The turnaround will focus on sustaining the refinery’s reliability performance. In addition, the event also includes the installation of equipment to improve process safety.
“This turnaround plays a vital role in ensuring that we can continue to operate safely and environmentally responsibly for years to come,” said Shirley Yap, the general manager at Shell’s Puget Sound Refinery. “Turnarounds provide us with an opportunity to infuse a significant amount of positive economic activity across Skagit County in a short amount of time, and they’re one of the many ways we fuel life in the Pacific Northwest for our employees, contractors and our community.”
The turnaround will peak at over 1,500 people on-site per day, resulting in an influx of approximately $2.5 million in new consumer spending in the area by the turnaround workforce during the event, with most of this economic activity coming from spending on food and lodging. Shell will also utilize a variety of local vendors throughout the turnaround.
All workers who enter the site will undergo extensive safety training and onboarding to ensure they’re aligned with Shell’s expectations and commitment to delivering a turnaround with zero safety and environmental incidents.
Plant Efforts to Minimize Community Impacts
- Traffic: Residents should expect higher traffic flow on Thompson Road, March’s Point and Reservation Road in Anacortes around daily shift changes that take place from 6-8 a.m. and 6-8 p.m. Shell has contacted the WA State Department of Transportation, and the department will update the timing of traffic lights in the immediate vicinity of the refinery in an effort to move traffic more efficiently. Shell also partners with the Anacortes Police Department and the Skagit County Sherriff’s Department during peak traffic times to ensure that traffic flows safely and efficiently during these times.
- Flaring: Residents may see some flaring during the unit shutdown and start-up stages of the turnaround. As a reminder, flares are process safety devices that the site occasionally utilizes to combust excess product and maintain safe operations. Shell will minimize any flaring activity as much as possible.
- Noise & Lights: Shell will aim to limit high noise-generating activities to the hours of 8 a.m.-8 p.m. The site will also have a few more lights on at night than it typically does – this helps ensure the safety of all workers. Shell will position all lighting so that it minimizes any negative impact to its neighbors.
- General Timing: This turnaround kicks off in early March. The site prefers to conduct turnarounds in the fall or spring due to weather concerns in the winter and increased product demand in the summer due to driving season. It also tries to avoid holidays.
The public should contact Shell’s Main Gate (staffed 24/7) at 360-293-0800 with any immediate questions and/or concerns prior to or during the turnaround. For less urgent questions and general feedback, the public should call Shell’s community hotline: 360-293-1797.