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Refining Process Services, Inc. provides technical training seminars in the field of petroleum refining, also called oil refining. The modern petroleum refinery has a series of core process units that create clean gasoline and low sulfur diesel fuel. The first oil refinery unit is crude oil desalting. The desalter removes salt, water and other contaminants from crude oil prior to distillation in an atmospheric tower. The fractions recovered from the atmospheric distillation tower include naphtha, kerosene, diesel and bottoms liquid called atmospheric resid. This material is fractionated via vacuum distillation into gas oil and vacuum resid.


Raw gasoline recovered from petroleum consists of light naphtha and heavy naphtha. Light naphtha is processed through an isomerization unit and heavy naphtha is processed in a catalytic reforming unit or reformer so that gasoline octane is improved. Kerosene is blended into jet fuel. Diesel fuel is treated in a hydrotreating unit or hydrotreater with catalyst and hydrogen to reduce sulfur level and improve quality. Gas oil is converted in fluid catalytic cracking and hydrocracking units or hydrocracker into gasoline and diesel. Light olefins from the fluid catalytic cracker are processed in either HF acid (hydrofluoric acid) or sulfuric acid alkylation units. Vacuum resid is processed in delayed coking units which convert heavy oil from crude into lighter products.


To learn more about this vital industry, Refining Process Services offers a series of technical training seminars. All programs are offered in the form of public seminars.   Most programs are also offered for in-house presentation at a client location.  Select theOn-Site Training tab for  more information.  A listing of core seminars is provided below. For further information click on the seminar title below:


The fluid catalytic cracking unit plays a pivotal role in most petroleum refineries. Considering the numerous synergies between it and the other units within the refinery, proper process optimization of this unit is a key step in profit maximization. This course is based on the premise that optimum unit performance can only be achieved with a thorough understanding of current unit performance and capabilities combined with a clear set of goals or strategies.

Modern refinery data acquisition systems can deliver an overwhelming amount of real-time data.  The course discusses monitoring programs that distill the data into a manageable amount of information and a system for sharing the appropriate information with each stakeholder. Key components of this information include identification of current or future unit problems and potential opportunities.

The modern refinery also relies on complex computer programs to make very important decisions. Crude selection, production targets and key unit operating conditions are almost always determined by the refinery Linear Program. Individual unit operations are often determined by the unit Advanced Process Control System. The course also presents methods to evaluate whether these systems are performing well, and are truly driving toward maximum profit and / or achieving other strategic goals. Finally, the course illustrates how to use this information to achieve continuous optimum performance in both the short and long term.

This course is ideal for personnel involved in refinery process engineering, refinery planning, unit operations, process modeling, catalyst sales andtechnical service. Supervisors of these functions will also fine this course of great value.  Although the course focuses primarily on FCC unit monitoring and optimization, many of the principles discussed are applicable to other process areas in the refinery.


Program Outline 

  • Process Monitoring

    • Overview and Goals
      • Types of Monitoring
      • Monitoring Program Components
        • Feeds & Yields
        • Catalyst Performance
        • FCC Material Balance
        • Coke and Heat Balance Calculations
        • Constraint Giveaway
        • Catalyst Circulation
        • Pressure Balance
        • Reaction Mix Tests
        • Corrosion

    Building a Monitoring Program

    • Key Process Indicators
    • Daily / Weekly Trend Monitoring
    • Deviations from Expectation
    • Reporting

    FCC Troubleshooting

    • Identifying problems
    • Troubleshooting methodology
    • Causes and Effects
      • Reactor and Regenerator Hardware
      • Feed Issues
      • Catalyst Issues
      • Circulation Problems
      • Environmental Issues
      • Rotating Equipment Issues
      • Columns and Fractionator Issues

    Optimization Strategies

    • Strategic Goals
    • Minimizing Cost vs Maximizing Profits
    • Battery Limit Economics
    • Refinery Gate Economics

    Daily Optimization

    • Goals / Operating Targets
    • Maximizing Utilization
    • Advanced Process Control
    • Monitoring the APC

    Longer-Term Optimization 

    • Predicting / Accounting for Unit Degradation
    • Catalyst Deactivation/Make-up
    • Fouling and Corrosion
    • Testing / Maintaining LP FCC Sub-Model
    • Feed & Catalyst Selection
    • Optimization Meetings
    • Evaluating Alternative Strategies
    • Evaluating Capital Changes


     Using and Maintaining Process Models 

    • Reactor / Regenerator Yield Models
    • Distillation Heat / Material Balance Models
    • Heat Exchanger Train Models
    • Evaluating Vendor Proposals


    Troubleshooting Exercises

  • Optimization Case Studies 




Alan R. English, an independent consultant, has over 38 years of experience in the petroleum refining industry, having worked for Gulf Oil, Chevron, Sun Company and KBC Advanced Technologies.  He has provided troubleshooting, technical support, optimization consulting and training to more than 40 refineries in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.  While at Gulf and Chevron, Al was involved in the development and commercialization of the Tin additive for Vanadium passivation and the Bismuth additive for Nickel passivation.  He has authored or co-authored 13 publications and has served on the NPRA (now AFPM) Q & A Panel twice.  He holds three US patents.   He has a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from Lehigh University and has an Executive Masters degree in Technology Management from Stevens Institute of Technology.  Al is a licensed Professional Engineer in Pennsylvania. 







Calendar of Seminars

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