white spirit production, petroleum refinery operation, UPR, ecoinvent 3.6, Undefined

ISIC4 categories:
C:Manufacturing/19:Manufacture of coke and refined petroleum products/192:Manufacture of refined petroleum products/1920:Manufacture of refined petroleum products
Europe without Switzerland
Reference year: 2014 - 2017

Location: Europe without Switzerland - Europe without Switzerland
This dataset describes the operation of a representative average petroleum oil refinery in the given geography. Since petroleum refineries are very complex the actual unit process modeling is done in a separate refinery tool, developed by ifeu (Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, Heidelberg, Germany) and this is a subdivided product-specific dataset.
The ifeu petroleum refinery life cycle inventory (LCI) tool is based on the outputs of a complex refinery model that reproduces the complexity of petroleum refinery plants in which the combination and sequence of processes are usually very specific to the characteristics of the raw materials (i.e. the close relation between the composition of the crude oil and the products to be produced). Refineries differ not only in their configurations, process integration, feedstocks, product mixes, unit sizes, designs, and control systems but also the market situations, locations and ages of the refinery or environmental regulations can result in a wide variety of refinery concepts. It represents the current European state-of-the-art. The basic setting of the model reflects the technical characteristics of European refineries as described in the Best Available Techniques (BAT) Reference Document (BREF)for the Refining of Mineral Oil and Gas (European Commission, 2015). Further specific data was collected from companies and production plants and was incorporated in order to elaborate a comprehensive and robust model of a refinery.
The BREF (European Commission, 2015) contains not only aggregated numbers or weighted averages of emission and energy or water consumptions, but also encompasses primary data of the majority of refineries in Europe in anonymous form. This data source has been complemented by various specific confidential refinery datasets, by values from Eurostat (e.g. in the case of the energy source mix or process energy), and by literature data. In the case of the BREF, a range of values were mentioned as process parameters for which the arithmetic averages were applied. After adapting the model to the up-to-date mass and energy flows within the European refineries, it has been validated and calibrated by comparing the results to the dataset of the BREF, the Eurostat and the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR).
The simplified LCI tool can be adjusted to average conditions of a specific geography through the following parameters: refinery complexity (according to the complexity classes defined in the BREF document, type I-IV), crude oil sulfur content and American Petroleum Institute (API) gravity classification. To create this dataset, the above parameters were set to represent the average situation in Europe without Switzerland:
Crude quality – API and sulfur content: Crude imports to Europe by country of origin were taken from BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2017 (Oil: Inter-area movements 2016) (BP, 2017) and matched with the crude quality reported for these regions in ENI World Oil Review 2018 (ENI, 2018). The resulting weighted average API grade of crude imports to Europe is 35, and the weighted average sulfur content 1.03%.
Refinery complexity: The 2018 World Refining Survey (OGJ, 2018) reports the configuration of 107 refineries in Europe. According to their configuration each refinery was assigned a refinery type (I-IV) as defined in the BREF document. Weighted by the annual throughput volume, 62% of European refineries classify as type II, 29% as type II and 9% as type IV.
LCIs were generated for BREF type II, III and IV for API 35 and sulfur content 1.03% (applying linear interpolation between sulfur content of 1% and 3%). This dataset was created as weighted average of types II-IV according to the above shares.
Undefined unit processes (UPRs) are the unlinked, multi-product activity datasets that form the basis for all of the system models available in the ecoinvent database. This is the way the datasets are obtained and entered into the database by the data providers. These activity datasets are useful for investigating the environmental impacts of a specific activity (gate-to-gate), without regard to its upstream or downstream impacts.


The technology level in Europe applied here represents a weighted average of BREF types II (62%), III (29%), IV (9%) refineries; API 35; sulfur content 1.03%.

Process type
Supported nomenclature
ecoinvent 3.6
LCI modeling approach
Before modeling
Multifunctional modeling
Aggregation type
Data provider
Review status
For sale

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