Operational Testing

At this stage the plant is ready for Operational Testing, bringing online after successfully completing Commissioning Start up and function testing checking control sequences, cranking equipment, emergency shutdown checks, false-fire checks, when plant is traditionally run in operational condition for periods of up to 72 hours in any one period.

BOP Systems Operation

Balance of Plant (BOP) is a synchronisation of system checkout when the system is placed in normal operation in a step-by-step fashion. BOP can take several days, even weeks and may require frequent stops in order to perform inspections, make equipment adjustments, or review data.

Shift Work

When operational plant performance testing is in process, the Commissioning Experts will work shifts, with two or three shifts assigned for round-the-clock coverage. On all projects, the most experienced personnel are assigned to the night shift. Since there are fewer workers on night shift to coordinate, and fewer distractions, the night shift can initiate new tests much easier than can be done on day shift.

Test Data

Our Commissioning Experts will prepare test log sheets and will use DCS software logs that capture operational data. Software logs will be formatted to depict operating data graphically, displaying the dynamics of the system operation.

Plant Shutdowns

During the operation of the plant, there will be a collection of punch list items which require the plant to be shutdown in order to perform the work. Also, the Start-up schedule will include some known shutdown activities, like removing the strainers from fuel lines. The work should be scheduled just like a regular plant shutdown, with work permits arranged in advance, materials staged in the warehouse, and personnel assigned to the tasks. When the predetermined time arrives for the planned shutdown, the work can then proceed smoothly. There should also be an ongoing list of punch list items that can be done during a short shutdown or partial plant shutdown, so that if the plant is shutdown or trips without notice, some of those short work items can be accomplished.

Housekeeping

It is a well-known fact that plants that have good housekeeping are easier to start. When Commissioning Experts are not encumbered by construction dirt and debris, the equipment stays clean and more trouble-free. Our Commissioning Experts will insist on good housekeeping from all the organizations on the project.

Reliability Test

A reliability test will take the form of a continuous operations test, where the plant operates continuously, with no emergency trips, for a period of perhaps 7 to 30 days. Other variations of this test include performing repeated Startup and shutdown operations, performing hot and cold re-starts with fast loading, and peaking operation tests.

System Turnover (from Commissioning to the Owner)

The Turnover from Commissioning to the plant owner follows the same principles as the turnover from construction to Commissioning.

Turnover Packages

Our Commissioning Experts will maintain the System Turnover Packages during the Commissioning phase, and the various records collected for each system are added to the packages during the Commissioning. This type of Turnover includes multiple System Turnover packages being turned over simultaneously.

System Walkdown

The System Walkdown is conducted in the same manner as the construction Turnover Walkdown. The Walkdown verifies the work within the boundaries is complete. Any incomplete work is noted on the Punch list. Those work items are completed later, under the owner’s work permit program.

“Wish List”

The owner’s personnel are not always conversant with the contract for designing and building the plant, and sometimes they write into the punch list items which are beyond the scope of the contract (therefore known as “wish list” items). Our Commissioning Experts will differentiate between in-scope deficiencies and out-of-scope requests. The plant owner may need to establish a separate contract to add these enhancements at a later time, after the plant startup is completed.

Conclusions

Hundreds of plants are Commissioned Re-Commissioned or Started Up every year and a underlying philosophy of what makes successful Commissioning and Start Up is always a topic of discussion. Many theories are based on best practice and previous experience, however in truth every project presents different challenges, although the same plant or process may be being developed, we must take into consideration multiple factors that complicate the Construction, Completion, Turnover, Commissioning process. These challenges range from Project Location, Climate, Culture, Chosen Technology, Equipment, Engineering, EPC Contractor Experience, Client Experience, Project Budget, Commercial and Stakeholder Restraints, Project Schedule to name a few.

Over 20 Years in Commissioning large scale EPC globally, over 50 Projects globally we can safely say that every project is unique and successful flawless Commissioning and Start-up is 100% based on the successful management of project information, client expectations and the integration of experienced start-up personnel who have years of Specialist Commissioning Expertise ready to meet the technical demands and challenges on a case by case basis.

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