Transfer tank farms play an important role in an oil products pipeline network, which receive oil products from upstream pipelines and deliver them to downstream pipelines. The scheduling problem for oil products supply chain is very complicated because of numerous constraints to be considered. The published literatures on schedule optimization of oil products pipeline network usually focus on the batch plans of each pipeline, without consideration on the receipt and delivery schedule of transfer tank farm. In this paper, a mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) model is developed for the schedule optimization of transfer tank farm. The objective of the model is to minimize switching times of the tank operations of a tank farm during a planning horizon, while fulfilling the products transmission requirements of the upstream and downstream pipelines of the tank farm. The constraints of the model include material balance, the operational rules of tanks, the topological structure constraints of the tank farm, the settling period of the oil products stored in dedicated tank and so on. To satisfy the constraint of fulfilling the specific transmission requirements of pipelines, concepts of static and dynamic time slot are proposed. A continuous time representation is used to obtain accurate optimal schedules and decrease scale of the model by reducing the number of variables. The model is solved by CPLEX solver for a transfer tank farm of an oil products pipeline network in China. Some examples are tested under different scenarios and the results show that global optimal solution can be obtain at acceptable computational costs.

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