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Optimal Report: Return to Safety – Asset and Maintenance Management in the Offshore Industry

Offshore oil and gas operators conduct their business in one of the most dangerous and demanding environments when it comes to personnel safety, grappling with the risk of high-pressure hydrocarbon release and high fire risks to name just a couple of challenges. One has to give the operators their due for following stringent measures to adhere to regulations of which there are plenty when it comes to Health and Safety management, but it is probably also fair to say that more often than not focus shifts to the maintenance of operations critical systems and equipment when maintenance plans and strategies are being drawn up.

2019 has seen the highest number of offshore inspections carried out by the HSE – 174 inspections at 146 offshore installations. As a result, as documented in the recently released Offshore Statistics & Regulatory Activity Report 2019 published by the HSE, there were 1382 non-compliance issues raised with operators, the duty holders for the offshore installations.

That is a staggering statistic, especially when you delve deeper into the report and find that the most commonly identified non-compliances are in relation to maintenance and operating procedures.

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It is important to acknowledge that a high percentage of issues identified are getting promptly addressed, however, this does not detract from the fact that there is an evident shortfall relating to the maintenance balance for safety versus operations critical systems.

So, what is the optimal way to improve the situation and assist operators in optimising their maintenance strategies, whilst addressing the safety critical systems?

The adoption of the Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM) methodology is the route Optimal (a BECBC member) follows when it comes to the development and optimisation of maintenance strategies for effective asset and maintenance management. RCM is a robust and proven methodology to support asset owners in improving safety and gaining visibility on which assets are most critical to safe operations.

The traditional RCM process encompasses the development of equipment hierarchy, the determination of the functional failure of the assets, identification of the critical failure modes and the development of suitable maintenance strategies for these failure modes through RCM logic tree analysis. However, the current industry standards and conditions call for greater strides of production availability and reliability of the assets. Optimal aim to deliver an enhanced RCM oriented optimisation framework for the assets through the implementation of probabilistic and statistical analysis. The in-house criticality model comprises of the likelihood of the occurrence of failure, the severity of failure consequences and the detectability of the failure modes and adheres to ISO standards. The risk priority numbers classify the failure modes according to criticality and this criticality is also split into operations and safety critical elements.

Following this approach, the operators can ensure that not only do they have an optimised maintenance strategy, but they can also demonstrate and auditable track record of how those strategies were derived at. Optimal are currently conducting an RCM study for a major North Sea operator for their power generation systems. The team is developing a highly focused maintenance, condition monitoring and spares roadmap, which will ensure the safe operations of the assets and deliver increased uptime, availability, reliability and integrity whilst reducing costs and risks associated with unplanned outages.

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