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Analysis

Pemex’s Maintenance Strategy

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 17:52

Pemex has gradually reoriented its maintenance strategy over the past few years, trying to move from a preventative to a corrective maintenance strategy. “Over the last few years, Pemex noticed that there were opportunities to optimize its approach to the maintenance activities that it should be performing,” states Luis Vázquez Sentíes, President of Grupo Diavaz. The change of strategy was outlined in the Program to Increase the Operational E·ciency in Pemex and its Subsidiaries (PEO), which was published in 2008.

In this program, Pemex stresses the importance of maintaining equipment used in operations to minimize natural deterioration. The company notes the role of maintenance as a crucial factor for sustainability and the improvement of its operational e·ciency. In the actions described by the program, Pemex denotes the need to perform an operational transformation in the way that maintenance activities are carried out. This action includes the development of an operational reliability system, which in turn would create a better control program to monitor the activities and costs of maintenance operations. Carlos Rafael Murrieta Cummings, Chief Operating O·cer of Pemex, comments about the advancement towards achieving this objective during 2012 and the beginning of 2013. “In the first two months of 2013, Pemex has experienced a 60% reduction in problems with the reliability of its equipment compared to the previous year,” he says, continuing that maintenance is the way to ensure the reliability of its equipment. “This year we are paying more attention to particular elements in our safety, health, and environmental protection program (SSPA) in order to reach a better level of infrastructure reliability and to keep a good safety track record.”

Pemex’s COO emphasizes that, for the program to work correctly, two di†erent strategies should be implemented. First of all, every employee within Pemex has to keep performing their task in a more careful and judicious manner. “We are putting a lot of emphasis on the facilities with the biggest problems,” Murrieta Cummings explains. “In order to take action and improve the reliability in these places, we have assembled a task force to visit those facilities, review and assess the conditions according to the SSPA guidelines, and present a proposal for what could be done to improve them.”

Pemex is also developing a cross-analysis method where the employees of one business unit will evaluate another business unit’s practices, and vice versa. “This would be done in order to develop a critical view of which areas of opportunity are present within each business unit, setting internal standards within the organization,” Murrieta Cummings explains. “If one business unit realizes there is something to be improved within the unit they are evaluating, they make a recommendation. On the other hand, if they observed practices that could be learned from other business units, they should implement these themselves.”

This cross-analysis strategy is aligned with the objective set by the 2008 PEO of helping Pemex personnel adjust to new labor and maintenance practices. Through the change of the maintenance culture within the organization and the critical assessment of the upkeep practices taking place in di†erent business units, the NOC’s personnel are able to correct bad habits and learn from good practices performed by their peers. However, Murrieta Cummings states that the development of better safety and maintenance practices not only depends on the improvement inside the organization, but also on the increase of strict regulations for the contractors that perform maintenance activities. In this regard, Grupo Diavaz has worked with Pemex in the upgrade of the maintenance contracts that Pemex E&P awards. “Pemex started giving out integrated service contracts related to maintenance called System 4 for fiveyear periods, System 1 and System 3 for 10-year periods,” Vázquez Sentíes describes. “We had some problems when we started working under the System 1 contract, since the terms of the agreement did not allow contractors to work as partners. The contract was terminated and the terms were renegotiated into the System 1-B contract, which allowed better clauses for optimizing operations.”

Murrieta Cummings agrees that, even though there have been e†orts from Pemex to improve its maintenance strategy, it has not yet yielded the expected results. “We have evolved from corrective to preventative maintenance,” he explains. “But now we have to evolve from preventative to predictive maintenance. This will allow us to know what to expect from our facilities and when to expect it. If you don’t measure, analyze, and assess the conditions of infrastructure and predict what may happen and when based on that information, then it is impossible to have the right maintenance strategy.”

“Maintenance conditions within Pemex are still below international standards,” says Vázquez Sentíes. “Past incidents at the Pemex Tower and in Reynosa have encouraged both Pemex and contractors to develop a closer relationship and establish better maintenance practices.”