For 15 years, the Canadian Institute’s Shutdowns and Turnarounds Superconference has been a place for members of the shutdown community across industries to meet, greet, and learn from each other. It is one of the most established shutdowns event in North America, and was one of the first to address that specific aspect of the maintenance sector.
This year, on December 6th and 7th at the Hyatt Regency in Calgary, the tradition of connecting and learning will continue. We spoke with conference organizer Denise Korol about the evolution of the Superconference, and the reasons that this year’s event is not-to-be-missed.
We also caught up with Trinity Power’s own Jordan Maryniuk to talk about the booth he will be manning there (also not-to-be-missed), and how Trinity is addressing this year’s themes of efficiency and continuous improvement.
“I think in Canada, we were basically the one that started [shutdowns-focused conferences], in terms of addressing that specific sector, and being something very practical,” says Korol of the conference’s beginnings.
And while the focus on being practical has endured, the conference has, according to Korol, changed a great deal in the past 15 years. “It’s gone from a smaller group of people in just the oil and gas industry to quite a broad spectrum of industries that attend,” explains Korol. “So we get people from oil and gas, petrochemicals, power, mining, pulp and paper, and other large industries.”
But while more industries now recognize the benefits of focusing on their shutdown and turnaround processes, which industries attend the conference tends to shift based on the economic climate. Says Korol, “There’s a diverse group of industries that kind of ebbs and flows, depending on the economy. So whereas many, many years ago, we saw a lot of people from the pulp and paper industry, that really decreased for a large number of years, and now it’s back. Oil and gas has been hit particularly hard, so we’ve seen a surge now in more power attendees.”
“This year, probably more than other years, we’ve got a lot of sessions and case study speakers from outside of Alberta, outside of Canada,” says Korol. “We’ve brought in some more speakers from the US, and it gives perspective on how others have managed through oil price downturns.”
This diversity of perspective goes beyond geographic location. “There are different sizes of companies that [attendees] can certainly learn from. We’ve got Phillips 66, we’ve got Potash Corp, we’ve got Honeywell, we’ve got LyondellBasell and we’ve got Lucite International all speaking... It’s about the mix of operators.”
According to Korol, this diversity is important in addressing the economic issues currently facing many companies. “The biggest challenge for the past couple of years has definitely been the drop in the price of oil,” she says. “We’ve certainly seen budgets are tight. And projects are still going ahead, but it’s impacted the labour amount that contractors use. They’re just looking for more efficiencies and savings in the way they perform their projects.”
These are exactly the types of challenges that this year’s conference seeks to address. “Almost every session will talk in one way or another about efficiencies,” says Korol, “but I think specifically, we’ve got sessions on continuous improvement. So we’ve got...PCS Nitrogen from the States, and Shell in Canada, talking about continuous improvement. We’ve got a session directly talking about cost management strategies from Phillips 66. We’ve got a session from ConocoPhillips: they’ve got a new approach to shutdowns that’s going to reduce the labour required. So it’s addressing again: how are we going to do more with less?”
Doing more with less is one area where Trinity Power excels. If you’re attending the conference, drop by the Trinity Power booth this year to chat with Jordan Maryniuk, Kurt Guess or Darryl MacPherson about how temporary power can increase efficiencies for shutdown projects.
“We’re going to have a lot of innovative temporary power equipment for shutdown-type applications,” says Enterprise Account Rep, Jordan Maryniuk. “People can come by the booth and check out what is current in terms of temporary power equipment.”
“Our equipment is intuitively designed to improve efficiencies -- so reduce man hours -- and that is in line with the overall theme of the conference,” says Maryniuk.
Trinity is also giving away an Apple Watch, so you can improve your efficiencies in style.
“We’re looking forward to speaking with all the shutdown and turnaround managers, and talking about…the future of shutdowns and turnarounds,” says Maryniuk. “Talking about what’s going to be the most efficient way to look at the temporary power aspect of each project and how they can maximize the efficiency. That’s where Trinity Power really shines.”
“I’d say that this is an event that the entire shutdown community looks forward to,” enthuses Korol. “It’s a jam-packed agenda.”
“I think a lot of our delegates come because they’re not looking for silver bullets,” she says, “But I like to see them walk away with something that’s really practical.”