N605 Introduction to Petroleum Refinery Processing

Course Facts

Course Code:
2 days
1.6 Continuing Education Units
16 Professional Development Hours
Certificate Issued Upon Completion


This course presents an overview of the modern, integrated petroleum refinery. Topics include configuration, operating description and conditions, feedstock and catalyst selection, stream yields and properties, process parameter relationships and their effect on unit performance and yields. Also covered are: environmental regulations and pollution control; crude oil properties and assays; current and anticipated future worldwide fuel product specifications; the effects of changes in crude oil source and supply, in particular bitumen and shale oil; as well as oil sands bitumen and heavy oil properties, upgrader projects and their process flowsheets to produce "synthetic crude oil" and refinery feeds. 

Duration and Training Method

This is a two-day classroom course. Participants earn 1.6 CEUs (Continuing Education Credits) or 16 PDHs (Professional Development Hours).

Participants will learn to:

  1. Identify key characteristics and variables of crude oil, and other gas and liquid feed streams supply for refineries.
  2. List and describe the possible refinery product streams, and marketed product properties.
  3. Describe the principle components of a refinery.
  4. Explain refinery operations.
  5. Understand catalytic cracking, catalytic reforming, isomerization, and alkylation principles.
  6. Describe hydroprocessing and processes for making hydrogen, recovering sulfur, making lube oil and upgrading resid.
  7. Understand pollution control requirements.
  8. Use petroleum refining terminology.
  9. Discuss worldwide trends in refined product supply and demand. 

Topics Covered

  • The refinery flow plan – configuration, vocabulary, streams, what goes where and why
  • Hydrocarbon chemistry – how paraffins, olefins, naphthenes and aromatics differ 
  • Crude oil – properties and assays, what’s different about bitumen and shale oil 
  • Fuel products – gasoline, jet, fuel oil and diesel specifications: today and tomorrow 
  • Atmospheric and vacuum distillation 
  • Fluid catalytic cracking, including role in diesel and propylene markets 
  • Catalytic reforming 
  • Aromatics recovery for BTX petrochemical feedstocks 
  • Isomerization, alkylation and polymer gasoline
  • Hydroprocessing – hydrotreating and hydrocracking applications 
  • Hydrogen production 
  • Hydrogen sulfide removal (amine treating) and sulfur recovery (claus)  
  • Vacuum resid properties 
  • Vacuum resid processes – visbreaking, solvent deasphalting, coking, hydrocracking 
  • Bitumen properties 
  • Bitumen (tar sand oil) upgrader projects 
  • Upgrader flowsheets – process selection and synthetic crude oil quality 
  • Pollution control overview – waste water, stacks

Who should attend

Although the course provides substantial technical detail, it is designed for both technical and non-technical personnel.  It will benefit: environmental, safety and maintenance staff; all engineering disciplines; consulting and engineering organization staff; equipment, catalyst and chemical suppliers; R&D and government agency staff; oil traders; and pipeline, financial and business development personnel.

Prerequisites and linking courses

There are no prerequisites.

Click on a name to learn more about the instructor

Marvin Rakow