Safety at the CORE

There’s nothing especially sexy or challenging sounding about installing a storm sewer. But if you put that two-thirds of a mile of sewer through the middle of the wrap-up phase of a $4 billion time-critical expansion in a 95-year-old refinery, things just got a whole lot more interesting.

This project was built in the heart of the Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery. Wood River Refinery was originally built by Shell in 1917. The $4 billion Coker and Refinery Expansion (CORE) project was built to process oil piped to Wood River from oil sands in Canada. Helmkamp was heavily involved in the civil portion of that project. Combined with Helmkamp’s 40-year relationship with the refinery, the company’s management and field team knew to expect the unexpected — and to prepare for it – when working there.

The scope of the project was to install 3,100 lineal feet (over 450 pieces) of precast alongside and under existing roads and piping in an operating refinery. The precast pieces ranged from 3’ wide by 3’ high to 5’wide by 7’ deep (well over 16,000 lbs.).

Refi neries are some of most unbelievably hazard-fraught sites imaginable in which to build anything. Phillips 66 and its predecessor owners/managers of the Wood River refinery has a strong top-down safety culture. For this project, the safety and project management team coordinated on a daily basis. On-site safety director Ryan Dial conducted daily JSAs (Job Safety Analyses).

There were daily reviews with Helmkamp site personnel, subcontractors, and Phillips 66  staff  of  the  complex lifts and excavations that needed to done.  Helmkamp Safety Director  Luke  LaBeau  was on-site on a regular basis to conduct safety audits and review the safety practices of both Helmkamp personnel and subcontractors.

When the project was completed, Phillips 66 Project Engineer Mark McWhorter wrote:  “Safety is always our foremost consideration at Phillips 66, both in our day to day operations and in our capital and maintenance projects.  Helmkamp’s project manager, superintendent and craftsmen “walked the talk” of safety.  They threaded the needle of inserting this huge storm water system into a congested, busy site with a combination of outstanding safety and efficiency.”