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/ 14 /

The Turnaround

Kjartan Storsæt is Head of Maintenance at Statoil ASA*, where he is responsible for the

company’s onshore facilities at Mongstad, Norway. He has over 23 years of experience

leading turnarounds, plant operations and maintenance in the oil and gas industry.

In the following interview, Mr. Storsæt shares his views about continuity, managerial

pressures and the emotional void that follows projects.

Interview: Amy Faulconbridge

Turnarounds are among the most complex operations in

the industry. Could you shed some light on why that is,

Mr. Storsæt?

Turnarounds are complex because projects can last be-

tween 14 to 24 months and often require up to 1,500

contracted workers to be onsite, carrying out hundreds

of thousands of tasks. The costs can add up to more

than 50 million euros for a single project, although that

varies widely across countries and companies, and of

course, between sectors.

What is the biggest cost factor?

Loss of production when the plant is offline is certain-

ly the most expensive factor, so getting the plant back

online quickly is crucial. Our to-do list should only con-

tain activities which are absolutely vital, so we try to

complete as much work as possible while the plant is in

operation. There are some repairs – such as exchanging

large sections of pipe or insulation and internal or gov-

ernmental compliance – which require production to be

stopped altogether.

Is it difficult to balance ambitious project goals with

realistic targets?

That’s one of our biggest challenges. Management must

set clear, achievable targets, without sacrificing quality.

Our quality expectations are precisely defined – the dead-

lines, the personal behavior of each individual, health

and safety, and the drafting of contracts with suppliers.

We need to work efficiently in the long term and not try to

save money in the short term, so continuity is very impor­

tant to us. At the end of the day, the wrong partners can

turn out to be very expensive.

How do you achieve continuity?

We don’t jump between strategies, approaches or beliefs

in turnaround work-process design. We have been de-

veloping a turnaround culture for decades – it’s a com-

mitment that cannot be bought. It can only be set up in

the long term. The prerequisite for continuity is strong

management, a solid strategy, permanent examination

and reflection.

“We have been developing a turnaround culture for decades –

it’s a commitment that cannot be bought.”