BioTherm Operations and Maintenance

BioTherm Operations & Maintenance are responsible for the day to day operation and maintenance of all the BioTherm power generation facilities. BioTherm O&M operating company has been managing BioTherm’s MethCap SPV1 waste gas to energy (biogas) facility, located on the premises of the PetroSA Gas to Liquid facility in Mosselbay, since June 2009. Since then the portfolio of power generation facilities managed by BioTherm O&M has increased to four with the inclusion of the Dassieklip Wind Energy Facility (Western Cape) as well as the Aries and Konkoonsies Solar Energy Facilities located in the Northern Cape Province.

By involving the operations and maintenance staff in the construction of the project provides a level of exposure to the assembly of the facilities that is impossible to replicate during the commercial operation phase of the facility. This approach significantly reduce the reliance on the Original Equipment Manufacturer. BioTherm O&M has successfully managed a major upgrade of the MethCap SPV1 power plant during one of the PetroSA statutory shut downs, an upgrade which increased the facility’s reliability and availability.

Pre-Commercial Operation Services (during construction):

  • Development of Operation and Maintenance Manual, procedures and drawings;
  • Orientation & training of the O&M Personnel;
  • Development of parts, consumables, special tools and equipment inventory catalogs;
  • Prepare of the Security Plan, HSE Program and Environmental Management Plan;
  • Develop policies and procedures regarding compliance with all regulatory requirements applicable to the Facility, including the Grid Codes and OHSAct; and Perform quality inspections of the Facility during construction

Post- Commercial Operation Services:

  • Implement the Security, HSE and Environmental Management Plans. Manage the Facility, including Security, Health, Safety and Environmental compliance;
  • Implementation of Maintenance and Operating Plans, perform Operation and Maintenance of the facility in accordance with the O&M Manuals and procedures;
  • Manage, supervise, train and direct the O&M Personnel to perform the Services;
  • Implement policies and procedures regarding compliance with all
  • Regulatory requirements applicable to the Facility, including the Grid Codes and OHSAct;
  • Prepare and manage the O&M budgets related to the Services;
  • Provide procurement services with respect to all parts, consumables, tools and equipment; and
  • Manage permits and licenses, Report on plant performance to parent company, shareholder and government stakeholders, Conduct Facility testing as required by applicable Permits and Relevant Agreements.

Risk Mitigation Strategies:

The following is a summary of the O&M Risk that needs to be overcome:

O&M Risk essentially talks to the failure to efficiently operate and maintain the plant, the failure being caused by:

  •   Technical issues (e.g. Technology management)
  •   cost (e.g. labor and materials); and
  •   Management (incompetency) issues.

The consequences of the failure may be as follows:

  •   Capacity not being available and non-delivery of electrical energy/reduced electrical energy output for our client;
  •   Our client being unable to operate its production facility and meet its own supply obligations;
  •   Our client may incur additional costs e.g. the costs of obtaining power elsewhere;
  •   Forced power plant outages/ forced outages for emergency maintenance; and
  •   O&M costs exceeding forecast costs etc.

How we mitigate this risk may be as follows:

  •  The BioTherm SPV may be required to hold a maintenance reserve account (the levels of reserve may be based on aggregate of major maintenance costs to be incurred in a particular O&M cycle, for example)
  •   Robust management contracts, for example with an accredited operator or OEM approved operator for certain critical plant processes.
  •   Training Agreements to ensure people are well aligned with their responsibilities and deliverables
  •   BioTherm O&M staff being incentivized through the achievement of set performance targets.

BioTherm O&M staff:

BioTherm O&M employ skilled operating and maintenance personnel,  all with previous experience in the operations and maintenance of power plants. Typical skill levels are:

  •   For the operation of the plant a relevant NQF level 4 qualification is required. Similarly for Power Plant process control and management, a relevant NQF level 5 and Government Certificate of Competency is required;
  •   The operation of Auxiliary systems require a relevant NQF level 3 qualification while for Electrical Network control an NQF level 4 is required; and
  •   The plant maintenance team will consist of personnel with the relevant NQF levels 3-5 qualification.

BioTherm O&M furthermore ensure optimal performance of its staff through:

  •   Training Agreements are in place to ensure that employees are well aligned with their responsibilities and deliverables. This will include the training as per OEM contract as well as specialised such as Maintenance practices, DCS, SHEQ, Fire fighting, etc.
  •   Provision is made for performance guarantees through personnel bonus and penalty contracts; and
  •   Staff structure, job description detail and CV’s to demonstrate credibility and experience.