New Sustainability Analysis includes Water Usage, ETS Impacts, Renewable Power, and Updated CEI to Support Climate Initiatives

The world is changing. Solomon estimates 15–20% of global refining capacity will be at risk by 2030 under many future demand scenarios, with an additional 20% of capacity at risk by 2040. Now more than ever, refiners need a more detailed understanding of their assets’ performance to survive.

Solomon continues to invest in the Worldwide Fuels Refinery Performance Analysis (Fuels Study) in preparation for the upcoming study year. These investments represent a strategic expansion to address industry feedback.

Delivering Value

Over the past 15 years, Solomon has worked to add valuable analyses (e.g., yield gaps, fractionation gaps, efficiency metrics, energy gaps, maintenance gaps, and more focused peer groups) to the Fuels Study. For most participants, return on investment can be realized with low- or no-capital requirement by closing <0.1% of the gaps identified.

Additionally, study results delivery has transitioned from simply identifying gaps to discussions of likely causes, including general insight on how “best in industry” have closed gaps.

In 2020, Solomon introduced a new analysis that separates the demand and efficiency components of non-turnaround maintenance, as reducing maintenance costs while improving operational availability requires the maintenance organization to improve its response to workforce productivity issues, excessive demand exerted on this workforce, or both.

Solomon continues to build on these improvements for future Fuels Study participants.

Sustainability Improvements

Fuels Study improvements include benchmarking water usage and measuring the impact of Emissions Trading Systems (ETS), in addition to existing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which we have analyzed since 2006. Key metrics include:

  • Energy Sustainability Index (ESI™) – Unveiled during the 2020 Fuels Study, ESI measures the efficiency of energy generation for both direct (Scope 1) and indirect (Scope 2) energy sources required for refinery operation. ESI, accounts for power and steam generated from renewable sources, reflects the actual efficiency of steam and power generation from indirect sources outside the refinery, including cogeneration facilities, green-energy contracts, and the power grid.
  • Carbon Emissions Index (CEI) – Solomon has significantly revamped CEI, the primary metric for GHG emissions, to measure more accurately direct (Scope 1) and indirect (Scope 2) emissions. CEI has been integrated with the new ESI metric, enabling GHG benchmarking to account for the actual fuel mix as well as the generation efficiency and renewable footprint of Scope 1 and Scope 2 sources.
  • Emissions Trading Systems (ETS) – Data will be collected and reported for plants regulated via ETS.
  • Water Use – Data will be collected and reported for each refinery regarding how water is sourced, consumed, reused, conserved, and discharged.
  • Power Generation by Renewables – Solomon will be collecting data for power generated on-site using wind turbines, solar photovoltaic, expander turbines, and other non-combustion sources.

Production of Renewable Fuels

Part of achieving a “net zero” carbon footprint involves the production of renewable transportation fuels such as renewable diesel (RD) and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Many companies are investing significant capital funds to build greenfield facilities, convert existing hydrotreaters and hydrocrackers, or adding co-processing capabilities to produce these fuels. Solomon will be collecting data to help benchmark the effectiveness and competitiveness of these new facilities. We will collect data on feed slate; feed properties; renewables blended into transportation fuel; reactor operating conditions including pressures, temperatures, quench, and recycle rates; catalyst life; volume gain; maintenance costs; and capital expenditure per gallon of renewable fuel produced.

Gaps vs Peer Enhancements

As global competition in the refining sector increases, Solomon is adopting a more worldwide view of performance gaps versus industry competitors:

  • Non-Energy Operating Expense Peer – The top five performers in maintenance and other non-energy operating expenses, based on your size and region, are chosen to assess your gap. In the past, energy was a component of this peer selection. However, energy is now a separate analysis, enabling a sharper focus on non-energy operating expense efficiencies.
  • Energy Efficiency Peer – We are now comparing your refinery to the World’s Best based on your size and complexity. This comparison is important as companies link carbon emissions reduction with energy efficiency improvements.

Results Presentation Improvements

The Fuels Study results presentation went through the first phase of a transformation during the 2020 Fuels Study, enabling participants to receive greater insight into improvement opportunities. This transformation will continue with future Fuels Studies, with high-impact analyses being added to the study presentation, bringing even more actionable insight to the surface.

Delivery Improvements

Along with these improvements, investments are being made in data analytics to improve the input data review process and data-to-insights workflow. Automation platforms for the study continue to be upgraded to increase efficiency and

Solomon continues to focus on substantially reducing participant effort in collecting study data as we transition our products from spreadsheets to online digital formats. This transition provides for internal efficiencies and cost savings within companies focused on continuous improvement.

Confidentiality remains a top priority, with many overlapping layers of safeguards and cybersecurity protections that surround all Solomon studies.

Finally, Solomon continues to increase the depth and breadth of its refining industry expertise to better serve study participants.

Solomon appreciates your interest and continued participation in the upcoming Fuels Study.

About Solomon

HSB Solomon Associates LLC (Solomon) provides data-driven, strategic insight across the energy industry, leading to greater efficiency, reliability, and profitability. We draw upon the world’s most extensive, historical, and proprietary databases of operational performance, and combine that knowledge with a library of industry best practices and industry experts that understand your business. This combination allows us to identify operational gaps and deliver insight and solutions to close those gaps and improve results, connecting data to business strategy and sustained performance excellence. Solomon is part of the HSB family of companies and serves clients in nearly 80 countries, with global headquarters in Dallas and regional offices in Houston, London, Manama, and Singapore.

Learn more about the Fuels Study at