Bapco has announced the successful completion of a major refinery shutdown of 11 process units. Bapco units underwent planned maintenance activities from February to May as part of the annual maintenance shutdown programme.
Maintenance work was carried out on the following units: 1 Hydrogen Plant turnaround and inspection (T&I), 2 Hydro-Desulphurisation Unit, Low Sulphur Fuel Oil Cooling Tower, 6 Vacuum Distillation Unit (VDU), VBU (Decoke), Ker Rerun units, LP Khuff Gas Header Replacement, 5 Crude Distillation Unit Shutdown, 3 and 4 Sour Water Strippers (T&I), 5 Desalination Plant, Fluid Catalytic Cracker Unit.
At its peak, 1,100 Bapco and contractors’ personnel were engaged and worked approximately 500,000 hours in the exercise.
The activities included equipment inspection and repair of more than 100 major assets and 800 smaller assets in refinery process and utility plants.
Detailed planning for these shutdowns began over a year ago and arrangements were also successfully put in place to ensure that these shutdowns had no impact on any local or international marketing commitments during these periods.
“Such planned shutdowns are necessary to maintain the integrity of the installed equipment and to ensure that the units perform reliably to their design capacity,” said Bapco acting general manager for maintenance Mahmood Mirza.
“Safety is always the first and foremost consideration when planning such activities. Many steps were taken to ensure the safety of Bapco employees and the contractors,” he said.
“As a result, many detailed risk assessments were carried out for the high risk activities and a detailed environment, health, safety and medical plan was developed,” he added.
According to him, the highly complex process required careful planning, and a number of challenges were overcome by personnel. “Most units were brought back into service successfully ahead of their planned completion date,” Mr Mirza said.
The remaining major unit shutdown planned for this year is the 4 Sulphur Recovery Unit (T&I) in October, for which planning and preparations are complete.
Bapco acting deputy chief executive for refining and marketing Khalid Al Sabbagh said the company strives to ensure it meets stringent refining targets.
“Programmes are put in place that ensures that all process units and facilities are run safely, efficiently and reliably and pay attention to various environmental aspects,” he said.
“Such shutdowns are conducted regularly to maintain the integrity of the installed equipment and to ensure that the units perform reliably to their design capacity and at an improved performance as a result of certain modifications.”