Concluding Remarks | AIChE

Concluding Remarks

Although a maintenance outage in an oil refinery may be viewed as a period of downtime in revenue earning and increased expense, in reality, this is the stage through which proper planning and inspection can have the potential for increased revenue, improved safety, and a reduction in operating expense for the next run cycle. During a maintenance outage, the Process Engineer is provided with the opportunity and freedom to crawl inside the equipment. With this freedom comes great responsibility. If it can affect the performance of the process, it falls on the shoulders of the Process Engineer. It takes significant preparation to perform the task of tower internal inspection accurately and efficiently. This preparation involves everything from understanding the operational objectives and constraints of the equipment prior to the shutdown, to studying vessel and tray drawings. This preparation also includes reviewing recent vessel gamma scans and having the equipment modeled in a process simulation ahead of time. There is a level of physical and mental preparation that is needed in addition to possessing essential tools. This paper will serve as practical guide for Process Engineers in preparing for and conducting a successful tower internal inspection. It will also empower them to effectively communicate with the Maintenance Organization and Management to positively influence change as it relates to improving the performance of the process via the findings of their inspection; thus significantly contributing to their company’s bottom line for years to come.