Successful plant maintenance turnarounds in the downstream petrochemical and heavy industrial sector are key to the successful longterm operation of facilities. These turnarounds (or TARs as they are commonly called in the industry) are also key business opportunities for the myriad of service companies and contractors who support the industry. TARs are also important for the thousands of contract workers who pick up temporary employment during these periods, often working long hours and accumulating significant overtime income.
During a turnaround, a plant’s day-today operations cease completely and instead of production, the work is directed to maintenancerelated activities including cleaning, inspection, repair and installation of new or upgraded equipment. As production ceases during a TAR, operators place a huge emphasis on getting the projects completed as quickly as possible to minimise the time when they are not making any revenue. Safety is always the pre-eminent concern as risks of incidents are heightened during TARs with so much activity taking place simultaneously.
All this means that operator companies place a huge emphasis on planning the successful execution of TARs, and planning will start years ahead of the actual implementation of the TAR. However, plans can also change if, for example, a particular maintenance issue means that the TAR has to be brought forward or if market conditions mean that it would be better to delay or advance the project, perhaps if there will likely be a shortfall of gas at a particular point because of a planned outage from one of the upstream operators.
Through the Point Lisas Energy Association (PLEA), operators also try to coordinate their TARs with other companies to ensure that the necessary inputs in terms of equipment and skilled workers are available. This is an excellent example of industry collaboration and shows how Point Lisas works as a typical’industrial cluster’.
During 2018, there are a total of eight different TARs planned for the Point Lisas Industrial Estate.