Short-term scheduling for crude oil operations is a combinatorial problem and involves extreme detail. Thus, it is very complicated and, up to now, there is no efficient technique and software tool for it. To search for efficient techniques, a two-layer hierarchical solution is proposed for it. At the upper level, one finds a realizable refining schedule to optimize some objectives. At the lower level, a detailed schedule is obtained to realize it. A methodology has been presented to solve the lower level problem from a control perspective by the authors of this paper. In this paper, the upper level problem for finding optimal refining schedules is addressed, and a novel method is proposed based on the results obtained at the lower level. This method solves a linear programming problem to determine the maximal production rate and a transportation problem to optimally assign crude oil types and volume to the distillers. This way, the method is computationally very efficient. An industrial case study is presented to show the application of the proposed method.