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Saving millions during a shutdown at ADNOC with domain expertise

Maintenance turnarounds are a necessary part of refinery operations. They allow the refinery to safely conduct necessary repairs, upgrades, assessments and audits. Because of the cost associated with stopping production entirely, these are massive events that only happen every 3-5 years. As such, they require careful planning and coordination to ensure labour and materials are ready so the shutdown period can be kept as brief as possible. With 20,000-30,000 shutdown-specific contractors to manage, and the complete absence of production, overruns can cost millions of dollars for each additional day.

The Challenge: A bundle that wouldn’t budge

The team at Serck received an urgent call from the ADNOC Takreer Refinery Manager during their Hydrocracker/Skimmer shutdown at the beginning of April 2020. A heat Exchanger that was due to be overhauled, cleaned and have a new bundle inserted was stuck and they were unable to proceed. They tried pulling out the bundle with an 80 Ton capacity bundle puller, but after trying for two days they were still not able to succeed.

The initial request from ADNOC was for Serck to just cut the shell; a reasonable course of action, but not without its own problems. It would free the bundle for servicing, but there would still be a significant time loss as a new shell would have to be manufactured and welded to the strict certified pressure vessel requirements.

The Solution: Expert, Experienced Engineers with a problem-solving mindset

Because ADNOC has a history of working together so successfully with Serck, they agreed to send the heat exchanger to Serck’s workshop for our in-house experts to take a detailed look, with the understanding that time is of the essence.

Having seen so many heat exchanger fabrication methods before, once this unit arrived, the Serck team were confident they could solve the problem without cutting the shell, and that they would be able to return the unit to the Takreer refinery in record time.

The Result: weeks of time and millions of dollars saved

The Serck team found that this particular unit had a set of internal bolts that, if loosened and cleared of debris in stages, would allow enough clearance to remove the bundle without cutting the shell, or even using a bundle puller.

We were able to confidently give ADNOC the method statement and a time of just seven days to install a new bundle into the old shell. Throughout the process our expert client services contacts kept the entire ADNOC team informed, including top management, VP of ADNOC, Refinery Manager, and Shutdown Manager, reporting on an hourly basis each day until midnight.

Working against the clock, Serck completed and delivered the job in only five days, saving millions of dollars to ADNOC. Everyone at Takreer was amazed by our work and are looking forward to visiting our facility in the future to further extend their thanks, and explore future projects.

Have you got a tricky piece of equipment making you worried about your upcoming turnaround? With our decades of experience, we really have seen it all before, and would be happy to help! Contact us today.