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4 Essential Refinery Turnaround Basics

Date: 02/13/24 | Author: AMACS Process Tower Internals | Category: Asset Management, Turnarounds |

The refinery industry continues to struggle to meet demands in the post pandemic arena. However, there are improved practices with a leaner mindset to help meet this demand. But before you run, let’s take a short walk through 4 essential refinery turnaround basics.

When Do Turnarounds Happen?

Turnarounds usually occur on a regular basis to perform routine maintenance, make any necessary equipment swaps, and other forms of upkeep. A refinery can shut down in part or as a whole during a turnaround, which can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Output will be reduced or stopped entirely during this time – which is why it is essential to conduct them in as quick and efficient manner as possible. They are different from shutdowns and outages, as those are caused due to unforeseen circumstances, such as a power outage or massive equipment failure.

What is the Best Way to Prepare For a Turnaround?

Turnaround planning can take years to get correct. Unfortunately, this length of time can also lead to other complications, such as changes in price for vital equipment, new regulations, extreme weather, and much more. However, other items can be planned years in advance, such as necessary maintenance, inspections, testing, shopping for new parts/components/equipment, and contractors to assist in your turnaround. You can also use the time to build a detailed budget and timeline for the turnaround, as well as alternate plans for the most foreseen issues, as well as the unforseen. We also highly recommend that you read up on the process as much as you can in advance from industry experts.

When do Turnarounds Usually Happen?

Some refineries may stick to the industry standard “turnaround seasons.” Those seasons most commonly occur when the demand for gas is lowest, in the spring and fall. Turnarounds also usually occur in refineries every three to five years, depending on the size and scope of each. Additionally, refineries must ensure that all the equipment, personnel, and more are all available during their scheduled turnaround.

What Problems Happen During a Turnaround?

Planned turnarounds are a necessary part of the refining process given the constant and ever increasing demand for fuel. Most refineries are inspected during turnarounds to ensure all equipment and processes are working within required specifications. In many cases, issues are found and the turnaround is often extended as a result. In addition, certain solutions that seemed like a good idea during planning are not effective when put into practice. Finally, inexperienced contractors can also cause delays if they lack the knowhow required for your specific refinery and all its processes. This results in increased costs  and decreased profits for owners.

We at AMACS have extensive experience during turnarounds, as well as shutdowns and outages. We help refineries of all kinds select the best and most efficient trays, packings, and other column internals. Contact us to help you effectively plan and carry out your next turnaround project.