The constant uncertainty within the hydrocarbon production and refining market coupled with the continued pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and costs is increasing the need for operators of petroleum facilities to seek cost-effective ways of utilizing used or out-of-service equipment instead of installing new equipment. As an example, there may be equipment in parts of a refinery that have been out of service for a while, which the operator or end user would like to use in similar applications in the same refinery or other plants elsewhere.
Once an operator decides to look at the possibility of re-using used or out-of-service equipment, a few important steps need to be taken to determine whether the equipment is still operable and suitable for its new intended service. As inspection, moving or relocating of major equipment within operating plants is usually possible only during planned turnarounds, the correct identification of necessary steps, prioritizing of tasks, and precise planning and coordination of activities to evaluate the condition of used or out-of-service equipment are critical to meet the usual tight deadlines of the decision making process.
This article is structured primarily as an attempt to assist the organizations in charge of evaluation of used or out-of-service equipment to identify and plan the necessary steps in order to determine their suitability for their new intended service. Many of the issues discussed here can be also applied to any life extension evaluation program, and therefore throughout this report the term out-of-service is interchangeable with ‘used’ equipment. The focus of this article is mainly static equipment as re-using of machinery or rotating equipment would require a rather different approach .
Two case studies included at the end of this report demonstrate the benefits of adopting a systematic approach in evaluating used equipment.