In October 2014, John Beever Australia (JBA) commenced Furnace Upgrade Works at the Qenos Olefins site in Altona.
Qenos is Australia’s leading manufacturer and trader of world class polyethylene. The Altona site is home to three plants; Olefins, Plastics and Resins. Both Plastics and Resins plants manufacture High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), which is used in a wide range of markets including packaging, telecommunications and pipes for water conservation, irrigation, mining and energy. As part of the process involved, the two furnaces assist in the production of polyethylene from hydrocarbons.
This complex project involves the replacement of coils and quench headers on the SCAL1 furnaces. Additional projects were combined within this complex project such as the installation of new platforms and piping and control valve sets.
The first of the furnace refurbishments was completed in November 2014. This was a six-week shutdown of the furnace. In conjunction with Qenos personnel, JBA were responsible for managing all mechanical works including the removal of existing furnace coils, pipe modifications and installation of new piping, platforms and walkways.
In adherence to the Project Management Plan that was developed by Qenos, a rigorous labour selection was undertaken to ensure that all subcontractors met the requirements and understood project specifications and site standards.
Before commencing the works, JBA identified the aged condition of the existing coils as a potential OHS risk factor while handling. John Beever recommended that the redundant coils be transferred mid-air by crane and secured to a steel form for a safer tilting procedure.
Another major challenge for the project team was the congested work space, a potential risk factor that was successfully managed with excellent communication and harmonious work scheduling.
Michael Barsha has been stationed at the Qenos Altona Plant for the past three years and was appointed as the Project Supervisor/Coordinator for the Furnace Upgrade Works. A boilermaker/welder by trade, he has over 15 years experience with JBA and has a prior track record in similar works at the Qenos site. Of the current progress, Michael lists safety as one of the key achievements, “the first half of the project has been successfully executed and with no incidents to date”.
“I believe this was achieved through a lot of pre-planning, good proactive thinking and organisation. Daily site safety walk throughs were completed for three weeks prior to the shutdown.
"JBA and Qenos worked closely together throughout the upgrade works and Qenos provided ongoing support through the provision of gear and resources.
"We have a great working relationship with Qenos. They put on a barbeque to show their appreciation for the safe execution of the project so far,” said Michael.
JBA and Qenos have enjoyed a long working and collaborative history together. Since early 2000, JBA has been involved in a significant number of works and maintenance at the Qenos sites including piping fabrication and installation, pressure vessel repairs and installation, furnace upgrades and maintenance, fractionating tower shutdowns and platform repairs and installation.