Friday, July 24, 2015

Make Millions with Cheap Butane

At $10 to $20 per barrel, Butane is a very cheap, abundant, high octane and high vapor pressure gasoline blending component. At today’s gasoline prices of about $77/barrel, being able to include 6% to 8% butane in the gasoline blend will increase profit by decreasing the cost of the gasoline blend by about $3/barrel. If you blend 50,000BPD, that’s a cool $150,000 per day in your pocket.
Why many people are afraid to use Butane? Because of ignorance; many fear that they will “blow” the RVP specs and RVP-related volatility specs like TVL and VOC.

How can you meet the specs without losing sleep?

1.     First, know “your” Butane properties. Don’t copy numbers from a book or magazine. Have a Lab do an actual compositional analysis using e.g. gas chromatograph, and then do the math per ASTM D-2598.
2.     Second, you need a blend optimizer which uses non-linear property calculations to “hit” multiple specs simultaneously while maximizing blend profit.

What else do you need?

If you have an in-line gasoline blender, you’ll need an on-line RVP analyzer, like a Grabner, connected by the shortest line feasible to the blend header, without giainormous filters, coalescers, etc. to keep time delay (transport lag) to a minimum. The reason is that the precision of the RVP measurement worsens with the time delay, e.g. Grabner precision (reproducibility) of 0.1 psi deteriorates to 0.3 psi if the time delay increase to 10 minutes because of having to flush filters, etc. before getting a “fresh” sample. This 0.2psi giveaway will cost you millions/year, i.e. penny-wise and pound-foolish????

If you blend butane in a finished gasoline blend tank, you can insert the analyzer equipment in the circulation line pipe, but it’s more tricky (need to homogenize the tank!!!... A pain in the neck), and you will get about half the benefits compared with in-line blending.

How much will it cost?

1.     “Your” Butane sample Lab analysis ~ $1,000
2.     Single blend optimizer software license fee~ $15,000
3.     Grabner on-line analyzer ~ $100,000
4.     Analyzer filed installation ~ $25,000
5.     Analyzer interface to blend property control system ~ 15,000

Overall, a small price to pay to capture these butanization benefits

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