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Major maintenance project for Orica's ammonia plant
15 Feb 2017
On Monday 20 February Orica’s ammonia plant at Kooragang Island will be temporarily shut down to undergo planned maintenance.
Known as a turnaround, the project will see more than 700 activities completed over a period of 47 days. During this time it is anticipated an additional 350 workers will be required on site.
Orica Kooragang Island’s General Manager Scott Reid said major turnarounds for the ammonia plant are scheduled every six years.
“Turnarounds provide an opportunity to undertake important projects that will ensure the ammonia plant can continue to operate safely and efficiently.
“Key activities will include statutory inspections of vessels, testing safety instrumented systems, inspecting and setting relief valves, replacing catalysts and upgrading equipment.”
During the last major turnaround in 2011 there was an incident involving the release of a solution containing hexavalent chromium. It was caused by the unexpected formation of a large quantity of water during the activation of the high temperature shift (HTS) catalyst. Since then numerous changes have been made to ensure such an incident cannot happen again.
“Plant equipment and procedures for activating the catalyst have been modified to minimise the formation of water. Also, drainage has been upgraded to recover larger quantities of liquid in the unlikely event that water is formed,” said Mr Reid.
“These changes were in place in 2012 when the ammonia plant was successfully started up without incident.
“In addition, the HTS catalyst we are installing this time is a brand new product that has been specifically designed to contain only trace amounts of hexavalent chromium.”
Mr Reid said the health and safety of workers and the community will be the company’s priority during the turnaround.
“We will be running a safety incentive scheme to raise money for the Newcastle Middle School. For every injury-free day, Orica and the contracting companies working with us will donate money to the scheme.”
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