Underestimated Duration is the fourth most common cause of shutdown timeline extension. Unlike the first three reasons that we have been unpacked over the past few blogs (1. Lack of Mechanical Readiness; 2. Undersized Effluent System; 3. Operations Resource Constraints), the root cause of underestimating the shutdown duration is the failure to plan the shutdown effort in enough detail.
Historically, shutdowns were people intensive, and success was dependent on the heroic coordination of a few extremely experienced operations leaders. Procedures were in place, but mastering the fine details was atypical and challenging the shutdown duration was even more rare. Now that optimizing the shutdown window has finally been embraced as the most available turnaround event duration reduction opportunity, both experienced people and an extremely detailed shutdown program is essential.
“The Great Resignation” of the past three years has decimated the capability of most operations teams in our industry so dramatically that the historic people-dependent shutdown is not even an option. An aggressively optimized shutdown timeline is a prerequisite for delivering a competitive turnaround duration and requires an extremely detailed operations approach, one which is characterized by a collaboratively developed shutdown plan assembled by facility operations leads leveraging the experience of seasoned contract operations experts and an operations team aligned and committed to delivering the shutdown timeline. Without this comprehensive program, an aggressive shutdown target is not achievable, and shutdown duration extension will result.
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