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Unlocking offshore’s repair and maintenance siloes can drive profitability, efficiency and safer working conditions

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Oilfield Technology,

As the oil and gas industry recovers, rationalisation is its focus when bringing new assets online and relaunching existing ones, unlocking maximum value in a shift from yesteryear’s excesses. While this is not always easy, composite provider SPS Technology has identified a set of means to achieve this, as Ian Nash, SPS Technology, explains.

Competing in today’s offshore oil and gas market requires the same attention asset owners always gave to maximising output, while reducing the cost of production – just more of it.

In the last decade, a strong focus on cost control in the oil and gas sector – married with some energy price recovery – has assisted the industry in achieving a steady, and growing, resurgence. While cost control has typically involved the obvious contenders of headcount reductions, asset stacking and technology improvements, these measures do not represent the totality of options available to asset owners aiming to understand and reduce their spend. Further scrutiny of available and proven repair techniques provides a further significant opportunity to unlock value, supporting a reduction in lifecycle spend, as well as a ream of safety and environmental benefits.

The end of working in siloes

Historically healthy profit margins and a healthy prevalence of project-specific contractors meant that asset repair and maintenance was a siloed process where information was not captured and effectively utilised. In this new era for offshore oil and gas, the need to change this approach is clear. In the floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) market, a recent survey FPSO 2019: The State of the Market flagged poor communication as a key pain point. The report stated that “overlapping roles and poor communication among project team stakeholders” was the second most common reason for cost overruns and project delays. Furthermore, when asked the further question “What key factors can be observed in delivering a successful FPSO project?”, “a clear understanding of entire project lifecycle costs”, was among the top three responses.

The recent brain drain from the oil and gas sector is likely to have an exacerbating effect to these communications challenges. It is critical that efforts to improve communication do not overlook the benefits of educating newcomers, helping to elevate their knowledge levels to the same calibre of their predecessors.

Identifying millions of dollars in overspend and excess downtime

With improved collaboration and knowledge sharing, oil and gas asset owners can realise millions of dollars in savings during asset repairs and maintenance. This can be seen during the selection and implementation of structural steel repairs, an essential part of asset remedial work. Structural steel repairs can be delivered via a number of methods including crop and renewal or a no hot work (NHW) solution, like the sandwich plate system (SPS) offered by SPS Technology, which comprises two metal plates bonded with a BASF elastomer core.

In a typical scenario, budgets for structural steel repairs are spread across a number of different areas, each managed by different personnel with their own individual cash pot and goals. This approach can be fragmented, and senior managers need further information to be able to effectively identity and address areas of overspend or excess downtime. Siloed knowledge can mean that budget holders may see a quote for structural steel repair in the first line of a crop and renewal steel repair quote.

However, what they will not see are the costs across a number of areas including, for example: project planning and management, tank cleaning, cargo tank scaffolding, cofferdam construction and dive boats. Collectively, these costs mean the total budget for crop and renewal repairs can be considerably higher than initially anticipated – typically up to a staggering 11 times higher that an SPS NHW repair. In addition, crop and renewal repairs must be carried during planned maintenance periods, resulting in increased periods of downtime, while SPS NHW repairs are intrinsically safe to complete during operation.

A profound opportunity

As the margins in a barrel of oil, or a cubic metre of gas continue to fail to reach previous levels, structural steel repairs are just one example of how clear, transparent overall project costs can drive cost, efficiency and safety improvements during offshore remedial work as well as unlock value.

The opportunity to generate savings is even more pronounced in light of recent trends in the oil and gas industry to stave off the decommissioning of older assets, many of which would require structural steel repairs prior to recommissioning anyway. Repair and maintenance managers with more control will have the power to further fuel the oil and gas industry’s resurgence, pathing the way for a safe, agile, and profitable industry in decades to come.

Author: Ian Nash, SPS Technology

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