Top Ways a Refinery Can Use to Help Weather Current Market Conditions

What are the top ways a refinery can use to help weather current market conditions is a question we posed to our 160+ engineers. This is the next article in the series which includes responses from several different authors.

David Fisher

As you can see, my thoughts are from an operator's view and I have been through several swings in the market and management. Most of the time, companies look at the short term fix as margins are tight. They don’t see the big picture of what the cuts will do in two or three years by not fixing or replacing equipment during turnarounds. Equipment that would cost one hundred thousand dollars to replace during a turnaround now costs one million in down time and contractor cost.

Sam McKenzie

The problem is margins and the response will be shutting down capacity so that a shortage will increase price. I would suggest that the equipment be maintained properly during any shutdown or low capacity running so that when the capacity surge happens, there are no untoward and expense incidents.

Jim Tosso

Suggest refineries focus their efforts on low cost, high return spending initiatives including:

Taking advantage of capital spending lull by investing in employee development and training will result in long term benefits both to employee morale and plant operations.

Vern Maddox

Prepare for downturns by investing in reliability improvements. If this is done, maintenance costs will be lower and productivity will be up.

I am afraid that plants will take risks now to lower costs because there seems to be no long term thinking and planning. The smart guys will get through this just fine because they planned ahead.

Mel Ozdemir

Operational cost + crude oil cost can exceed cost of the final product of some oil producing countries of the world. Could be better to reduce production capacity and import final products for demand of the consumers.

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