It’s Time to Turnaround

Fabrizio D’Antonio, Maintenance Engineering Manager, and Giuseppe Cavallaro, Maintenance Planning Manager, give an in-depth picture of the Turnaroud activities recently carried out at Raffineria di Milazzo, one of the most important refineries in Italy

  • It’s Time to Turnaround
    It’s Time to Turnaround
  • It’s Time to Turnaround
    It’s Time to Turnaround
  • It’s Time to Turnaround
    It’s Time to Turnaround
  • It’s Time to Turnaround
    It’s Time to Turnaround

Authors: Ing. Fabrizio D'Antonio, Maintenance Engineering Managerand Ing. Giuseppe Cavallaro, Maintenance Planning Manager

This year Raffineria di Milazzo has completed a huge Turnaround, starting from early May to nearly mid July. We looked at it as an important test for our maintenance planning, and a great effort was made to get everything ready before the beginning of the Turnaround. It is important to notice that the planning activity was not interrupted during Turnaround operations.

Beyond usual operations, an important FCC revamping project has been implemented this year. Both the Reactor and Regenerator have been internally modified; in addition, downstream the Regenerator, a Turboexpander Generator was installed. We did these changes to obtain both process and energy recover advantages. For the internal changes the complete cut of both Reactor and Regenerator was necessary. Hydraulic cuts needed to be made; both vessel stop have been positioned on dedicated frames built some months before the turnaround activities. The reactor top has been entirely replaced with a new one. Turnaround was completed on all vessels, exchangers and all other plant equipments. Turnaround activities also involved Topping, Alkylation, Naphtha HDT and all ancillary plants of these main units.

Operators gathered together in more than 200 shutdown meetings, in order to optimize all resources throughout the works. During these meetings we had the opportunity to discuss, among the other things, the great number of critical aspects and new activities that normally arise during Turnarounds.

These meetings were essential to make a plan of all X-Rays controls, that interfere in the maintenance activities. To minimize this impact, we did a great number of controls using the Phased Array method, an ultrasonic way to control some of the weldings carried out on new or repaired piping.

We made an outstanding planning effort prior to all activities, in particular regarding logistic aspects. The normal road access and driveability changed to allow the main cranes (750 and 400 Tons the biggest ones - in picture 1 it is possible to see the 750 Tons crane at work) positioning. To avoid traffic jam in the plant zone, we had to create temporary parking areas. We created temporary deposits for all new and removed equipments, with the aim of reducing the great number of piping pieces and equipment that frequently impact negatively on the plant access during turnarounds.

Eleven site plans, generally or specifically dedicated to some aspect, have been issued and all workers were involved in meetings to learn the new road paths that they had to take with their cranes, trucks and so on.

All these activities resulted in high quality turnaround activities. There has been no relevant issues, as for logistics and daily operations. Due to the great number of extra activities, the Turnaround lasted slightly longer than expected. To have an idea of the Turnaround size, more than 500 tons of piping were installed or replaced; 200 of these before plants shutdown, the remaining during Turnaround.

Pictures from 2 to 4 show very important Turnaround activities.

At restart, we noticed that the plant showed good improvements - from the process point of view - thanks to the Reactor and Regenerator modifications. At the moment, the Turbo expander is still not running at full capacity.


The main target of this operation was to have zero injuries. To achieve this goal, we carried out a great number of activities before and during Turnaround.

Before Turnaround

Raffinerie di Milazzo invested a lot in safety courses for all the employees, included those who didn't participate in the Turnaround. In this way, the total number of workers attending the courses resulted to be very high: 3221. The operators involved in the Turnaround were 1800. Moreover, an overall number of 628 employees attended a specific safety course to learn how to properly enter vessels, columns etc. Another big safety issue was the scaffolding control. It was essential to guarantee its conformity to the project, its proper realization, and the correct take over between the manufacturer and the user companies. We checked all lifting devices in order to attest that the inspections and tests were carried out as prescribed by the law and that there was no evidence of any problem. A system for individual safety is always active in our Refinery. All workers have a starting capital of 20 safety points: In case of bad behaviour a certain number of points is cut out, depending on the seriousness of the violation, up to 15 points. In case of very bad violations, the operator has to repeat safety trainings. Safety proactive behaviours are encouraged bestowing extrapoints to the workers.

During Turnaround

To increase safety awareness, we held an overall number of 168 daily, weekly and extra safety meetings.

23 safety consultants from an external specialized company continuously checked the Turnaround areas, to control that safety procedures were respected, working site were clean and safe, and no interference between the operators from different firms was likely to occur.

A number of 169 near accidents was detected, but no injury has occurred. The Near-Accidents were investigated during the weekly safety meetings, the ones with the greatest number of participants.

From the safety walks, 962 points have been cut out, and 483 points assigned. We decided to award the best operators, as much as the firms which achieved the best safety performances.

The estimated number of working hours is 8,000.