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Keywords:

  • operator training;
  • manual shut down;
  • empowered operator;
  • instrumentation saving failure

Abstract

This article shares Engro's experience at its ammonia plant involving the prevention of major failures of the synthesis gas compressor turbine by taking prompt action to shutdown the compressor. Engro's strategy of providing operations training to enable and empower its people to make the right decisions at right time is the major learning of this article, whereby a manual shutdown before the automatic instrumentation trip of the machine was initiated. This article also describes the techniques used by the operations team to train and empower their people. Despite a plant outage of more than 10 days to replace the rotor, we believe the manual shutdown averted a more disastrous situation. Continuing to run the turbine may have resulted in a safety incident or an even longer plant shutdown for significant repairs. A well-trained and empowered operator is always helpful by making prompt decisions to shut down equipment, rather than relying solely on instrumentation to protect equipment. The following is a discussion of the training program which enables and empowers the operator to make correct decisions and take the correct action at the right time. © 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog, 2010