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Asset management and condition monitoring

Engineering Your Success
Asset management in the oil and gas industry is immensely complex. Operators and oilfield service companies handle thousands of components every day, in locations across the globe. 

Keeping track of individual parts and systems – monitoring their condition, managing inspections and replacing items safely and pro-actively - is a significant challenge. Get it wrong, and the stakes are high… including equipment failure, down time, risks to personnel safety and potential corporate lawsuits. 
Benefits of robust asset management

Many oil and gas companies have formalised asset management systems and condition monitoring processes over time. There is no ‘one size fits all’ within the industry, though; systems can vary from paper-based manuals and schedules through to sophisticated software systems with bar code tags. 
A robust approach to managing assets typically offers four major benefits:
1. Improved operations
A good system will enhance knowledge of assets owned by the business. That means understanding life cycles, focusing spend where it is needed and avoiding waste. This improved understanding should result in direct cash savings and less down time, as assets are properly accounted for and a plan for spares is in place. And through active condition monitoring, there’s the opportunity to view asset history, reviewing and improving specifications based on real data.

2. Reduced risks to employee safety
Operating assets beyond their recommended life increases the likelihood of failure, and any asset that fails without notice represents a risk to injury or life. Law firms representing injured oil workers and their families will demand access to safety or maintenance records; if data is inconclusive or tells the wrong story, this may well affect the outcome. On the other hand if a business can show its inspection criteria, condition monitoring data and (for example) replacement products installed to reduce risk, an asset management system can help demonstrate positive intent and concern for employee safety. 

3. Reduced risk to the environment
As with risks to personnel, any failure that results in environmental impact is worth avoiding. The costs of fines and shut downs are significant for any oil and gas business – let alone potential risks to corporate reputation, which can also influence perceived value.

4. Streamlined spend and processes
Parker’s experience conducting Specialised Periodic Survey services for customers - and documenting the outcomes with the Parker Tracking System - have generated strong results. For example, where ships have been completely surveyed and documented, we have identified opportunities to change production methods and streamline project costs by more than 30 per cent, whilst also reducing scrap, rework and overall labour costs.
Digital asset management and the Internet of Things (IoT)

In recent years, there has been a shift towards digitising asset records. This is partly due to advances in technology, and partly due to the potential risks of managing analogue systems in certain environments. Obvious examples of risks to manage include fire, flood, or handling complex resources in multiple locations across the globe. Large-scale and complex operations are more likely to rely on asset management software than, say, a small enterprise operating in a single territory. 

Arguably the biggest development in the industry right now relates to integrating asset management with the IoT. Technological advances mean that integrating monitoring, communications and data sharing across systems is becoming a reality. This means moving from situations where skilled individuals look after machines in their location, to highly complex inter-connected systems that can look after themselves whenever and wherever needed. Condition monitoring with live data (through cable, wireless, 4G and Bluetooth connections) and using protocols that seamlessly link to customers’ systems is achievable and developing all the time.

For oil and gas companies, the IoT will lead to greater asset control, predictability of lifecycles and automated asset management and purchasing. For example, with IoT and selected asset management systems enabled on smart devices, a company could potentially link data to its ERP system. And when the life of a component is up, the ERP could either offer users the option to review and re-order, or automatically order replacements from the nearest preferred dealer, without any human intervention.

This moving landscape means that the balance of maintenance workloads may change significantly in coming years. Whilst there may always be some level of need for reactive maintenance and repairs, offshore maintenance professionals may be much more focused on data analysis, decision making, reporting and resource allocation in future – changing job parameters and skillsets.

Asset management – future options

Companies that need to review or develop the way they manage assets face a huge range of choice in today’s market. Factors such as the scale of operations, number and type of assets owned and employee skillsets will be key to ensuring successful implementation of any new system. 

Training will also be an important consideration for many businesses, depending on the numbers of personnel involved, likely time required to train individuals and lead time to get a new system up and running.

Introducing PTS

Parker has operated its own system, the Parker Tracking System (PTS) for many years. A fast, precise system to track and manage assets and order spares, PTS is geared up to help oil and gas professionals:
Tag all assets - from hoses, hydraulics, filters, pumps, valves and manifolds through to drives, connectors and entire systems (any manufacturer)
Create maintenance manuals from real data
Log and predict maintenance cycles to avoid costly breakdowns
Set up automated alerts when scheduled works are due
Customise preferred brand and supplier contact details.
PTS operates from 1,000+ locations across the globe. Its easy-use browser application works on desktops, tablets and mobiles. You can input thousands of labels at a time, locate assets and maintenance schedules in seconds and produce easy filter-based failure reports in a minute or less. With label, RFID and stainless steel metal tags, the system also offers potential for direct part ordering.