, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 151-189

A hybrid model for a multiproduct pipeline planning and scheduling problem

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Abstract

Brazilian petrobras is one of the world largest oil companies. Recurrently, it faces a very difficult planning and scheduling problem: how to operate a large pipeline network in order to adequately transport oil derivatives and biofuels from refineries to local markets. In spite of being more economical and environmentally safer, the use of a complex pipeline network poses serious operational difficulties related to resource allocation and temporal constraints. The current approaches known from the literature only consider a few types of constraints and restricted topologies, hence they are far from being applicable to real instances from petrobras. We propose a hybrid framework based on a two-phase problem decomposition strategy. A novel Constraint Programming (CP) model plays a key role in modelling operational constraints that are usually overlooked in literature, but that are essential in order to guarantee viable solutions. The full strategy was implemented and produced very adequate results when tested over large real instances.