20 May 2018

Do You Have a Contingency Plan in Place?

refinery canopy petrochem

How effective is your contingency planning?


Things aren’t always smooth sailing. In fact, for maintenance managers, it’s vital to plan for moments when operations aren’t running smoothly, whether that’s because systems have gone down, there’s a natural disaster, or unplanned outages have hit at a really inconvenient time.

Having a contingency plan in place before anything drastic happens can save managers millions in revenue and eliminate any excess downtime that occurs when a failure happens. 

But it’s not just major disasters that need to be planned for. On a smaller scale, maintenance managers need to prepare for events like disruptions in the supply chain, the loss of data and staff, and other potential unknowns that have a knock-on effect across a site. 

Every business is different, so creating and implementing a contingency plan that works for their own site is critical if managers want things back up and running as quickly as possible. 

We specialize in building different solutions for different sites which focus on getting smarter, quicker results. Our teams in the Cooling Tower Services, Aggreko Process Services, Aggreko Remote Monitoring Services, and Remote Operating Center build specific solutions for individual plants and processors to make sure each site is quickly operating at full capacity again. 

How Three Businesses Used Aggreko to Create Contingency Plans and Avoid Disaster

The Quick Installation of a Cooling Tower

One petrochemical processor in the Gulf Coast suffered an equipment-related issue, which meant it was forced to reduce ethylene throughput. This is one of the most important stages of petrochemical processing and a reduction in production can lead to economic disaster for a plant. 

This happened to the petrochemical processor’s flagship facility, which experienced a collapsed cooling tower. As a result, the ethylene unit failed and compromised the structural integrity of the equipment. Estimates showed that it would take up to a month to fix the two broken units, which meant a potential significant loss in revenue for the processor. 

They would have had to reduce the feedstock to the downstream units by about 20-40% to compensate for it. To put things into perspective, the economic impact of the unit failing was estimated to be around $5,000,000 per day. 

The processor needed a solution and fast. Our Cooling Tower Services team were quickly brought onsite to review the damage and find a solution that would get the site back up and running as soon as possible. 

We shipped more than 60,000 tons of cooling tower capacity and, within the space of just six days, had power on the line and 30,000 tons of cooling tower capacity up and running. Because the processor thought ahead and got in touch with us as soon as the cooling tower went down, we managed to replace the cooling capacity in six days rather than a month, which averted a possible loss of additional $120,000,000. 

Temporary Compressors Resume Coker Operation

Take one synthetic crude plant who’s 85,000 barrel per day coker unit suffered a mechanical blade failure at the worst possible time - right before a scheduled turnaround. This meant the coker had to shut down prematurely, decreasing the likelihood of completing the turnaround before the required start date of the coker which could have led to a huge loss in production. 

To tackle the failure head-on, the plant came straight to us and we quickly provided air blowers that delivered 150,000 SCFM of oil-free air as well as 56 other pieces of electrical distribution equipment. 

Our Aggreko Process Services assigned a lead engineer to go onsite and oversee the mobilization, installation, and commissioning phases of the solution. We also sent out additional technicians to provide 24 hour coverage of the site so the upgrade could happen as quickly and as seamlessly as possible. 

The quick-thinking contingency plan meant the plant maintained maximum feed rates and avoided a potential loss of $70 million Canadian Dollars. 

Critical Chiller Shutdown Crisis Averted

One Gulf Coast chemical manufacturer’s critical chiller failed, which led to the shut down of the entire plant. It was estimated that losses could reach more than $1,000,000 for each day the plant wasn’t properly functioning. Even worse, the failure happened during the weekend, leading to increased concerns that it would take longer than usual to get back up and running. 

The manufacturer came straight to us and we deployed a replacement chiller that was up and running in just one day. After investigating further, it was found that a quick fix would actually take a month to carry out, which meant the temporary generator we installed would need scheduled maintenance halfway through the process.

But before we could even get to that stage, our Aggreko Remote Monitoring team and the Remote Operating Center alerted us to some potential problems with the generator - more specifically that it was working but there was no load. 

It turned out there was also an electrical emergency, so we quickly deployed a crew to the site who immediately performed maintenance on the generator. This quick thinking avoided yet another potential shutdown and saved the plant millions of dollars. 

Contingency Plans Are a Must

These are just three examples of plants and sites that avoided drastic losses by acting quickly and having contingency plans in place. Using our series of high-quality services that are tailor-made to each site, they managed to get up and running in no time at all. 

Our solutions were tailored to help quickly fix even the most complex problems that sites face day in and day out. 


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