Refinery boss proud to honour half a century of heritage as focus turns to the future

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 19 Oct 2018

THE man tasked with leading Total Lindsey Oil Refinery into its second half century has told of his pride at being at the helm as ambitions to strengthen the site further are unveiled.

Jean-Marc Durand marks his first anniversary in North Killingholme as 50 years of production are celebrated. And after a five year programme to ensure it retains its place in the global energy group’s proud portfolio culminates, a new mission is being embarked upon – with employees helping to set the tone.

Jean-Marc Durand.

‘We Go Beyond’ builds on the key pillars for performance in the coming years, with Mr Durand describing it as an honour to further the heritage and history of the strategically vital refinery.

He said: “We are very proud of it, and this year is a happy celebration. The refinery is a key asset for the region and for the group. We are delighted to celebrate 50 years of refining.  

“It is recognition of the people working here, and for the people who have worked here in the past, and those who have built it. And we are continuing to build, every day, the journey of LOR.

“There is heritage, and we need to continue that in the coming years. It is a privilege to celebrate the 50th year anniversary, I would like to thank everyone past and present who has worked at the site for their contribution to the success of our business. It is a milestone to celebrate, our golden jubilee, and we look forward to the diamond jubilee.”

While much of the celebration marks the initial arrival of the complex and a new industry for the Humber Bank, Mr Durand told how the innovation certainly didn’t stop then.

“It may not be appreciated from the other side of the fence, but in our world we evolve permanently. It is very important, you see a big amount of pipes and stacks, but there are very regular changes in our processes to accommodate specification changes, to accommodate improvements in safety, in regulations and legislation, in environmental themes, – all are improving. We have new equipment coming in very frequently, equipment too that is stopping and being removed, it is something living in time, not just existing.

“We continue to invest significant amount of capital in to projects.”

Read more: Praise from Paris as Total Lindsey Oil Refinery celebrates 50 years of production

There is a turnaround and inspection in mid-2019, and further projects planned for 2020, focusing on the pre-treatment of feedstock before it enters the crucial fluid catalytic cracking stage of the refining process. This will enable the refinery to produce cleaner, lighter fuels.

Ready to open in 1968.

The investments also include the recent work to bring back the multi-fuel flow of the Fina-Line, the pipeline connecting LOR to the South East, after a 13 year stint as purely jet fuel. Petrol and diesel can now be pumped through, with a robust domestic market favoured over exports when it comes to efficiency and profitability. It is described as a significant project for the site.

“We are extremely busy on preparation for turnaround and inspection in mid-2019, and we have an important projects and investments planned for 2020,” Mr Durand said. “We are starting to prepare the next phase of projects for the future too. These are the key highlights, but there are an enormous amount of small projects, and it is what makes our jobs richer. There is never a day comparable to the previous one.”

Archive: 50 years since Total Lindsey Oil Refinery was officially opened

The skilled team within the refinery switch from project to project, with the general manager explaining how when it comes to strategic investment it is phased to ensure the people are there to realise it.

Lean methodology has also just been delivered across the organisation. “We continue to evolve, not just process, but our skills and the people,” the French national who arrived from a refinery in Antwerp, Belgium, said. “We permanently develop our people, and for us it is important because we make careers in this environment. People may start as apprentices and grow through their career. They can do 40 years with the refinery or within the group, going abroad and coming back. It makes the job very rich and it is why people like to come here.”

The sprawling site captured from the air in 2012. 

His own arrival at the site received a warm welcome, and working alongside the team over the past year has further endorsed his initial findings.

Mr Durand said: “It is fantastic here, and for me the striking point of LOR is the commitment and engagement of the people here. Engagement with safety, which is the day-to-day first thing we have in mind, our first pre-occupation, and then the engagement in professional skills and day-today activity and commitment to the future and performance of the refinery. Such engagement makes managing a team like LOR an exciting one.

“What is important for us is the focus we have to supply energy to our customers. That is the role of the refinery and the role of the group, be it upstream where we are present in exploration, to downstream in retail, be it jet fuel, bitumen or specialties. We want to supply to the people in an affordable way, and in an environmentally compliant way too.

“It is very important it is reliable too, if we disrupt the market, you only have to imagine the chaos it would create. This is something we always have in mind when operating the refinery, and as such, safety is the cornerstone of everything we do. It is our ability to operate. You cannot be reliable and professional if you are not safe.  

Complex kit - pictured recently as dusk turns to night.

“In the last 900 days, we have had two minor safety events, which while always two too many, compared to industry peers, places us very, very well. Our safety record is an achievement in which we can be proud, and always a reminder to work daily on improving safety.”

Such engagement with setting a new bar for performance was also welcomed.

“The Future in Total (FIT) has come to an end and ‘We Go Beyond’ is our ambition for the next five years,” Mr Durand said. “What we have done is rather than purely have the management team deliver, we asked all employees to contribute. It brought a strong response and we have collated together and realised an ambition based on our key pillars. Now we are committed to deliver this, and it was fruitful and very interesting.”

It is:

  • Safety – No accidents, and to be the safest and healthiest place to work in the region
  • Availability – To be the most available plant compared to peers in Total
  • Cost – To spend less on daily costs in order to invest more for the future
  • People – To all feel part of the Total Lindsey Oil Refinery community
  • Value – To reduce break-even point and improve the whole business’ financial balance sheet

“We will use this mission to define objectives and plans for everyone,” Mr Durand said. “It is the red line we will follow for the coming years.”

Employees walk down 'Cathedral Alley' on the site. 

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