The purpose of all production laboratories is to ensure the proper quality of the final products in a cost efficient manner. The main functions of the analytical service are to control the quality of feedstock and final products, support the production process, perform environmental monitoring, research and examinations for the purpose of smooth production, product quality improvement, development of new production processes and products and improvement of the existing ones. Thus, the functions of the analytical service are numerous. The service plays a key role in the achievement of the prime objective of each company — making a profit.
The functions of the analytical service at Antipinsky Refinery are performed by the Central Laboratory. Currently, it is a corporate unit with over 100 highly qualified staff members.
The Central Laboratory consists of three laboratories:
- Control laboratory,
- Commodity laboratory
- Eco-analytical laboratory (see Environmental Policy).
The commodity laboratory functions: testing of the crude oil, issuing of the product release certificates and inspecting of the final products.
The staff of the commodity laboratory performs the following functions:
- inspection and tests of crude oil and chemicals;
- certification of the final products;
- control over the oil products quality;
- documentation and storage of the retained samples of oil products in strict compliance with the GOST (State Standard);
- documentation of the quality of crude oil and products in accordance with the supply contracts and at the request of the consumers;
- consulting with the customers on the maintenance of the product quality;
- participation in the examination of the customers’ claims for quality of products;
- issuing of an opinion on the arbitration analysis results;
- training of the laboratory assistants and operators on the control of the crude oil, chemicals and additives and final l products quality; - other functions.
Recently, the commodity laboratory has been supplied with the laboratory equipment for Euro-5 diesel quality control. In accordance with the customs union’s technical regulations and GOST R 52368-2005, the commodity laboratory currently performs a number of new functions, such as determination of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) by a liquid chromatography (HPLC) method, sulfur test by ultraviolet fluorescence, test for diesel fuel lubricating property and cetane rating.
The quality of diesel fuel is determined using the high-technology automated equipment, standard laboratory methods of testing and on-line proximate analyses.
In a diesel engine, the fuel-air mixture is ignited by compression; that is why the cetane ratio is a main characteristic of diesel fuel: the higher the cetane ratio is, the easier the engine is started using such fuel. The cetane number of Euro-5 diesel according to GOST R EN 15195 is tested using the Ignition Quality Tester (IQTTM) Lab Model (LM) allowing determining the ignition characteristics quickly and with high confidence.
Any diesel fuel passing through the injection system is acting as a lubricant. That is why, the HFRR test is used for testing the diesel fuel lubricity according to GOST ISO 12156-1.
The sulfur content is a main diesel fuel “environmental” characteristic. The laboratory uses the ultraviolet fluorescence method according to GOST ISO 20846 at Xplorer-S analyzer.
Other important diesel fuel tests are coefficient of kinematic viscosity (U-VISC 210 automated viscometry system), fuel density, cloud point temperature and filtration temperature limit.
The control laboratory is a part of the technological process of crude oil refining and production of final products. The main function of the control laboratory is to perform in-process control of the operation of crude units ÀÒ-1, ÀÒ-2 and ÀÒ-3, diesel hydro treating unit and Sulphur recovery unit.
The control laboratory also performs researches aimed to increasing the quality of products of Antipinsky Refinery, cutting down the cost of production, diversifying the products and implementation new production technologies.
The control laboratory is provided with the instruments of the leading laboratory equipment manufacturers with the latest software:
- automatic instrument manufactured by ISL, France; Gerzog, Germany to test the fractional breakdown, low temperature characteristics and flash point;
- chromatographs manufactured by Perkin Elmer, USA;
- other equipment of different foreign and Russian manufacturers.
The main part of the laboratory equipment is represented by automatic devices and rapid-response analyzers which enable to significantly reduce the time of test results obtaining and to monitor the process progress. The laboratory equipment includes, but is not limited to:
- ISL's automated MPP 5Gs provides highly accurate cloud and pour point result, in an ultra compact, easy to use instrument. The analyzers have the in-built cooling system for unique cooling of the tested sample below -90°C.
- Fully automatic crude oil distillation system PETRODIST 300 CC, processor controlled according to ASTM D-1160 but with automatic fraction collector for the determination of boiling ranges of crude oil products under vacuum.
- Xplorer-S,N, Total Nitrogen and Total Sulfur Analyzer. Detection through chemiluminescence- and UV fluorescence with sample combustion at high temperature are the reference methods for the determination of Total Nitrogen and Total Sulfur;
- Perkin Elmer lab solutions for chromatography: to monitor fractional analysis of hydrocarbon gases and hydrocarbon composition of liquefied hydrocarbon gases; hydrogen sulfide and mercaptan content in the oil as per GOST 50802; traces of sulfur compounds in the gases;
The control laboratory performs about 4,400 analyses of oil products from Refinery’s technological units each month.
Technical Competence of the Central Laboratory
The competence of the laboratory and the actuality of the laboratory analytical information are proved by the Quality Management System operating at the analytical laboratory. The production quality finally depends on the strict and timely quality control at all production cycles.
The basic requirements to the quality system of analytical laboratories are described in GOST R ISO/IEC 17025 “General Requirements to the Competence of Testing and Calibrating Laboratories”. The laboratory quality system shall assure the quality and integrity of the results of analytical works.
The Central Laboratory is accredited for technical competence. The Quality Management System on the basis of the Quality Manual describing the requirements to the staff, premises, environment, measuring equipment and sampling is implemented it the Central Laboratory.
The Quality Management System according to ISO 9001 has been implemented and successfully operates throughout the Company. Nevertheless, this quality management system is inadequate for the testing laboratory the main purpose of which to provide the customers with the accurate and reliable test data. Accreditation of the testing laboratory by the national accreditation body for compliance with GOST R ISO/IEC 17025 guarantees that testing laboratory obtains correct, reliable and accurate test data (measurements) in the claimed areas of responsibility.
The necessity of accreditation of the Central Laboratory and its accredited area operation are stipulated by the involvement of the oil refinery in the ecological activities as well as by the conditions of its partners – Transneft JSC. In 2015, the Central Laboratory was successfully accredited; its technical competence was recognized by the Federal Accreditation Service. Pursuant to the requirements of the Federal Law No. 412-FZ “On Accreditation in the National Accreditation System”, the Central Laboratory reports on its performance to the Federal Accreditation Service through the federal state information system.
Another proof of the technical competence of the Central Laboratory is annual participation in the qualification validation programs (interlaboratory comparison tests), where the correctness of the tests results (measurements) is highly appreciated.