The Fuels section of the 120 000 barrels-per-day Engen Refinery is up and running, following the completion of a 30–day maintenance outage at an estimated cost of over R150 million.
The planned outage forms part of the facility’s annual scheduled maintenance programme aimed at ensuring that it runs safely and reliably, says Engen Refinery General Manager, Jehan Zaib.
“The refinery’s zero tolerance on overdue statutory equipment and unplanned shutdowns has seen a steady increase in reliability over the past four years. This is necessary to ensure continuous supply of adequate volumes of fuel for the country,” adds Zaib.
Maintenance Manager, John Naidoo, says Engen Refinery is currently running at 99.8%. “This performance will be maintained by ensuring that all work is done as per the planned outages.”
The outage ended with excellent health, safety and environment (HSE) metrics – there were no fires, health issues, falling object incidents or flogging injuries, as well as a leak-free start-up.
“We conformed to all legal requirements and ensured all our assets complied with routine testing of fitness for service and that all equipment is licensed to operate for its term,” adds Naidoo. “All safeguarding and protection equipment and systems were tested to ensure they function on demand. We also took the opportunity to address routine maintenance or services as recommended by the original equipment manufacturer, for critical equipment.”
During the outage period, 828 vessels were opened, with firm safety risk mitigation strategies in place. To demonstrate the refinery’s commitment to safety, the outage operated with participation from Engen safety officers and watchers, operations management and contractor management.
Furthermore, daily audits and walkabouts were carried out by Engen’s senior leadership, including the GM of the facility, operations and maintenance leadership, contractor leadership and members of Engen’s Safety department.
A great job
Zaib says the refinery is proud of successfully managing impressive timeline, budget and HSE returns, given the increasing scarcity of skilled resources. “This was an area of concern. The same individuals are sought-after main contractors for projects and shutdowns all over the country. To mitigate for that, we increased supervisory and foreman levels to ensure all tasks were adequately managed,” he adds.
The refinery created an extra 2 472 extra contractor jobs during this time.
In addition, 70% of contracted personnel were from the Durban South Basin, mostly from Wentworth, the refinery’s immediate neighbour. “Engen is proud to give back to the communities where we do business, most notably the Durban South community where we are located,” says Zaib.
Outside of the maintenance outage, Engen remains firmly committed to maintaining a refinery that operates safely, at optimal efficiency and with the lowest possible environmental impact, says Zaib. “This enables us to continue with our anchoring job of ensuring a secure supply of fuel products for the country, thereby supporting economic activity.”