Home / ANALYSIS / Special Report: Editor’s Letter: OE really is the only option


Special Report: Editor’s Letter: OE really is the only option

by Jonathan Sheikh-Miller on May 16, 2018




Implementing an operational excellence (OE) strategy if you work in a hazardous industry like oil and gas really is the ultimate no-brainer. This isn’t just about productivity, efficiency rates and reduced costs (even if these matter a great deal) but also lower risks and increased safety. OE can lead to a well-honed organisation but it can also save lives. It really is that crucial.

But wide-ranging organisational change cannot happen overnight and in today’s busy, work intensive world, effecting and embracing new systems is time-consuming and can trigger defensive, even negative reactions within a workforce. Why then not kick the can down the road until another day?

This might explain the more concerning statistics from an excellent survey of OE in hazardous industries conducted late last year by Petrotechnics, which revealed that a mere 10% of those surveyed said operational excellence is “embedded” in the way they work. Nevertheless, the 2014 oil price tumble and the subsequent “lower for longer” mantra that then emerged has certainly acted as a catalyst for change.

Progress appears gradual, rather than electric, according to some aspects of Petrotechnics data, with a third of those questioned having reduced operational and major accident hazard risk exposure.

What has also driven an acceleration in the adoption of OE strategies has been the ever-increasing importance of digitalisation. New technologies have disrupted the oil and gas sector, but while 73% of those surveyed by Petrotechnics recognised digitalisation as a fundamental game-changer in OE implementation, only 22% are leveraging new technologies to enhance their operational excellence framework.

With that in mind, our Special Report this month contains a piece from Rockwell Automation addressing its solutions for reliability-centred maintenance. We are delighted to say our Knowledge Partner is the Yanbu Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) Fractionation Plant, a division of Saudi Aramco.

The team from the Yanbu NGL facility have written a detailed breakdown of the essential components of their much-admired and award-winning OE strategy.

Finally, our striking cover image comes courtesy of Asset Integrity Engineering who also kindly provide our Last Word feature.


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