Par Hawaii’s refinery is a critical part of Hawaii’s energy infrastructure. Hawaii businesses and residents depend on us for refined products that support our local economy. A big part of maintaining our state’s energy security is ensuring the optimal performance of our refining equipment for maximum efficiency and to meet our safety, environmental, and other regulatory requirements.
Refineries are required by regulation to periodically shut down and perform pro-active maintenance, upgrades and inspections of the equipment and systems that refine crude oil. This is usually conducted every three to five years. The maintenance activities include ongoing inspection and monitoring of all of our process equipment, which cannot be conducted while the refinery is operating.
It is like taking your car in for regular service, you want to ensure it is safely operating at peak performance.
A big part of safely producing quality products for our customers requires daily, routine maintenance. During a turnaround, the operating equipment is shutdown, taken apart, cleaned, and inspected. Improvements and repairs are based on planned maintenance and the identification of new work identified during inspections.
We spend 12 to 24 months planning for the turnaround. It is an orchestrated, delicate event involving thousands of moving parts and pieces handled by hundreds of people working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to ensure the work is done in 30 days.
During the peak of the turnaround, we will have nearly 650 contractors, two-thirds of whom are from off-island, working more than 110,000 hours performing specific tasks that require turnaround expertise and experience.
Prior to the turnaround, we ensure there is a supply of products to meet our contractual obligations and projected product demand. Just like you ensure you have ample provisions and supplies in the event of an emergency, refineries stock up before shutting down for a short period of time.
The health of our refinery employees, their families and the community are critically important, especially during this pandemic. We are taking special precautions as we have contractors working in close proximity with our refinery employees and local contractors during the turnaround.
To make sure we obtained proper guidance, we met with the Hawaii State Energy Office and the Governor’s office before the turnaround began to plan for the health and safety of everyone involved.
The State of Hawaii designated Par Hawaii as a critical infrastructure business at the outset of the pandemic, we obtained some exemptions relating to the mandatory14-day mandatory quarantine for visitors to Hawaii. This allowed us to perform the complex tasks necessary for the turnaround and to ensure Hawaii has an ample supply of petroleum products to meet our customers’ needs.
Nevertheless, we are adhering to stringent, established protocols. A Covid-19 test is required of all mainland contractors prior to traveling to Hawaii and a negative test result is required to waive the 14-day quarantine to begin the critical tasks for the turnaround. In addition, these contractors will be transported to and from the refinery from their hotels and rental units and are required to follow all county and state emergency orders and guidance issued by the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There will be about 375 contract personnel working the day shift (5:00am to 3:00pm) and approximately 275 contractors on night shift (5:00pm to 3:00am).
At the start of each shift, turnaround personnel will gather outdoors at an appropriate physical distance under a tent in the turnaround assembly area for a 15- to 20-minute safety briefing and review of their work assignments before being dispatched for their work day.
- Starting July 12, we began requiring a negative Covid-19 test prior to contractors departing the Mainland for Oahu.
- Workers are provided with copies of the most recent county and state emergency proclamations so they understand the law and guidelines they must follow while working on Oahu.
- Mandatory temperature screening, Covid-19 symptom questionnaires are given at the start of the work shift, and onsite physician assistants help ensure proper health and safety policies and procedures are in place and our Covid-19 prevention guidelines are followed.
- Face coverings are required in the turnaround tent except when seated and eating lunch.
- Face coverings are required in all areas of the refinery where physical distancing cannot be maintained while working outdoors.
- Face coverings are already required in all indoor, shared common areas of the refinery
- Criteria will be in place under the tent for physical distancing
- Tent space is more than double the size of the 2016 turnaround tent space
- Number of tables are doubled
- The contractor headcount is reduced by about 100 from 750 in 2016 to 650 this year.
- We have contracted a cleaning company to thoroughly disinfect the tent space after each use
As the refinery shuts down and then re-starts, there may be some differences observed from normal operation, such as increased flaring, which is what our refinery is designed to do when the processing units are shut down. These planned changes have been reviewed as part of the permit process and our actions during the turnaround are required to meet all regulatory requirements.
We are maintaining the refinery to ensure it is a safe operation and are helping to make it more efficient by extending the lifetime of the refinery to meet the needs of our community. During the turnaround there is significant benefit to the local economy as a result of the temporary contractors working at the refinery staying at hotels and rental units on Oahu.