An oil and gas refinery is one of the largest and most complex objects built by human hands, both in terms of size/capacity and performance. Major refineries can process several hundred thousand barrels of crude oil or natural gas per day, at temperatures of over 500 degrees Celsius and pressures of up to and above 50 atmospheres.
These conditions create an ever-present danger of metal fatigue, cracks, corrosion and clogging; unlike industries that work with stable or inert materials such as cement, the materials that refineries process are also often volatile and flammable, which means that breaches or other accidents at petroleum processing facilities can be very dangerous.
This is why proper maintenance and safety procedures are so important for refinery operators. A responsible operator will schedule turnaround not just in order to replace corroded pipes, blocked conduits and worn-out components, but also to incorporate the latest technology and improve production capacity.
Unfortunately, the entire facility must be shut down during a turnaround process, with the outage lasting as long as several weeks. Given the amount of material processed by a large refinery, production shutdown is extremely costly in terms of lost productivity. A badly executed turnaround can cost the operator millions of dollars in lost revenue and can even have an impact on their ability to compete in the industry.
This is why turnaround specialist companies spend a great deal of time planning and scheduling the outage in advance; engineers and project managers are always seeking ways to safely reduce the duration of a refinery outage with new tools and improved workflow methods.
Part of this planning is making sure that only the most reliable tools are used during maintenance, in order to minimize downtime and costs due to wear & tear and breakage. Pipe cutting tools from Widder by HPI have been specifically engineered to work without disruptions in any conditions - desert, arctic and everything in between.