March 25, 2012 at 7:20 pm #1899
ConocoPhillips’ new plant manager prepares for big jobs ahead
By Clair Johnson (email@example.com) The Billings Gazette
Posted: Friday, March 23, 2012 12:05 am
Julian Stoll, the new manager of the Billings ConocoPhillips refinery, has his work cut out for him: overseeing the shutdown of the plant for maintenance and the replacement of two huge coke drums.
The maintenance project, including the $48 million coke-drum replacement, is scheduled to begin at the end of the month. At its peak, the maintenance project, called a turnaround, will have about 1,500 contract workers at the plant.
The refinery’s skyline already is changing with the assembly of the world’s fourth-largest crane. The big red crane is needed to remove the two old coke drums and to hoist the new 350-ton drums into place. The drums enable the refinery to process sour crude oil into gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other products.
The Billings plant is Stoll’s first assignment as manager, but he brings with him years of experience as operations manager at two bigger ConocoPhillips refineries, in Lake Charles, La., and Wood River, Ill.
Stoll began his career with ConocoPhillips in 1991 in the United Kingdom. Stoll, who was born and raised in England, has a chemical and bio-process engineering degree. He worked in various engineering, planning and operations positions before moving to the United States in 2001.
“Essentially, refining is refining,” Stoll said. The Billings plant is a challenge, he said. “We’re smaller but we’re highly complex,” he said.
A smaller refinery also gives Stoll the opportunity to get to know all of the employees – “a great team,” he said.
Since arriving in January, Stoll has been getting acquainted at the plant, its workforce and the community. He’s in the process of moving his wife and two sons, 12 and 10, to Billings from Illinois.
“I’m absolutely overjoyed to be here,” Stoll said. “I’m thrilled to be here. I feel blessed every day. People are very kind, very welcoming.”
Stoll participated in January in an annual retreat with the ConocoPhillips Citizens Advisory Council, a group of neighborhood and community leaders, to discuss refinery activities, operations and goals. ConocoPhillips also has sent area residents postcards advising of the turnaround and what to expect with increased traffic and noise.
Stoll said he believes in a chain-of-command approach to management and an open-door policy with “authentic conversation.”
Safety and environmental stewardship are at the top of Stoll’s priorities, followed by business performance. When the top two are met, he said, the plant will get good performance.
In the coming weeks, the plant will be completely shut down for repair, maintenance and upgrades in addition to the coke drum replacement, Stoll said. The refinery had partial shutdowns for maintenance in 2007 and 2009. The plant will be back in operation by early May.
The coke drum will be the most visible part of the turnaround. The original coke drums were installed about 20 years ago and are worn out, Stoll said. The new drums are expected to last 30 years.
The drums arrived in four parts in what became known as the megaloads. Built in Kobe, Japan, the drums traveled by sea and river and then were trucked on Montana backroads at 35 mph to the plant.
Welders fused the steel drums together, and they have been standing next to each other at the base of the coker unit, awaiting installation.
The 1,760-ton crane needed to make the switch takes a crew of nine riggers three weeks to assemble, said Darrell Froese, crane supervisor for Mammoet, which owns the crane.
“I basically follow the crane all over the world,” said Froese, who is from Calgary, Alberta. The Mammoet crew includes workers from Texas, Florida and the Netherlands.
Brady Hobza, a ConocoPhillips project engineer, said the crane arrived by rail in pieces packed in shipping containers. The boom is 434 feet long, and the crane has 3.3 million pounds of counterweight in solid steel plates, he said.
The crane will remove the derrick, or top part of the coker unit, pull out the two old coker drums, install the new drums and replace the derrick. The old coke drums will be salvaged.
About the time plant returns to service, the refinery will go through another change: its name. The refinery will become a Phillips 66 plant to reflect the splitting of the company into two entities. Phillips 66 will handle refining and marketing, while ConocoPhillips will be an exploration and production company. Both will be headquartered in Houston. ConocoPhillips is the third-largest U.S. oil company by market value after ExxonMobil and Chevron Corp.
Conoco gas stations will remain Conoco, Stoll said.
March 25, 2012 at 7:21 pm #4676
Here is an update on Billings Coke Drum Replacements in 2012. The $500MM 2007 project to replace Crude Units and upgrade coker to expand Heavy Crude was postphoned but $48MM Coke Drum replacement portion of project went ahead on slightly delayed schedule due weather, road problems and of course environmentalist.
COP’s 58MBD Billings Refinery added new $150MM, 2drum (24ft Diam.), COP Tech coker in 1992.
New Coke Drums will be replaced 1Q2012 after having arrived in Billings from Kobe Japan to US: Seattle (July) via 2 Megaloads “Odyssey” to Billings (Oct) in 2011. It has been estimated that the new drums (same size @22-24ft Diam.) could allow a Refinery +10MBD increase in crude charge to 71MBD and coker to 21-24MBD thru crude slate, cycle and operating chages.
Although the article mentions a 30 year life -most coke drums seldom meet this expectation because they never run at 24 hr cycle design conditions and instead run at industry operating conditions of 9-16 hr cycles (current Billings 22ftDia X66 ftTT CBI 1989 drums online in 1992 did run to their expected 20 year life cycle).
Here is hoping that COP doesn’t have problems with the giant crane that has plagued other refinery projects (Crane industry doesn’t require license or impose standards on operators – see prior news /coking.com post on this safety item & also 2011 on Billings Coke Drums/Expansion Project).
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