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ASHLAND PETROLEUM - FLUID DATA, INC. SIGN AGREEMENT ON OCTANE MEASURING TECHNOLOGY

 ASHLAND PETROLEUM - FLUID DATA, INC.
 SIGN AGREEMENT ON OCTANE MEASURING TECHNOLOGY
 ASHLAND, Ky., March 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Ashland Petroleum Company, a division of Ashland Oil, Inc. (NYSE: ASH), and Fluid Data, Inc. signed a licensing agreement on a new Ashland-patented procedure that uses special near-infrared technology to measure octane and other properties of gasoline during blending, it was announced today.
 Developed by Steven M. Maggard, Ph.D., senior research chemist at Ashland Petroleum's Research and Development Department, InfraTane(TM) measures octane by measuring gasoline's absorption of light in certain high-correlation near infrared bands and mathematically processing the absorption into an octane result virtually continuously during gasoline blending.
 The agreement reached between Ashland Petroleum and Fluid Data of Merrick, N.Y., grants Fluid Data the right to design, engineer, construct and service InfraTane(TM) systems for its customers.
 "InfraTane(TM) is more accurate, quicker and better suited to blending than conventional knock engines," Maggard said. "InfraTane(TM) is an analytical method of octane measurement that uses a fiber optic interface to refinery blending streams to provide an accurate and almost instantaneous prediction of the actual pump octane number. Undoubtedly, we believe this process is an important breakthrough in product testing technology."
 According to Charles B. Miller, group vice president of manufacturing for Ashland Petroleum, the company tested and has been using the system commercially at its 67,000-barrel per day St. Paul Park, Minn., refinery for more than a year. It also will be operational at the company's 213,000-barrel per day Catlettsburg, Ky., refinery by the fall of 1992. Miller said the procedure can avoid the delays encountered when samples are taken to a knock-engine.
 "Actual runs at the refinery show that InfraTane(TM) is two to three times more accurate than knock-engine lab measures of octane numbers," Miller said, adding that millions of gallons of gasoline have been successfully blended using the system. "Now patented in the United States, we have other patent rights pending in the United States and at least 35 countries.
 "Investment and operating costs are less than conventional knock-engines, and the reduction of octane give-away and more reliable product quality pay attractive dividends in most refineries," Miller added.
 Maurice M. Mitchell Jr., Ph.D., vice president of research and development, said that the process works for hydrocarbon products, including reformulated gasoline that will be required in the mid-1990s, as well as fuels containing ethanol, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and other oxygenates. Along with measuring gasoline octane, InfraTane(TM) is capable of measuring other gasoline constituents including aromatics and olefins. He added that the technology also can track gradual octane change, which is not possible through the knock-engine method.
 "There obviously are advantages to this advanced technology," Maggard said. "In addition to reducing octane give-away, refiners can calibrate to one standard and can avoid low-octane shipments. The procedure also measures pump, research and motor octanes and uses fiber optic probes for remote switching."
 The process equipment and service are available through Fluid Data, 1844 Lansdowne Ave., Merrick, N.Y. 11566-3899, or by calling 516-223-2190, or fax 516-379-0098.
 Ashland Petroleum Company is the largest operating division of Ashland Oil, and is engaged in petroleum refining, transportation and marketing from the east coast through the Ohio River Valley and upper midwest.
 -0- 3/23/92
 /CONTACT: Tom Dalesio of Ashland Oil, Inc., 606-329-3445, or Donald Campbell, Ph.D. of Fluid Data, Inc., 409-849-2344/
 (ASH) CO: Ashland Oil, Inc.; Fluid Data, Inc. ST: Kentucky IN: OIL SU: PDT


CD -- PG010 -- 0498 03/23/92 10:47 EST
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Date:Mar 23, 1992
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