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CHEVRON SOUTH AFRICA

FEATURE


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M i ln ERT O n

R Ef i n ERY

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Chevron South Africa FEATURE

Steve Parker, director & General Manager of Refining at Chevron Refinery in Milnerton, Cape Town, says the secret behind Chevron South Africa’s success is safety, performance and reliability.

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ustralian-born Steve Parker is Director and General Manager of the Chevron refinery in Milnerton, Cape Town’s successful 45-year-old refinery, which consistently operates the 100,000 barrels per day refinery at “high utilisation”. Parker’s role is challenging -Chevron South Africa is of course a world-renowned refiner and marketer of petroleum products -- and he is responsible for the overall oil refinery management at Milnerton. “I have to understand the technology, safety practices, regulatory and legal compliance at the refinery, while driving optimal profitability and operational excellence each day,” he says. Parker has been in the industry for over 36 years and has gained invaluable technical and operational experience.

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Chevron South Africa FEATURE

He has an impressive amount of experience in oil refinery management and has worked at seven oil refineries. Impressively, he was General Manager at three of them. Parker has been using that experience to ensure safe operations and practices are maintained at the Milnerton refinery. “The health and safety of our staff and the community are paramount,” he says. “Most of Chevron’s capital programme budget is invested in compliance and health and safety related initiatives and we are aligned with the current trend in the oil industry to continuously improve safety standards. In that respect, we are doing a lot of work to ensure the operation is incident free by enforcing best practice processes and procedures. “A large part of our budget is used for risk management, replacement projects

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The health and safety of our staff and the community are paramount


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Chevron South Africa FEATURE

We are operating equally to the other Chevron refineries globally, using world-class operation management systems and are well on track to meeting our profitability targets

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and preparations to move towards cleaner fuels,” he adds. “Currently, we are awaiting direction and guidelines from the Department of Energy to find a sustainable way forward because it is a costly exercise moving to clean fuels. There needs to be a workable programme.” Commissioned in 1966, the Milnerton refinery employs some 400 permanent staff and 600 contractors. It has a refining capacity of 100,000 barrels and is arguably one of the biggest contributors to the economy of the Western Cape. “It is one of the safest places to be,” Parker stresses. “Safety is Chevron’s biggest priority. “We can all take a lot of pride in the fact that safety and reliability is at an all time high. We are operating equally to the other Chevron refineries globally, using world-class operation management systems and are well on track to meeting our profitability targets. “Also, and significantly, the quality of the crude oil we refine is good,” Parker adds. “A key advantage we have here is that we are close to Saldanha’s harbour and have access to West Africa, the Middle East and South-East Asia and all the other hubs regionally and globally. This provides us with the capability to select from various oils to refine the optimum mix for the highestvalue products.” As one of eight Chevronoperated refineries around


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Performance Plus – More than just seal supply! Performance Plus, the reliability division of John Crane is responsible for running the Managed Reliability Program (MRP)in the past two years. This proactive contract, undertakes to improve the Mean Time between Change (MTBC), measured in months, of 565 mechanical sealed centrifugal pumps on the refinery. John Crane has great success in these past 2 years with the introduction of continuous improvements in small steps” 1. Introduction of the workshop centrifugal pump quality control plan. 2. Operator training. 3. Failure mode analysis of every seal change and root cause analysis of the bad actor pump failures 4. Introducing new mechanical seal technology. Increasing centrifugal pump and seal reliability, begins with understanding the refinery processes, pump design and running conditions and maintenance and operator practice and behaviour. At John Crane, We do not just swop parts and get the pump back into operation. After the pump has come into

the workshop, we follow the QCP, measuring and record the pump critical sizes. When reassembled, the pump is put back to Original Equipment Specifications. The mechanical seal is taken to the John Crane Branch where it is stripped, inspected and assessed. The failure mode is established through the RCA process. Once completed, the seal is then refurbished to the original drawing and returned to site to be installed in the pump. Any recommendations identified during the seal and pump failure RCA process are then implemented for improved pump and seal reliability. The MRP key performance deliverables are managed through the Performance Plus, INTERFACE TM reliability managed software which is internet based. This database has all the 565 “in scope” pump parameters, including design and duty data, failure reports, improvement activity, asset related documentation and a reporting facility for the Program KPIs. The MRP , the specialist knowledge , tools and processes, all combined with a structured customer review process make this a very powerful tool for measuring and driving the customers performance improvement initiatives.


Chevron South Africa FEATURE

the world belonging to an organisation that consistently appears in the top five Fortune 500 Company list, makes this achievement even more noteworthy. “Of course we could do better,” Parker says. “Our aim is to take the refinery from one that meets the benchmark globally to one that sets it. We are meeting all benchmarks globally and are considered a world-class facility. But, our long-term plans are to improve on this while supporting the quest for the production and refining of cleaner fuels. To that end, Chevron is committed to investing and upgrading wherever necessary to produce a cleaner, more sulphur free, end product. “That said, as I alluded to before, the drive for cleaner fuels is a challenge and we need guidelines from Government in terms of making it work. Cost recovery is one of the key issues and we need a prescribed formula to recover costs that will go towards ensuring a transition to cleaner fuels.” Chevron is famed for providing economic empowerment opportunities for the communities surrounding the Milnerton refinery, Parker says, and this will continue into the future through skills development training programmes and other initiatives.

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Our aim is to take the refinery from one that meets the benchmark globally to one that sets it. We are meeting all benchmarks globally and are considered a world-class facility. But, our long-term plans are to improve on this while supporting the quest for the production and refining of cleaner fuels.


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Chevron South Africa FEATURE

About Chevron

Chevron South Africa is a leading refiner and marketer of petroleum products in South Africa. Its network of Caltex™ service stations helps make it one of the country’s top five petroleum brands. Chevron operates a refinery in Cape Town and has interests in a lubricants plant in Durban. One of Chevron’s three global hubs for the supply and trading organisation is in Cape Town. Chevron South Africa is also a responsible corporate citizen, promoting health, education and the arts in South Africa. Nearly a quarter of Chevron’s Caltex™ service stations are in South Africa. These retail outlets sell products such as transportation fuels and axle grease. Caltex has about 800 retail outlets, 21 terminals and a fleet of some 90 tanker trucks.

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“Our philosophy focuses on investing in people, partnerships and performance, while our social investment programmes in South Africa promote the maintenance and development of a socio-economic environment conducive to real and sustained economic growth,” he says. “This naturally applies to the way we give back at a refinery level too. Initiatives that we have been involved in include literacy programmes and special care service for those community members affected by the HIV/AIDs pandemic.” The company’s commitment to its community and South Africa are evidenced by other milestones too, such as the R107 million Effluent Plant Upgrade for the treatment of water leaving the Refinery to reduce the irritation factor for Kite surfers at nearby Blaauwberg Beach. The R30 million Water Recycling Project in association with Improchem is another milestone


Our philosophy focuses on investing in people, partnerships and performance, while our social investment programmes in South Africa promote the maintenance and development of a socio-economic environment worthy of a mention. By purifying sewerage water for use in the Refinery through reverse osmosis technology, the refinery re-uses its water and made it possible for the City of Cape Town to provide more drinking water to some 6,000 households. “It is initiatives like this that define us,” Parker says. One challenge facing the company, particularly in the current climate, is to ensure continuous profitability amid fluctuating crude oil prices. Parker says that it is not easy to maintain a constant return on investment. “It is an ongoing thing, looking to get that balance to ensure long-term profits.” Chevron prides itself on having high reliability, he concludes. Website: www.chevron.com

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