Downtime in the energy industry can result in millions of dollars or more in waste, lost production, and extra material costs

Oil and gas industry - refinery at Sunrise - factory - petrochem

The oil and gas industry has seen its fair share of ups and downs over the past decade. The war in Ukraine has sent oil and gas prices to record high after a decade where market crashes and uncertainty led many companies to cut down on investments. As a result, the companies have already planned to reinvent themselves by practicing capital discipline, focusing on financial health, committing to climate change, and transforming business models. But one area that’s too frequently overlooked by oil and gas companies is their maintenance programs.

Today’s highly competitive landscape is no longer enough to track and fix equipment assets. A more aggressive asset strategy is needed to ensure equipment efficiency and effectiveness to maximize physical assets’ return on investment (ROI). Today’s maintenance strategies need to go deeper. Asset data needs to be collected and analyzed so that companies can better understand their assets’ maturity and assess equipment condition and predict why and when assets will fail.

Use digital operational twin data to track and fix assets

Downtime in the energy industry can result in millions of dollars or more in waste, lost production, and extra material costs. Whether equipment problems occur upstream, midstream, or downstream, equity equipment can even result in severe safety and environmental complications.

Oil and gas companies have relied on maintenance programs to track and fix assets for decades, but those practices have only improved. Now, with digital technology, companies can know more about their assets than ever before—and use that knowledge to keep their operations running smoothly.

Digital operational twin technology allows you to create prescriptive maintenance asset management strategies using artificial intelligence and machine learning models to predict asset failure before it happens. This means less downtime and higher efficiency throughout your entire operation!

The five stages of asset maturity

Understanding the maturity of your assets is crucial to a successful asset management program. There are five stages to an oil and gas company’s asset management maturity—starting from the very basic and progressing to a comprehensive, enterprise-wide maintenance strategy. These five stages are:

  • Operate: This is where most companies begin their asset management efforts. It’s all about ensuring that equipment operates efficiently and effectively, so it can be used for as long as possible.
  • Consolidate: At this stage, you’re looking at ways to reduce costs by combining resources and using them more efficiently.
  • Integrate: In this stage, you ensure that all your systems are connected. This lets you see the big picture regarding keeping your assets running smoothly.
  • Optimize: Once your systems are integrated, you can start optimizing them based on what they tell you about what will work best for your business. Optimization involves looking at energy usage patterns or production levels over time to adjust accordingly.
  • Innovate: Finally, when everything else has been taken care of and optimized, innovation becomes the focus of your efforts—you’re looking for new ways to take better care of your assets so that they last longer and perform better when they’re put to use.

Improve the asset ecosystem

The oil and gas industry is undergoing a digital transformation that will affect every facet of the value chain. Asset management systems are at the heart of this transformation.

The traditional approach to asset management is no longer sufficient. Assets aren’t isolated; each asset consists of a complex system of other components, likely interrelated to assets across the plant floor. This hierarchical setup requires the ability to monitor, track, report, and execute activities based on understanding how one move will impact another—often with potentially far-reaching implications.

Modern asset management systems provide EAM tools to help manage the ecosystem. These tools include integrated visualization capabilities that allow decision makers to view their entire operation as one big, interconnected web; predictive analytics capabilities that forecast equipment failures before they occur; and real-time data collection and analysis capabilities that enable companies to optimize their maintenance strategies in real-time.

Build a maintenance strategy

The most important thing to remember when creating an oil and gas equipment maintenance program is that it must be built on a solid foundation of best practices. The following are some of the most common best practices to keep in mind:

  1. Assess the existing maintenance strategy

Assess how you currently maintain your equipment and determine if there are opportunities for improvement.

  1. Identify strategic assets

Understand what assets are most critical to production and which are most at risk of failure.

  1. Determine the best indicators of failure

Look at historical data, analyzing trends and patterns in failures, and analyzing patterns in maintenance activities (such as the number of oil changes performed on a piece of equipment).

  1. Automate Analysis

Use the right analytics tools to identify issues and trends so you can design a maintenance plan that effectively manages the cost and risk associated with failure.

  1. Measure and refine

Evaluate the results of your maintenance efforts over time and adjust as needed to ensure you’re getting the most out of your equipment.

Don’t ignore energy efficiency

Energy efficiency is often neglected in oil and gas equipment maintenance strategies. Many companies tend to focus on the immediate state of the equipment—are there any leaks? Does it run smoothly? —but neglect to consider the equipment’s long-term state.

This could be a fatal mistake because while a leaky pipe or a clogged pump might seem like small problems, they can often lead to bigger ones down the line if they aren’t addressed promptly. Routine maintenance inspections are the easiest way to ensure that your equipment runs at peak efficiency. An expert often conducts these checkups to determine where there are flaws in the system and to fix those issues before they become major problems.

One of the best ways for you to predict failure is by measuring energy efficiency. It’s one of the things that you should be looking at every time you perform an inspection. If you’ve got a pattern of inconsistent energy use, then you can assume that something wrong with your equipment needs to be fixed. That’s why it’s so important to conduct regular inspections. If your equipment has been running inefficiently for some time, then other problems are likely within its system that have yet to emerge.

Develop a comprehensive asset strategy

In the final analysis, it’s essential not to overlook asset management in your organization. Depending on your goals as a maintenance team leader or facility manager, you’ll need to ensure that asset management plays a crucial role in your organization’s future. Make asset management a priority, and you’ll be well on modernizing equipment maintenance strategies.

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