The Oil Sands Turnaround Performance Benchmarking Study conducted by Asset Performance Canada saw the company team with Industry leaders to benchmark performance from 2014-2018

January 2020

Asset Performance Canada (AP-Canada) recently published the latest iteration of the Oil Sands Turnaround Performance Benchmarking Study (2019). Canadian Natural (CNRL), Shell, Suncor, and Syncrude served as study sponsors. The goal of the study was to review turnaround performance in the Oil Sands region during the 2014-2018 timeframe to understand trends in cost and schedule performance, labour productivity, operational metrics, and health, safety, and environmental (HSE) performance. Industry practices were analyzed to understand the best practices that drive top quartile performance and to define those controllable areas in which producers can realize the most value from improvement. These metrics were compared to the 2014 study results, which covered the 2010-2013 timeframe. They were also compared to datasets from the Rest of Alberta and the US Gulf Coast to understand how Oil Sands turnaround performance compares to turnaround performance in those regions.

Upon completion of the study, it was found that on average, Oil Sands turnarounds are now almost 30 percent less expensive than those benchmarked in the 2014 study. Notably, costs for indirect labour functions have fallen substantially over this timeframe due to the efforts of oil sands producers, several of whom acted on the insights provided in the 2014 study. However, turnarounds in the region continue to be significantly more expensive than turnarounds executed in the Rest of Alberta and the US Gulf Coast.

Oil Sands schedule performance has declined somewhat, though it remains comparable with performance in the Rest of Alberta. Labour hour growth in execution has improved dramatically, and turnaround size in terms of direct field labour hours (DFL) per day has fallen considerably. However, Oil Sands turnarounds continue to be some of the largest onshore maintenance events seen globally.

Safety performance has improved since 2014, though room for improvement still exists. Environmental performance has improved markedly and is now comparable with the best performing regions globally. Operability performance has remained globally competitive in both the 2014 and 2019 studies.

AP-Canada provided each study sponsor with a detailed analysis of controllable and uncontrollable costs, highlighting turnaround performance targets that would have the most impact. These company-specific recommendations represented a potential savings of more than 20 percent of overall turnaround cost.

AP-Canada plays a vital role in the Canadian energy industry. Since its founding, the company has served as a powerful ally to petrochemical companies looking to improve turnaround performance. The company also serves as the industry’s knowledge network, drawing insights from a database of more than 1,950 unique turnarounds. These insights have helped firms throughout Canada achieve competitive, predictable turnaround outcomes. The 2019 Oil Sands Turnaround Performance Benchmarking Study further expands the company’s understanding of Oil Sands turnarounds, providing study sponsors with an indispensable resource for enhancing turnaround performance and, by extension, corporate strength and profitability.

For more information, contact AP-Canada.


About Asset Performance Canada

AP-Canada is the trusted leader for improving asset and operational performance in petroleum, chemical, and energy companies worldwide. We work with our clients’ most critical assets—their people, processes, and production facilities—to help them achieve safe, competitive, predictable outcomes on their high-risk events, namely capital projects and turnarounds. Our consultants are internationally recognized leaders and experts in project management, turnaround management, operations, benchmarking, risk management, and more. Our team leverages proprietary, data-driven tools that help our clients Aim Higher to achieve superior business outcomes and Aim Smarter to drive breakthrough performance. For further information regarding our full range of products and services, please visit us at

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