Shell Deer Park Prepares for Fall Turnaround
Sep 07, 2020
A letter to our community
Our fall turnaround in our chemical plant begins late September and lasts until mid-November. This turnaround is about one sixth the size of our 2019 Big Block Turnaround, peaking at approximately 650 additional workers at the site split between day shift and night shift. We recognize any maintenance activity comes with impact and we apologize for any negative impact we may have to the community. We appreciate your patience as we competethis event that will help us run safely and reliably for years to come.
What is a Turnaround?
A turnaround is a regular maintenance activity – similar to maintenance we perform to keep our vehicles running properly. Equipment is shut down, inspected, repaired or replaced, and cleaned to ensure safe and reliable operations. It is also an opportunity for us to make capital investments to improve process safety, reliability, and leverage new growth opportunities.
What are the primary chemicals made in this area?
Phenol and acetone are the primary chemicals we produce in the unit that will be in turnaround. They are both organic compounds are used in plastics, wood preservatives, dyes, antiseptic products, agricultural chemicals and other products.
How will the people working during the Turnaround be protected?
Phenol is a mildly acidic chemical which can cause chemical burns requiring us to put special precautions in place. We have specialized contractor partners in place who are familiar with working turnarounds with this type of chemical and are accustomed to putting the right protocols and barriers in place (including personal protective equipment). We will again be using our Visual Onboarding Center to onboard each contractor into Shell’s safety culture with the proper precautions taken due to COVID-19. The Visual Onboarding Center consists of 10 booths showcasing the most common work scenarios that occur during a turnaround and highlight the stop-work authority that all workers have at our site. We will also provide specifics on how to work around the chemicals in the unit.
What are the COVID-19 barriers in place at the site?
Since March we’ve taken numerous measures to protect our workforce and community, including telecommuting and reducing the amount of interaction across the site, while continuing to maintain the units. All employees and contractors at the site are required to attest to health screening questions upon entering the facility and wear cloth face coverings when outside their personal workspace or when 6 feet social distancing cannot be maintained. The site has also increased cleaning of the facility and installed additional handwashing and hand sanitizer stations throughout the facility. During the TA, face masks and social distancing will be practiced just as they would outside of the site. Transportation inside the site and lunch times and locations have also been adjusted as needed.
Will there be flaring and will it impact air quality?
While flaring during the turnaround is possible, it’s not expected. However, elevated flaring is anticipated during the first week when additional units undergo orderly shutdown for maintenance activities. There will be additional elevated flaring for periods during the last 2 weeks of October as we safely restart our units.
Regardless, we want our community to know flaring plays a key role in keeping our plant safe. Site personnel are constantly monitoring the flares to prevent smoking. Once flared, the hydrocarbon has been safely treated and potential emissions have been reduced by at least 98%. Also, as we shut down and clean units we will monitor air quality to ensure the safety of our workers and the community.
What other impacts might come from Turnaround?
To help with traffic, we will employ some of the same plans that we did during the Big Block Turnaround. The potential impact is much less though due to the smaller size of this turnaround. Turnarounds also have economic benefits to the area due to workers spending time inthe local community and businesses. For those out of town workers, they will rent accommodations at local hotels or bring their travel trailer and stay in a nearby RV park.
As always, we welcome feedback and questions and we can be reached at any time by calling our community hotline: 713-246-7301. In addition to fielding community calls, our Site Team Leads are out daily conducting proactive community rounds. Additionally, we invite the community to engage with us on social media @ShellDeerPark on Facebook and Twitter.
Our top priority remains operating in a safe and environmentally sound manner. We are proud to be part of the Deer Park community forover 90 years and we are committed to be a good neighbor to our community for years to come. We greatly appreciate your support in the delivery of this event, as its completion will help us to maintain that commitment.
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Shell Deer Park invests in the latest technology and makes improvements in operating procedures and training programs so it reduces its footprint and achieves continuous improvement in environmental performance.
About Shell Deer Park
At Deer Park Chemicals, we power progress by providing the building blocks that make everyday products and are the solutions for our future, all from the historic birthplace of Texas.