During 2016 we completed a major maintenance and upgrade exercise at our Toledo refinery in the US. This involved a full shutdown of the plant to carry out the work
Bringing a refinery back online is a complex process. During previous start-ups, we had experienced leaks or losses of primary containment (LOPCs). Although relatively small, they needed urgent resolution.
In preparation for the maintenance work, our refinery team revisited an industry methodology known as ‘walk the line’. This focuses on the human factors that can contribute to LOPCs, such as how checks are conducted, and the quality of handovers between teams. It also provides tools to reinforce a more systematic approach to pre-start-up procedures.
In readiness for the start-up, our maintenance teams checked hundreds of valves positioned along pipes to identify and fix potential integrity problems. Site managers used checklists and detailed drawings of the process units to sign-off each completed inspection. Importantly, managers set clear expectations with their teams for the start-up, including the ultimate goal of zero LOPCs.
We saw the benefits of walking the line in Toledo - the refinery restarted without a single LOPC. We are sharing the lessons from this experience with our other refineries.