Improved Spent Caustic

Mobil’s contract for disposal of Spent Caustic is a sales arrangement with a Houston Company. The used caustic must meet strict quality standards in order that Beaumont Refinery not pay penalties but rather receive payment for the premium quality of material.

In 1998, Beaumont shipped seven cargoes of Spent Caustic to their customer. Two of these shipments met the minimum specifications. Unfortunately, the other five were very costly because they received no money for quality and paid penalties around $500,000. As if that were not enough, the oil movements department contended with notorious plugging lines with the Spent Caustic System.

Enter Tommy, a key player in managing caustic movements from and to the wharf. Over the years, these problems required considerable amounts of his time and of others in Oil Movements.

During a Business Driven Reliability (BDR) Manufacturing Game® session, Tommy identified a need to improve the quality of the Spent Caustic System. He wanted to resolve the line crystallization problems and help the quality issue in the process. He used his knowledge of the system to identify where some minor change in piping and valves would better segregate the various streams. He reviewed the project with his supervisor, then helped design the changes with the engineer and built the project with the asset team. He put procedures in place to ensure success would be sustained. In spite of barriers that exist to getting things done, he stuck to it!!

He personally oversaw the first transfer and Beaumont had some of the best quality material ever. The second cargo was successful and Mobil was paid for two in a row! When the third cargo results were in they topped the first cargo and got the best pay back yet. The bottom line improved between $600,000 to $750,000 per year through this BDR project.