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Role of an Operator in the Oil and Gas Refinery

A checklist provided by Sandesh Bhisekar, Oil And Gas Operations Specialist

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“An Operator must take the opportunity to see the place from different viewpoints to gain more information about the system.”

·       Take the field round frequently.

·       Check safety equipment, eyewash, and showers.

·       Check for any abnormal noise in the pump/air fin coolers/blowers motor.

·       Check for any vibration/hammering in process and utility lines.

·       Check pump lube oil & seal pot level.

·       Ensure compressor lube oil standby pump is in auto mode and push button release condition.

·       Check LG for level gauge and LT for level transmitter.

·       Check PSVs in line.

·       Check any loose connections.

·       Confirm all N2 and steam lines that are going to process lines are blinded.

·       Check heaters, reactors, columns at least once in a shift.

·       Frequent checking of battery limits is a must.

·       Make observation and reporting of hydrocarbon and steam leaks.

·       Ensure the fire deluge system is online.

·       Do not allow any non-routine jobs without a valid work permit.

·       Fill in the complete details in the logbook.

·       Complete every planned job with a checklist only.

·       Use standard procedure for control valve bypass operation.

·       Ensure good housekeeping in the plant.

·       Ensure steam tracing by carefully touching with hand. 

·       Check steam traps for any passing.

·       Ensure the standby hot pump is on warm up.

·       Ensure that proper size valves are available at the valve key stand.

·       Ensure hose reels are rolled back in the stand.

·       Ensure all drains & vents are plugged and valves are in closed position.

·       Use all PPE & keep H2S meter in the field.

The unit must be thoroughly checked at least three times per shift, following a set of routines to ensure full coverage of the unit. In performing routine checks, the field operator will use not only his considerable skill and knowledge but also the senses, particularly those of sight, hearing and smell to detect any abnormalities or inconsistencies. Proper observation and interpretation of the status of the process and equipment through the use of the senses is very important in checking a unit over. The places like column top (with monkey ladders) are to be checked once every four days. An Operator must take the opportunity to see the place from different viewpoints to gain more information about the system. This will help in observing the changes in the situations of the plant. Remember: an Operator is a key person and the first line of defense in smooth running of the refinery.


Additional reading

We have a treasure trove of past articles and videos on this very topic. Feel free to peruse some of this below:

Surveillance Rounds

What I like to point out in my audits is what makes the most sense for the good of the unit. I have completed a lot of unit audits worldwide and I see a common thread between them all, and that is the need to check and recheck all of the equipment every shift– always. When you think about it, the surveillance round should be the operator’s primary mission. But often the operators don’t have much of a say in how the surveillance rounds are conducted or in what should be checked and when. Read more

Don’t Get Caught With Your PSDs Down

Personal Safety Devices: when you need them, they are not where they’re supposed to be…

In 2016, a study was conducted on recreational boating fatalities. Of all the drowning accidents in the U.S., 83% of the victims were not wearing a life jacket at the time of their death. I have seen many a boater stash his or her life jacket nearby them on the boat, but not on them–as if that was going to do them any good in the event of an emergency. When you really need the life jacket, if it’s not already on you, then it’s too late. Read more

Post-maintenance Cleanup and Insulation

I believe that one of the duties of an operator is to go and inspect a job or project after it’s said to be completed. Don’t just sign off on it until the area has been inspected and cleaned up, meaning all materials brought out for the activity and any debris hoses and scaffolding pieces have been removed. Read more

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Posted by: lindsay

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