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The maintenance shutdown of the Marsden Point refinery is about to enter its busiest phase with work on refinery processing units and related utilities commencing from Monday 7 May onward.
Scheduled for completion in mid-June, the shutdown will see staff and contractor numbers at the refinery soar from 500-plus to around 1200. The extra personnel boast a broad range of expertise including engineering and mechanical, laboring, rigging and scaffolding, water blasting, safety, crane driving and supervisory.
The shutdown is budgeted at $85 million, with a large proportion of that going directly to the Northland community through payments for employment, contracting, equipment, accommodation and other services.
The shutdown allows statutory inspections of equipment located across the refinery, along with maintenance work, cleaning and other projects that cannot be carried out whilst in operation. A critical part of the shutdown will be the 10-day shut of the utilities systems for preventative maintenance.
Refining NZ CEO, Sjoerd Post, says preparation for the shutdown has gone well; “We’re pleased with the progress made to this point and grateful for the efforts of everyone involved.”
“This is the first shutdown in 14 years where the entire refinery will be shut for a short period of time. This is a substantial project, with a number of major pieces of equipment being replaced. To give some idea of scale of the work involved we have around 2000 tons of scaffolding installed in the refinery.”
Post added that a well thought through Health, Safety and Environment plan is an essential part of that preparation; “The key to a successful shutdown is remaining focused on keeping everyone safe on the job while minimizing the impact for local residents and the environment. As a safeguard, there will be flaring when we’re shutting down and starting up process units to allow hydrocarbons to be vented safely as units are de-pressurized.”
The shutdown has been scheduled into product supply plans and agreements with the refinery’s oil company customers to ensure that product availability isn’t affected.