Birwelco USA

Firm celebrates major successes at complex refinery turnarounds

15 December 2010

Unit Birwelco, the newly combined engineering, procurement and construction company, is celebrating the successful completion of two major turnarounds at complex refineries in the north of England and reaching a major safety recognition landmark.

The turnarounds, which had a combined Unit Birwelco manpower of 240 skilled labourers and over 60,000 man hours across the two jobs, took place at the TOTAL UK’s Lindsey Oil Refinery and the specialist Alkylation Unit of ConocoPhillips Humber Refinery in north Lincolnshire.

As a result the company can now boast to have reached in excess of 1million man hours without any reportable incident or injury – a highly commendable figure which positions the company among only a small number of operators in the UK to have achieved such a high target.

The two projects were undertaken by the Unit Birwelco facility in Immingham, Humberside that employs a large specialist turnaround team where each member is comprehensively trained to operate under the demanding procedures and requirements necessary for complex refinery turnarounds. During the turnarounds, the Unit Birwelco team continued to achieve their exceptional level of safety standards which ensured that the turnarounds achieved a leak free start up, which is crucial for a safe, on budget and on schedule turnaround completion.

The two north of England projects follow on from the team’s significant achievement at the Murco Refinery in Milford Haven earlier this year, where they completed the turnaround with a peak team presence of 240 men, over a total of 120,000 man-hours inclusive of pre-turnaround work and on site construction time.

Unit Birwelco Managing Director Bill Ledwood suggests the team’s success at turnarounds is primarily a result of the detailed and exhaustive forward planning carried out by the Unit Birwelco team and their ability to fulfil high-level labour demands quickly.

Mr Ledwood said: “We pride ourselves on having good working relationships with our large refinery clients, which we strongly believe are as a result of our strong communication and forward planning abilities.

“We understand the vital importance of completing turnarounds on time and we are confident of our ability to adhere to our strict standards because of the large, skilled team that we have to hand. Completing work to the highest safety standard is our first objective, and underpins all of our plans and processes. We believe that with concise planning and a strict attention to detail we can achieve safe turnarounds that are completed on time and on budget.

“Our team has been with us for many years, and together we have the ability to begin work quickly and with minimum disruption to our clients. We are very proud of the work that we completed at both the Lindsey and Humber refineries, and we hope to be able to continue these relationships as both the refineries and Unit Birwelco continue to grow.”

The turnaround successes come at an exciting time for the engineering giants, who have recently undergone significant expansion following the recent multi-million pound acquisition by the original South Wales based Unit Group of Midlands engineering giant Birwelco.

The acquisition now propels Unit Birwelco into a small number of contractors worldwide who can fulfil the full cycle of work from engineering and procurement through to construction for large-scale tenders within the oil, gas, refinery, chemical, petrochemical and utilities industries. The acquisition is set to create 100 new skilled jobs within the business as the company forecasts a turnover in excess of £50million by 2013.

The Group has also been recently heralded as Wales’ fastest growing manufacturing and engineering firm in the prestigious University of Wales’ backed fast Growth 50 Awards.


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