Long Term Optimization Changes for STO Preparation and Execution

At a large refinery, STO's have not met schedules or budgets for eight consecutive years. Investment needs for another five years in the triple-digit millions required sustainable cost reductions.


Reduced annual STO cost in first 2 years, 25-30% cost reduction by year 5


Cost savings in labor increased time-on-tools by one hour per day for over 2000 contractors


Reduced pre-STO scope due to implemented accelerated scope optimization


Sustainability of processes through “learning by doing” training and coaching


T.A. Cook collected and analyzed data surrounding previous STO preparation and execution. They identified and quantified opportunities for cost reduction and process improvement in the areas of organization design, contractor strategy, work logistics & productivity, STO preparation practices, planning & scheduling, scope optimization, management control & reporting of key performance indicators (KPIs), and training & coaching to achieve desired behaviors to support sustainability.

A 12-week Short Impact Program for STO's that were already underway increased contractor productivity through more effective logistics, more effective permitting and better adherence to schedules. These changes produced the first STO in eight years to come in on schedule and on budget.


The identified savings potential of $300 million over a five year period resulted from a combination of contractor labor costs, materials and equipment costs, scope optimization, productivity enhancement and better commercial terms in contracts. In an 18-month Long Term Optimization Program, "ownership" and cross-site solutions for the needed changes were established. The STO organization was redesigned to better optimize resource utilization and clarify and align roles and responsibilities. A contracting strategy was created which addressed formal competitive bidding and more effective contractor management resulting in an average cost savings of 15%.
By making logistics and productivity a more integral part of the STO process, contractors' productive work time increased. The introduction of a formal Management Control and Reporting System had all STO's using the same KPIs.

Standardized tools permitted the management team to pinpoint countermeasures, improve performance control and a more effective and consistent evaluation of planned scope by STO and Operations. To increase the sustainability of the changes, the client leaders were trained and coached by the consultants with a "hands on" approach and learned while performing their tasks.

Related Case Studies

How managing risk reduced an STO by 4 days

T.A Cook partnered with a North American refinery to better manage their STO risks and achieve their cost and duration targets. A risk management plan was developed, that prioritized project risks though the impact of STO schedule duration, cost and lost production revenue (LPR).