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Title: The vulnerability of the petroleum supply chain
Author: Zavitsas, Konstantinos
ISNI:       0000 0004 2724 0338
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2012
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Oil and its products are the main fuel of today's global society. It is therefore necessary to ensure the continuous, smooth and uninterrupted flow of oil to end users. The aim of this thesis is to examine and assess the ability of the petroleum supply chain to retain functionality when damaged in some way. The main causes of interruptions considered are random failures, such as natural disasters or accidental damages, malicious attacks and intentional disruptions. The research seeks a holistic assessment of oil supply chain vulnerability addressing such interruptions. A literature review is conducted on the topographic properties of networks and how network structure is related to reliability, vulnerability, robustness and criticality. The disruption causes and the various measures of vulnerability are also examined in order to identify the characteristics of critical failure scenarios. Literature review is further extended over the development, operations and management of the oil supply chain and the response measures in place for replacing and recovering lost throughput in case of a disruption. The methodology adopted consists of three optimization stages, namely shortest path finding, flow assignment and network interdiction. Shortest path finding is concerned with the topographic features of the oil supply chain and more specifically with the establishment of optimal origin-destination paths. The oil supply chain that is modelled as a multi-origin multi-destination spatial network making use of Djikstra's shortest path search algorithm. The second optimization stage regards the assignment of flow and the satisfaction of user demand. A minimum cost flow problem similar to the transportation problem is used for that purpose. The model is fitted to the oil context by adding a fleet capacity constraint and a deterministic fleet velocity factor. The latter optimization stage is conducted using a game theoretic interdiction model based on a two-player zero-sum game mixed strategy proposed by Bell (2000). The results obtained are both of methodological and practical nature. Vulnerability has been assessed for two different set-ups of the oil supply network aiming to capture different vulnerability aspects. The results highlight vulnerable network components and stress weak locations where infrastructure improvements can be made. Furthermore, policy weaknesses are identified.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available