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Shell Caroline Gas Complex turnaround largest in 12 years

The largest maintenance turnaround in 12 years has just been completed at the $1 billion Shell Caroline Gas Complex north of Sundre – a project that involved more than 160,000 man-hours and one major change to the facility's makeup.
Crews move a large vessel at the plant.
Crews move a large vessel at the plant.

The largest maintenance turnaround in 12 years has just been completed at the $1 billion Shell Caroline Gas Complex north of Sundre – a project that involved more than 160,000 man-hours and one major change to the facility's makeup.More than 550 contractors from all major skills and trades took part in the turnaround, which involved maintenance, inspection and repair throughout the facility over more than a month of work.The plant processes natural gas piped into the facility from well sites across the region. The facility itself is actually comprised of two side-by-side plants called trains.One of the major components of the turnaround was taking one of two plants permanently off line as a result of reduced production from the Caroline gas field, which has been providing gas to the facility since it opened in 1993.The overall decline in the amount of gas in the Caroline field means the remaining gas can now be processed with one train instead of two, said company spokesperson Alice Murray.“This permanent shutdown is necessary to better process the existing and future gas flow into Train 2,” said Murray. “While part of the plant is shutting down, Shell is by no means leaving the community. The shutdown of Train 1 won't result in any significant job loss as the plant will continue to process gas from Limestone, Panther and Caroline (fields).”The turnaround also included the servicing of more than 220 pressure safety valves, which control or limit the pressure in a system. As well, cleaning and inspection was conducted on 62 vessels on site.In all, 20,000 crane lifts of equipment and material, and 80,000 crane lifts of reboilers were conducted during the turnaround.Those involved in the project included pipefitters, boilermakers, insulators, scaffolders, carpenters, masons (bricklayers), crane and mobile lifting equipment operators, welders, millwrights, heavy-duty mechanics, electricians, instrumentation craftsman, non-destructive examination and inspection technicians, excavation equipment operators, safety guards, high angle and confined space rescue technicians, high angle stack repair workers, valve repair technicians, pipeline installation trades, warehouse technicians, quality control technicians, janitors, security guards and food catering workers.Shell's Darrell Foster, Health and Safety coordinator for the Caroline Plant and Field, said the turnaround was completed without any serious injuries or mishaps involving any of those workers.“We had only 20 minor first aids such as Band-Aids for small cuts, fingers hit with hammers, and eye flushes,” said Foster. “We did 2,000 contract worker safety orientations, which means there were 2,000 different people on site over the course of the turnaround.“At peak we had 550 people on days, 350 people nights, and 250 people in the field.”The next major maintenance turnaround at the Caroline plant will take place in 2017 or 2018.