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Training operators without a process unit

A team of process operators hired to work at the new Golden Triangle Polymers complex -- now under construction in Orange County -- are two years away from running a process unit at this world-scale facility. But their training starts now.

process operator training for GTP

Golden Triangle Polymers, through one of its owner companies, Chevron Phillips Chemical, has hired 60 operators so far with plans to onboard more operators later this year. Operators primarily come from the nine-County Golden Triangle region of Texas and were selected in part for their years of experience in industry and their commitment to the safe and reliable start-up of this new petrochemical complex.

“When I first heard there was possibly a new chemical company coming to town, I was like I have to get on that project,” said Joseph Angelle, process operator for Golden Triangle Polymers. “It’s an honor to be among the first class of operators because a lot of people in this community want to be a part of it.”

A day in the life of an operator typically means monitoring and running the units responsible for America’s global production of chemicals, fuels, and plastics. But how do you learn to be an operator without a unit? Golden Triangle Polymers is a greenfield site, which is land that has never had buildings on it. Since there isn’t anywhere to practice operations and get familiar with the units now, visiting other operational sites is the best way to learn while Golden Triangle Polymers is under construction.

training at Cedar Bayou

While at the new Orange site, the operators are watching the facility being built from the ground up. They are also writing operating procedures and becoming familiar with the hundreds of pieces of equipment and modules delivered to the site each week. To get hands-on experience running the units, the operators also shadow operators at the Cedar Bayou plant, a facility 85 miles west in Baytown, Texas owned and operated by Chevron Phillips Chemical.

While shadowing, operators walk the units, learn operational processes, and gain real experience with new technology they may not have been exposed to in previous positions. Other sites that will aid in the training are located in Sweeny and Port Arthur.

“We’ve done this type of cross training before, but I don’t remember it ever being this organized and extensive. This is by far the largest job shadow undertaking we’ve attempted,” said Nick Graham, operations manager for Golden Triangle Polymers. “The time each of these operators spend at sister sites is more than training, but rather a transfer of knowledge that will give Golden Triangle Polymers the best chance possible of achieving a safe and reliable start-up in 2026.”

operator training