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Organizational Context Approach in the Establishment of a PMO for Turnaround Projects: Experiences from the Oil & Gas Industry

SECOND EDITION                                                            

Dimitrios Emiris 

Associate Professor, University of Piraeus,

Department of Industrial Management and Technology

Athens, Greece
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Abstract

Turnaround (general maintenance) projects are typically very costly, enclose high risk, require a large number of human resources to be involved and have a short duration (between 4 to 6 weeks); moreover, the cost of maintenance works is added to the losses for non-producing, thus rendering these projects of paramount importance in the life of the industry. Turnarounds take place periodically, every 3-5 years, depending on the type of units, the status of the equipment, the infrastructure or reforming works that need to be done, the economic condition of the company, the need to increase efficiency in certain units, etc. The increased complexity of such projects along with the need to achieve all critical targets (scope, time, cost, quality) without discounts and, at the same time, to respect health and safety rules and regulations, dictates the need to establish a project management office (PMO).

This work focuses on the development of such a PMO for turnaround maintenance projects, based on the standards recommended by the Project Management Institute (PMI®). The PM processes are selected and adapted to respond to the needs of turnaround projects, respect the nature of the projects (high cost, short duration, high risk, impeccable scope), and form a set of suggested tools to be adopted in such projects. The work is corroborated by a pragmatic case study which highlights the challenges that were encountered.

Keywords: project management, project management office, turnaround projects, maintenance, process industry

  1. Introduction

The key characteristic of process industries, such as, refineries, is that their production is supported by complex capital equipment and machinery. Proper maintenance of these assets increases their reliability and effectiveness. Reliability is synonymous to uninterrupted operation and is ensured when maintenance activities are enforced. Such maintenance is primarily proactive and may or may not affect the operation of a unit. If the equipment is non-critical, its operation may be undertaken by a substitute item while the equipment is being maintained; otherwise, pause of the operation may be required. In order to increase operational reliability, refineries typically execute general plant maintenance projects, which involve a large number of operational units (Tsang, 1998). These projects are called turnaround or shutdown projects. Intermediate “pit-stops” involving lesser units and with a lesser maintenance scope may also take place.

Turnarounds take place periodically, every 3-5 years, depending on the type of units, the status of the equipment, the infrastructure or reforming works that need to be done, the economic condition of the company, the need to increase efficiency in certain units, etc. Such a project is very costly, encloses high risk, requires a large number of human resources to be involved and has a short duration (between 4 to 6 weeks); moreover, the cost of maintenance works is added to the losses for non-producing, thus rendering these projects of paramount importance in the life of the industry (Tsang, 2002).

The increased complexity of such projects along with the need to achieve all critical targets (scope, time, cost, quality) without discounts and, at the same time, to respect health and safety rules and regulations, dictates the need to establish a project management office (PMO). Such PMO should be responsible for developing and applying PM tools and techniques for project planning, execution and control, and contributes to the competitive advantage of the enterprise, as it forms the conditions for company profitability and creation of competitive advantage.

This paper focuses on the development of such a PMO for turnaround maintenance projects, based on the standards recommended by the Project Management Institute (PMI®). The PM processes are selected and adapted to respond to the needs of turnaround projects, respect the nature of the projects (high cost, short duration, high risk, impeccable scope), and form a set of suggested tools to be adopted in such projects. The work is corroborated by a pragmatic case study which highlights the challenges that were encountered.

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To read entire paper (click here) 

Editor’s note:  Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. This paper was originally presented at the 27th IPMA World Congress in Dubrovnik, Croatia and included in the Congress Proceedings, October 2013. It is republished here with permission or the author and congress organizers.


About the Author

flag-greecedimitrios-emirisDr. Dimitrios Emiris 

University of Piraeus

Piraeus, Greece

Dr. Dimitrios M. Emiris (Dipl. Eng., M.Sc., Ph.D., PMP) was born in Athens in 1965. In 1987, he received the Diploma in Electrical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). He obtained the M.Sc. and the Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, in 1988 and 1991, respectively, both from the University of Rochester, NY, USA. He has served as Assistant Professor in the Department of Production Engineering and Management, Technical University of Crete. He is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Industrial Management and Technology, University of Piraeus. He has been actively involved in project management education in Greece over the last twenty years and has recorded 3.000+ teaching hours in the subject at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He has participated in several large projects mainly in the area of shutdown and turnaround management and has consulted firms on how to integrate PM in their organizational structure. He has published over 120 articles in refereed journals and conferences in the subjects of Industrial Management, Project Management and Production Management. He is the author of two books in Project Management and in Robotics, respectively. Since 2008, he is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®).  Dr. Emiris can be contacted at [email protected]