Project Background

Viva Energy Australia Pty Ltd (VIVA Energy) released an annual report in 2019 detailing the requirements for a scheduled major maintenance at their Geelong Refinery for 2020. This involved mainly their Residual Catalytic Cracking Unit (RCCU) and a few of their other processing units.

Project Objective

Silver Raven was approached by VIVA Energy in late November 2019 to undertake the research and development for the methods to remove the redundant section of the reactor dome (Unit Code R5301) efficiently and effectively. The reactor dome is part of the Residual Catalytic Cracking Unit and contributes to the fuel production.

Silver Raven conducted offsite trials in the Marrickville Yard to fabricate a cold cutting jig to suit the requirements at the Geelong Refinery site. The research and development led to the creation of a new methodology for the removal of the dome with consultation and site visits with VIVA energy. A rail system was customised to the specific reactor unit to allow for a single, consistent and weld prepared cut.

The staging for the removal on site were as follows:

  • The cut of four swirl tubes located inside the reactor unit that was connected to the top dome
  • Cutting of the top dome section of the reactor unit and then removal using a 300 tonne crane
  • The riser at the bottom of the reactor unit that acted as a hollow column supporting the internal structure (twin drum circulator) was cut last

Once the inside of the reactor unit was exposed, Silver Raven carried out the following tasks using ultra-high-pressure hydrodemolition:

  • Internal circular refractory lined riser unit demolition (Hexmesh)
  • Top dome inner semi-sphere face refractory demolition (Hexmesh)

Project Outcome

Silver Raven mobilised in June 2020 to complete the works for the shutdown at the RCCU in Geelong and was successful by all standards and requirements of VIVA energy. The innovation and design developed for this project allowed for efficient and effective solutions that saved time and money.

Total Hours Worked Onsite = 3600

Lost Time Injuries = 0

Medical Treatment Injuries = 0


As this project occurred as the second wave of COVID-19 hit Melbourne, Silver Raven was able to continue due to our strict implementation of our COVID-19 Management Plan. Our team onsite were able to work with all challenges that were caused by the devastating pandemic and safely execute the project as planned.