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Oil Characterization 1

Oil Characterization

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1.3.4 Oil Characterization.pdf
2 Oil Characterization

The petroleum characterization method in HYSYS will convert
laboratory analyses of condensates, crude oils, petroleum cuts and coal-
tar liquids into a series of discrete hypothetical components. These
petroleum hypocomponents provide the basis for the property package
to predict the remaining thermodynamic and transport properties
necessary for fluid modelling.

HYSYS will produce a complete set of physical and critical properties for
the petroleum hypocomponents with a minimal amount of
information. However, the more information you can supply about the
fluid, the more accurate these properties will be, and the better HYSYS
will predict the fluid's actual behaviour.

In this example, the Oil Characterization option in HYSYS is used to

model a crude oil. The crude is the feed stock to a Pre-heat Train,
followed by the Atmospheric Crude Column, which will be modelled in a
subsequent module.

Learning Objectives
Once you have completed, you will be able to use the Oil
Characterization option in HYSYS.

Before beginning this module you need to understand the basics of the
Fluid Package (refer to Getting Started).

Oil Characterization 3

Building the Simulation

Before you can start the actual characterization process, you will first
learn how to modify the Unit Set which is very useful in a Refinery. For
example, you can work with barrels/day instead of m3/h.

1. Start a new case.

Modifying the Unit Set

HYSYS allows you to have your own set of units. For this case, the unit
for Standard Density will be API_60 instead of kg/m3 as in the SI.

2. From the Tools menu select Preferences, and go to the Variables

3. Select the SI unit set as the default.
4. You cannot edit the default set, but you can make a copy of it by
clicking the Clone button.
5. Rename the cloned unit set to Refinery.
6. Move the cursor to the Standard Density cell.
7. Select API_60 from the drop-down list.

Figure 1

4 Oil Characterization

8. Close the Preferences view.

Defining the Simulation Basis

1. On the Fluid Packages tab, click the Import button and select the
fluid package you exported in Module 1: Refinery.
2. Highlight the Refinery Package and click the View button. We are
going to delete the components we do not need: C6 and C7+.
3. Go to the Components tab and highlight n-Hexane and click the
Remove button.
4. Do the same with the C7+.
5. Close this window to return to the Basis Environment.
6. Go to the Oil Manager tab and click the Enter Oil Environment
button. You could also click the Oil Environment icon on the
Basis Environment icon
toolbar. The Oil Characterization view displays.

Oil Environment icon

Oil Characterization
The petroleum characterization in HYSYS accepts different types of
information about the oil. The more information you can supply about
your sample, the more accurate the representation will be.

There are three steps involved in characterizing any oil in HYSYS:

1. Characterize the Assay

2. Generate Hypocomponents
3. Install the Oil in the Flowsheet

The minimum amount of information that HYSYS requires to

characterize an oil is:

• a laboratory distillation curve.

• at least one of the following bulk properties: Molecular Weight,
Density, or Watson K Factor.

Oil Characterization 5

Characterize the Assay

The assay contains all of the petroleum laboratory data, boiling point
curves, light ends, property curves and bulk properties. HYSYS uses the
supplied Assay data to generate internal TBP, molecular weight, density
and viscosity curves, referred to as Working Curves.

Assay Types
Accurate volatility characteristics are vital when representing a
petroleum fluid in your process simulation. HYSYS accepts the following
standard laboratory analytical assay procedures.

• True Boiling Point (TBP). Performed using a multi-stage batch

fractionation apparatus operated at relatively high reflux ratios.
TBP distillations conducted at atmospheric or vacuum conditions
are accepted by the characterization.
• ASTM D86. Distillation employing batch fractionation but
conducted using non-refluxed Engler flasks. Generally used for
light to medium petroleum fluids. HYSYS can correct for
barometric pressure or cracking effects. You must provide the
data on a liquid volume basis.
• D1160 distillation. Distillation employing batch fractionation but
conducted using non-refluxed Engler flasks. Generally used for
heavier petroleum fluids. Curves can be given at atmospheric
pressure or corrected for vacuum conditions. You must provide
the data on a liquid volume basis.
For all the distillation curves, • D86_D1160. This is a combination of the D86/D1160 distillation
you are required to enter at data types. You can correct for thermal cracking and enable
least five data points. vacuum distillation for sub-atmospheric conditions. You must
provide data on a liquid volume basis.
• ASTM D2887. Simulated distillation analysis from
chromatographic data. Reported only on a weight percent basis
at atmospheric conditions.
• Equilibrium Flash Vaporization (EFV). Involves a series of
experiments at constant atmospheric pressure, where the total
vapour is in equilibrium with the unvaporized liquid.
• Chromatographic Analysis. A gas chromatograph analysis of a
small sample of completely vaporized oil, analysed for paraffin,
aromatic and naphthenic hydrocarbon groups from C6 to C30.
Chromatographic analyses may be entered on a mole, mass or
liquid volume basis.

6 Oil Characterization

Light Ends
Light Ends are defined as pure components with low boiling points.
Components in the boiling range of C2 to n-C5 are most commonly of

HYSYS provides three options to account for Light Ends:

• Ignore. HYSYS will characterize the Light Ends portion of your

sample as hypocomponents. This is the least accurate method
and as such, is not recommended.
• Auto Calculate. Select this when you do not have a separate
Light Ends analysis but you want the low boiling portion of your
assay represented by pure components. HYSYS will only use the
pure components you have selected in the Fluid Package.
• Input Composition. Select this when you have a separate Light
Ends assay and your petroleum assay was prepared with the
Light Ends in the sample. HYSYS will provide a form listing the
pure components you selected in the Fluid Package. This is the
most accurate method of representation.

Oil Characterization 7

Bulk Properties
Bulk Properties for the sample may also be supplied. The bulk
properties are optional if a distillation curve or chromatograph have
been supplied.

• Molecular Weight. This is the Molecular Weight of the bulk

sample. It must be greater than 16.
• Mass Density. The mass density must be between 250 and 2000
• Watson (UOP) K Factor. This must be between 8 and 15.
• Bulk Viscosity. Given at two reference temperatures, typically
37.7°C and 98.89°C (100°F and 210°F).
• The units for density can be mass density, API or specific gravity,
chosen from the drop down list in the Edit Bar
• The Watson K Factor is an approximate index of paraffinicity.

Physical Property Curves

HYSYS accepts different types of physical property curves

• Molecular Weight Curve

• Density Curve
• Viscosity Curve

Physical property analyses are normally reported from the laboratory

using one of the following two conventions.

• An Independent assay basis, where a common set of assay

fractions is NOT used for both the distillation curve and the
physical property curve.
• A Dependent assay basis, where a common set of assay
fractions is utilized for both the distillation curve and the physical
property curve.

As you supply more information to HYSYS, the accuracy of the

Petroleum Characterization increases. Supplying any or all of the bulk
molecular weight, bulk density, or bulk Watson K factor will increase the
accuracy of your pseudo component properties. You can also supply
laboratory curves for molecular weight, density, and/or viscosity, which
will increase the accuracy further.

8 Oil Characterization

Adding Assay Data

1. On the Assay tab of the Oil Characterization view, select the Add
button to display the Input Data tab of the Assay view.
2. In the Name cell, change the assay name to Crude.
3. We will use three types of data here. Use the drop-down lists to
select the following in the Assay Definition group box.

For this option... Select...

Bulk Properties Used
Assay Data Type TBP
Light Ends Input Composition

4. Select the Distillation radio button in the Input Data group box.
5. Select the Assay Basis as Liquid Volume (use the drop-down menu).
Click the Edit Assay button; this will allow you to enter the assay
information below.

Assay Percent Temperature

0.0000 -12°C (10.4°F)
4.000 32°C (90°F)
9.000 74°C (165°F)
14.00 116°C (241°F)
20.00 154°C (310°F)
30.00 224°C (435°F)
40.00 273°C (523°F)
50.00 327°C (620°F)
60.00 393°C (740°F)
70.00 450°C (842°F)
76.00 490°C (914°F)
80.00 516°C (961°F)

Oil Characterization 9

6. Select the Light Ends radio button and enter the data given below:

Light Ends Composition

Methane 0.0065
Ethane 0.0225
Propane 0.3200
i-Butane 0.2400
n-Butane 1.7500
i-Pentane 1.6500
n-Pentane 2.2500

You need to enter the light components in the Fluid Package for them to
be available to the Oil Manager.

7. Select the Bulk Props radio button to enter the Bulk information.
8. In the Standard Density cell, enter an API Gravity of 29 for the crude.
9. Once you have entered all of the data, click the Calculate button.
The status message at the bottom of the Assay view will display
Assay Was Calculated.

Once the Assay is calculated, the working curves are displayed on the
Plots and Working tabs. The working curves are regressed and
extrapolated from the Assay input. From the user-supplied data, HYSYS
generates curves for NBP, molecular weight, mass density, and viscosity.
These working curves are used in determining the properties of the
hypocomponents generated in the Blend step.

10. Close the view and return to the Oil Characterization view. You
should still be on the Assay tab of the view. Notice that all of the
buttons on the view are now accessible.

Hypocomponent Generation/Blending the Oil

The Cut/Blend characterization in HYSYS splits the internal working
curves for one or more assays into hypocomponents. The Blend tab of
the Oil Characterization view provides two functions, Cutting the Oil
into Hypocomponents and Blending two or more Assays into one set of

10 Oil Characterization

Cut Ranges
You have three choices for the Cut Option Selection:

• Auto Cut. HYSYS cuts the assay based on internal values

Range Cuts
37.78 - 425°C (100 - 797°F) 28 (4 per 37.78°C/100°F)
425 - 650°C(797 - 1202°F) 8 (2 per 37.78°C/100°F)
650 - 871°C(1202 - 1600°F) 4 (1 per 37.78°C/100°F)

• User Points. You specify the number of hypocomponents

required. HYSYS proportions the cuts according to an internal
weighting scheme.

Cutpoint Range Internal Weighting

IBP - 425°C(IBP - 797°F) 4 per 37.78°C/100°F
425 - 650°C(797 - 1202°F) 2 per 37.78°C/100°F
650°C - FBP(1202°F - FBP) 1 per 37.78°C/100°F

• User Ranges. You specify the boiling point ranges and the
number of cuts per range.

Cutting the Assay

Once the Assay has been calculated, you can cut the Assay into
individual hypocomponents.

1. Move to the Cut/Blend tab of the Oil Characterization view. Select

the Add button to create a new Blend.
2. In the Name cell, change the name from the default, Blend-1 to
3. From the list of Available Assays (there should only be one), select
Crude and click the Add button. This will add the Assay to the Oil
Flow Information table and a Blend (Cut) will automatically be
calculated. The Blend is calculated using the default Cut Option,
Auto Cut.
4. Instead of using the default Auto Cut option, change the Cut Option
Selection to User Ranges. Select 20 cuts for a Cut Point temperature
of 425°C (800°F), 5 cuts at 620°C (1150°F), and 2 cuts for the range
up to 720°C (1328°F).

Oil Characterization 11

5. Click the Submit button to accept the ranges and cut the oil.

Figure 2

The results of the calculation can be viewed on the Tables tab of the
Blend view.

Go to the composite plot tab to verify the calculated curve matches the
input one.

Installing the Oil in the Flowsheet

The final step of the characterization is to transfer the hypocomponent
information into the Flowsheet.

1. Close the Blend view, and move to the Install Oil tab of the Oil
Characterization view.
2. The Blend, Crude, appears in the Oil Install Information group.

12 Oil Characterization

3. In the Stream Name column, enter the name Raw Crude to which
the oil composition will be transferred.

Figure 3

HYSYS will assign the composition of your calculated Oil and Light Ends
into this stream, completing the characterization process.

Return to the Basis Environment by clicking the Return to Basis

Environment button.

When you return to the Basis Environment, the hypocomponents that

you have generated in the Oil Characterization are placed in the current
fluid package. You can view the fluid package and examine the
individual hypothetical components which make up your oil.
Hypotheticals are named according to the blend group to which they
belong and to their normal boiling point. For example, a component
named NBP[0]118* was generated by the first blend in the case and has a
boiling point of 118°F.

Save your case!

Oil Characterization 13

Answer the following questions:

What are the two lowest boiling points for the hypocomponents? _________
What are the Ideal Liquid Density for those hypocomponents? ___________

Exploring the Simulation

Exercise 1
HYSYS allows you to introduce a Sulphur Curve as a User Property. This
is done in the Oil Environment. Go to the User Property tab of the Oil
Characterization and click the Add button. All the default options will be
used in this case except for the Mixing Basis fields. Sulphur is quoted on
a weight basis, so select Mass Fraction from the drop-down list. Click on
the Edit component user property values button located at the bottom
of the User Property view. The User Property Value appears. Enter a
value of 0 in the User Property Value cell for all the light products (C1,
C2, C3, i-C4, n-C4, i-C5, and n-C5). Click Submit when finished.

You can also provide a descriptive Name for the property, such as

14 Oil Characterization

Now that you have created it, you can return to the Assay Property view,
User Curves tab, and add it to your Assay. The view displayed should
look like this:

Figure 4

Click the Edit button to enter the sulphur curve data.

Assay (%) Sulphur Value

16 0.083
27 0.212
36 1.122
52 2.786
64 2.806
72 3.481
85 4.984
90 5.646

Click the Calculate button on the Assay view. You can now print the new
plots, especially that of the sulphur, to analyse them.
Tip: Go to the Blend tab,
and then to the Composite
Save your case!

Oil Characterization 15

Exploring the Simulation

Exercise 2: Heavy Oils Characterization
Heavy oils are traditionally defined as those whose specific gravity is
lower than 20 API and viscosity is higher than 1000 cP. In the past,
commercialization and transportation of heavy oils has not been very
profitable, but recently developed technologies are now making them
much more attractive.

One of the inherent practical difficulties of heavy oils is their high

viscosities. Transportation of heavy oil for instance is difficult due to the
high energy losses and pressure drops generated by the large friction

In order to facilitate their transport, an attractive option could be to mix

the heavy oil with a lighter one––often termed a “diluent”. This way the
Another way to transport resulting mixture’s density and viscosity could become much more
heavy oil would be to
operate at elevated
appropriate for the transportation and further commercialisation of the
temperatures however this oil.
can have adverse effects
like increasing the solubility
of the water in the crude oil,
If we have a good representation of both the heavy oil and the diluent(s)
as well, some materials may in our simulation it is possible to model different scenarios and quickly
lose mechanical strength at evaluate them. HYSYS can thus be an invaluable tool in helping us to
elevated temperatures.
make the best decision!

In this example, we will use our existing crude from the previous
exercise (Raw Crude) as a diluent and mix it with a heavy oil of 15 API, in
order to see what the new calculated properties of the resulting mixture
are. In characterizing the heavy oil, we have its bulk density (15 API), a
TBP curve, and will also use viscosity curves provided by the lab.
Remember: API density is
inversely proportional to
Specific Gravity so the lower
it is, the higher the density API gravity ( degrees ) = ---------------------------------------------------------------
- – 131.5
value. 60
Specific Gravity at ----------

16 Oil Characterization

How HYSYS Calculates Oil Viscosity

HYSYS automatically selects the model best suited for predicting the
phase viscosities of the system under study. The model selected is from
one of the three available in HYSYS: a modification of the NBS method
(Ely and Hanley) for vapours and light hydrocarbons, Twu's model for
Adapted from HYSYS 3.2 heavy hydrocarbons, or a modification of the Letsou-Stiel correlation for
Simulation Basis Guide - non-ideal liquids.
Appendix A.5 Physical and
Transport Properties.
When supplied viscosity assays are used to regress the parameters used
in the viscosity correlations. The parameters (known as shape factors)
are specific to each hypothetical component.

Average crude oils (including water and acid gases) are well represented
by the modified NBS method, however the Twu method is found to do a
better job of predicting the viscosities of heavier hydrocarbons

The method used for the mixed oil stream will depend on its
composition (NBP).

For a proper characterization of a heavy oil it is crucial to know its bulk
density and its viscosity at two different temperatures; providing the
Watson K factor is also recommended.

Physical Property curves can improve the accuracy of your oil

characterization, particularly when combined with bulk property data.
The hypothetical component physical properties will be correlated so
that the property curves are matched. If the user does not supply
property curves HYSYS Oil Manager must generate its own internal
curves for density and viscosity using API recommended correlations
and known bulk property data.

Oil Characterization 17

Physical Property Curves

Physical property curves are normally reported from the laboratory
using one of the following two conventions:

Adapted from HYSYS 3.2 • An Independent assay basis, where different sample assays are
Simulation Basis Guide - done––one for the distillation curve, and a different one for each
Characterization Assays of the physical property curves. The assay fractions will likely be
different for each curve.
• A Dependent assay basis, where a common set of assay
fractions is used for both the distillation curve and the physical
property curves.

Calculated hypothetical component physical properties are average

values for the given boiling point range, and hence are midpoint values.
Distillation data reports the temperature when the last drop of liquid
boils off for a given assay range and therefore distillation is an endpoint
property. Since all dependent input property curves are reported on the
same endpoint basis as the distillation curve, they are converted by
HYSYS to a midpoint basis. Independent property curves are not altered
in any manner as they are already defined on a midpoint basis.

As with distillation curves, there is no limit to the number of data points

you provide. The order in which you input the points is not important,
as HYSYS sorts the input data. A minimum of five data points is required
to define a property curve in HYSYS. It is not necessary that each
property curve point have a corresponding distillation value.

Using bulk properties. If a bulk molecular weight or mass density is

going to be supplied, then the corresponding Molecular Weight or
Density working curve generated from your input is smoothed to ensure
a match with the bulk property. If you do not enter bulk properties, then
they are calculated from the unsmoothed working curves.

1. Enter the Assay data for the Heavy Oil.

From the existing case, go to the Oil Environment and add a new Assay
with the following data:

• S. Joaquin Crude
• Standard density 15.3 API
• Viscosity @ 70 F 2040 cSt
• Viscosity @ 100 F 337 cSt

18 Oil Characterization

TBP Kinematic Viscosity Kinematic Viscosity

T (C) @ 100 F @ 210 F
0.408 0.447 0.446 0.326
0.446 70
1.59 0.631 0.854 0.343
0.854 100
2.38 1.03 2.444 0.430
2.444 150
5.18 1.85 4.824 0.592
4.824 190
5.81 3.89 10.004 0.860
10.004 235
9.09 9.01 15.814 1.340
15.814 280
40.4 144 24.904 2.250
24.904 343
65.304 20.3
65.304 565

2. Create a new blend for the heavy oil.

There are two methods for blending oils in HYSYS:

• If the 2 oils are blended within Oil Manager only 1 set of hypo
components is created, representing the blended mixture.
• However, when different crudes are coming from very different
sources, it is a good idea to blend them separately (creating two
different blends) and mix them in the Simulation Environment
instead. The reason for this is that in blending the crudes within
Oil Manager, HYSYS must generate a set of common
hypocomponents that can well predict the properties both of the
source oils––not necessarily a reasonable expectation for very
different crudes.

The S Joaquin Crude in this case differs greatly from the "Raw Crude" we
created earlier in this module (both in NBP and in physical properties).
For this reason the user is encouraged to create another blend, instead
of creating a common set of hypocomponents from the two crudes.

Optional Exercise
Test this out yourself––after completing this exercise in full, create a new
blend in the Oil Manager that is a mix of both assays. Then compare the
properties of this blend with the those of the mixed stream created in
Step #6 below.

Oil Characterization 19

3. Validate the generated pseudo/hypo components:

After you've created the blend, go to the Composite Plot tab and
compare the generated curves with the input data. (You can change the
scale of the graph in order to have a better view of the viscosity by right
clicking on the plot).

4. Install the S Joaquin oil in the PFD. Go to the Install tab of the Oil
Manager and enter the stream name "S Joaquin".
5. Enter the Simulation Environment and view the S Joaquin stream.

What is the current API density of the SJoaquin stream at1 bar and 60 F?

You can see the importance of using the bulk density in the
characterization of the oil: go back to the Oil Environment and delete
the value that is entered there.

Go back to the Simulation Environment.

What is the calculated SJoaquin density? _______________________________

And the Raw Crude one? ______________________________________________

Restore the value 15 API for the bulk density of the heavy oil assay in the
Oil Environment before continuing.

6. Mix the Heavy Oil and Diluent:

As mentioned, to make a crude lighter for transporting by pipeline,

Heavy Oil is mixed with a diluent such as naphtha or a lighter crude oil.

We want to transport 600000 Kg/h of San Joaquin Crude but in this

example our transportation system will only accept crudes starting from
21 API. We have studied several scenarios and the best one seems to be
mixing the heavy Oil with another one, the Raw Crude.

What is the minimum quantity of Raw Crude we need to add? (Hint: Use an
Adjust) _____________________________________________________________
Is the viscosity of the mixed stream better for transportation now? _______

20 Oil Characterization

Save this case for your records and load the one we created prior to the
Exploring the Simulation exercise. The rest of the course materials are
built using the lighter "Raw Crude" stream as the oil source.