Go Big or Go Home: I&E Install For 140,000-Barrel Railcar Offloading Facility

Monday, June 08, 2020

When Danos automation managers sat down to plan for a project involving a new greenfield railcar offloading facility, the first challenge they faced was understanding the scope and size of the job. The team had an abundance of experience performing similar work but never at this scale. With five interconnected sites spread over approximately three quarters of a mile, everything about this job would be a challenge. From the scope and schedule to the manpower and commissioning, this instrumentation and electrical (I&E) project would be nearly four times larger than anything the company had tackled before.

The initial contract called for Danos to perform I&E installation as well as fiber optic communications for the new destination rail facility. Once fully online, the terminal would serve the Louisiana refining market by connecting existing pipelines tied into area refineries. It would be able to service two unit trains per day, moving about 140,000 barrels of oil per day. It represented a massive new investment in the local oil and gas industry, and the pressure was on to make the project a success.

As with many major construction projects, unplanned delays, design changes and other issues had to be addressed as they arose. Danos was asked to take on additional work throughout the five-phase plan, ensuring that despite these hurdles, the project still achieved its target completion date with zero recordable incidents. The automation management team successfully navigated all the changes that were required and ensured that the work proceeded correctly. Danos also agreed to work under two different pricing arrangements for different elements of the project, assigning separate project managers to each to ensure accuracy and accountability.

Over the course of 13 months, approximately 60 Danos automation workers installed 125,000 feet of conduit, 500,000 feet of cable, 60,000 feet of fiber optic cable and 3,000 feet of cable tray. More than 10,000 terminations were required to connect the electrical and communications systems throughout the facility. The distances involved, for example between pull boxes, required special efforts, with Danos crew members hand-forming 50-foot radius 90 degree sweeps to facilitate cable pulling.

It was work Danos was well-equipped to perform, having previously delivered on a similar but smaller project in Mississippi. But the new terminal facility also required Danos to develop custom solutions for the first time, including a full electrical power down plan for the entire site. The I&E team drafted a written plan that would power down the site, from the rear to the front, working in reverse to bring the entire site back up to power. The plan proved to be a safe and effective strategy that was then shared with the customer for future use.

With support from Danos’ project management service line, the I&E group executed its largest project ever on schedule and, more importantly, safely. Even though the job grew in complexity and difficulty at various points, the team at Danos rose to the occasion. When you have the right experience, expertise and people in place, there is no limit to what they can accomplish.