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Special Report: Optimising ageing assets

by Guest on May 16, 2018


Neil Flemming, md, Asset Integrity Engineering
Neil Flemming, md, Asset Integrity Engineering

The oil and gas industry is a capital intensive business, requiring significant investment in plant and infrastructure in order to operate.

However, many of our clients’ operational assets are aged and this places emphasis on the management of plant and facilities integrity to maintain the associated operational risks at as low a level as reasonably practicable, to assure reliable production uptime and to deliver and maintain profitability: these are primary business objectives that serve to define operational excellence (OE).

The current market conditions are volatile, creating considerable uncertainties with regards to projected future revenues, and this generally leads operators to focus more on cost controls and reductions, often at the expense of on-going inward investment in their business.

Asset Integrity Engineering (AIE) takes the view that whilst cost controls and cost reductions are often necessary, this must be balanced by the fact that the majority of facilities are aged and that operators must safely run assets within the short, medium and longer-terms, whilst maintaining top quartile safety and business performance.

The drivers for operational excellence are therefore readily appreciable but are difficult and challenging to realise in practice; skill, with a constant focus on detail combined with experience, is required to deliver optimal solutions and to provide specifically tailored and structured strategies that ensure operators realise these key objectives.

The development of optimised management systems and in particular the proactive management of ageing plant and facilities is an area that AIE as an organisation specialises in; value is delivered by developing optimised and properly focused, operational integrity and maintenance management schemes coupled with comprehensive training and development programmes that serve to ensure operators achieve top quartile performance which can be effectively defined, measured and communicated, whilst utilising the full potential of all employees.

Working closely and communicating effectively with clients is key as they can often hold existing work process initiatives which are positive although they consistently fall down in the way they are structured, rolled out, communicated or enforced. We have worked hard over the years to bring a standardised approach to how our systems and services are delivered. We believe the very nature of continuous improvement must come from having a structured product in the first place to improve on.

As an organisation we understand that good communication, continuous training and operational awareness is important to create a positive culture although if organisations truly want to achieve OE then they need to put in place the integrated process and systems which drive this on a daily basis and ensure the right things happen, at the right time and in the right way, via effective channels of communication.

AIE takes the view therefore that operational excellence is about being structured, properly focussed and detailed, and is centred on effective communication at all levels to achieve continuous improvement, high performance and efficient delivery. Business objectives that are centred on safety and on maximising revenue and minimising costs, are key aspects to this multi-faceted process.

The goal is to aim for an organisational culture where everyone believes that the primary goals of optimised asset management are achievable and that each is committed and engaged as key stakeholders in the process.


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