Overview of Turnarounds

Turnarounds (TA) involve the planned shutdown of a section of an industrial plant (e.g., refinery, chemical/petrochemical plant, power plant) or of the entire facility to perform major maintenance, overhaul, and repair operations and to inspect, test, and replace process materials and equipment. In addition, turnarounds often provide operators the opportunity to perform debottlenecking, process upgrades, and capital project improvements while the unit or facility is offline. The primary purpose of turnarounds is to conduct the activities necessary to keep the plant running safely, reliably, and as efficiently as possible.


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Articles about Turnarounds
  • September/October 2018 Inspectioneering Journal
    By James "Chezo" Cesarini, PE at Pro-Surve Technical Services, LLC

    The most valuable unit of measure within a turnaround is not money, but time. Successful turnaround planners are now integrating the Detailed Inspection Planner (DIP) within their teams to increase the accuracy of planning and reduce the time required to complete the turnaround.

  • March/April 2018 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Vipin Nair at GE Digital, and Sarah Lukens at GE Digital

    With time being one of the most precious assets for turnaround teams, finding ways to optimize analysis and recommendations is crucial. This article demonstrates how the use of APM software can help prevent unplanned downtime by quickly identifying potential hidden failures.

  • March/April 2018 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Cesar Espinoza at PinnacleART, and Sudhakar Mahajanam at PinnacleART

    As RBI continues to proliferate across industry, there are still those that are reluctant to transition from a time-based to risk-based inspection approach - especially in the upstream oil & gas business. These 4 benefits might help to lessen the resistance to RBI.

  • January/February 2018 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Mark Rigdon at T.A. Cook Consultants, Inc.

    Teams planning and executing turnarounds are obliged to not only stay within budget, but to reduce or eliminate the need to spend the contingency allowance. This article introduces a risk-based approach to help avoid squandering finances.

  • September/October 2017 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Arun Sreeranganathan at Stress Engineering Services Inc., and John Norris, P.E. at Stress Engineering Services

    Fired heaters are among the most critical equipment in refineries and chemical plants, and failure of heater tubes presents significant safety and financial concerns. This article provides an overview of what a fired heater tube mechanical integrity program should include.

  • Partner Content

    Turnarounds are costly in terms of lost production. In many respects a turnaround can be even more complicated than the initial construction of the facility, so a carefully designed plan will reduce overall costs. After execution, safety reviews, Corrosion Monitoring Program updates, MOC documentation, and PHA Revalidations are a must.

  • September/October 2017 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Lee Williamson at T.A. Cook Consultants, Inc.

    Detailed operations planning and scheduling is an essential, yet often marginalized, element of an effective turnaround. To increase the likelihood of executing successful turnarounds, facilities should create and update sound operational shutdown and startup procedures.

  • July/August 2017 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Mark Savage at Sentinel Integrity Solutions, Inc.

    3 common repair scenarios include routine maintenance, scope repairs, and major discoveries. An inspector’s ability to properly manage each situation can mean the difference between mechanical integrity success and failure.

  • July/August 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Guy Bogar at HollyFrontier - Tulsa Refinery

    Turnarounds operate at a different pace than routine work. Most plant-based inspection departments have historically struggled with Turnaround document control, such as integrating contractor reports into their routine data management system. Our solution was to execute RBI updates in real time during Turnaround execution.

  • January/February 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Barbara Lasseigne at Envoc

    You probably already know that inspection apps for tablets and smart phones exist, and have notions of how these technologies can improve efficiencies in the field and beyond.

  • November/December 2003 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Kelley Jones at Pro-Inspect Inc.

    In the previous articles, we have put all the Pre-Turnaround and actual Turnaround activities in place to get the job safely done. Now we need to find the API Inspectors and have them approved by the client as quickly as possible. I have indicated below how to accomplish this task in a quick and efficient manner.

  • Partner Content

    The Vanta handheld XRF is Olympus’ first full spectrum PMI analyzer that is IP65 rated and drop tested. The analyzer provides accurate, repeatable material chemistry and alloy grade matching in as little as 1–2 seconds. Operation is simple with an intuitive touch screen and swipe interface. Optional Wi-Fi, with the Olympus Scientific Cloud, provides seamless connectivity for efficient data and fleet management.

  • Blog
    September 14, 2015 By Bill Davies, P.E. at Engineering & Inspection Services, LLC

    A unit turnaround (TAR) provides opportunities for plants to execute capital and maintenance projects, or to make tie-ins during an outage window. This downtime is costly - not just in terms of lost production while the unit is down, but in...

  • Blog
    March 2, 2015 By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    There is a lot of great technology currently available to us in the private sector, such as personal cell phones and telecommunication devices, including television, automobile features, e-mail, text messaging, data sharing,...

  • November/December 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Scott Corey at Sentinel Integrity Solutions Inc.

    One of the major challenges inspectors and plant operators face after each turnaround is to ensure that all repair and scope work is and was completed in accordance with the client’s requirements. Sometimes that verification will be to ensure work was completed in conjunction with the applicable codes, and sometimes that it was completed in conjunction with the client’s own in-house specifications.

  • November/December 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Rajesh Bose at BP, and Terry M. Webb at BP

    The introduction of PAUT is a challenging effort initially, but can have a very positive impact on your first TAR and become a routine inspection for future TARs. When fully implemented, radiation safety boundaries can be reduced significantly or eliminated altogether.

  • Blog
    October 27, 2014 By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    Now that the stage has been set (via parts 1 and 2 of this series), let’s see what we can do to improve the efficiencies and effectiveness of the work execution processes through situation awareness. Who knows? Maybe even cut a few days off the turnaround in the process.

  • Partner Content

    How long does it take for you to receive reports after an inspection has been completed? A week? A month? Does the data come from multiple sources with no way of knowing if it has been manipulated? Traditional inspection contractors do not have the ability to provide reliable and real-time data once an inspection is complete. The only way to ensure accurate, reliable data is with technology.

  • Blog
    September 18, 2014 By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    This blog post is the second in a series about situation awareness (SA). The first part of this series introduced SA (defined as the gathering and utilization of data in real time and using it to improve work processes) and introduced an example of how real-time SA can be applied to plant turnarounds to better achieve your turnaround objectives.

  • July/August 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Scott Corey at Sentinel Integrity Solutions Inc.

    In this issue of Inspectioneering Journal, I detail a roadmap for inspection activities during turnaround executions. This roadmap includes the critical elements of turnaround inspections, the keys to optimizing inspection activities, and the emerging challenges and solutions during these projects.

  • March/April 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Scott Corey at Sentinel Integrity Solutions Inc.

    Periodically, oil refinery and petrochemical plant operating companies conduct complex turnarounds for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to, scheduled maintenance, facility upgrades, and code compliance. In this series of articles published in Inspectioneering Journal, I will begin by detailing a roadmap for pre-turnaround inspection planning activities.

  • Online Article

    Leak related problems in bolted assemblies are an ongoing issue for virtually all facilities in the chemical, petrochemical, and refining industries. From leak detection to leak prevention, operators need knowledgeable and experienced technicians to address these issues before they become a serious problem. Recently, our friend and media partner, Inspectioneering Journal (IJ), sat down with Dave Godfrey of INTEGRA Technologies to see how INTEGRA is addressing these challenges.

  • March/April 2013 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Thomas Fortinberry at Quest Integrity Group, and James R. Widrig at Quest Integrity

    Steam reformers are critical assets to many refining and chemical manufacturing plants and facilities, and it is well known that the reformer is one of the most challenging assets to maintain and operate. Common problems in reformer operations include burner firing, flue gas distribution, and catalyst damage.

  • Partner Content

    Offshore platforms are exposed to some of the roughest conditions on earth and require regular attention to ensure they are structurally sound and safe for continued operation. With so many components and major joints at elevated locations, it is clear why a well-trained rope access technician can be an invaluable resource for offshore operators.

  • September/October 2012 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Abdullah Al-Harbi at Kuwait Oil Company

    Since its inception, one of the core businesses of the MS&R (maintenance, safety and reliability) Team for Kuwait Oil Company's NK (North Kuwait) Facilities has included carrying out Preventive Maintenance (PM) activities as directed by the established shutdown schedule. We understand that the PM business is diverse and is vital to maintain the safety and integrity of the Production Facilities.

  • November/December 2011 Inspectioneering Journal
    By John Reynolds at Intertek

    In the first article entitled How to Put It All Together - Guide to Organizing a Successful PEI Program in the current series of articles that I am writing, I provided an overview of the necessary Management Systems (MS) for a successful program to achieve excellence in pressure equipment integrity and reliability (PEI&R). The eighth article in this series will appear in the November/December issue of the Inspectioneering Journal.

  • January/February 2003 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Kelley Jones at Pro-Inspect Inc.

    We have discussed most of the pre-turnaround planning details. We are ready for the next step. The cost for the Turnaround is normally the most important item right behind SAFETY. In many cases the salary, per diem and travel costs have been part of early discussions with the client. Now it is time to examine these inspector costs in-depth. What affects these costs? How can we increase our efficiency in this area?

  • September/October 2002 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Kelley Jones at Pro-Inspect Inc.

    If you enter a petrochemical facility to work everyday, you realize the security issues. It is very important to have this issue resolved before the inspectors begin to arrive. The first morning of the Turnaround there are usually several thousand contractors trying to get in the same gate. Inspectors are a small fraction of the Turnaround workforce. However, they can get caught up in the overall delays.

  • March/April 2002 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Kelley Jones at Pro-Inspect Inc.

    We all agree that safety is the most important item on any Turnaround. It is also one of the most difficult items to sort out prior to the Turnaround. The fact that API Turnaround Inspectors travel all over the country increases the need to be aware of varying safety requirements and their nuances as they go through the training processes at safety councils throughout the US. Not all safety councils are reciprocal and inspection companies and inspectors need to be aware of which are and which are not. It is very important that the site safety requirements are understood and are prepared for and complied with before the Turnaround starts.

  • January/February 2002 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Kelley Jones at Pro-Inspect Inc.

    The second part of this article will continue to provide data regarding tasks to successfully plan for the use of API Inspectors prior to the start of the Turnaround. This article will provide information on what needs to be done to successfully utilize the API Contractor Inspector effectively. The first part was the start of the Planning Phase involving Pre-Turnaround activities. We covered items 1 and 2 in Article 1. Now let's continue the Planning Phase with the third item...

  • November/December 2001 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Kelley Jones at Pro-Inspect Inc.

    The use of contractor inspectors for turnarounds has increased in recent years. Mergers with reductions in staff personnel for major oil and chemical companies have fueled this growth. Still, we hear "horror" stories about problems that occur during turnarounds involving contractor inspectors.

  • May/June 1999 Inspectioneering Journal
    By John Reynolds at Intertek, and Mark Bell at Ethos Mechanical Integrity Solutions

    This three-part article describes some of the advanced on-stream inspection (OSI) methods available for use in inspection of pressure equipment in the petroleum and petrochemical industry. These methods can be used, under the right circumstances, to supplement or in lieu of invasive and turnaround inspections, usually at much lower cost. Cost savings associated with using OSI techniques in lieu of internal inspections may include lower total inspection costs, lower turnaround costs, avoiding lost production opportunities, and avoiding vessel cleaning and decontamination costs. On-stream inspection also avoid the safety hazards associated with confined space entry of vessels. However, to achieve these savings and benefits, and still maintain high levels of pressure equipment integrity, the owner-user must understand the technologies in order to intelligently select, apply and interpret the results of these nondestructive evaluation (NDE) methods.

  • May/June 1997 Inspectioneering Journal

    A paper entitled, "Turnaround Scope Development Through Reliability, Availability and Maintainability Analysis," prepared by Shailendra K. Gupta and John E. Paisie, both senior reliability engineers with Sun Oil Company, Toledo, OH, USA, was presented at the recent NPRA Maintenance Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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