The new normal in petrochemical revamp projects

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Date: June 2019
Publisher: Gulf Publishing Co.
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,681 words
Lexile Measure: 1280L

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You have made the decision to increase plant capacity--with a change in feed--in the existing facility. You have shortlisted the licensor and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors that are best in quality and cost. As engineering work starts, you receive the bad news that the existing furnaces and columns are not designed for additional capacity; so, the add-on furnace and columns must be redesigned. Further complications are that the feed contains certain compositions that will result in the need for an additional reactor and adsorber; therefore, additional plot area is needed. These changes require additional engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning and cost. The relatively simple job has now turned into a more complex, more expensive and delayed one.

Often, these types of projects seem to be simple and easy jobs, but this scenario has become the new normal during the revamp of a petrochemical plant, especially for cracker projects. The term "revamp or brownfield project" describes projects that are carried out to replace, upgrade or increase production capacity in the existing plant. A "new or greenfield project" is a project that is carried out to build a completely new facility and is not constrained by any existing facilities. The main challenges of revamp projects are:

* The existing facility's license technology design package and its intellectual property (IP) rights

* The condition and operational restrictions of the plant.

Cracker revamp projects have often proved most difficult to execute effectively due to common challenges, such as process design, poor execution, and cost and schedule overruns. In the current "low-cost cracker project" scenario, clients are looking to utilize the most of their existing facilities.

It is important that revamp projects are carefully assessed, planned and have personal development planning (PDP) or basic engineering completed with Class 3 (+10%) total installed cost (TIC) open-book cost estimates to reach final investment decision for the project to materialize. This article defines some of the key paths forward for the project execution team to consider during petrochemical revamp projects. The key differences between revamps and new projects are shown in TABLE 1.

Execution model, strategy and approach. The main objective of the project execution model is to perform the work according to the plant's turnaround (TAR) schedule, functional safety and environmental requirements of the client's existing facility. The execution strategy must be focused on:

* Meeting health, safety and environmental (HSE) compliance with the client's HSE philosophy, while adhering to project objectives

* Meeting the client's project schedule (e.g., key milestones) and developing a reliable open book cost estimate to...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A602105737