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Shutdown & Turnarounds: Challanges and Solutions Addressing Risk and Compliance

Shutdown & Turnarounds (STOs)  are expensive, strategic events, primarily executed to make sure plants operate at desired levels of asset availability and safety. The key challenge is to improve operators’ performance in achieving these objectives while shortening turnaround duration and reducing costs. There are inherent operational and business risks due to the size and complexity of these events. One risk, for example, is a turnaround that goes longer than scheduled, resulting in costly overruns. Another is a fire that breaks out in the unit because a pump seal was installed incorrectly.

Listed here are the key risk factors and operational challenges with an STO:

  • Turnarounds lasting longer than they need to
  • Turnarounds costing more than they need to
  • Re-work
  • Delays
  • Lack of accurate historical information for management metrics
  • Lack of accurate information for materials decision making
  • Contracting and equipment rental costs higher than necessary
  • Questions about the quality of work performed
  • Will there be a shutdown shortly after start-up due to poor work execution?

STOs are expensive events that range in cost from $5M to $500M and delays may result in significant lost revenues. Traditional practices, which usually comprise of documents, forms and spreadsheets make it difficult to verify adherence to safety and maintenance protocols by the hundreds of contractors who are executing an STO as well as ensuring compliance to the policies and procedures necessary for a successful STO and long term management of the assets.

To solve the STO operational challenge, companies require real time situational awareness, streamlining work and communication processes and ensuring the work is done right through the latest in mobile technology and analytics. Given the nature of an STO it is possible to address this as a Rapid Deployment Solution (RDS) where software, pre-configured content, enablement guides and implementation services are delivered at a fixed timeline and cost.

At this month’s International SAP Conference  for Oil and Gas in Berlin a new RDS for Turnaround Task Execution was presented by Mobideo with a case study focused on the 3rd largest refinery in the U.S.  One dramatic metric, for example, was scope expansion requiring supervisory approval was reduced from an 8 (eight) hour shift to 8 (minutes) minutes! Another was the impact on workforce competency with the substantial contractor presence at the facility. Lastly, supervisors and managers in the facility gained real-time transparency and detailed visibility to the status of task execution and work package completion at any point during the turnaround, improving awareness and reaction time to address any operational issues that may cause delays in project completion. Contractor compliance, efficiency and accountability was another significant outcome.

Some of the value recognized in a mobilized real-time Turnaround Execution solution includes:

  • Shorter turnarounds
  • Assure work execution quality
  • Identify and resolve “surprises” immediately
  • Increase safety
  • Reduce risk
  • Improve work process management
  • Ensure regulatory compliance
  • Improve management of subcontractors
  • Fully documented work execution performance

Bottom line: With mobility and analytics, it is now possible to drastically improve time and workforce management while ensuring full compliance to protocols and best practices, resulting in increased asset up-time and reduced costs & risk.

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