Managing complex assets is a big challenge for oil and gas companies. These assets range from large plant refineries to remote drilling or production platforms. Each plant has between 5 to 7 million different parts, which are used to develop products.
These facilities require constant maintenance to ensure efficiency and safety. While tasks for maintaining these machines are primarily manual, pockets of change are underway using technology to enable automation for both upstream and downstream operations. Innovations are not easy to adopt, but more oil and gas companies are interested in testing Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to try to take advantage of the booming global economy.
What If Oil Companies Increase Their Workforce?
Teamwork is a great idea — with more people, companies could divide and conquer. Many already have an extensive list of contractors they use to run their business; how do they keep them informed on daily activities? What if the work schedule and priorities change? What skill sets and certifications are important to complete projects? Company planners need experienced workers to do the work; this is dynamically changing with retirements, job changes, and new projects emerging.
Is It Possible to Create an App to Aid in the Maintenance Process?
It is possible. An app is a great idea to keep the entire workforce connected and informed, but it can only do so much. A combination of systems, information, and embedded intelligence is needed to track the conditions and health of operating equipment in plants and facilities. So an app would need to be integrated with enterprise asset management and real-time project data to provide value to workers who would be targeted to use it.
Would Improving Safety Processes Improve Maintenance?
Where process safety is important, safety processes should complement the work processes executed in maintenance. The main goal of reducing maintenance costs is to improve operating performance and maximize product yield. Yet in the process of doing so, companies that are trying to reduce risks sometimes increase them when introducing new changes to proven processes. This creates a conservative approach to change within the industry, which is why companies pilot ideas before adopting them whole scale when trying to improve operations.
How the SAP Leonardo for Oil & Gas, Service and Assets Option, Can Help
With SAP Leonardo for Oil & Gas, service and assets option, oil companies can maximize asset up time and reduce maintenance costs. By using SAP Edge Analytics, the kit monitors asset health and performance in real time. If an anomaly is detected, a notification is automatically sent to the operator, so he or she can take action to address the issue quickly to minimize downtime.
With this information, operators can manage their assets more effectively to see which are in good health and which need to be repaired. They can prioritize work to help ensure that assets that are marginal in performance can be fixed before they fail. This helps to improve overall asset performance and equipment up time while reducing maintenance and operating costs. This helps maximize production, which increases profitability.
Another benefit is aggregated asset performance. Operators gain insight on how their asset portfolio across operations are performing, which enables them to spot trends in equipment performance that might have gone undetected before. With greater operational insight, they can take action to remedy the situation to improve overall performance.
If asked about the biggest challenges are in the oil and gas industry, the average consumer would probably say high gasoline prices and the risk of environmental damage. The fact is, petroleum products affect and drive many other industries and without it, those industries would have higher operating costs to generate the same kind of products, which would eventually be passed on to the consumer.
Mark Pyatt, operations director for SAP, explains: “If oil and gas companies want to reduce maintenance costs and reduce complexity related to data, analytics, and operations, they should consider using this solution. The companies that are adopting this approach are proving that new technologies actually work. They are starting to see real benefits and this has helped to change their perspective, as well as create new momentum for similar solutions to be considered to further impact operational performance and reduce costs. This is the next generation of operational solutions and they are available for testing and use now.”
SAP Leonardo for Oil & Gas, service and assets option, can help companies in many ways: It can aid in reducing maintenance costs, by communicating which assets need to be repaired or replaced; it enables operators to manage their portfolio more effectively by maintaining visibility across operations; and ultimately, it helps reduce operational costs, increasing profitability and equipment up time, leading to greater productivity for companies that use it.
SAP is currently working with a partner ecosystem regarding sensors, devices, and gateways, in order to support this kit and provide an end-to-end solution, based on a joint reference architecture developed by SAP with Intel.