Often paired with shutdowns, or shortened to  “TAR”, a turnaround is the process where a refinery or industrial plant suspends productivity for a predetermined time to conduct necessary maintenance on the facility. Inspection and testing, debottlenecking projects, revamps, cleaning, maintenance, repairs, preventative care of equipment,  and catalyst regeneration projects are all examples of services completed during a turnarounds.

Many maintenance concerns can be fixed during this process. While the plant is running, these potential problems cannot be resolved. They also make it possible to perform a thorough internal assessment that could be difficult while the equipment is operating or while the product is being stored in tanks and containers. Plant turnarounds help to fix or avoid issues before they become expensive downtimes or disasters. 

Regulations and warranty obligations on expensive equipment may demand that the plant perform a turnaround at frequent intervals. There are a number of factors that can damage a company’s bottom line if they are not adequately planned for turnarounds. While the cost of tools and labour is high, shutting down production can cost a significant amount of a company’s annual budget, as well.

Shutdowns and Outages

In comparison to a turnaround, a shutdown is not necessarily a scheduled activity. When supplies of natural gas or other products run short, refineries usually stop the whole operation. If natural resources become limited or the prices get excessively high. Shutdowns might also happen because of accidents, natural disasters, and other risks.

Outages on the other hand, do not occur in order to protect the facility’s equipment and workers. They occur when power supplies get disrupted, equipment fails, or deliveries get delayed. The purpose of turnarounds, shutdowns, and outages is to be able to return to efficient and normal operation easily, while staying on budget, without causing harm to employees. When production resumes, the plant should be operating at its highest level of efficiency following a turnaround.

Turnaround Cost

TARs are incredibly expensive, even a couple of weeks cost approximately the same as an entire year of maintenance budget. 

They are also quite expensive due to the amount of people required to complete the scheduled  maintenance. Most of the time, the facility uses third-party contracting companies for the job. These companies offer value and efficiency to the shutdown. Besides this, during the maintenance and cleaning process there is also a significant spending on resources and supplies.

But what makes a turnaround and shutdown successful? Smart and detailed planning is the key.

Turnarounds typically consist on the following stages: 

  • Strategic planning
  • Detailed planning
  • Organizing
  • Execution
  • Closeout
oil refinery

Services Used During Turnarounds

Due to the large quantity of workers required for turnarounds, companies tend to hire a third-party company to assist with the execution of the turnaround. Depending on the complexity of the project, Intricate can help!

Turnarounds are essential for the maintenance of the oil and gas industry, and for a refinery or industrial plant to suspend productivity to conduct necessary maintenance every 4 years. If you have an upcoming turnaround project or looking for more information, please feel free to contact keithrunco@intricategroup.com or call 587-760-1616


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