Retraipiog Surplus Staff

Should not shepherds take care of the flock?

Prophet Ezekiel.

Author: V. Narayan

Location: 2.1.3 Petroleum Refinery


Our company sold bitumen in steel barrels, not in tankers, as most of the users in the country did not have suitable facilities to receive bulk deliveries. We fabricated barrels in a captive barrel-fabrication factory. The steel mills supplied us sheets in the form of coils. A contractor operated a de-coiling plant adjacent to the barrel factory, and sheared the sheets into blanks, suitable either for rolling into shells or punching and forming into end covers.

One of my responsibilities was to manage this facility. We made 10,000 barrels a day in three shifts. Each shift had a supervisor with an experienced superintendent in charge, who was my direct report.

Just prior to my taking over this responsibility, the company had reorganized the Utilities department, merging its operations with that of the Fluid Catalytic Cracking department. The Utilities shift supervisors were re-assigned and one of them joined the barrel factory. He was in his early 50s, a lifelong boiler operator with no knowledge of fabricating barrels. A modest and humble person, he was known to be a competent boiler operator. The company had not provided him any special training prior to his re-assignment, and he was expected to learn on the job. I had to make do with this situation, which I inherited.

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