Ed Blysard--Maybe you Can help me

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Ed Blysard--Maybe you Can help me
Posted by N737AA on Friday, September 8, 2006 2:29 AM

Ed,

Looking for info on tank cars and refineries.  Take a look at this thread and anything you might be able to help with would be appreciated.

http://www.trains.com/trccs/forums/899476/ShowPost.aspx

Thanks in advance.

Mike in Tulsa

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Posted by edblysard on Friday, September 8, 2006 6:55 AM

Mr Hadid has most of the info you needed.

Feedstock is the stuff they use to make the products...the chemicals needed to produce gasoline, like the additives.

We have just about one of everything in the way of refineries.

Phillips makes plastic pellets…Dow, Auto Fina and Solvay make PVC products, from powdered PVC to Pellets.

Shell Deer Park, the largest refinery on the Gulf Coast, doesn’t make gasoline, but instead refines the products most other refineries needs…from LPG, (liquefied Petroleum Gas) to butadiene and so forth.

 

BP Petroleum makes gasoline, and nothing else.

 

I think for modeling purpose, Lubrizol would be your best bet…they make specialized lubrication products, from automobile engine oils to super fine lubricants.

They have a small “yard” inside their plant, three sets load out racks, and their own siding off our main.

They get a variety of tank cars, from the 8 axel rail whales to the tiny EDCX tank cars full of anti knock compounds…and the occasional covered hopper with a phosphor product.

 

As was pointed out, most transportation fuels travel by pipeline to distribution points, then trucks locally to retail outlets.

ICT, Inter Continental Terminals, is just such a distribution point.

They receive the majority of their fuels via barge and ship…LPG, Diesel and Gasoline…they ship out by barge and ship also…their main purpose is storage and distribution of the stuff…their rail service is set up to ship these products to places that have no pipeline access or barge access…so the majority of the cars we take them are empty inbound, loaded out bound.

The majority of the big tanks you see around a refinery aren’t holding the finished product, but the feed stock mentioned by 1435mm…the crude and other products needed to make the products.

Feedstock being the product you “feed” the refinery in order to get your finished product.

Refineries run 24/7/365…they cant shut down because they always have something “cooking” so the speak.

Don’t forget to put a burn off flare in you model…this is used to burn off any undesired by products…or to get rid of goof ups…yes, they do make mistakes, and have to burn off the stuff...there is no way to put it in the trash so to speak.

They also burn off excess natural gas.

Refineries use a tremendous amount of natural gas to generate power and heat, and they buy the stuff on consignment up to three years in advance of their projected production date…and when that day arrives, if the project was canceled or altered, they cant just send the gas back, the pipelines are one way deals, so they burn it off.

Ever notice that refineries seem to be grouped together?

That is because they are almost always interconnected with each other…one refinery receives a crude oil…makes their products out of it, then sends the leftovers via pipeline to their next door neighbor, who refines another product out of that, then sends the left overs on to the next guy, who may remove the paraffin or sulpher…so forth and so on till nothing is left of the crude but a sludge with no real use…which is then sent to a coke unit, and made into the petroleum coke mentioned.

And they share a lot of their finished products with each other...one makes LPG, then send it via pipeline to a plant that need the fuel to make steam or process a particular product.

 

As Mr. Hadid pointed out, most refineries don’t make gasoline or diesel, but instead, make products used to make other products such as the plastics used in your home every day.

 

For modeling purposes, I would think that a small specialty refinery and a plastic plant would just about cover your needs…it will allow you to run a bunch of tank cars, and lots and lots of covered hoppers for the plastic.

The plastic plant need not be over elaborate.

A few tall buildings covered with corrugated sheathing, a covered loading track, and a small yard next to it.

 

 http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=Houston+Texas&ie=UTF8&z=14&ll=29.730098,-95.185804&spn=0.02944,0.072613&t=k&om=1

 

This is a link to a Google map/satellite view of our Pasadena yard.

It will give you an idea of how the refineries are interconnected.

You can see the railyard, next to a odd looking “lake”

Not a lake, but that’s a different story.

The triangle looking place straight up is Crown Petroleum; they make Naptha and other fancy chemicals.

If you see the empty fields, look up a little, that is the Mobil Fertilizer plant…looks like a refinery, but makes fertilizers.

Go right a little, and the first refinery you can see is Phillips, who makes plastic pellets.

 

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=Houston+Texas&ie=UTF8&t=k&om=1&z=16&ll=29.737439,-95.094631&spn=0.00736,0.018153&iwloc=A

This is ICT, Inter Continental Terminals, who store and ship petroleum products.

Note the barge and ship facilities.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=Houston+Texas&ie=UTF8&t=k&om=1&z=18&ll=29.741426,-95.097839&spn=0.00184,0.004538

This is one of the load out racks at ICT…they get acid cars here…the acid is used to clean out the holding tanks.

 

If you start at the Pasadena yard, and just scroll to the right you will see over 15 different “refineries”, none of which makes gasoline or diesel…but most of them make the products used to refine gasoline, or make support products and feedstock for the plastic industry.

 

If you have a specific question, email me at

Renaissance-man@sbcgobal.net

With a link or your question, and I will be happy to discuss the specifics, or find the answer for you.

Here is a small sample of cars you will see, just type the reporting marks into your search engine for the car series, type and photos...

UTLX 68742 to Lubrizol

OCPX 950018

UTLX 663667 to Oxy chemicals

HOKX 111636 to VoPak Terminals

GATX 22460 to Oxy Chemicals

 

Ed

 

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 8, 2006 7:10 AM

Refineries have a constant rolling thunder. I dont know if you ever drove past the ones on the gulf coast at night but they are absolutely the noisiest places.

One of the reasons they seems to be grouped together around the nation in faraway places like the Gulf probably because the USSR would have difficulty reaching them "Over the pole" should the Cold War turn hot and deadly.

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Posted by edblysard on Friday, September 8, 2006 7:55 AM

Reasons for the refineries being here are several…

Most of these places are old, been here since the 20s, when Buffalo Bayou was dredged out to make the Houston Ship Channel from Galveston Bay to the Port of Houston.

Access to a deep water port, and natural protection from the ocean storms are two, plus access to the intercostal waterway.

And the close proximity of the East Texas oil fields make it a natural fit.

Type Kilgore, Texas into your search engine, then get ready to be freaked out by a city built around a thousand oil well derriks, they even have one in the middle of thier high school!

 

The cold war was not a issue when these places were built…Crown Petroleum is one of the oldest refineries in Texas, it and Shell were built in the 20s, when crude oil arrived up Buffalo Bayou via wooden barges.

And of course, the cities of Houston, Pasadena and Deer Park just about gave them the land and tremendous tax breaks to locate here…these places are the major employers around here.

Add in the fact that Houston is a major rail hub on the Gulf Coast, and the fact that most of these places need to be interconnected, and it make sense that they all locate in a specific area.

And they are not going to move from here…due to most of them being grandfathered in under the EPA regulations; they will be here till their equipment rusts away!

No way could you build any of these places new today, the cost to meet EPA regulations alone would be so much greater than the profit they could produce.

Plus, the needed infrastructure is here…a purpose built freeway, Highway 225, and an entire railroad dedicated to their service needs, (PTRA, my guys) deep water port access, and a skilled labor force are just a few.

 

Trust me, if somehow the cold war re-heats, hitting Houston is tops on the list of targets, and with today’s submarines, not a problem for any modern navy.

We are launching a submarine from here this Saturday, capable of firing missiles at will towards almost any target it chooses.

First Lady Bush will christen the Texas this Saturday at Galveston.

Ed

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Posted by egmurphy on Friday, September 8, 2006 8:25 AM

Shell Deer Park, the largest refinery on the Gulf Coast, doesn’t make gasoline...

Ed, not to detract from your great response, but SDPR does produce a lot of gasoline.  I was involved in a new low sulfur gasoline unit that they installed there in 2002-2003, and that was just a small part of their overall gasoline slate.  From their website:

Products made in the refinery are the types most people think of when they think of an “oil company,” such as gasoline, aviation fuels, ship and utility fuels, and furnace oil/diesel fuels.

 

 

  • Gasoline: Regular and premium unleaded gasoline used in passenger cars. The refinery produces reformulated and conventional gasoline for domestic and international markets.

 

In fact, the O.P. may want to check out the refinery website to get some more info on the full range of products and units there.  On the main page, under "About Shell Deer Park", click on 'Deer Park Refining', then go to 'Products and Uses' or 'Processing Units'.

Of course, it's too huge to model.  They sure had a lot of rail activity within the plant, especially with the lines effectively dividing the plant into a north section a a south section.

www.shell.com/deerpark/

Regards

Ed

 

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Posted by edblysard on Friday, September 8, 2006 8:47 AM

Ed,

Your right, I was re-reading my post, and realized the mistake...it is the Mobil and Phillips plants I was thinkg of...both names assocatied with gas stations, and both of their plants here dont make a drop of the stuff!

 

Were you down here working, or doing so from a distance?

Our main line runs dead center through the Shell refinery, and that place is huge, bigger than some of the rural towns and cities around here.

 

Ed

 egmurphy wrote:

Shell Deer Park, the largest refinery on the Gulf Coast, doesn’t make gasoline...

Ed, not to detract from your great response, but SDPR does produce a lot of gasoline.  I was involved in a new low sulfur gasoline unit that they installed there in 2002-2003, and that was just a small part of their overall gasoline slate.  From their website:

Products made in the refinery are the types most people think of when they think of an “oil company,” such as gasoline, aviation fuels, ship and utility fuels, and furnace oil/diesel fuels.

 

 

  • Gasoline: Regular and premium unleaded gasoline used in passenger cars. The refinery produces reformulated and conventional gasoline for domestic and international markets.

 

In fact, the O.P. may want to check out the refinery website to get some more info on the full range of products and units there.  On the main page, under "About Shell Deer Park", click on 'Deer Park Refining', then go to 'Products and Uses' or 'Processing Units'.

Of course, it's too huge to model.  They sure had a lot of rail activity within the plant, especially with the lines effectively dividing the plant into a north section a a south section.

www.shell.com/deerpark/

Regards

Ed

 

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Posted by dldance on Friday, September 8, 2006 9:03 AM

If you are wanting to model a refinery, the Salt Lake City area has several small compact ones.  Use maps.google.com and look up Woods Cross, UT.  At the intersection of interstates 215 and 15, there is a small refinery on the NW corner and a slightly larger one on the SW corner.  If you look close, the NW refinery is 4 tank cars spotted at their loading rack.  The Houston area refineries may load that many trains a day.

dd

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Posted by egmurphy on Friday, September 8, 2006 3:20 PM

Were you down here working, or doing so from a distance?

We actually did 5 very similar units, one for each of 5 Shell refineries, with slightly staggered schedules.  We had Port Arthur, TX, Convent, LA, Norco, LA, Anacortes, WA, and Deer Park.  I was the project construction manager, so I worked out of the home office (in Houston) and had to visit each site on a regular basis.  Probably got out to Deer Park once every week or two, depending on the stage of the construction.  That was my last project and I retired after that and moved down here to Mexico.

Our main line runs dead center through the Shell refinery, and that place is huge, bigger than some of the rural towns and cities around here.

Yeah, I know it well.  I was the only person on the project who didn't get upset when we had to wait for trains to clear the crossings inside the refinery.  First time I had seen PTRA locomotives.  For a model railroader who had spent a lot of time in and around Houston, I was pathetically ignorant of the 1:1 railroading situation around town.

Regards

Ed

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Posted by edblysard on Friday, September 8, 2006 8:26 PM

Yeah,

Theres more rail in Houston than most cities have freeways...

We got LA smoked!

Looking at my AEI map, I can count 10 main lines/subdivisions into the city...and if you live or work on the east side, you are going to see some trains....lots of them.

 

Ed

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Posted by CShaveRR on Friday, September 8, 2006 8:42 PM
Ed, I would be thoroughly fascinated by your area--the industries and the freight equipment!

Carl

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Posted by ericsp on Friday, September 8, 2006 8:49 PM
The BNSF mainline goes through the middle of the Big West Oil (Flying J) refinery in Bakersfield. Of course it used to be three different plants.

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Posted by edblysard on Friday, September 8, 2006 8:49 PM
My wife jokes that I went railroading to get information and photos for my model railroad...she has no idea how close to right she is!

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Posted by ericsp on Friday, September 8, 2006 11:26 PM

 edblysard wrote:
My wife jokes that I went railroading to get information and photos for my model railroad...she has no idea how close to right she is!

I got into engineering because of my interest in industry. I spent my free time during the first couple of years in college researching refineries so I could build a realistic one for my layout, plus it would not hurt to know about them if I got a job at one. The product mix and methods of shipment will be somewhat unprototypical because I want lots of tankcars there. I am planning on have a crude distillation unit, hydrotreaters, a hydrocracker, catalytic cracker, catalytic reformer, alkylation unit, and a delayed coker. If I have room, I will also put in a vacuum distillation unit. Since it seems like the cokers usually get their feedstock from the vacuum distillation unit, I really should fit that in there. Also, do you usually see petroleum coke (non-calcined) in open or covered hoppers?

 CShaveRR wrote:
Ed, I would be thoroughly fascinated by your area--the industries and the freight equipment!

I was thinking the same thing myself. If I ever make it to the ISA Expo I will have to get there a couple of days early or stay afterward for a couple of days.

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Posted by edblysard on Saturday, September 9, 2006 4:44 AM

Eric,

We pull the ARCO coker unit twice a day, run the stuff over to the north side to the Bulk Material Plant where it is loaded on ships or barges...they have a dedicsted set of ECRX SD40-2s and close to 100 severly used open hoppers, also ECRX.

And we get a Martin Lake train of coke every other day alsol, but with a little better set of car...they have a bunch of slightly newer car, also open topped hoppers.

 

If you make it down here, email a day or two in advance, I will give you the dime tour of the PTRA.

Ed

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Posted by ericsp on Saturday, September 9, 2006 9:28 PM

Thanks, Ed.

I have a couple of questions. I used to occasionally see a GATX 300398-300452 series tankcar on BNSF's M BARRICs and M RICBARs. They were unusual in that they have a 36' length. I have not seen any in a while. It seems like they are, or were, leased to Lubrizol and went to PTRA on the eastern end of their trips. Have you seen these? Are they still around?

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Posted by edblysard on Sunday, September 10, 2006 4:41 AM

Not as often as we used too.

I will look today and see what is in the Lubrizol track at North Yard when I get to work.

Used to see the shorties all the time.

Ed

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Posted by N737AA on Tuesday, September 12, 2006 5:31 AM

Great info.  I guess I can do what ever I want.  I do plan on having a plant switcher to spot the cars from the plant "arrival track" to the various loading areas and back to the "departure track".  I went by the refineries here in town and the refracting towers are quite aways from where the loading areas are.  So I think I can concentrate on modeling the loading racks and sheds and put one or two of the the towers in the background and throw in lots of piping and I should be in there.

The main reason I was wanting to know what was in the tank cars is because I use car cards and waybills for realistic operation and there is a field for contents.  Just wanted it to be factual.

What I hear everyone saying is........

...........products used in the refining process arrive by rail, not crude

...........products resulting from the refining process depart by rail, not usually gasoline

I appreciate everyone's help on this.

Mike in Tulsa

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Posted by dldance on Tuesday, September 12, 2006 7:52 PM

Remeber, many gasoline refineries are now receiving ethanol by rail as it does not ship well by pipeline.

dd

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Posted by ericsp on Tuesday, September 12, 2006 11:54 PM

I have never heard of a refracting tower before. Are any of the towers actually called this?

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Posted by egmurphy on Wednesday, September 13, 2006 7:57 AM

They are "fractionation" columns or towers.  From separating the crude oil into its 'fractions', like gasoline, kerosine, etc.  Of course, not all towers you see at a refinery are fractionation columns, there are other high vessels.

For anyone interested in a very basic look at the refining process, here's a good link:

http://www.cheresources.com/refining.shtml

 

Regards

Ed

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Posted by ericsp on Wednesday, September 13, 2006 11:55 PM
 egmurphy wrote:

They are "fractionation" columns or towers.  From separating the crude oil into its 'fractions', like gasoline, kerosine, etc.  Of course, not all towers you see at a refinery are fractionation columns, there are other high vessels.

For anyone interested in a very basic look at the refining process, here's a good link:

http://www.cheresources.com/refining.shtml

 

Regards

Ed

If I remember correctly, it seems that the alkylation towers are usually the tallest. Of course the frame work on top of the delayed cokers goes up mighty high.

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Posted by ericsp on Monday, October 2, 2006 1:15 AM
 N737AA wrote:
What I hear everyone saying is........

...........products used in the refining process arrive by rail, not crude

...........products resulting from the refining process depart by rail, not usually gasoline

I appreciate everyone's help on this.

Mike in Tulsa

I must have missed this earlier. I know of only one refinery that receives crude oil by rail. It is the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, CA. The oil is loaded into GATX TankTrain tankcars south of San Ardo, CA, the station name is Wunpost. It travels down the Coast Line, East Line, and Alameda Corridor to the ConocoPhillips refinery where the oil is transfered to pipeline for the trip to the ExxonMobil refinery.

The portion of the ConocoPhillips refinery where the Oil Cans are unloaded is the former Shell refinery (note: the current Shell refinery in the area is the former Texaco refinery). This is where the original Oil Cans went to when they came from just north of Bakersfield (Saco). In 1992(?) Shell closed that refinery, then Tosco (it may have been Unocal at the time) contract with Shell to supply oil to its refinery in Wilmington. Appearently, at some time Tosco bought or leased the closed refinery use some of the process units. I guess that Mobil found it cheaper to contract with Tosco to use its facility than to built the unloading equipment at its refinery.

I have to wonder if the Beacon refinery in Hanford, CA received crude oil by rail back when it was operating. When I was out there, I noticed a very long, two track loading/unloading rack, espicially since the refinery was only about 17,000 BPD. Also, the International Petroleum Encyclopedias from the time when it was operating showed no crude pipelines in the area. Of course, it may be that all of the oil came in by truck.

You can prototypically ship some gasoline out by rail. Occasionally, I will see some tankcars placarded for gasoline.

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Posted by N737AA on Tuesday, October 3, 2006 4:33 AM

After reading all of this subject again I am wondering if a high percentage of my outbound cars should be empty.  I was thinking like 60/40, 60 empty and 40 refined products.

Could anyone familiar with the process suggest commodities for loads in and loads out and what percentage would be empty out?

Mike in Tulsa 

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Posted by ericsp on Tuesday, October 3, 2006 11:01 PM
 N737AA wrote:

After reading all of this subject again I am wondering if a high percentage of my outbound cars should be empty.  I was thinking like 60/40, 60 empty and 40 refined products.

Could anyone familiar with the process suggest commodities for loads in and loads out and what percentage would be empty out?

Mike in Tulsa 

I would think that either Ed would know more about this than I do. I would say that depending on the product mix you choose it could go either way. If your refinery produces mainly LPG, petrochemicals (depending on the types and proximity of users), and/or asphalt, probably there would be more tankcars leaving loaded than empty. On the other hand your refinery could produce mainly fuels and bring in naphtha from other refineries. Combine the naphtha and oxygenates (ethanol for gasoline and tertiary amyl methyl ether (TAME) for diesel fuel, last I heard), then there would probably be more tankcars coming loaded than leaving loaded.

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Posted by ericsp on Monday, January 19, 2009 11:34 PM

ericsp

Thanks, Ed.

I have a couple of questions. I used to occasionally see a GATX 300398-300452 series tankcar on BNSF's M BARRICs and M RICBARs. They were unusual in that they have a 36' length. I have not seen any in a while. It seems like they are, or were, leased to Lubrizol and went to PTRA on the eastern end of their trips. Have you seen these? Are they still around?

 

I was thinking about these cars, so I looked them up in the most recent ORER I have, January 2008. They have been retired or renumbered. 

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Posted by PNWRMNM on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 10:45 PM

Mike,

 

If you like contact me off list at pnwrmnm@yahoo.com.  I am a retired haz mat inspector and still remember my tank cars pretty well.

 

Mac

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