SUNConferences, 29th Annual Conference of SAIIE

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Risk management during outage management projects at power plants
Jacobus Krige Visser, Simphiwe Hlophe

Last modified: 2018-10-17


Outages are needed for the maintenance of continuous process plants such as power plants, refineries, and petrochemical plants. Such plants comprise thousands of complex equipment and machinery that operate under rigorous operating conditions. Like most projects, shutdowns projects have high inherent risks with a high potential of cost and schedule overruns. The management of risks and uncertainty is seen as a necessary condition for successful shutdown project.

A study was done to investigate the management of risks on outage projects at South African power plants. The main objective was to determine if project risk management is understood and recognised as a success factor for shutdown projects. A conceptual framework developed from literature was used to design a survey questionnaire that was emailed to potential respondents working on outage management projects.

Results indicate that ineffective or weak outage risk management could result in large cost and schedule overruns. The main challenges to effective project risk management on these such projects were found to be the experience of employees, other stakeholders, organisational culture, and senior management support. The study identified training, experience, enabling culture, and management support areas for improvement.