Keep on running: asset management
DNV is poised to offer the region something new in asset management
DNV tells Oil & Gas Middle East that they are poised to offer the region something new in upstream asset management
As the Gulf’s oilfield assets age, and a resurgent upstream fabrication industry pushes up prices for new hardware, asset management has become more important to national oil companies and operators.
The complexity of upstream assets, and how they relate to each other, makes a strategic approach to inspections, testing (see pages 57-61), maintenance, refurbishments and replacements essential.
The Abu Dhabi office of Det Norske Veritas (DNV), a global provider of services for managing risk, has gone back to the drawing board to revamp its risk supervision and inspection services, ahead of a critical period of asset management for the gulf’s upstream industry.
”Our intention has been to go back to the root of what has sustained DNV over the last 150 years,” said Anupam Ghosal, head of verification and asset integrity management. “Our focus has been on differentiating us from our competition with expertise and bringing a sense of value-add to our clients.”
DNV is placed to do things differently. An independent foundation headquartered in Norway with the objective of “safeguarding life, property and the environment,” DNV comprises 300 offices in 100 countries, with about 9,000 employees.
The organization dates back to 1864, when the foundation was established in Norway to inspect and evaluate the technical condition of Norwegian merchant vessels, and it expanded into oil and gas as the North Sea oil industry took off in the early 1970s.
It was also hired by the US government to investigate the causes of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.
A crucial part of asset management is Risk-Based Inspection (RBI), which involves the prioritisation of inspections of oilfield equipment, and requires an in-depth knowledge of a client’s operations, assets and intentions for the future.
DNV gained an advantage in RBI through a legacy project which Ghosal say proved worth the cost as DNV gained valuable experience with the Shell RBI software system.
“This project helped us to finetune our understanding of Shell RBI, which has placed us in a very advantageous position in the Middle East market,” says Ghosal. “DNV Abu Dhabi has advantages when it comes to Shell RBI services, where the differentiation comes out of our ability to use Shell’s RBI software effectively.”
Ghosal says DNV was awarded succesive RBI contracts over competitiors based on the company’s comparative competence with Shell RBI.
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Cradle to grave
Prevention is better than cure, and DNV conducts predictive life cycle appraisals of upstream projects through its Maros software, acquired in 2008 as part of a buyout of Jardine Technology.
DNV uses Maros to conduct Reliability, Availability and Maintainability (RAM) studies on assets and asset networks, targeting what Ghosal calls “Reliability in Design,” an appraisal of how to optimize output without sacrificing on safety or reliability.
Maros is a lifecycle performance simulator, which is flexible enough to be tried at any stage of a project design process. It has been used to model an extensive number of assets for the major integrated oil and gas companies including Shell, BP, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips, state-owned operators such as Petrobras, Petronas, ADCO, and a host of medium to small sized operators.
“The primary performance indicator for operators is commonly network production efficiency,” says Ghosal.
“This is similar to availability, but instead of being a ratio of uptime/system life it relates volume of product to system potential. Other results include production statistics, efficiency statistics, criticality tables (hierarchical), contract shortfalls analysis (size and frequency) and plant shutdown analysis (size and frequency).”
Performed early in the design process, Maros allows the assessment of competing development options such as FPSO vs. Subsea development vs. Platform. This assessment can feed into a net present value calculation for each option. Once a development option has been selected, further cost benefit analysis can be performed, such as examining the benefit of additional capacity, or the penalties of reduced redundancy.
In the pipeline
“In Middle East, new pipelines and an increasing stock of ageing pipelines in mature areas imply a need for detailed asset integrity management and life extension,” says Ghosal. “In recent months along with DNV Software, we have won a substantial contract for implementation of pipeline integrity management system in one of the main operator in Abu Dhabi.”
Ageing offshore facilities are also a priority area. “Abu Dhabi has close to 500 ageing offshore assets, some of which have crossed their designed lifespans,” says Ghosal.
“Several Middle Eastern operators are actively working on maintaining production from the existing facilities on a longer-run basis.”
“For example, ADMA-OPCO has initiated the process of remaining life assessment of their assets which with a conservative estimate could be $10 million to $20 million worth of services,” Ghosal continues.
“There is an increased need world-over to extend the life of the offshore facilities while managing the associated risk. Remaining life assessment, however, is not unified across various facilities of an offshore asset as of now. DNV has always been a technology leader.
To address to the need of the industry, DNV Abu Dhabi is presently working on a internally funded cutting edge project to develop a comprehensive method for assessing the remaining life of fixed offshore assets.”
Stop the rot
DNV Abu Dhabi with active support from DNV Columbus covers corrosion assessment and advisory services related to corrosion-vulnerable materials.
“We are developing local experience further and positioning ourselves for future opportunities,” says Ghosal, who says the company has won several rewards for corrosion work. “In recent months we have also seen a trend for failure mode and effect analysis.”
“Efficiency and smart pricing have been our areas of emphasis,” says Ghosal. “Recent months have seen fruition of all these efforts, with a strong order book for 2012 and looking forward to consolidate our position. It’s all about being flexible to adapt to ever changing client need but at the same time remaining within the corridor of agreed strategy.”