A plant shutdown is common to be happened several times during the company’s lifetime, it would be for scheduled maintenance, replacement of parts, modification or expansion. No matter what the reason is, the main challenge is to stick with the most appropriate safety standards and keep downtime to a minimum. If the company wants to achieve that goal, then all of logistical processes, which is consist of the lifting, transport, installation and removal of many components, are all the important factors and has interdependent role. However, many refineries were not properly planned with plant shutdown procedure. Just to add more into shutdown complexity, the fact that in this kind of projects, multiple parties are demanded to work almost simultaneously at the same site. With these facts in mind, the new and comprehensive approaches should be taken into account, not just the ways to move the different components, but also the safety procedure and coordination of activities which will be carried out each by different subcontractors.
Basically there are five phases of plant shutdown:
In this phase, the internal team of the refinery, the main contractor hired for the project, and various engineering department, both internal and external, will determine the range of work that needs to be done, the pre-shutdown activities, and general logistics. You will need a lot of human resources to get the job done. then , the key officers will negotiate the schedule. The prime contractor would propose the time required to carry out the project without taking toll on the resources and result in critical tasks to be rushed.
In this stage, the team would determine the order of things that should be done, the responsibility of each unit, and more detailed work flow. This involves the entire shutdown team: internal staff (maintenance, engineering, facility management, and procurement), external engineers, contractors, and vendors. This is the most crucial and longest phase. In this phase, the team would discuss and decide on which equipment and systems will be both removed from and returned to service.
More details to the procurement of equipment and materials, this phase involves contracts bidding or negotiation with all important consultants, contractors, and vendors. In this phase, you will be the main decision maker, project management, facilities, and the procurement or purchasing department. This process could take several weeks depending on the flexibility of the personnels and outsources involved. If you make agreement with foreign contractors, make sure that you have the copy in their native language, or a language that is understandable by both parties to make sure there will be no misconception once the project has started.
Just as the name states, this is when the process commencing. All procedure will be put in place including new and old equipments. The time it takes would be depending on the range of work and the schedule that was negotiated with the higher ups.
5. Return to Service
All the process is done and you will start the refinery anew. Several tests should be conducted to ensure the performance of the machines, including the environmental monitoring and similar. Once reliable test results are received, the refinery will be ready for use.