Ras Tanura refinery (RTR) recently celebrated the successful completion of a major turnaround and inspection (T&I), with proper planning and a collaborative effort from everyone involved credited for the success.
Responsible for a significant portion of fuel production in the Kingdom, production up-time of the RTR gas condensate fractionation and the platformer/naptha hydrotreater (NHT) units is of the essence at RTR.
The T&Is on both units were completed in a new best-in-class duration for the respective units when compared to their global peers as per globally accepted Solomon Study refinery benchmarks. The fractionation unit T&I was completed in 27 days, and the platformer unit T&I was completed in 32 days, against their benchmarks of 28 days and 35 days, respectively.
“Planning and successfully executing the scope required a team effort,” said Yahya A Abushal, general manager, RTR, during the celebration event. “The management team appreciates the efforts of the RTR team and the support extended by all of the departments within Saudi Aramco that went to extra lengths to support the RTR T&I, including support services and central engineering, along with all of our RTR contractor partners.”
Sami Burushaid, refinery maintenance manager, RTR, said: “Beating Solomon top performers, increasing RTR’s 2017 cash margin significantly, and the additional value created are only glimpses of the success story of this exemplary T&I.”
Raed AlSaadoun, refinery maintenance superintendent and T&I chairman, RTR, said: “The success of this major T&I was measured by zero safety incidents, worldwide best-in-class duration, significant cost avoidance, early start-up, and most importantly, knowledge transfer to the major company asset – our young workforce.”
The RTR gas condensate fractionation unit, and the platformer/NHT units were shut down for the T&I to carry out inspections and maintenance as per the equipment inspection schedule, and to execute other maintenance and projects that require plant downtime. The plants are on a five-year T&I cycle.
Planning and preparation for the T&I kicked off two years ago, and followed an internally developed process based on the ‘Corporate Maintenance Turnaround Manual’. Milestones and deliverables were closely monitored and managed by the relevant division heads and department heads. The team targeted zero safety and environmental incidents, zero leaks and reworks, completing the T&I within the scheduled duration, and within the business plan budgeted cost.
The work was completed safely, with zero health, safety, and environmental (HSE) incidents or injuries. The enormity of the HSE performance is appreciated when considering that 9,258 permits were issued, more than 500,000 man-hours were expended, with peak manning in excess of 1,900 people on-site per day.
The HSE performance was enabled by a robust T&I HSE process, internally developed by the RTR T&I unit. The process brings together the HSE requirements applicable to T&Is, with deliverables throughout the planning and execution processes beginning from kick-off until T&I close out. A modified lockout/tagout procedure, suitable for ensuring safety during T&I, was agreed upon with loss prevention and successfully implemented.
In a challenging cost environment, the RTR team and management were very conscious of making decisions that optimise resource utilisation. The T&I was completed well below the business plan budgeted cost, and at a significantly reduced cost than was incurred in the T&I five years ago.