Industrial facilities as large and complex as the Edmonton Refinery require regular maintenance for safe and efficient operation. In many parts of our facility, maintenance tasks cannot be performed while the plant is operational. Similar to changing the oil in your vehicle while it is parked and the engine is off, our refinery also requires scheduled ‘shut down’ periods for maintenance.
"A shut down or turnaround is a planned event where production is suspended or decreased for a specific time period in order to perform maintenance tasks,” says Paul Adema, Director, Maintenance, Edmonton Refinery. “This involves equipment inspections, and if necessary, repairs, replacements and technology upgrades.
The duration of a turnaround can vary – several days for a minor annual turnaround to several weeks for a major turnaround occurring only every few years. During this time, a variety of skilled tradespeople perform a wide range of maintenance activities throughout the refinery. Several hundred contract employees may be needed.
The impact of a turnaround on our neighbours and the local community can vary:
- Some turnarounds generate increased flaring and additional noise, while others produce no noticeable effect
- A larger contract workforce may result in increased traffic to the refinery
- Economic contributions can exceed millions of dollars and include spending on parts and services
- Efficiency and environmental performance are increased as we invest in the newest and best equipment during our turnarounds
In 2014, the Edmonton Refinery conducted both a spring and fall turnaround involving over 2,000 workers.
For more information on Suncor's refining operations, visit suncor.com.