First off let’s take a moment to talk about the meaning of “commissioning and startup” before diving in.
Commissioning and startup are described as the transitional period between the completion of a plant’s construction and the beginning of commercial operations. All actions that occur between these two stages are included in this phase, including the turn-over of systems, the checking and commissioning of systems, the introduction of material, and performance testing.
The commissioning phase is the last stage of a construction project. It is during this phase that the subsystems are connected to create the intended plant process and tested as a system to ensure that all project specifications are satisfied. Commissioning refers to the actions that occur between the completion of construction (or the installation of equipment) and the equipment being brought into service and turned over to the Owner’s operations team for continuing operation and maintenance. With advancements in technology we are witnessing more and more commissioning and startup companies in Alberta deciding to utilize project management software throughout the duration of the commissioning project. More on that later…
The commissioning team is formed during the design/construction phase, and this is when the core members of the commissioning team, as well as any additional support resources necessary from other parts of the project, are determined. Defining and preparing commissioning documents well in advance of the commissioning period is essential. As is organization of said documents.
Over the past number of years we’ve seen technological advancements in this sector whereas more and more commissioning and startup projects are now requiring tight guardrails around the organization of documentation and reporting material throughout the duration of the project. Intricate Group is an energy services provider with locations throughout Alberta and across Canada. One of their software products is what’s called internally as OE Manager. This is a commissioning project management software (cloud based) that encompasses project management tasks in the oil and gas sector from top to bottom. Or as Intricate puts it…”from wellhead to reporting”.
Remote site services at this point can be handled as required including all technical writing, competency development planning, operational readiness and other remote site services controls like budget, deliverables and document management – usually with software like Intricate’s OE Manager Commissioning & Startup project management module.
Upon completion of the commissioning phase, it is here that projects turn over in to the startup phase or also referred to as the commercial operations phase. Here operations managers and project leads will verify the commissioning systems put in place, check all newly introduced material and then finally begin performance testing of these systems. The plant’s production life cycle may now begin. Power transmission systems, liquid removal systems, or any other kind of industrial plant production or specialized system might be included in this list. The mechanical processes are gradually initiated, and the piping is set up for the first operational situations. Flows are initiated and monitored to make sure they are operating correctly. Verification of electrical contacts is carried out and power is gradually increased to functioning levels.
Plant representatives are on hand to ensure that the plant’s processes are running properly. As a system, the plant is currently operational and ready for further optimization while each step of the way all equipment is tested & verified to be working in accordance with specifications.
As you can see, commissioning and starting up an industrial level is a complex process. You get to watch the original idea come to life during this phase of the project, which may be a challenging endeavor.