Better maintenance strategies are a must in oil and gas

To ensure that your business model remains sustainable for the long haul, it’s important to follow up and check on the integrity of your assets.


To ensure that your business model remains sustainable for the long haul, it’s important to follow up and check on the integrity of your assets. Courtesy: Smartware GroupWhile every sector of the business world is subject to fluctuation from time to time, there's perhaps no industry more volatile than oil and gas. As consumers, we notice this phenomenon all the time. Seemingly every time we stop at the gas station to fill up our cars, we observe that the price of a gallon has moved significantly since last week. Up 15 cents, down 25, back up 40—the movement never ends.

For industry insiders, these movements are a major cause for concern. When the price of gas changes dramatically, it can have a massive impact on the success of oil companies worldwide.

According to, 2015 was a turbulent year in the industry. Industry expert Michael McDonald noted that oil prices were on a downward slide for the majority of the year, and most investors and business leaders were eyeing their revenues nervously. They had to worry about liquidity crunches and possibly even wholesale restructuring to their business models.

Price volatility in the industry is a major issue, and there's only so much that companies can to do combat the problem. After all, if the price of gas is cut in half from one year to the next, you can't exactly lay off half your workforce and still maintain operations. Often, industry leaders look for more creative solutions to trim their budgets and remain in tact.

One example is making strategic improvements to the maintenance process. Marshall Institute, an asset management consulting and training company based in Raleigh, North Carolina, has a comprehensive approach to improving maintenance in the oil industry. Marshall Institute is dedicated to helping companies improve organizational performance, and given the current economic climate, there's no better time than right now to heed the Institute's advice.

Assessing the effectiveness of current methods

The first step is often to evaluate your company's current processes. What are your procedures for work planning, preparation, and scheduling? How are you registering your assets and equipment? Are you cleansing data periodically? For example, how accurate and effective are spare parts levels? How are they synced with physical counts? Even if your maintenance process appears to be running smoothly, there's always room for added efficiency somewhere.

Improving the strategic planning process

Top-level executives in the oil industry always have an interest in better strategic planning. Engage with executive sponsors to identify critical business issues. Then devise project plans to ensure your business focuses on areas that will expedite maintenance and increase reliability. The development of dashboard KPIs, automated reporting to key personnel, and other modern CMMS features can significantly aid the success of these project plans.

Training employees to tackle maintenance challenges

Highly qualified, well-trained employees are an absolute must for handling maintenance effectively. Make sure your workforce is skilled in the use of maintenance solutions that maximize efficiency. You may need to perform regular audits or leverage a continuing education tracking resource to ensure that all of your personnel have been brought up to speed and there are no lingering drains on productivity.

Maintaining asset integrity for the long haul

To ensure that your business model remains sustainable for the long haul, it's important to follow up and check on the integrity of your assets. Is all equipment still in good working condition? Are all essential procedures still running smoothly? What efforts are being taken to increase preventive or condition-based maintenance?

Questions, like those posed above, can only help you make the necessary tweaks to ensure that your maintenance is optimized and your oil and gas business is fully prepared to endure turbulent economic times.

 - This article originally appeared on Smartware Group blog. Smartware Group is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Erin Dunne, production coordinator, CFE Media,

James , FL, United States, 02/18/16 11:02 AM:

Opportunities for energy savings in all plants is related to maintaining the mechanical insulation systems and steam traps. A highly detailed energy condition assessment of a plants insulation can be a valuable tool in planning repairs, finding energy savings that pay for those repairs and prioritizing efforts.
EDMOND , HI, Australia, 02/27/16 08:10 PM:

Very good and it helps though I am in the aircraft maintenance.
JEFFREY , WA, United States, 03/01/16 12:52 PM:

We have been helping the oil and gas industry take maintenance to new levels of sustainability with our microbe powered solutions for cleaning hydrocarbon contaminated surfaces. Whether the economy is good or bad, maintenance must be done. Our solutions help our customers perform their work in a safer and more efficient manner. When using microbe powered bioremediation solutions for cleaning, the residuals can be eliminated through the plants sewage treatment system rather than being treated as a HAZMAT.
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
Strategic outsourcing delivers efficiency; Sleeve bearing clearance; Causes of water hammer; Improve air quality; Maintenance safety; GAMS preview
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me