MPC’s Refining Analytical & Development: an invaluable resource
MPC's research and analytics lab is full of state-of-the-art equipment and has a very real impact on the company’s bottom line, but for the scientists who work there, RAD is a place where they can simply do what they love.
The Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) Refining Analytical & Development (RAD), located adjacent to MPC’s refinery in Catlettsburg, Ky., exists to support operations across the entire corporation. By providing technical expertise, support and oversight, RAD aids in MPC’s mission to achieve outstanding results in safety, environmental protection, operations, and finance. The research and analytics lab is full of state-of-the-art equipment and has a very real impact on the company’s bottom line, but for the scientists who work there, RAD is a place where they can simply do what they love.
“In the old days, Ashland Oil and Marathon Oil each had a unique research and development [R&D] department,” explained RAD Manager Keith Friley. “Following Ashland and Marathon’s joint venture in 1998, the decision was made to consolidate the R&D functions to one location, using Ashland’s R&D location in Catlettsburg.”
It was also around that time the department’s primary mission evolved from a traditional R&D environment to a more applied research atmosphere using practical applications of proven technologies. To reflect this shift, R&D officially changed its name to RAD.
The diverse group of 70 chemists, biologists and engineers at RAD provides the company a wide range of services and technical oversight, including detailed analysis of feedstocks and finished products, facility discharge monitoring, quality control, analyzer evaluations, and lab audits, among many others.
They are also a support service, able to troubleshoot operational problems or identify unknown materials. “We interpret data to assist in improving processes, mitigating problems, and much more,” said Friley.