Safe refining operations at the LOTOS Group
The assumption that underlies our approach to safety management and failure prevention at the refinery is the integrity of means of production and safety. Our approach is based on the following:
- Process units are built in compliance with Polish and international standards, relying on long-standing experience in operating such facilities,
- The units are operated by trained and experienced staff,
- Maintenance shutdowns are performed in accordance with the law and well-established procedures, including work permits, work procedures, checking the technical condition of equipment, equipment supervision by the Office of Technical Inspection (UDT) and the Company Technical Inspection, engaging specialised companies to perform overhauls, etc.
In 2016, we focused on ensuring safety of work to be performed as part of the refinery maintenance shutdown scheduled for 2017. The preparations included:
- Defining the scope of maintenance work to be performed and securing resources necessary for its proper performance, based on the requirements of Polish law (UDT) and the operational requirements (efficiency of technological processes), review of the technical condition of the equipment and its overhaul history, and the experience gained over many years of operation of the equipment,
- Purchase of spare parts and materials from proven suppliers,
- Engaging contractors specialising in overhauls of petrochemical units and energy generation facilities.
RBI and reliable production units
For a few years now we have been the first in Poland to implement the RBI (Risk Based Inspection) methodology, i.e. a system for comprehensive management of risk related to the operation of pressure equipment, which allows us to predict potential equipment failures due to the greatest exposure to damage. Following full implementation of the RBI system, the operation of the refinery units will be more reliable, and the period of uninterrupted operation of the units between maintenance shutdowns should extend from four to five years.
In 2016, we analysed risks for 12 key units which, if stopped, could have extremely adverse consequences for the operation of the refinery as a whole.
In case of failure − training for the manufacturing staff
- In 2016, we completed 69 training exercises focusing on correct response to industrial failures. They were attended by employees that operate production units on all shifts, and office staff − a total of over 1,000 people. These were practical drills to deal with emergencies that may occur at the production units.
- In September 2016, our employees underwent training under an external rescue operation plan at units 930 and 150, where leakage of hydrogen sulphide was simulated. The training covered:
- Identification of sources of danger,
- Notification of the event to rescue services and the dispatcher,
- Evacuation of personnel from the unit to the meeting point,
- Identification of victims (if any),
- Closing and restricting access to roads around the unit,
- Attempts by control room operators, chemical emergency services and the unit crew to bring the situation under control.
The training session was attended, in addition to the technical and security personnel of Grupa LOTOS, LOTOS Straż, and LOTOS Ochrona, by officers of the National Fire Service, Provincial Emergency Management Centre, and Provincial Inspectorate for Environmental Protection. The purpose of the exercise was to test cooperation of all the services involved in the containment effort.
Process safety audit at the refinery
To ensure the best safety management standards, an external process safety audit was conducted at the refinery in 2016. The audit was performed by a company with extensive experience in the implementation and assessment of process safety management systems at refineries around the world.
Among the evaluated areas were: integrity of resources and reliability, change management, measurements and indicators, auditing, that is checking the skills of the management, and continuous improvement.
In addition to analysing documents, that is procedures and instructions, the auditors checked individual cases of production incidents, changes in engineering and technological solutions, results of audits and reviews, as well as data on plant engineering and overhauls.