Prof. Dick den Hertog, Tilburg University – Part 3: How the refinery business can profit from the latest algorithms


ORTEC went to the TextielMuseum (Textile Museum) in Tilburg to speak with Professor. Dr. Ir. Dick den Hertog about the latest developments in refinery planning. Professor den Hertog is one of the world’s leading experts in applying mathematical techniques and insights in the oil industry and works as a professor of Operations Research at the renown Tilburg School of Economics and Management. Professor den Hertog was part of the team that won the Edelman Award 2013 for their work on Economically Efficient Flood Standards to Protect the Netherlands against Flooding.

In Tilburg there is no better location to talk about innovation then the Textile Museum. The Textile Museum houses the Textile Lab; a state-of-the-art lab that works with the latest techniques to restore and create all kinds of textile products: from ancient napery to modern tapestry of Dutch design.

Just like the growing oil industry in the US led to the rise of boom-and-bust towns in the oil producing states, so led the Textile industry to the boom and much later and a bit lesser to the bust of Tilburg. Both industries have been through phases of transformation and innovation and now see a new age in which technology and data play in important role and bring new perspectives.

This is part three  of a series of 4 videos. In this video Professor Den Hertog explains how the refinery business can benefit greatly from newly developed algorithms.

How the refinery business can profit from the latest algorithms

How would these new algorithms benefit the Refinery business?

Again, there are three reason:

  1. The new global optimization techniques often yield better refinery plans. And again, already 1 % improvement is a lot of money, and gives oil refinery companies competitive advantage. Moreover, these global optimization methods also give guarantees on the quality and optimality of the solution.
  2. Using MINO techniques enables you to add crude-oil operations scheduling constraints in the planning problem. This will again yield better solutions, and reduces the number of iterations between the scheduling and planning problem, needed now.
  3. Robust optimization yields robust refinery plans that are much less sensitive to uncertainties in oil refinery planning problems. Adjustable RO yield better here-and-now decisions and more flexible solutions for the wait-and-see decisions, after you have obtained more information on some uncertain parameters.

Part 3 of 4

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