Improving Capital Project and Plant Turnaround Performance

Last week’s Petrochemical Engineering & Construction and Gulf Coast Shutdowns & Turnarounds conferences took place in New Orleans. Here are excepts from the full posts over on the Top Quartile Performance site.

Beyond Best Practice: The Latest Thinking in Doing Things Differently

As process manufacturing and production capital projects continue to grow in scale and complexity, more and more companies have to ask: What happens when best practices aren’t good enough?


Emerson’s Jim Nyquist (right) joined fellow senior executives from owner organizations to share insights on “Beyond Best Practice: The Latest Thinking in Doing Things Differently” at the Petrochemical Engineering and Construction conference on June 7 in New Orleans. The panel focused on new thinking to tackle core projects issues and implementation strategies to better improve project outcomes.

Project complexity has only increased with global teams, locations and supplies, Nyquist said—but current best practices were never designed to address these factors. Companies like Emerson have worked diligently in recent years to find new solutions. Emerging technologies, such as virtualization, have enabled companies to address issues earlier in the project to reduce risks from back-loaded activities.

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‘Control the Chaos’ with Effective Plant Turnaround Scope Management

Turnarounds hold a natural paradox: How can downtime be among the most intense periods for a busy plant?

Emerson's Nikki Bishop


These time windows of scheduled downtime for improvements, debottlenecking, maintenance and other actions are crucial to prepare the plant for ongoing safe, reliable and efficient operations. But these turnarounds are considered an intense time of “controlled chaos” as well, because a long list of work must be done and any schedule delays means extending the expensive window of lost production. For plants running at capacity, lost production is time that can never be made up.

Managing the scope of turnarounds is critical to getting the work done and staying on schedule. Emerson’s Nikki Bishop (right) offered her expertise as an “Effective Plant Turnaround Scope Management” panelist at the Gulf Coast Shutdown and Turnarounds conference in New Orleans on June 8.

Bishop was joined by turnaround leaders from owner companies on a panel focused on full project controls alignment, proven best practices for aligning objectives and avoiding “scope creep,” and mitigating overruns risks.

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Operational Readiness: How prepared is your team?

Significant work is put into process manufacturer and producer capital projects: But how ready is the project team to transition the project to operations after the commissioning and startup phase ends?

Emerson's Jason Sarnataro


Emerson’s Jason Sarnataro offered insight into this critical handoff processing on an expert panel at the Petrochemical Engineering and Construction conference on June 7 in New Orleans.

The panel, “Operational Readiness: Turnover of Project and Commissioning Start-up,” focused on best practices and valuable lessons learned in ensuring quality, reliability and efficiency during the Commission and Startup process. Industry owners and contractors also shared insight on delivering capital projects effectively and emphasized the need for a sound process for turnover from the contractor to the owner, to ensure that the project meets schedule and cost objectives as a project nears completion.

Sarnataro, an Emerson program manager who leads mega-project execution for the Sasol Lake Charles Cracker Project, noted that process control systems and instrumentation are typically considered at the end of a capital project—and yet have a major input on the schedule. Finding ways to optimize the work required, including moving activities forward, is important in reducing schedule risk, Sarnataro said.

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You can connect and interact with other capital project and turnaround experts in the Plan & Design and Implement & Build groups in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

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