A Towering Achievement: 38 Meters High, 60 Tons, One Safe Commissioning in Yanbu’

Yanbu’ — The Yanbu’ Refinery team recently celebrated the safe and successful commissioning of a critical milestone in the history of the Yanbu’ Refinery Department — the Sour Water Stripper Column Replacement Project.

The column — 38 meters high with a total nominal load of 60 tons — is the main source of removing hydrogen sulfide (H2S) from the sour water received from the refinery. It has a total operating capacity of 45,000 barrels per day.

Site preparation activities were extensive, as construction activities needed to be carried out in a live sulfur recovery plant rich with H2S, with a total of 62 external pipe connections and 43 instruments.

Moreover, the team of operators and engineers had to replace the column within 22 days to avoid a total refinery shutdown. The team was able to challenge all constraints, safely complete the replacement, and successfully commission it in 17 days.

Safety On-site, Safety in Transport

Safety was a cornerstone in every activity that took place. The job safety analysis listed all activities, and the plan for their safe implementation was endorsed by all contractor parties, operations, and the compliance team. As for the lifting plan, it was evaluated by Loss Prevention and heavy-equipment technicians. All safety measures were in place to conduct the lift.

To address unknown risks and hazards, the emergency response plan included plausible scenarios, guidelines, and an endorsement from the Fire Protection team, as well as safety compliance.

The transportation of the column from Jubail to the project site took almost seven days, where the execution team coordinated with external entities such as the Royal Commission for safe passage to Yanbu’.

The column has been awarded to a local manufacturing company in Jubail as part of the iktva program, which is targeting 70% localization by 2021 in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. The manufacturing of the column took seven months, achieving more than 1,500 safe working hours.

This project supports compliance to Saudi Aramco safety standards and enhances the reliability of the company’s corporate objectives.

— The Arabian Sun: December 18, 2019 | Vol. LXXIV, No. 49