Project Management Institute

Chevron’s El Segundo Refinery Coke Drum Reliability Project Named PMI Project of the Year Award Winner


The El Segundo Refinery Coke Drum Reliability Project has been honored by Project Management Institute (PMI) as the winner of the profession’s highest accolade—the 2015 PMI Project of the Year Award.

The El Segundo Refinery Coke Drum Reliability Project team oversaw the successful shipment and installation of six new coke drums — enormous containers that heat crude oil up to 920 degrees Fahrenheit (493 Celsius) — four months ahead of schedule and US$7 million under budget. The new drums needed to be shipped from a manufacturing facility in Spain and installed in a refinery in El Segundo, part of Los Angeles County, California, USA. The city of Los Angeles relies on fuel from the refinery, which supplies 20 percent of the gasoline in the Los Angeles area market and more than 40 percent of the jet fuel for Los Angeles International Airport.

Highlights from the project include the seamless removal of six retired coke drums, each weighing roughly 400,000 pounds (181,437 kilograms). Because all installation work took place at least 20 feet above ground, project leaders implemented a fall protection protocol that required workers to wear double harnesses. The team held frequent safety meetings and avoided injuries by implementing a “stop the drop” program that required all tools and materials to be tied off with a leash. Even with 400 people working high above the ground to install the new drums, the project closed without a single fall or lost-time injury. Additional results include taking just six nights to move all the new drums from dockside to refinery, which meant less inconvenience for the residents of Los Angeles.

When the state of Oregon, USA discovered that some of its bridges had cracks that would soon affect major freight routes, the government heard the warning as a wake-up call. Roughly half of the state’s 6,700 bridges were built before 1960, and a study projected that if left unattended the deficient infrastructure would cost the state 88,000 jobs over the next 25 years. For Oregon to stay competitive, the state’s entire bridge infrastructure needed an overhaul. So in 2003, the Oregon legislature acted to fund the state’s largest infrastructure investment in 50 years with an unprecedented caveat: The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) had to outsource the program. ODOT awarded the 10-year, US$1.3 billion contract to repair or replace 365 bridges to the Oregon Bridge Delivery Partners (OBDP), a joint venture of Fluor Corporation and HDR Engineering Inc. The historic public-private partnership delivered the program as promised, coming in US$45 million under budget.

“PMI congratulates El Segundo Refinery Coke Drum Reliability Project on winning this year’s award,” said PMI President and CEO Mark A. Langley. “The team was able to complete the installation under budget and ahead of schedule by applying sound project and risk management principles to overcome the myriad logistical and safety challenges, while minimizing the impact to the local community.”

About Project Management Institute (PMI)

Project Management Institute (PMI) is the world's leading association for those who consider project, program or portfolio management their profession. Through global advocacy, collaboration, education and research, we work to prepare more than three million professionals around the world for The Project Economy: the coming economy in which work, and individuals, are organized around projects, products, programs and value streams. Now 50 years in the making, we work in nearly every country around the world to advance careers, improve organizational success and further mature the project management profession through globally-recognized standards, certifications, communities, resources, tools, academic research, publications, professional development courses and networking opportunities. As part of the PMI family, creates online global communities that deliver more resources, better tools, larger networks and broader perspectives. Visit us at,, and on Twitter @PMInstitute

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Mary Ortega
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