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RVA Group has been appointed by PVC manufacturer Ineos Chlorvinyls to manage large-scale UK decommissioning projects in Barry and Runcorn.

Ineos Chlorvinyls engaged RVA to oversee the safe execution of the two major projects and ensure the maximisation of income from the resale of redundant plant and metallic arisings including high-value exotic alloys.

RVA commenced its role at Ineos Chlorvinyls’ Barry site after manufacturing ceased in March 2010 as part of a consolidation of activities.

Having planned to decommission and clean the site before handing it back to the landlord with the plant intact, Ineos sought RVA’s isolation and decommissioning guidance.

However, acknowledging the financial implications of Ineos’s proposed site exit strategy, RVA conducted a series of in-depth feasibility and option studies to investigate more commercially attractive routes for the client.

Utilising its knowledge and experience of asset recovery, RVA recommended that Ineos hand the site back as flat slab, as plant demolition and dismantling could generate an income from the sale of the process equipment; some had potential for re-use, while other items (as a result of their high-value metallurgy) would create a positive income stream.

To demonstrate its confidence in the proposed alternative site exit strategy, RVA agreed to work for six weeks – at risk – to test the feasibility of its solution.

If the project plan had proven unachievable, RVA would have waived all costs for work undertaken during this investigatory period.

However, RVA’s team was able to demonstrate that the project could be delivered with significant cost savings, reducing the financial burden for Ineos.

RVA is now project managing the dismantling and demolition of Ineos Chlorvinyls’ production facilities, including process vessels, aluminium and concrete storage silos, a boilerhouse and three steel 1,500m3 storage spheres.

With a 27-man team on site, and kit ranging from excavators with shears and grab buckets to an ultra-long-reach machine, safety remains the main priority.

Colin Hopwood, site services manager – Runcorn at Ineos Chlorvinyls, said: ‘RVA’s role with Ineos commenced with the team’s development of a detailed redundant asset management review for our Runcorn site.

‘The company drew on its technical engineering experience to assess a number of plants, projected costs of removal, optimised sequencing and a potential rolling decommissioning programme for several areas of the 125-hectare top-tier COMAH site.

‘The quality and integrity of this guidance led us to proceed with the Runcorn works and I also recommended RVA’s services to a colleague heading up the Barry project,’ Hopwood added.

Since the sequential decommissioning and demolition of five redundant chemical processing plants began on the high-hazard Runcorn site in August 2010, the site has remained operational elsewhere.

Meticulous planning and project co-ordination has therefore been essential to ensure minimal disruption and utmost safety for all parties.

Priority was given to the complex dismantling of Ineos’s four distillation columns, ranging from 40-60m in height, which had to be dismantled to a low height before the arrival of the year’s high winds.

However, due to their proximity to high-hazard pipelines, and given the inherently dangerous nature of hot-cutting techniques, an alternative dismantling process had to be devised.

Instead, RVA oversaw the more time-intensive, but safer alternative of using high-pressure abrasive waterjets that ran around the circumference of the columns’ cut lines to eliminate the flammable risks, before the top sections could be removed with a lifting nail attached to a 500t crane.

With six months of the programme still to complete, RVA is planning for the dismantling of Ineos’s anhydrous caustic soda plant – a procedure that will take place in May 2011.

Although the asset is no longer needed by Ineos, the plant is in good condition and is being dismantled for re-erection elsewhere.

Due for completion in August 2011, the clearance of the redundant assets within Ineos’s Per-Tri, Per-Tri Shipping, ACS, VDC4 and KOH plants will prepare the site for potential new Ineos ventures.

RVA Group

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