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Loading arm maintenance using rope access

High Q completed a comprehensive maintenance overhaul of four FMC Chicksan loading arms at a refinery in the Middle East. The scope of works included removal and replacement of all hydraulic hoses and painting of the loading arm structures. The project was completed ahead of schedule and within budget, and was completed with zero lost time incidents.

Problem identification

During planning for maintenance of jetty loading arms, a major oil and gas operator identified a number of issues associated with the use of scaffold and crane access:

  • Loading arms cannot be brought back into service quickly if another arm fails in service
  • Hazard to other arms during installation and removal of scaffold and use of crane and man box
  • PTW and incident risks increased with co-ordination of multiple work parties – scaffolders, crane operations, painters and mechanical teams.
  • Previous projects had incurred significant cost over-run from original estimate

The project team had utilised rope access teams for maintenance of other items of plant on site, and invited High Q to submit a proposal to carry out the works utilising rope access.

Photo showing the comparison between workers using scaffold and workers using rope access to enable maintenance works.

Project review, refurbishment of loading arm utilising rope access

  • Project completed ahead of schedule and on budget.
  • Completed with zero lost time or incidents.
  • When an in service loading arm failed, High Q were able to remove all equipment and return possession of the arm within 24 hours.

Comparison between rope access and scaffold loading arm projects
Summary of benefits

  • Proven safe method of work
  • Flexible deployment and de-mobilisation provides greatest operational availability of arm
  • Single source supply minimises PTW issues
  • Cost effective

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