Asset Action: Maintenance timing is everything

Top quality support vital to smooth & efficient turnaround operation

RBG recently provided local support for an evaporation tower shutdown.
RBG recently provided local support for an evaporation tower shutdown.

The maintenance schedules of both new and aging assets are fundamental, more so now than ever before, to ensure both optimisation and performance. With ever increasing demand on resources, the ultimate aim for any oil or gas facility is to be operational for as high a proportion of time as possible.

A turnaround can be total or partial; however, it can result in a shutdown if maintenance has not been scheduled appropriately.

As the first traditional turnaround period of 2011 approaches, and with over US$13 billion expected to be spent globally on turnarounds and shutdowns this year, the trend of increasing work scopes, combined with a growing number of challenges, particularly associated with older assets, is still very apparent.

With the number of new oil and gas developments still on the increase, it is essential to maintain production levels and reduce loss of revenue through unsuitable maintenance plans, which can lead to unplanned shutdowns.

“Being offline for a longer period of time than scheduled can result in a substantial loss in profits for a company at a time when the industry is coping with a fluctuating oil price and an increasing demand for gas after what has been a difficult few years economically,” explains Graeme Shirreffs, director at RBG Middle East.

“Not only is it important to have planned the turnaround in exact detail, but being able to combine a variety of services, including access solutions, specialist cleaning, fabric mechanical services and non-destructive testing (NDT) can be an attractive proposition to a customer,” he adds.

RBG Middle East works closely with main contractors prior to the commencement of a turnaround or shutdown, in order to develop a critical path planning process. This brings a number of improvements that will deliver tangible benefits to the operator, most critically limiting any extended offline periods.

“This fresh approach to turnaround campaigns is underpinned by the company’s commitment to quality and safety. Through sharing resources, cross training technicians and streamlining operations, RBG can
maximise the capability of its multi-disciplined teams and reduce associated ‘dead time’ that is traditionally an output of turnarounds,” explains Shirreffs.

To date, RBG has dedicated over 200 000 man-hours to supporting and delivering a range of shutdown services, with its Specialist Services division offering significantly beneficial services to help achieve an efficient turnaround, including mechanical, cleaning and inspection offerings.

The key to ensuring a seamless shutdown is through the development of a multi-skilled team. This means that many activities can be carried out simultaneously, such as chemical cleaning, sand management, in situ machining,hot tapping,bolt torquing and tensioning and inspection.

RBG can provide a complete Vessel Management approach with a single interface. “In engaging a single contractor to cover all the above workscopes fewer people are required on site and so reducing the logistical impact to the operator in terms of personnel transfer and pressure for accommodation while also passing on significant cost savings.

In addition to this, RBG uses all of its own equipment,” says Shirreffs.

“This provides the operator with peace of mind that it is all maintained and compliant with safety standards and the assurance that they do not have to carry the cost of hiring equipment,” he adds.

“RBG has more than 25 years of experience in turnaround maintenance across a number of disciplines. This knowledge, expertise and experience has been harnessed to provide clients with an integrated solution that can safely and efficiently turnaround an asset during the maintenance period, in many cases avoiding unnecessary shutdown or dead time,” says Shirreffs.

In return this delivers significant cost savings to the client and adding value through increased production time, which is vital in a climate that is experiencing a dramatic rise in the demand for oil and gas and with growing pressure on operators and producers to meet this demand in the safest and most cost effective way possible.

Case Study: Evaporator Tower Shutdown

A client’s water delivery system produces steam which is used to improve the efficiency of oil recovery in the field. Seven sets of Evaporator Towers are on a strict maintenance schedule.

RBG supports this schedule with the provision of Specialist Cleaning and Mechanical services. Scale build up inside the towers must be removed in order to return the tower to full capacity within the schedule of maintenance.

When required, machining techniques are used to refine the tube bundle ends.

Multi-skilling means that when this service is requested, there is no requirement for a full crew change of personnel, reducing mobilisation costs and productive time reductions while the new team are familiarised.

RBG has been supporting this maintenance schedule for nine months now, working with the client to ensure efficiencies are developed on an ongoing basis and lessons learned are implemented.

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Oil & Gas Middle East - September 2020

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