Working as a consultant at Cost Engineering in the Shutdown, Turnaround & Outages industry. How does that look like?
Working as a consultant at Cost Engineering
Jan would like to give us an insight into his activities in Cost Engineering's STO team, which is short for Shutdown, Turnaround, and Outages. After he joined the Cost Engineering Traineeship in late 2020, he switched from the knowledgebase team to STO a couple of months ago. Where he used to spent most of his time in the development of knowledgebases and cost models, he is now consulting clients in a wide variety of aspects in their Turnarounds.
A Turnaround is a project in which a factory shuts down for several weeks to be able to perform maintenance on existing parts of the factory and to integrate new capital projects with existing structures. When the Turnaround takes place, the factory doesn’t produce any products, which obviously hurts revenues. Because of this, it’s vital to keep Turnarounds as short as possible. Turnarounds are very complex projects in which a lot of activities take place simultaneously. ‘It’s our job as cost engineers to estimate the costs of the whole project, and to keep costs under control during the execution of the Turnaround.’
Although the Turnaround itself spans a relatively short time period, preparation can take up to several years in advance. A lot of different activities need to be done in the preparation of the Turnaround. One of these is tendering, the process of selecting the contractor which will execute (a part of) the work of the Turnaround. ‘In the first few months in the STO team, I, together with several colleagues, helped three clients with their tender processes. We do this by talking to our clients in order to figure out their wishes, and to get an idea of the scope of work which needs to be executed during the Turnaround. Then, we set up environments in our software Cleopatra Enterprise in which contractors can bid on the project by filling in the hours and costs that they think they need in order to execute the project. After we’ve collected the data from the contractors, we analyze it and present the results to our client. In the end, we advise the client on what we believe is the best contractor for the job,’ according to Jan.
After helping three clients with their tendering processes, He recently started working for a project at Neste. Neste is a producer of bio-diesels, located on the Maasvlakte in Rotterdam. He joined a colleague of Cost Engineering, who has been working at Neste for a long time, in the preparations of the Shutdown (basically a smaller Turnaround) in 2021 and the Turnaround in 2022. ‘So far, we’ve calculated what the budget has to be for these two projects. In the next few months I will design several work process which will be used during the Shutdown and Turnaround.’
‘What I really like about working on the STO team is the combination of the interactions with clients and contractors and the technical part. Take for example the tenders: we have to enquire on the client’s needs, we have to talk to contractors to clarify their bids and to answer any questions from their side, and we have to give a presentation to our client in the end. This is all very much focused on staying in contact with several parties. On the other hand, there is the part of analyzing data and designing work processes. The great variety of activities you’re working on as part of projects in the STO team is what makes every day unique.’
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