Having somewhere to send sulphur – a byproduct of the fuel making process – is essential to Refining NZ’s operation. Without the Ballance fertiliser works accepting sulphur 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the refinery could no longer keep processing crude oils.
But with an ageing sulphur processing plant that required maintenance to keep operating, the plant’s owners decided they wanted to close it down. Refining NZ needed the plant to extend service until they could build their own processing plant, around 18 months later.
To properly understand the risk of the plant failing in the short term, which would create a serious problem for the refinery, Refining NZ engaged GRIT to carry out an engineering condition and risk assessment on the Ballance fertiliser works.
We carried out a site inspection of the Ballance fertiliser works, and produced a detailed engineering risk report, which also identified several opportunities to reduce risk by carrying out maintenance and small rectification and rehabilitation projects.
By engaging GRIT, Refining NZ gained an understanding of the operational risk, as well as good guidance on practical and economic options to reduce the risks around reliability and HSE. Refining NZ were able to work with Ballance around managing risk, and were also able to prioritise spending, to accelerate the development of their own sulphur processing plant, and justify this to the company’s Board of Directors.