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Enhancing Heavy Crude Oil Blending and Solid Suspension with Eductors: A Case Study


In the oil and gas industry, keeping solids in suspension while blending various grades of crude oil for proper processing poses significant operational challenges. Traditional methods often require substantial energy inputs, complex equipment and regular access to the tank for maintenance. However, the utilization of eductors has emerged as a cost-effective and efficient solution.

This case study explores how a major oil refinery improved its blending process and solid suspension using eductors.

Company Overview: 

The refinery faced hurdles of having excess build up of solids (waste) in the tank and decreased production. The root cause was the difficulty in suspending solids uniformly, which impacted downstream processing and product quality.



1. Varying crude product quality and solid content.

2. Difficulty in suspending processible solids, to meet production goals and not moving waste solids to proper separation equipment, leading to equipment clogging and inefficiencies.

3. High operational and maintenance costs associated with energy-intensive blending methods.



The refinery implemented a comprehensive solution centered around the integration of eductors into their blending system. Eductors are devices that utilize high-velocity fluid streams to create a low-pressure zone and entrain and mix fluids efficiently. The key components of the solution included:


  1. Eductor Installation: Strategically positioned eductors within blending tanks and pipelines to enhance mixing efficiency.

  2. Process Optimization: Fine-tuning of operating parameters such as fluid flow rates and eductor placement to achieve optimal blending ratios and solid suspension using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis prior to final design and installation.

  3. Monitoring and Control: Implementation of real monitoring systems to track percentage of output versus input.

  4. Training and Support: Training personnel to operate and maintain the new equipment effectively, ensuring sustained performance improvements.


The integration of eductors yielded significant improvements in the refinery's blending and solid suspension capabilities:


  1. Blending Efficiency: Eductors facilitated rapid and thorough mixing widely varying grades of crude oils, resulting in consistent blending and improves product quality.

  2. Improves Solid Suspension: The high-velocity fluid streams generated by eductors effectively suspended solids within the mixture, reducing equipment downtime and maintenance costs.

  3. Cost Savings: The adoption of eductors led to a reduction in energy consumption and operational and maintenance expenses associated with blending, decreasing waste and related disposal costs while maximizing output, contributing to more profit for the refinery.

  4. Operational Flexibility: The refinery gained greater flexibility in managing feedstock variations and adapting to changing market demands.


CFD Example: 100 feet diameter x 80 feet high - 1,500,000 gallons


By leveraging eductors, the refinery achieved substantial improvements in heavy crude oil blending and solid suspension, overcoming longstanding operational challenges while enhancing efficiency and cost-effectiveness. This case study demonstrates the value of innovative solutions in addressing complex issues within the oil and gas industry, paving the way for enhanced productivity and competitiveness.


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