Lifting the load for Sasol

[Image copyright to Sasol]

Babcock is providing 50 cranes for hire and delivering support services for what will be the biggest plant shutdown to date for Sasolburg Operations Sasol One Site. The annual shutdown, which commenced at the end of February and will continue until mid-April 2016, is in line with a statutory requirement for petrochemical industries across the globe to shut down equipment for inspection and repair according to a pre-planned schedule. During the shutdown, equipment will be overhauled to ensure both process and equipment integrity.

Lifting the load for Sasol

Sasolburg Operations produces ammonia, ammonium nitrate, catalyst, ethylene, mining chemicals, phenolics, solvents, wax and also utilities and electricity generation across 18 production units including a cobalt catalyst manufacturing plant, an ethylene purification unit, butanol and acrylates plants, and a gas-fired power plant. On the Sasol One Site production will largely be suspended for the duration of the shutdown while over 27 000 maintenance tasks will be taking place requiring 50 cranes, 100 rigging teams and over 3 300 additional people on site, from general workers, welders, boilermakers, pipe fitters and mechanical fitters to electricians, engineers, surveyors, safety personnel, project managers and finance managers. Babcock will be providing a range of cranes with capacities of between 8 and 500 tonnes which will be utilised in all the rigging activities. Other maintenance tasks that will be taking place during the shutdown include engineering, manufacturing, sandblasting, painting, cutting and welding, X-ray, lifting, excavation, rigging and civils activities.

Babcock has been providing plant hire and support services for Sasol’s shutdowns for the past 20 years, says Johan Coetzee, Area Manager at Babcock’s Plant Services business. “We supply cranes and construction equipment directly to Sasol, as well as other local and international service providers involved in the Sasol shutdowns, for both the Secunda and Sasolburg operations. We have been awarded the maintenance contract at Sasol One in Sasolburg, and our scope of work has extended to all Sasol divisions including Sasol Mining and Sasol Group Technology.”

Co-ordinating a project on this scale requires months of planning, says Coetzee. “Our Plant Services MD, Ian Kendrick, is involved from the start and we have numerous strategy meetings with Sasol to ensure we have all the information about the what, where, how and when we need to do the task. We allocate personnel, equipment and resources to the job and draw on personnel and skills from within our plant division and from our other branches and divisions if required. We move equipment into place, and we focus on safety, ensuring clear communication and planning every step of the way.

“All equipment is serviced, certified and inspected to be up to standard and ready to work. All personnel are competent, qualified, appointed and trained on what we need them to do. Toolbox talks, daily, weekly and monthly meetings, with clear communication and feedback, keep everyone who is involved adequately informed. All potential deviations are noted, and an action plan, with a responsible persons list, and task due dates, is formulated to prevent delays. We work closely with Sasol so that we know exactly when and what service is required, to ensure that we deliver on time,” concludes Coetzee. 

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