Motiva Enterprises LLC, a joint-venture owned by affiliates of Shell and Saudi Aramco, is building an epic expansion at its refinery in Port Arthur, TX. This project is vital to providing additional transportation fuels for the American consumer. When completed in 2010, the Motiva Port Arthur Refinery Expansion Project will create a 325,000 barrel-per-day (b/d) capacity expansion at the Port Arthur refinery, increasing its crude oil throughput capacity to 600,000 b/d. The expansion will make the refinery the largest in the U.S., and among the top 10 in the world. The project is equivalent to building a major new refinery. The last new refinery in the U.S. was built more than 30 years ago. To accommodate a project of this magnitude, the construction plans include offsite fabrication of modular units. The modules that are being fabricated are pipe racks and large sections of the process units. Four fabrication contractors located in Maine, South Carolina, Texas, and Mexico, were selected from more than 120 companies worldwide. Located in Brewer, Maine, Cianbro Constructors, is fabricating 53 of these geometrically complex modules. Each module weighs up to 650 tons, with an average size of 40 ft x 50 ft x 120 ft, and every module must be constructed to within one eighth of an inch tolerance at pipe connections.
The scanning technology has also helped minimize the risk to field engineers on the busy fabrication site by eliminating the need to climb modules to gather positional data. With the high definition laser scanner, they can collect all necessary data from the ground. Not only is the risk eliminated, but the time to collect the data is only a fraction of what traditional collection methods would take as well as be carried out by a much larger field crew. By reducing the time needed to collect data, the field engineering crew is less apt to impact the production yield of the associated crafts who erect the modules.