Exergy-based efficiencies are measures of the thermodynamic perfection of systems and processes. A meaningful formulation of these performance criteria for petroleum systems is difficult because of (i) the high chemical exergy of hydrocarbons, (ii) the large variety of chemical components, and (iii) the differences in operating conditions between facilities. This work focuses on offshore processing plants, considering four oil platforms that differ by their working conditions and designs. Several approaches from the scientific literature for similar processes are presented and applied to the four cases. They showed a low sensitivity to performance improvements, gave inconsistent results, or favoured facilities operating under certain con-ditions. We suggest an alternative formulation, called the component-by-component exergy efficiency, which builds on the decomposition of the exergy ows at the level of the chemical compounds. It allows therefore for sound comparisons of separation systems, while it successfully evaluates their theoretical improvement potentials. The platform displaying the lowest efficiency (1.7%) is characterised by little pumping and compression works, at the opposite of the one displaying the highest performance (29.6%). A more realistic measure of the technical potential for improving these systems can be carried out by splitting further the exergy destruction into its avoidable and unavoidable parts.
Energy, 2014, Vol 73
Exergy; Efficiency; Petroleum; Oil and gas platforms