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Despite this, the refinery was potentially facing a difficult future. The Japanese market had become increasingly fierce – several refineries had been forced to close amid a relentless focus on operating efficiencies and costs – and so the management determined to take steps to safeguard competitiveness.

When Solomon benchmarking results, which provide an insight into a refinery’s competitiveness, indicated that there was significant room for improvement in maintenance procedures, management acted quickly to help the refinery to survive and also compete on a global basis in the future.

Because the evolving competitive landscape necessitated a step change in performance, management set an aggressive improvement target of a 22% reduction in the maintenance cost index and implemented leading-edge asset-management practices.

A team of key Mizushima operational personnel and Shell Global Solutions’ specialists worked to embed successful maintenance and reliability practices into the organisation.

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In search of excellence—World-class asset management raises Mizushima refinery’s competitiveness