Imperial Oil’s innovative solution to expedite the scheduled turnaround at its Mahkeses facility earned the company an APEGA 2015 Summit Award and reduced downtime at the facility by a whopping 30 days, reports Oilsands Review.
The task was considerable. Replacing 3 of the 7 modules within each of the two heat-recovery steam generators (HTSGs) using conventional methods would have involved removing and replacing each module individually – a tedious task that would have taken 30 days longer than the rest of the 58-day turnaround. The solution? The three modules requiring replacement would be welded together and lifted out as a single unit and replaced by a ‘three-pack’ of new modules.
Sounds simple, right? Think again. With each of the 3 module units weighing upwards of a millions pounds, a 188-ft (17 storey) crane was required. Moreover, with only 6” of space on each side, the units needed to be deployed with the utmost precision. Luckily, after two years of planning, the procedure went off without a hitch.
This solution provided some important lessons for Imperial. The first is that collaboration is key. Numerous parties were involved in a variety of tasks, including the module manufacturer and transportation contractors, as well as the union workforce and other groups who had to be coordinated and rotated through the site.
The bigger lesson is that taking risks on employing alternative solutions can offer improved economics and ultimately lead to the creation of technologies that can be used in other projects. An increased willingness to push the boundaries can lead to highly innovative solutions for companies like Imperial, and ultimately the industry as a whole.
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