Standards and the Petroleum Industry
Oil refineries serve an important role in the production and transportation of fuels. Global refinery capacity is predicted to expand gradually through the early 2020s, and industry use rates are expected to remain high. With most new capacity being developed in the Middle East, the expected business growth will require an agile and effective laboratory system to cope with rapid change.
YASREF Refinery is a world class, full-conversion refinery and is designed to process 400 thousand barrels of Arab heavy crude oil per day (MBD). With a sophisticated new laboratory, the refinery produces high-quality refined products that will meet the most stringent global product specifications.
The YASREF Refinery Laboratory is one of the most advanced modern laboratories. Opened in 2014, the laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and the latest analytical equipment such as an automated octane engine, supporting X-ray fluorescence, and most gas chromatography applications. It also provides support to the YASREF Refinery with an analysis workload of 800-850 tests per day, sampling more than 230-250 samples on a daily basis as well as providing final certification for all of the refinery’s products: gasoline, diesel, benzene and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), butane, propane, and solid products petroleum coke and elemental sulfur.
ASTM International standards play a critical role in all of YASREF’s laboratory and refinery operations. The laboratory uses more than 50 ASTM standard methods in testing and certification activities.
In particular, ASTM’s test methods for flash point by Pensky-Martens closed cup tester (D93) is
one of the most important standards used by YASREF. Developed by the committee on petroleum products, liquid fuels, and lubricants (D02), this standard helps to assess the overall flammability hazard of a material, which is critical
to refinery operations.
In addition, YASREF’s refined products are certified for many other critical parameters such as distillation (D86), cloud point (D5773), sulfur (D5453), vapor pressure (D6378), research octane number (RON) (D2699), and cetane number (D613), which are the most critical quality characteristics for gasoline and diesel products. (See graphic on opposite page for complete titles.)
YASREF Laboratory is committed to quality improvement that goes beyond simply satisfying regulatory requirements. This accountability means it is important for YASREF staff to maintain quality standards as well as YASREF’s reputation and values. This in turn ensures customer and stakeholder satisfaction. Achieving and maintaining laboratory accreditation is a vital part of providing high-quality services, which is why achieving ISO/IEC 17025:2005 (International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission) accreditation was so important to the organization.
As part of this process, YASREF Laboratory used the ASTM Proficiency Testing Program (PTP) as an international benchmarking tool, as well as a statistical measurement tool.
Recently, YASREF developed a new internal award called the “P&CEO Excellence Award.” The winner of this award must consistently demonstrate a high level of commitment and dedication to YASREF’s Excellence values. They must have a positive influence and impact on their work environment, and must foster cooperation and collaboration among all other processes in the company.
This award targeted all functions within YASREF’s premises. YASREF Laboratory was selected as the first winner of the award and played a key role in implementing and adopting the PDCA (plan-do-check-act) cycle, accredited several international certifications, and developed best-in-class procedures and guidelines. ■
- Location: Yanbu Industrial City, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- Company description: YASREF Refinery is a world class, full-conversion refinery, designed to process 400 thousand barrels of Arab heavy crude oil per day (MBD). With a sophisticated new laboratory, the refinery produces high-quality refined products that will meet the most stringent global product specifications.
- Number of staff: 1,500 (Laboratory: 53)
- Trading area: Global