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Facility: Large Complex Oil Refinery

The refinery intake was about 14 million tons per year, received mainly by ships tethered to a single buoy mooring. The main units of this large refinery were: three crude distillation units, two reformers, a lubricating-oil (lube-oil) complex, a thermal gas-oil unit, a hydro-cracker, a long residue catalytic cracker, an isopropyl alcohol plant, and a large generation and utilities complex. There were a number of other smaller processing units and a large oil- movements area consisting of tanks, blending, and a pipeline operation. Operations were controlled from a number of control rooms. Waterfront operations moved thirty million tons per year of product over 11 wharves with 3,500 shipping movements. The facilities described above varied in age from the geriatric to brand new and had a replacement value of about US $4 billion.

About 600 people lived on the refinery site and another 2,000 came to the refinery each day.

The organization was as traditional as you could get with Operations, Technology, Finance, Personnel, and Engineering Managers. Under the Engineering Manager were discipline heads for Mechanical, Electrical, Projects, etc. Expatriates held a number of key positions, but most positions were filled by very competent local staff.

The refinery was well run and profitable but significantly overstaffed. Benchmarking studies showed there were areas of superior performance with excellent practices that others could copy to their benefit. However, they also showed that this refinery was, at best, an average performer and hadn't moved with the times. Reliability, manning levels, and operating costs needed attention.

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