Low oil prices mean less profit. So, shutdowns need to be kept short and assets cleaned 100% to reduce costs, maximise run length and efficiency.

It is now more important than ever before, that refineries employ more skilled and reliable, innovative contractors who are adept at forward planning,  have an eye for detail and keep the lines of communication consistently open. Such contractors are invaluable as they eliminate costly delays and provide the archive data you need to dramatically improve your next shutdown by out-engineering previous mistakes. In the words of Red Adair: “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

The times when refineries did not worry too much about losing money on cheap contractors are over. Ironically, employing the cheapest solution or contractor is no longer an option as this has proven to increase the risk of failure to clean and inspect – subsequently pushing refineries into critical path, who then smart from the six and seven figure sums production losses create.

Purse strings, whilst tight, need to be spent more wisely than ever in this downturn. So, keep it simple! Quantify the benefit – Justify the expense. Put a Euro/Dollar value against the benefits of performing the work scope:

  1. Faster
    • By quantifying the value per hour, day, week, month, year you’d save, if an innovative contractor could clean your heat transfer / process plant quicker;
  1. Safer
    • For example what benefit by cleaning remotely, robotically and avoiding man entry. Or using an innovative alternative technology that eliminated high-pressure or dangerous chemicals;
  1. Cleaner
    • Every traditional water jet and chemical contractor struggles to clean heat exchangers and fired heaters on both internal , but especially the “external surfaces” due to limited access. Now imagine the external tube surface can be cleaned 100% then calculate the cost saving of better heat transfer and longer run times. A system that guarantees IRIS / Eddy current standard cleanliness is available and which will reduce energy consumption and improve asset life, etc. without the need for high pressure water jetting or chemicals;
  1. Dry or with less waste
    • What savings could be made by reducing or eliminating waste by using innovative dry methods? Containing and recycling of cleaning waste are also options to consider;
  1. In situ
    • Imagine the downtime savings by cleaning in situ i.e. avoid pulling exchangers, save on gaskets, bolts, scaffolding, bundle pullers, third-party costs, not least risk of damage;
  1. On-Line during production, i.e. whilst in service
    • What immense financial impact would it make to your bottom line if you could avoid shutting down the refinery? A small example would be flare line cleaning which can now be done whilst the refinery continues to operate. Some fired heaters and HRSGs can also be cleaned during production, as well as Air Cooled Fin Fan Overhead Condensers and many more.

Summary

Invest in innovative contractors and their technologies if you are to ride out the storm.

Give me a call +44 1268 786999 or complete our Contact Us form and I will call you back.

Mike Watson – Managing Director – Tube Tech