A downstream refiner was preparing for a Mega Complexity turnaround with significant capital project scope and more than three million labor hours. The site was planning to deploy a new electronic work permitting system during the event. Compounding the challenge, the site faced a union strike eight months before kickoff, removing regular hourly personnel for several weeks.
Leading up to the turnaround, the site completed all three pre-turnaround phases of the AP-Networks Integrated Turnaround Assist Program (iT-AP 1-3), as well as an Integrated Post-Turnaround Evaluation (iT-AP 4). This allowed the site to act on AP-Networks’ recommendations and continually strengthen readiness ahead of the event.
During the Integrated Alignment Workshop (iT-AP 1), AP-Networks identified several risk factors, including late project kickoff, limited input from operations, and delayed initiation of engineering packages. AP-Networks recommended that the site bring in additional resources to get projects back on track, including an owner project specialist.
With the site planning to switch from manual to electronic work permitting, AP-Networks encouraged the site during the Integrated Challenge Session (iT-AP 2) to formulate a backup plan should the electronic system fail. The site was also facing a union strike at that time. AP-Networks emphasized the need to achieve closure of execution resource decisions. With the iT-AP 2 report from AP-Networks in hand, the turnaround team was able to successfully lobby site leadership to make these decisions, thereby securing necessary event resources in a timely fashion.
Following a discussion held during the Integrated Readiness Assessment (iT-AP 3), AP-Networks encouraged the turnaround team to conduct a “What if?” scenario on various aspects of the turnaround scope (e.g., furnace, FCCU Risers, etc.) to make sure that all of the parts would fit ahead of scheduled maintenance during the turnaround.
Industry generally fails to meet expectations on events of this size and complexity. However, the site successfully delivered above Industry average results for all metrics. The owner project specialist brought on as a result of the iT-AP 1 enabled the site to get project work back on track. The mitigation plan developed for the work permitting system following iT-AP 2 was put into use on Day One of the turnaround following a crash of the electronic network, saving several days and millions of dollars of potential lost value. The “What If?” scenario conducted during iT-AP 3 uncovered several incorrectly fabricated furnace parts, which were then refabricated, saving time and discovery costs.
With several key personnel set to retire following this event, AP-Networks felt strongly that a longer-term strategy was needed to generate the outcomes achieved on a turnaround event of this size and complexity. AP-Networks’ final iT-AP 4 report provided recommendations to hire key turnaround planning personnel with emphasis on long-term staffing and to decouple units in order to reduce the complexity of future turnarounds, putting the site on the path to predictable, competitive turnaround performance.