it tries to reduce impurities by changing it to less harmful component or remove after converting to separable component using the following processes (Technologies Services): •Desalter unit washes out salt from the crude oil before it enters the atmospheric distillation unit. •Atmospheric distillation unit distills crude oil into fractions. See Continuous distillation. •Vacuum distillation unit further distills residual bottoms after atmospheric distillation. •Naphtha hydrotreater unit uses hydrogen to desulfurize naphtha from atmospheric distillation. Must hydrotreat the naphtha before sending to a Catalytic Reformer unit. •Catalytic reformer unit is used to convert the naphtha-boiling range molecules into higher octane reformate (reformer product). The reformate has higher content of aromatics and cyclic hydrocarbons). An important byproduct of a reformer is hydrogen released during the catalyst reaction. The...

References: CHAZAN, G., & ORDÓÑEZ, I. (2010, October 29). Shell, Exxon Dodge Weak Prices for Gas. (Dow Jones & Company) Retrieved 11 10, 2010, from The Wall Street Journel:
Hargreaves, S. (2007, April 17 ). Behind high gas prices: The refinery crunch. Retrieved 11 10, 2010, from :
Marathon_Pipe_Line_LLC. (n.d.). Retrieved 11 10, 2010, from
Technologies Services. (n.d.). Retrieved 11 10, 2010, from
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