Managing Downtime at a Refinery


In a refinery, shutdowns, turnarounds, and outages, otherwise known in the industry as STO are very frequent. Some refineries post that STO is so frequent that their workers are only ever working, or being productive, just 22 percent of the time.

A lot of money is on the line during an STO, so who you choose to manage during this time is crucial. If owners don’t choose the right team to manage downtime, a shut down can turn into a “perfect storm” of failures, inefficiencies and money wasted.

One of the main rules to managing a turnaround is to make sure you don’t save money in the wrong areas and end up costing the company more money in the long run.

One example of where people make this mistake is replacing labor. Staff usually cuts labor in a “shut down” or turnaround. Instead of outright cutting, try adding certain key members. Additional management to manage affairs on the ground, a structural steel expert to verify materials. These positions will help the process go smooth and efficiently.

It is best to spend money upfront on a qualified construction & turnaround services crew. This way, they can pick up easily from where the company construction crew left off. Either way, turnarounds are going to be expensive. Just how expensive they are depends on management’s thoughtful decision-making.

Bio: Lyle Charles is the head of Lyle Charles Consulting, a firm that specializes in turnaround services and claims management for commercial construction projects.