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Unipetrol Completes Steam Cracker Repairs at Chempark Zaluzi

Unipetrol, August 18, 2016
Unipetrol has announced that repairs on a steam cracker in Chempark Záluží in the Czech Republic, which has been out of operation since last year’s extraordinary event on August 13, are complete. In addition, the construction of new pyrolysis heaters is coming to the end.  Finals tests before a gradual restart are currently under way. The steam cracker is expected to be fully operational by late October. The steam cracker restoration lasted more than ten months and cost approximately four billion crowns ($168 million USD). Based on company’s internal investigation, measures have been taken to minimize the risk of similar incidents in the future.  

"We conducted a thorough analysis of the event, with the participation of representatives of colleagues from both Unipetrol and PKN ORLEN and external experts. Our primary task was to prepare the unit for a safe start, therefore, a number of measures, preventive maintenance activities and works, tests and training of the steam cracker staff were conducted,“ said Unipetrol board member Martin Durčák. 

Newly adopted technological measures apply for the system of safety valves in the propylene column where new valves were installed according to the best proven engineering practices. The system of safety valves is in the ethylene column and in all technological facilities so that they always meet current needs according to the best available technical possibilities. 

As a part of these efforts, the company also reviewed current emergency procedures, including the development of emergency plans relating to high risk cases. The company also prepared a project for emergency separation of flammable inventory. Several organizational measures were adopted to increase safety; these are aimed at improving communication among operators, including more precise procedure for information transmission.

"The steam cracker is currently undergoing final tests before resuming the operation. These tests examine individual connections after the long turnaround. „The technological safety and its tightness is essential when resuming the operation, therefore the tests are repeated after adjustments so that we can be sure that everything is in order,” says Unipetrol board member Martin Durčák.   

A part of the ten-month steam cracker reconstruction was the construction of four new heaters, repair of damaged chimney, flue, pipe bridges, propylene column protection system, wiring, replacement of parts of measurement and control, isolation and local repair of damaged facilities.

Reconstruction in numbers:
  • More than one million hours has been worked in the steam cracker reconstruction (Unipetrol, Linde, and Technip employees)
  • Approximately 900 to 1,000 employees of external companies participated daily in the reconstruction (roughly half of them were local companies)
  • The total costs for repairing the damaged facility amounted to CZK $4 billion or USD $168 million.
  • Reconstruction took more than 10 months
     

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