The petrochemicals sector plays a major role in the South African economy and often, scheduled shutdowns of key sites are necessary in order carry out planned maintenance and upgrades to ensure that capacity in the sector is not compromised.
This was the case with the recent shutdown at the SAPREF refinery in Durban, in which leading Southern African supplier of welding and construction-related equipment, Renttech South Africa (Pty) Ltd, recently participated.
SAPREF is a joint venture between Shell South Africa Refining and BP Southern Africa. It is the largest crude oil refinery in Southern Africa, featuring 35% of South Africa’s refining capacity. The plant is situated in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
The shutdown project was key to the sector, as Sapref is one of South Africa’s most important oil refinery operations. The award and tender procedure followed a lengthy due diligence process, in order to ensure that the right contractors were selected.
Gerrit van Zyl, Managing Director of Renttech South Africa, explains that after they were awarded the project, Renttech South Africa had to start planning on how to get the product for rental and sales onto site.
“The products were housed in containers, which were moved to site according to the amount of line items that SAPREF required for rental and sales,” he points out, adding that, due to the importance of the project in terms of the South African petrochemicals sector, the size and scale thereof saw Renttech supplying a broad range of products to the project.
“This included everything from toolboxes, tools, power tools, welding machines, TIG torches, cutting torches, gang boxes, power cables, DB boards and extensions to lights, generators, and generator welding sets.
On this shutdown, Renttech South Africa rented out 55,000 line items over a period of just a month,” van Zyl advises.
Before a shutdown can take place, equipment has to be serviced, marked, packed and moved to site. On site, it needs to be placed in the correct locations and staff assigned to manage the equipment.
“We also have technicians on site that are working to keep equipment up and running,” says Aletta Theron, Managing Director of SA Welding, is a division of Renttech South Africa.
In addition, a variety of products are being sold to the main contracts on site, which include grinding disks, welding consumables and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE.) After the shutdown has been completed, all containers and equipment needs to be moved off the site to be serviced and repaired.
Managing a project of the size and scale of the SAPREF shutdown takes extensive planning and experience, and Renttech brought a number of core capabilities to the project, which it has acquired though working on similar projects in the sector.
“Core capabilities provided to the project included the efficient management of logistics and planning of plant, stock, process and equipment. In addition, we provided stockholding of all line items rented out, as well as sales on site in containers. We also provided service and maintenance to ensure that the quality of product and equipment on site. Very importantly, we had to ensure that there was minimum to no waiting period for any equipment, plant and consumables,” comments van Zyl.
“We are very familiar with this sort of petrochemical shutdown project; and we are proud of the fact that we have been able to meet the specific challenges presented by the size and scale of this particular project with our usual levels of capability and efficiency,” he concludes.
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