Improving Operational Efficiency Using New TechnologiesTue, 12/05/2017 - 12:06
Q: How does ABS make a difference in Mexico’s oil and gas industry and what are the opportunities for improvement?
A: As the offshore industry moves into deeper waters and harsher environments, engineering designs and technology must evolve to adapt to new operational challenges. At the same time, operators are looking to reduce costs and improve efficiencies, while maintaining high safety standards. These new smart technologies generate huge data streams, from multiple systems on an offshore asset, through remote sensors and other datacollection devices. Taking advantage of this information, to improve operational efficiency, requires significant data management and analytics. For several years, ABS has championed digitalization to support our services with the objective of helping clients maintain their offshore units in compliance with classification standards, to reduce nonproductive time and increase efficiency. Data-centric services enhance asset maintenance while also enabling our surveyors to focus their efforts on critical systems, for example, through condition-based or reliability-centered programs, rather than prescriptive time-based surveys. Helping our clients navigate all this collected information to improve unit efficiency while raising their safety standards is the core of what we do.
While using reliability-centered data to maintain equipment onboard or collecting hull-stress information through acoustic emissions testing are relatively new technologies, ABS sees the industry moving in this direction as the advantages are more well-known. With market pressures pushing operators to be more efficient while maintaining high-safety standards it makes sense to leverage all available proven technologies. With other countries or regions implementing new technologies due to the nature of their operating environments (deepwater, subsalt, highpressure high-temperature reservoirs) Mexico will benefit from the experience gained by early technology adopters and select proven technologies that support the operational and environmental needs of the Gulf of Mexico.
Q: What concrete programs are you working on to show the potential of new technologies in the Mexican market?
A: We are working with clients on short pilot projects with specific objectives in which we obtain data, scrub and analyze it and see how we can be more selective and focused during surveys. Using remote sensors in equipment and hull structures can help us identify problems in critical areas sooner. This will also allow us to be better informed and more focused on these critical areas of an asset when we go out to do a survey.
A clear benefit of this is that the unit may not have to be taken out of service for long periods, or perhaps not at all, if problems can be identified before they require extensive repairs. Our clients can have less downtime on the rig and we can be smarter about how surveys are done, leveraging all the available data to focus on conditions on the unit that require our attention. Further, eventually we will use data to be more predictive with regard to hull and machinery integrity. There is still a need to conduct traditional asset surveys and calendar-based and prescriptive surveys or inspections as required by IMO conventions. However, the industry will also see a push for condition-based monitoring and risk-based inspection techniques going forward. The technology is now available and clients will increasingly be using data to make more informed decisions.
Q: What is your advice for companies with large fleets that are not technologically that sophisticated?
A: Survey planning is key, together with a constant strategic and proactive approach, for hull and machinery maintenance, taking advantage of scheduled off-hired periods to avoid last-minute comprehensive surveys during unit operation. One of ABS’ clear advantages is our extensive expertise in the offshore industry, which includes exploration and production activities with support vessels. We have worked with every offshore unit design, with a particular emphasis on the self-elevating unit segment.