9 twelve hour shifts in a row – 9 1/2 because I showed up at work this morning, but went home after I saw that an extra person in my position was unnecessary. Missed blogging – missed a lot of other stuff as well.
Good news – it looks like working multiple extra 12 hour days without compensation might be over.
I was at a meeting on Friday – it was the normal operations meeting that we have every morning. We were making plans to shut down the refinery for some overdue maintenance on our cat cracker. As the meeting ended, we were asked to remain in the conference room for a special announcement….
When the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Valero walked into the conference room, it was pretty obvious that we were in for some bad news. We were told that the refinery was closing for good – starting immediately.
The plans and projects that we had been discussing just moments before were all tossed aside, as getting the feed out of the various refinery units and shutting them down became top priority.
Only a month ago, I turned down an early-retirement offer. That makes me an idiot.
We spent the last five days getting that work done. Virtually all of the refining units are now shut down – it was touch-and-go whether our sick catalytic cracker would last the four days that we needed it to run, but it just made it. This particular unit is well past its time for scheduled maintenance, and was scheduled for extensive renovation work starting this week.
We were about to start a scheduled shut down of the refinery for those necessary repairs. Contractors had come from all over the US in order to help with the work. There would have been perhaps 1000 people helping out. They were all told to go home on Friday morning. At noon, the main street of the refinery was empty, with no signs of work at all. A few hours before, there were people everywhere. All of those workers are now gone – back to their far-flung homes without the paychecks that they planned to earn during our cat cracker maintenance outage. Those itinerant craftsmen lead a pretty rough life – we just made it a little rougher for them.
I worked through Tuesday in order to help get the plant safely shut down. It’s just about done. We are still steaming out pipes and drums and towers, but the Delaware City Refinery is dead. It’s unlikely that anyone will buy the plant. I’m pretty sure that we will do the work necessary to decontaminate the equipment, and then the plant will likely be disassembled for scrap.
I have a job until January 22, thanks to a law that says we have to get 60 days notice of a layoff. On that date, I expect to be unemployed. Guess I’ve got some work to do.