Minimizing Shutdown Time and Costs

The Suncor Oil Sands facility in Fort McMurray, Alberta, does Maintenance and Shutdown work every spring and fall. But there’s nothing routine about it. Although the maintenance is planned and scheduled, the work is important, complex, and potentially dangerous.

Suncor had a regularly scheduled plant shutdown combined with additional maintenance work for the year. Jacobs Industrial managed the job, and Innovator Industrial Services was called in for specialty mechanical services. The amount of work required was extraordinary, but Innovator’s experienced, cross-trained crews were ready to take it on.

Covering all the bases in a limited time – Innovator assigned 32 technicians to the Jacobs/Suncor site to handle the project. Ensure the work went smoothly, Innovator’s Operations Manager, Brent Soper, worked on site for 2 1/2 months before the shutdown to help plan and develop a strategy for completing the work on time and under budget. Once the plan was in place, Innovator technicians were mobilized and on-site for 45 days to execute the work, which included Field Machining, Cold Tapping, Hydro-testing, Isolations, and Technical Bolting.

Soper explained, “Because of the vast amount of work to be done, Jacobs didn’t have anyone available to prepare our scope of work for us. As such, Innovator was on-site months prior to determine our work plan.”

Our teams were extremely efficient, managed their time appropriately, and had outstanding production results. There were no hiccups on the job, and no injuries occurred. In addition, we were selected to take over two scopes of work that other contractors had failed to complete because they didn’t have adequate planning. As a result, we completed 130% of the scope of work planned, and came in just over the original budget.

By the Numbers

  • Total man-hours: 14,315
  • Duration on-site: 60 days
  • Safety: No injuries or incidents
  • Accomplishments: Completed roughly
    130% of our initial scope of work while
    only adding 5.5% to our budget

Safety before everything – The dangers inherent even in routine maintenance are serious issues, Soper explains. “In these shutdown scenarios, the job sites are very busy, with thousands of people crammed into small spaces in plants. There are hazards everywhere, and injuries and incidents are can be all too common.”

Having a shutdown in these types of facilities with no injuries is considered unusual, but this result is always a major focus for Innovator. Soper sees preparation and an organized approach as the keys to success. He says, “The advanced preparation and planning paid off.”

It is Innovator’s cross-trained crews that make it possible to keep costs down and perform work at top efficiency while managing risks all at the same time.

“Our cross-trained crews are the number one reason we are successful at these shutdowns. For example, in many cases the same people doing the hydrotest can perform field maching/flange facing and then the technical bolting amongst other services” Soper says. “If we didn’t have these abilities, we would have to double or triple the number of people on site. Not only would our invoice be much higher, but the potential risk of injury rates would be higher. It’s our commitment to technical cross training and a strong Safety culture that helps us be successful for those clients we are fortunate enough to serve. ”

The owner and the contractor were extremely pleased with the successful completion of the job, being on time and on budget, and without injuries.

Preparing for your spring and fall shutdowns in 2015? Put Innovator Industrial Services in your shutdown plan now and keep your downtime to a minimum.