Rafael Safarov: Kazanorgsintez implementing all modernization projects despite coronavirus restrictions
Regular shutdown maintenance is a set of mandatory works at any enterprise operating round the clock. During these operations, repair units perform both the preventive maintenance of equipment and the work on upgrading the systems. It is impossible to refuse major repairs or postpone them for an indefinite period: this will lead to a violation of the technology and create a threat to the industrial safety of production. Chief Engineer of Kazanorgsintez Rafael Safarov spoke about how Kazanorgsintez conducts regular major repairs at its plants in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, what difficulties it had to face and how the problems have been solved.
Shifted deadlines due to the market situation
Mr Safarov, how many capital repairs at Kazanorgsintez has been planned for this year?
In 2020, according to the plan, we should have three major capital repairs. The first one is in spring (April-May). It is currently being completed. The works were carried out at the plant of high-pressure polyethylene (LDPE) in the course of it. The second is traditionally at the end of summer. The works are planned on the production of polycarbonates, bisphenol A, and phenol production. Finally, during the third overhaul (in autumn), events will be organized at the ethylene and low-pressure polyethylene production facilities.
It turns out that the first, in spring, overhaul fell on the period of “non-working” days? How did this affect its execution?
Yes, it is. This did not affect the order of the overhaul itself. However, we have decided to shift the term. But it was not the introduction of “non-working days” in Russia that had an impact, but the overall changed situation on the global polymer market. Due to restrictions in various countries and supply disruptions by some manufacturers, the demand for polyethylene from its processors increased in March-April. Therefore, in order not to increase the deficit in the market, we postponed the overhaul at the LDPE plant for two weeks. The technology no longer allowed the transfer for a longer period.
Did you have any problems with the supply of equipment for repairs from other countries or regions?
The overhaul system is designed so that we buy most of the equipment, components and spare parts in advance. So by spring, we had almost everything we needed delivered. We closed the shortage of individual positions with previously available stocks.
Contractors are subject to the same requirements as their own workers
Rospotrebnadzor has imposed restrictions on the work of certain categories of employees. How has this affected the organization of labour during major repairs? Did you have to give up the services of contractors?
In accordance with the instructions of Rospotrebnadzor, we suspended the work of employees of retirement age, as well as those who had some chronic diseases. These people are still being at home with their wages saved.
We did not refuse the services of contractors, but we offered them the same conditions. Besides, during regional restrictions in Tatarstan, contractors can engage only employees with the residence permit in Kazan. But because of this, we did not feel any difficulties in practice, since most of the staff of contractors are Kazan citizens.
Has there been a shortage of personnel due to that some categories of employees are not allowed to work under the instructions of Rospotrebnadzor?
No. We have reallocated the tasks.
What preventive measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection are being used during major repairs?
Basically, these are the same measures as at all Kazanorgsintez facilities: wearing masks, hand disinfection, temperature measurement at the beginning of the working day and every four hours during the day, disinfection of premises (if the work is carried out in closed rooms). Masks, disinfectants, and pyrometers are provided by the company itself.
We also require contractors to take the same preventive measures.
“We will follow the planned programme”
Are there plans to adjust the next two major repairs?
No, we are going to follow the planned programme of major repairs.
What large-scale modernization projects have been planned at the plants during major repairs? Can the coronavirus pandemic affect their implementation?
The second stage of modernization is planned at the polycarbonates plant. According to its results, the production capacity of the plant will grow to 90,000-100,000 tonnes a year. Plus, there are smaller-scale works. We are not planning to cancel any of this. Kazanorgsintez is implementing all modernization projects despite coronavirus restrictions.
Certainly, the current complex epidemiological situation can adjust the plans for certain types of work. Due to the non-working days mode, there were minor delays in the design of the second stage of the modernization of the polycarbonates plant. We have also previously received reports from foreign contractors about possible delays in the delivery of some equipment and components due to uncertainty in the terms of quarantine in different countries. However, the implementation of the second stage of modernization is planned for August-September 2020. Taking into account the pace of lifting restrictions around the world, we expect that by the time the work is completed, there will be no problems with deliveries.