In September 2012 Wagenborg was awarded the contract for lifting, rigging and transport activities during the shutdown of the biggest installation at the BASF site in Antwerp, Belgium - the Steam Cracker.

Complexity of the Steam Cracker

The Steam Cracker Turn Around is one of the most complicated shutdowns in the petrochemical industry because of the large amount of different technical disciplines, contractors and employees involved. Every six years this installation is completely shutdown for inspections, cleaning, revision and project activities. This ensures that the Steam Cracker is profitable and efficient for the next six years.


The importance of preparations

In line with the contract, a Wagenborg project team was established including all disciplines: project management, engineering, planning, administration, QHSE and operations. This team provided the basis for a successful execution of all the activities during the project. As the proverb says ‘Well begun is half done’. A kick-off meeting was organised about six months before the project’s starting date. And in January 2013, Wagenborg’s supervisors had already started with a survey of the crane and rigging activities at the site. Our customer BASF, had given an indication about the necessary crane capacities. Within 10 weeks 1,200 different points were recorded and processed in our system, which resulted in a final deployment plan for the cranes. This plan formed the basis for the number of cranes - per capacity and location - for the BASF plant. Mobile tower cranes were used to prevent a large concentration of crane operations going on at specific spots in the plant.


150 employees, 38 cranes and 40 trucks

On April 1st, the first equipment was deployed at the BASF Steam Cracker to execute pre-stop activities. In May, the busiest period began, with more than 3,500 employees working simultaneously on the project. During this period, more than 150 Wagenborg employees were involved: planners, QHSE representatives, supervisors, riggers, truck drivers, crane operators and other support personnel.  Equipment deployed comprised 38 cranes, with a lifting capacity ranging from 30 to 500 tonnes and 40 trucks with trailers. People and equipment were involved from all the Wagenborg branch offices in the Netherlands and Germany.

“We do not compromise on safety”

The most important issue during a project is safety. We do not accept any concessions on this subject. At BASF only the highest safety level is acceptable and only contractors which meet these requirements were able to participate in this project. Last year, Wagenborg Nedlift achieved the VCA-P Certificate with which it met the high standards of BASF. During the project these safety standards were tested constantly and time after time Wagenborg proved  to be working in accordance with the highest standards and to the full satisfaction of BASF.

In June 2013, the Steam Cracker was ready to recommence production. The full shutdown operation went according to plan and all parties involved can be satisfied with the results of this huge project. The installation started up on schedule and, most importantly, all work was carried out safely without compromising the predetermined safety and quality concessions.

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