Process Safety / Operating Plant Risk Assessment

Process Safety / Operating Plant Risk Assessment

01| Challenge

Projected started as a Process Safety and Operating Risk Analysis and evolved into a broader scope to include Business Risk as well

New company in USA roughly halfway through engineering/construction of a mega-methanol plant on a US Gulf Coast greenfield site.

Assignment was for a 3rd party evaluation of the effectiveness of the process safety management systems and personnel.    Reporting was directly to the company president.

Assessment to be completed in 6 weeks

Analyze Process safety systems and identify significant unrecognized risks to the plant / business

02| Solution

Results of analysis:

  • Process safety systems and personnel had some notable areas needing improvement but were generally adequate.
  • However, there was a significant unrecognized risk to the plant/business due to inadequate systems for technology transfer. If uncorrected, the plant could expect significant production reliability problems and potential for non-trivial process safety incidents during initial startup and likely for an extended period (1st year of operation) after startup. Impacts to customers and to company profitability could be expected to be significant.
  • There was inadequate attention to transfer of process engineering expertise from project team to the staffing of the plant – none of the engineer positions at the plant site had been filled by a person involved in the Engineering phase. The staffing process for the plant technical and operations positions had not put a premium on same-technology experience, hence they had none.
  • Documentation systems for the plant had not been specified nor populated in a manner that allowed for intuitive searches and rapid retrieval of the needed information. The planned commissioning and startup was to be performed by a contracted 3rd party, who would then turn over the operating plant to the permanent staff of operators (instead of using the commissioning and startup phase as key part of the operator training program).

03| Results

  • Improvements were made to personnel training to improve initial startup
  • Project Team members were assigned to the plant to ensure continuity – additional personnel with similar technology experience
  • Improve interfacing to 3rd Party for Commissioning & Startup