In todays oil and chemicals market, time and budgets are strained to remain operational with a slight profit. Many facilities are making difficult operational and turnaround decisions to survive while possibly putting their operation at risk at the same time. There might be a significant way to reduce time and cost during operations and during your next plant turnaround or refinery turnaround by reconsidering the safety system design.

Designs of safety instrumented systems (SIS) were originally done to meet compliance requirements up to twenty years ago.  These designs were often performed by third party consultants who were good at reliability calculations, but had little understanding of how refineries and petrochemical plants actually operate and are maintained.  This early compliance effort resulted in a lot of 3-ring binders that were filed away and have been gathering dust ever since.

Over years of operation and changes, the safety requirement specifications (SRS) at most facilities no longer reflect the actual plant, and in some cases, recommendations that were made for changing SIS design, or maintenance and testing practices, were never actually implemented.  As a result, there is a good chance that your SIS is no longer standards compliant because the documentation is not current.  Even if the documentation is correct, there is a high likelihood that testing requirements are excessive and not optimized to minimize downtime and cost.

By performing a rapid assessment of the SRS (those 3-ring binders) against the actual operating equipment, assessing the risk, and developing updated SRS and testing procedures, significant savings in labor and maintenance cost are possible during operations and most certainly during your next plan turnaround or refinery turnaround. In addition to significant savings in operating and capital expenses, time savings during turnaround can also improve lost opportunity (production) cost.

Some areas where we have discovered issues that result in excessive maintenance and testing costs include:

  • Erroneous specification of tight shutoff requirements, resulting in costly and time-consuming leak testing, frequent removal and rebuilding of valves at manufacturers facilities
  • Excessive maintenance and testing effort caused by proof testing that have been defined more frequently than is required to achieve safety target
  • Failure to allow for testing of SIS loops in parts or subsystems prior to, or after turnaround, resulting in unnecessary turnaround time extension to complete the SIS testing that is often the critical path to plant restart

Additionally, by moving your SIS lifecycle management to digital records, management and compliance efforts are simplified and made more transparent.  Instead of keeping data in 3-ring binders that no longer reflect the actual status of the plant, data can be kept in secure cloud-based relational database systems that allow tracking of the SIS design with the status of testing and activation of SIS functions and automated compliance with API 754 reporting.  The status of any plant within an organization or all plants in the organization can be quickly viewed in a dashboard to identify any problem areas and drill down into the details in order to determine the most efficient path forward back to compliance.  This can be done by any internet connected member of the organization, on virtually any type of browser, from someone in the field at the operating facility all the way to the CEO.

For more information about Reducing Turnaround Cost, contact our team at [email protected]