Extended service agreement: Stress-free maintenance shutdowns

Date: October; 10; 2014 | Author:
Return to news list

Staff at Norway's Forus Energigjenvinning don't worry about maintenance work and annual shutdowns: they concentrate on operations. An extended service agreement manages the maintenance shutdown and ensures that daily operations manager Rune Dirdal can rest easy when it comes to health, safety and the environment. 

"I sleep well at night."

So says Rune Dirdal, the daily operations manager at Forus Energigjenvinning, an energy-from-waste plant in Norway's Sandnes Municipality, near Stavanger.

The plant recently completed its annual maintenance shutdown in August, which marks the second time the process has been carried out in close collaboration with Babcock & Wilcox Vølund, as part of the plant's extended service agreement. 

Rune Dirdal

Rune Dirdal, Operations Manager 

"It fits well with our organisation, which runs on a distinct operating model that involves the extensive use of external personnel for heavier maintenance jobs," Dirdal explains of the distribution of tasks between the plant's 20 employees and Babcock & Wilcox Vølund, the company responsible for overall maintenance and annual shutdowns.

"They do what they're best at, and we do what we're best at," sums up Leif Sørensen, a service engineer at Babcock & Wilcox Vølund. He is project manager of the service agreement, which runs from May 2013 to May 2015. The agreement was signed in the wake of Babcock & Wilcox Vølund's delivery of a furnace and boiler for Forus' furnace line 2, in 2012.

Top-notch safety

Among other conditions of the agreement, Babcock & Wilcox Vølund has agreed to: inspect the entire plant, including the sub-suppliers' elements; draw up a comprehensive annual report; suggest a maintenance plan and review this plan with Forus; and perform the annual maintenance shutdown – all as part of the deal.

"Our supervisor pays a visit to Forus and goes fully over the maintenance shutdown presentation. Then he comes home and contacts the sub-suppliers and manages the entire shutdown procedure. In other words, Forus only has to review the plan with the supervisor. Coordinating and managing it all is out of their hands," Sørensen explains.

As Rune Dirdal explains, the reason why he sleeps so well ‒ also during the maintenance shutdown ‒ is because:

"It's a job well done ‒ that is, with no or very few accidents ‒ even though it's a large-scale project that involves a number of sub-suppliers and several disciplines. There are scaffolders, welders and bricklayers all working at the same time, and it takes a lot of coordination to make it all work," he says, emphasising however that the delegation of work and responsibility in an extended service agreement does not present an obstacle for meeting all requirements concerning health, safety and the environment.

"On the contrary ‒ it's a big advantage," says Dirdal, explaining that there is complete control over the HSE framework, or health, safety and environmental requirements. Not least because the plant, during the build-up to the maintenance shutdown, is presented with a complete HSE plan containing the organisational, risk assessment and working environment instructions. 

"Our experience from previous maintenance shutdowns has shown that the level of safety is top-notch, and our protocol for handling injuries and near-accidents is really good." 

An investment that pays for itself over time

When asked if it pays for Forus to have an extended service agreement, Dirdal outlines three points concerning the agreement's impact on the plant's finances:
  1. The work is completed on time, which means no valuable running time is lost
  2. The plant saves on the fixed expenses of staffing teams for heavier maintenance work
  3. The agreement cuts down on the plant's technical and financial risks, and Forus is supplied with the latest technology, all the way down to the smallest detail.
"Our conclusion is that, up until now, the agreement has paid for itself over time," says Dirdal.

He is also pleased that the partnership is conducted through an open and solution-oriented dialogue, which only becomes better as the partners become more familiar with one another.

Performance-based agreement with guarantee

"We tell them what can go wrong before it goes wrong," says Sørensen about one of the service agreement's fundamental principles: to minimise risk for the plant. That is why Babcock & Wilcox Vølund also wants to take it one step further by offering 'XXXL-sized' service agreements.

"Going forward, we hope to offer performance-based service agreements that guarantee an annual number of hours of plant availability. The performance-based service agreement can contain an incentive plan if the number of hours exceeds the stated goal, and compensation for the plant if there are fewer hours. This is not included in the agreement we have with Forus today. However, we'd certainly like to offer them the possibility of having a full range of options next time," Sørensen says, though he qualifies his statement by adding, "At the end of the day, though, the agreement should include everything the client needs – nothing more, and nothing less." 

Extended service agreement with Forus Energigjenvinning, Norway

  • Forus is an energy-from-waste plant located in the town of Sandnes near Stavanger in Norway. The plant has a capacity of 110,000 tonnes of waste/year, which is converted to 225 GWh of district heating and 50 GWh of electricity for the town. The plant consists of two furnace lines, which were constructed in 2002 and 2012, respectively. Among other things, Babcock & Wilcox Vølund supplied a furnace and boiler for the newer furnace line from 2012.
  • The service agreement runs from May 2013 to May 2015 and includes: inspections, reporting, planning, spare parts, maintenance, key figures, support, coordination, acute service and ‒ as something unique to this particular agreement ‒ a damage contingency plan to ensure that equipment and tools remain ready on-site, so that the plant can thus avoid customs declarations and expensive waiting times that would otherwise result from having pieces shipped from Denmark following an accident.
  • Babcock & Wilcox Vølund is responsible for inspecting the entire plant, including parts delivered by sub-suppliers.
  • During the plant's maintenance shutdowns, Babcock & Wilcox Vølund is responsible for the planning, coordination and execution phases, including for example ordering scaffolding, sandblasting, cleaning, obtaining building permits and dismantling equipment.

Related information

Total Service Agreement: an end to your worries

Forus 2 waste-to-energy plant inaugurated in Stavanger, Norway

Return to news list