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Management Presence

A shutdown is a major project, with a daily expenditure of a comparable size. Yet the level of management involvement in the shutdown was relatively low. Seeing senior managers at site motivates staff and demonstrates management commitment.

The management team has taken on this recommendation quite enthusiastically.


The refinery was receptive to suggestions, and incorporated some during the early stages of the shutdown. For example, the idea of calling in supervisors 30 minutes early was implemented within 3 days of the first PTW audit. There were open discussions about the improvement opportunities, some of which could affect cost and duration quite significantly. I discussed most of these ideas with the relevant people while the review was in progress, and some were implemented right away. The refinery adopted many of the key recommendations after an internal review.

Three recommendations were accepted completely, for all their future shutdown work. These were the use of 9i/2-hour working days, getting supervisors to come in 30 minutes early, and provision of additional operating crews during shutting down and starting up of the units. In the case of the distillation unit, these three had the potential to reduce duration by 12-15 days from the current 55 days. In practice, one could expect a saving of 8-10 days, with a value of US$2.5-3 m.

The refinery considered the four points made in Section 36.6 so important that they included them in their Shutdown Handbook. They see them as key targets for shutdown planning and use them as Key Performance Indicators during shutdown preparation. They are convinced that there is a direct relationship between the quality of the preparation of a shutdown and execution effectiveness, impacting on safety, duration, quality, and emergent work.

A number of other recommendations were specific to the distiller shutdown, and they took these up as well.

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