Behind the turnarounds

Over 300 staff members worked to help make the Cassia and Amherstia TARs successful

"Due to the importance of the Cassia B TAR to the country and company, this project's timelines were non-negotiable. Our contracting schedule needed to be dynamic enough to comply with BP processes, local laws while still ensuring the best quality items, on time and on budget."

Maintenance work on a hydrocarbon facility is work that requires many tools and skills. Planning and executing two turnarounds in one year was no small task but bpTT got it done in 2013. As one can imagine, work of this scale requires skilled labour, rigorous safety standards and of course, lots of engineering and planning. 

What is often forgotten when work like this is conducted, are the various tasks done behind the scenes and away from the wrenches and grease to help make the TARs a success. A multifunctional team worked to help deliver the Cassia and Amherstia turnarounds. From ensuring there were meals for staff to making contingency plans in the event of any natural disasters, more than 300 people were involved in the Cassia and Amherstia TARs – off the platforms. 

One key behind the scenes item? Purchasing and importing the specialty equipment needed for the project. “Being part of a (project) with such significant regional impact felt intimidating in the first instance,” admitted Candida Hamid, PSCM Category Specialist Engineering Services, “but working with a knowledgeable and experienced team who overcame every obstacle in their path provided the reassurance that we were working with the best – to achieve the best results.” 

The best results at times required innovation. When small delays threatened the timely in -country arrival of the leap frog crane needed for the Cassia B turnaround, Hamid and team crunched numbers and found an innovative solution to ensure on time arrival. “Due to the importance of the Cassia B TAR to the country and company, this project’s timelines were non-negotiable.” The project plan included provisions for the leap frog crane to be air freighted in. “Our contracting schedule needed to be dynamic enough to comply with BP processes, local laws while still ensuring the best quality items, on time and on budget.” Dozens of purchase orders and contract negotiation meetings later, the team did it. Labour was contracted, items were delivered and the project stayed within budget. 

Engaging the Procurement Supply Chain Management (PSCM) team from early stages in the planning also allowed for earlier risk assessment and mitigation, “(The earlier start time allowed us to) thoroughly assess the potential sub-contractor risks and developed a policy to mitigate such risks.”

Another possible risk to the project assessed, mitigated and thwarted by the One Team approach to this project was worker dissatisfaction. “Any downtime on this could have led to a negative impact on our oil and gas economy here in T&T,” said Nicholette Johnson from bpTT’s Human Resource team.  To mitigate this risk, “I worked closely with PSCM, Operations leadership and Communications and External Affairs to pinpoint the three major causes for possible industrial action (poor physical working conditions, fatigue and discontentment with terms and conditions) during the TAR.” 

An industrial relations plan of this kind had never been created. It was an opportunity for pioneering work. Consulting with BP Global experts and working with a multidisciplinary team specifically for this project Johnson’s final product gave the business a clear way forward and set a new standard for bpTT. “The final product resulted in the creation a “roadmap” for bpTT to follow which identified prevention and mitigation barriers  to treat with industrial action during the TAR should any of the groups involved decide to take industrial action.“

The Communications and External Affairs (C&EA) Team also contributed to the work conducted.  “Taking half the gas out of the local system for any period meant ensuring the Government and affected stakeholders understood and were aligned with this maintenance plan,” said Giselle Thompson, Vice President Corporate Operations at bpTT.  “Dozens of meetings were held over two years to allow for downstream players to adjust their maintenance work schedules and demand to align with the Cassia works.” The result? Many of the plants in the Point Lisas Industrial Estate planned works to coincide with the TAR resulting in decreased demand and minimal disruption due to the decrease in gas available during the TAR period. The collaboration and coordination of activity across the upstream and downstream was unprecedented. 

“One of the most valuable lessons of the Cassia and Amherstia TARs is the power of working together,” said Cory James, TAR manager, bpTT. “The TAR was completed safely and in compliance with all laws of Trinidad and Tobago thanks to the Legal and strong support from the Safety and Operational Risk teams. We even held a “BPTT Safety Village” in advance of the TAR to ensure ALL contracted personnel were certified for the jobs and reminded of BP’s safety standards and expectations.”

In all, over 300 staff members from various teams played a part in making the TARs happen. Teams like Finance to pay the contractors and Facilities to make meeting rooms available for the TAR planning committees to meet daily, all supported the TAR. Without question the Cassia and Amherstia TARs were done as One Team projects. This is probably why just about everyone at bpTT is proud of the works completed in 2013 – we all played a part in one way or another.