It was a Thursday. After an exhausting lesson of programming, the whole class was thrilled for the excursion to the OMV – Österreichische Mineralölverwaltung, located in Schwechat.
Let me tell you, it is still a topic in chemistry, in which I’m interested in.
So, no ennui, at least for me. We got in the premium deluxe super bus and started making our way to the OMV.
After our glorious arrival, we were welcomed with fresh water and some coffee. We all sat down and enjoyed our free drinks.
After the successful setup of the presentation by the conductor, he started to explain some topics. We were given a lot of insights about the refinery, how it manages their inputs, outputs, and the general reprocessing of oil.
It started with some info about the OMV – what it is and what it does. Upstream, downstream oil and downstream gas were the first terms we talked about. In short, upstream involves exploring the producing oil and gas.
Downstream oil includes: the refining of crude oil, distribution of products, as well as the filling station business. Lastly, downstream gas covers the transportation, distribution, and storage of the gas. We were told Borealis, which produces essentials for plastic and is right next to the refinery in Schwechat, gets the produced ethylene and propylene.
The next big point was the security of their work and workers. For example, there were more than 200,000 data processed at any second. He also introduced us to their new trainings program for the new employees. They now use VR with a computer model for their refinery – buttons, pipes, alarms are all included. Transportation of oil was one topic, which provoked a lot of students to ask the conductor questions about it.
But in the end, there was nothing “special” about it. In the end it is just a very long pipeline connected to various locations.
The OMV seemed very confident about the current issues of global warning. They have already spent about 200 million euros to upgrade the refinery and better the environment. Another additional detail is: Around 10 million tons of oil get reprocessed in Schwechat yearly. Something special about the refinery in Austria is, that it can process more than just one type of oil – this is very useful as it means they do not have to stick to just one type. After being told a lot on the reprocessing of the oil – distillation, desulphurisation, refinement, cracking, and the mixture – we all were starting to get excited about the tour of the refinery, which is over 1.6 square kilometres in size.
All the listed steps include lots of work. Distillation includes a desalter, heat and a lot more. In the desulphurisation, the oil gets combined with hydrogen and a lot of pressure, so the sulphur gets cut off. At the end of the presentation, the future of the company was the final topic.
After the hour passed, we got the chance to have a look at the refinery from within the bus.
Pascal Schmiedjell, 3EHIF