Chris Boljkovac

Chris Boljkovac

About Me

Engineer, Scientist, Economist, Developer


I’m a process optimization specialist who helps manufacturers improve process safety, environmental performance, reliability, costs, and margin. I’ve worked in the oil and gas, chemicals, pulp and paper, steam/power, water, and mineral processing industries. I spent 10+ years developing commercial modeling and control software and 15+ years creating and deploying these technologies.

I hope you enjoy your visit. Feel free to get in touch with me regarding consulting, collaboration, or employment opportunities.


What I Do

Process Optimization

Systems to monitor and improve the economic operation of processes

Process Modeling

Steady state and dynamic process models for online and offline applications

Software Development

Commercial process simulation, process control, and mathematical software

Advanced Process Control

Complex model-based process control applications



Fun Facts

Years of Experience


Hours Worked


Industries Served


Cups of Coffee



28+ Years of Experience



Senior Optimization Specialist (2017-Present), RTO Engineer (2006-2017)

Shell (Ft. Saskatchewan, AB) - International energy company with 87,000 employees in 70+ countries; 180 B$ revenue in 2020.

Leading the delivery of benefits for the refinery, chemical plants, and upgraders using real time optimization (RTO) and related technologies. Ensuring that the site RTO platform is maintained, developed, and used in innovative ways to improve process safety, environmental performance, reliability, costs, and margin. Working with operations, economics, and engineering disciplines to identify new optimization opportunities that align with site business goals. Developing and applying offline process models to support unit performance improvement and debottlenecking studies. Deploying model-based real time monitoring, plant-wide data reconciliation, and mass balance applications and supporting their use in process analysis, flow meter performance monitoring, greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting, and production accounting. Collaborating and sharing technical knowledge across the enterprise. Developing and maintaining site subject matter expertise and supporting talent development in the use of process optimization and modeling technologies.

  • Improved Refinery margin by 1-4 M$/m by implementing an online model-based relief load estimator for a crude column that allowed maximum feed diet flexibility while ensuring continued safe operation.
  • Increased operating profit by 2-3 K$/d by implementing an RTO system for a 155,000 BBL/d A&V unit with tools to monitor constraint relaxation opportunities and heat exchanger cleaning benefits.
  • Delivered 40 K$/d per production run by developing a non-linear control method to produce high-quality Diluent with existing advanced control (APC) and optimization (RTO) applications.
  • Produced 20 K$/d in yield improvement by deploying a rigorous online crude furnace model to improve firing limit prediction, allowing up to a 4 C increase in outlet temperature.


Senior Automation Engineer

Domtar (Cornwall, ON) - Paper product manufacturer with 8,500 employees serving over 50 countries; 3.3 B$ revenue in 2005.

Maintained 500+ control loops, 200+ operator displays, data historian (PI), and batch and advanced controls for the pulp mill, steam system, and wastewater treatment plant. Monitored distributed control system (DCS) health, resolved system problems, and performed hardware and software upgrades. Trained instrument technicians on DCS configuration and loop tuning. Developed DCS programming standards, long-term automation upgrade plans, and proposals for capital projects.

  • Increased production rates by 3-5% while reducing product quality variations by improving the recursive parameter update method in a Honeywell model-based batch digester control application.
  • Saved 30 K$/trip in lost production by overhauling the steam drum advanced controls for a 230 tph utility boiler to reject large changes in steam demand.


Senior Research and Development Engineer

Hyprotech (Calgary, AB) - Simulation software provider with 400 employees and 68 M$ revenue; acquired by AspenTech in 2002.

Spearheaded the incorporation of open-equation simulation technologies in HYSYS. Developments included solution algorithms, optimization features, and process unit models. Provided technical expertise for real time optimization (RTO) system proposals and designs. Supported RTO project staff on process and control system modeling, process data interfaces, and system commissioning.

  • Avoided 50 K$ in cost overruns while meeting challenging performance requirements by developing a mixed integer non-linear programming (MINLP) algorithm for a HYSYS.RTO project.
  • Improved HYSYS solution speed by 5- to 10-times for highly-interactive simulations by implementing a feature to embed open-equation sub-models in process flowsheets.


Technology Manager, Co-founder

Open Models (London, ON) - Start-up specializing in process simulation software and services; acquired by Hyprotech in 2000.

Directed simulation software development for use in operator training, process control, process design, and cloud-based modeling applications. Worked with Operations and Business Managers to create product roadmaps, project proposals, and marketing materials. Evaluated new simulation technologies, mentored software developers, developed new modeling features, database interfaces, and prototypes.

  • Landed a 200 K$ dynamic simulation project by developing a real-time interface between MASSBAL and Simulink.
  • Delivered 100 K$ in additional license sales from new modeling features developed for MASSBAL.


Senior Applications Analyst (1997-1998), Team Leader (1994-1997), Applications Analyst (1993-1994)

Honeywell (London, ON) - Technology and manufacturing company with a workforce of 57,000; 8.4 B$ revenue in 1998.

Led the development of the Optimizer online modeling platform for use in real-time optimization (RTO) projects. Created a real-time executive, steady state detection, data screening, and process data interfaces. Upgraded the MASSBAL simulator with refinery reactor models (FCC, HCR, and HF-Alky), distillation and heat transfer models, thermodynamic packages, and optimization algorithms.

  • Awarded four (4) real time optimization (RTO) projects worth over 1.0 M$ in the 2 years following the initial release of the Optimizer platform.
  • Secured a multi-year 300 K$ process design and control project by prototyping and demonstrating a dynamic fired-boiler MASSBAL model to a potential client.



Master's Studies

McMaster University (Hamilton, ON)

Process Control


Bachelor of Applied Science

Queen's University (Kingston, ON)

Chemical Engineering

Process Simulators



Honeywell UNISIM

AspenTech HYSYS

Control Systems

Foxboro IA

Honeywell Experion

Honeywell TDC

Data Historians

OSIsoft PI

Honeywell PHD

Wonderware InFusion

Foxboro AIM







Selected Works

Process Modeling


Online Crude Column Relief Load Estimation

Shell (Canada)

Implementation of a model-based relief load estimator for a crude column. Online estimation of combined feed composition changes allowed maximum feed diet flexibility while ensuring continued safe operation.


Online Heat Exchanger Fouling and Cleaning Benefit Estimation

Shell (Canada)

System to estimate heat exchanger fouling rates, flow maldistribution, bypass rates, and online/offline status of site heat exchangers. Economic analysis produced one-shot and aggregate cleaning benefits.


Online Safeguarding of a Fired Heater

Shell (Canada)

Development of an adaptive crude furnace model to improve firing limit prediction. The system ensured safe on-going operation while maximizing product yields.

Process Optimization


Optimal Heat Exchanger Bypass using Hydraulic Models

Shell (Canada)

Addition of network hydraulics to an existing online process model to support generation of optimal heat exchanger bypass flow targets. The system resulted in significant increases in feed preheat and reduced energy costs.


A&V Unit Real Time Optimization System

Shell (Canada)

Design and implementation of a real time optimization (RTO) system for a 155,000 bbl/d Upgrader A&V unit. Generated 36 advanced control (APC) targets with tools to monitor target utilization and constraint relaxation economic opportunities.


Energy Optimization System

Dow (USA)

Online optimization of a steam-power system using HYSYS.RTO. System included equipment selection/line-up optimization and offline what-if cases.


Refinery Steam Real Time Optimization System

Repsol (Spain)

Real time optimization system for a refinery steam/power facility. Operating targets included changes to boiler status and drive selections.


Hydrocracker Unit Real Time Optimization System

Petrochemia Plock (Poland)

Real time optimization system for a new hydrocracker unit (HCU) at a 200,000 bpd refinery. Delivered as part of an advanced control and automation project.


Energy Management System

Samsung Chemicals (South Korea)

Real time optimization system for the steam/power facility at a large petrochemical complex.


Energy Optimization Feasibility Study

Dow-Bayer-NOVA (Canada)

Study of the potential economic benefits of a multi-site steam/power optimization system.

Dynamic Simulation


Nickel Smelter Dynamic Model

Falconbridge (Canada)

Dynamic model of a 45MW electric furnace to predict matte, slag, and off-gas compositions. Used to investigate alternative operating conditions and evaluate process design changes.


Water Reservoir Management Study

SA Water (Australia)

Water reservoir process model and case study to determine the feasibility of developing a real time inventory management system.


Refinery Steam System Dynamic Model

Exxon (USA)

Dynamic fired boiler process model with advanced steam drum controls. Used to evaluate process modifications and control designs to improve disturbance rejection.



Correction and Compensation of Orifice Meter Flows

Shell (Canada)

Tool to improve the accuracy of measured vent gas flows used in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reporting.


Reconciled Flow Measurements for Emissions Reporting

Shell (Canada)

Incorporation of flow meter health and reconciled measurements for Refinery greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting.

Process Control


Model-Based Control of Diluent Production

Shell (Canada)

Development of a non-linear control method to produce high quality C5-C6 diluent with existing advanced control (APC) and optimization (RTO) applications.


Batch Control of Kraft Pulp Digestors

Domtar (Canada)

Enhancement of a large-scale batch digester advanced control program. Resulted in reduced cycle time and improved product quality.


Advanced Control of a Utility Boiler

Domtar (Canada)

Performance analysis, modification, and tuning of the advanced control system for a 230 tph utility boiler to improve load disturbance rejection.

Software Development


Mixed Integer Nonlinear Programming (MINLP) Algorithm

Aspen Technology (Canada)

Development of an object-oriented mixed integer optimization algorithm (MINLP) for HYSYS.RTO. The algorithm was required to support selection optimization in a steam/power real time optimization (RTO) project.


Dynamic Process Model Interface for Simulink

Open Models (Canada)

Development of a real-time interface between MASSBAL dynamic process models and Simulink for use in control design and operator training (OTS) projects.


Open Equation Kinetic Reactor Models for Refining

Honeywell (Canada)

Creation of equation-based refinery reactor kinetic models from closed-form versions. Hydrotreating/hydrocracking (HTR/HCR), Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC), and HF-Alkylation reactors were required for real time optimization (RTO) projects.


Online Process Modeling System

Honeywell (Canada)

Development of the OPTIMIZER platform for use in online process monitoring and optimization systems. Components included online executive, real-time data interfaces, steady-state detection, and data screening.


Equation-based Process Simulator Hydrocarbon Processes

Honeywell (Canada)

Modification of the MASSBAL process simulator to support hydrocarbon process models, data reconciliation and gross error detection, and optimization. Developed distillation models, physical property packages, real time process data interfaces, and solution algorithms.

Data Reconciliation


Refinery-wide Data Reconciliation System

Shell (Canada)

Implementation of a Refinery-wide data reconciliation system for 430+ flow measurements and 120+ mass balances across 21 operating units. Reconcilied flows adopted by Business, Technical, and Environment groups for reporting and analysis.


Plant-wide Data Reconciliation System

Shell (Canada)

Implementation of a multi-Upgrader data reconciliation and mass balance system for 560+ flow measurements and 150+ mass balances across 16 operating units. System used daily to determine flow meter health and mass balance troubleshooting.

Process Economics


Pricing Method for Intermediate Process Streams

Shell (Canada)

System to estimate intermediate stream prices for use in real time optimization (RTO) systems. Method utilized linear programming (LP) volumetric yields, variable unit production costs, and fence-line product prices to produce back-blended break-even values.

Process Data


Web-Based Client Rollout

Shell (Canada)

Managed PI-Vision rollout for a site of 400+ PI users. Developed standards, site-wide navigation pages, and conversion of existing displays (10,000+).


Archive Performance Assessment

Shell (Canada)

Evaluation of archive read performance for a new regional PI system. Developed test cases using standard clients and custom applications. Poor performance results led to system architecture changes.


Calculated Point Platform Migration

Shell (Canada)

Conversion of 8000+ PI performance equations to PI-AF Analytics. Project methodology developed was subsequently used for sites world-wide.


Get in Touch

Get in Touch

Alberta, Canada
+1 780 217 6071