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Reflections on Plant Turnarounds in the Refining Industry

The development of a plant turnaround philosophy is formal recognition of the plant turnaround's impact on the corporate business plan. Once formally recognized, the philosophy can be integrated with the corporate vision and mission statements as part of the overall corporate philosophy. The recognition of plant turnarounds is the first step in maximizing the benefits and reducing the costs when taking the plant off-line for a major scheduled outage.

Philosophies do not have to be complicated and can be applied to all types and sizes of facilities, such as single boiler units with simple piping systems found in apartment buildings and hospitals; batch or continuous manufacturing and assembly plants; and major industrial process facilities.

The philosophy should be clear and concise with a descriptor of both plant turnaround management and plant shutdown. Different groups interpret the definition of a plant shutdown in their own ways. Operations may consider the plant shutdown to be "feed in to feed out"; marketing will look at the "loss of salable product" days; and maintenance usually quotes in "mechanical days."

In the end, the owner or senior management team now turns the philosophy into action by developing the plant turnaround management process to achieve world class execution and start-up with good results.

Reader tip provided by Euclides Prieto
Senior Maintenance Supervisor
PDVSA Amuay Refinery
Judibana, Venezuela

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