Smooth operations: Turnarounds keep refineries in top shape

Apr 19, 2018   | Categories: Canadian Fuels Association, Refineries
A refinery, just like your car or home, requires upgrades and maintenance to keep operating smoothly and safely.
That’s why Canadian Fuels member companies plan shutdowns, known in the industry as turnarounds, on a regular basis. They require an incredible amount of planning, a large human-power component, and massive investment; and they often occur in the spring, to prepare for the summer driving season.
Gilles Morel, Director, Fuels for the Canadian Fuels Association, says turnarounds can involve replacing or upgrading equipment, connecting new process facilities, and conducting planned inspection to vessels and equipment.
“It is part of an on-going renewal of a refinery infrastructure, deployment of newer and state-of-the-art technology, that ensures long-term competitiveness, as well as meeting ever-increasing safety and environmental requirements,” said Morel.
Morel has personally been involved in a few turnarounds, and described the experience as very rewarding.
“The planning part is often the most critical part of a successful turnaround,” he said. “This is when the scope is identified, engineering plans and drawings are finalized, and equipment procurement, pre-fabrication and site preparation take place.”
The shutdown itself is a disciplined execution of the various tasks by all members of the team.
“It may require long days of work,” said Morel. “Over a six to eight week period, you pretty much put your personal life on pause. It could be very rewarding, especially after the work is done safely, the oil goes in and the refinery units start-up flawlessly.  
“Then, the planning cycle for the next turnaround starts all over again.”
Check out our infographic to learn more about the importance of turnarounds, and how refineries ensure that Canadians stay on the road.


Read more about Parkland Fuel Corp.’s successful two-month full mechanical shut-down and turnaround of the Burnaby refinery.
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