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Investigating the Effect of Uncertainty on a LP Model of a Petrochemical Complex: Stability Analysis Approach

Authors: Abdallah Al-Shammari


This study discusses the effect of uncertainty on production levels of a petrochemical complex. Uncertainly or variations in some model parameters, such as prices, supply and demand of materials, can affect the optimality or the efficiency of any chemical process. For any petrochemical complex with many plants, there are many sources of uncertainty and frequent variations which require more attention. Many optimization approaches are proposed in the literature to incorporate uncertainty within the model in order to obtain a robust solution. In this work, a stability analysis approach is applied to a deterministic LP model of a petrochemical complex consists of ten plants to investigate the effect of such variations on the obtained optimal production levels. The proposed approach can determinate the allowable variation ranges of some parameters, mainly objective or RHS coefficients, before the system lose its optimality. Parameters with relatively narrow range of variations, i.e. stability limits, are classified as sensitive parameters or constraints that need accurate estimate or intensive monitoring. These stability limits offer easy-to-use information to the decision maker and help in understanding the interaction between some model parameters and deciding when the system need to be re-optimize. The study shows that maximum production of ethylene and the prices of intermediate products are the most sensitive factors that affect the stability of the optimum solution

Keywords: petrochemicals, Uncertainty, Stability Analysis, Linear Programming

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