Dashboard offers visibility into long-term asset reliability

An asset-integrity dashboard allows rig operators and maintenance personnel to more easily make strategic decisions that extend asset life and minimize downtime.

By Enrique Herrera, OSIsoft April 21, 2016

Oil rig operation is an inherently risky business. The work demands that operations, maintenance and management personnel perform critical tasks under high pressure on complex and specialized systems. More often than not, these tasks must be performed in highly variable weather conditions and often at remote geographic locations. Like most large industrial sites, rig owners collect large amounts of data to monitor equipment performance and reliability. But in many circumstances, that data-collection effort focuses on individual pieces of equipment and is rarely analyzed in a highly efficient and accessible manner.

As a result, personnel must work with massive amounts of inconsistent and oftentimes unusable data. Given these conditions, it is no wonder that sometimes priorities are misdirected and critical information falls through the cracks. And it is also no surprise that, given the limited accessibility of the data collected on assets, most oil rig operators end up reacting to events as they occur instead of making value-based, risk-informed and proactive decisions.

Facing unstable oil prices and rising drilling and production costs, platform operators and owners need to maximize operational efficiency and overall ROI without compromising worker or environmental safety. To achieve that goal, rig owners must implement risk-based, data-driven asset-health management systems. This approach can not only improve the reliability and life of key assets, but it also can lower costs and improve the bottom line by reducing downtime, improving operational efficiency and giving managers and investors better insight into more profitable investment strategies.

The recent release of the ISO 55000 standard is also helping build momentum behind the adoption of formalized asset-management practices. Based on the PAS55 standard developed by the Institute of Asset Management and the British Standards Institution (BSI)[VS1] in 2004, the ISO 55000 series of standards specifies the requirements and offers guidance in the implementation of efficient asset-management systems. The standard has already been widely adopted in many industries around the world. 

Why assets fail

To adequately maintain equipment at any industrial site, it must be periodically monitored and inspected. Oil rigs are no exception. The integrity and condition of mechanical equipment must be constantly measured to prevent catastrophic failures and ensure a long asset life. The key to achieving that goal is having insight into the fundamental failure mechanisms of equipment. That insight allows maintenance personnel to identify which aspects of the asset are most important and when they should be monitored or inspected. One way to address this problem is to combine results of failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) with the collection of real-time data to develop an early warning system for potential failures. This information allows rig operators and maintenance personnel to develop mitigation plans to reduce or eliminate any unforeseen equipment failure and maximize operation time of the rig. Leveraging FMEA, critical assignments and data collected using the guidelines outlined in ISO 14224, operators can use that data to develop metrics for equipment reliability, maintainability and availability.

Once the asset owner has access to a reliable and proven data infrastructure, this valuable data must be communicated in a highly accessible format. To address this need, engineers can build a dashboard that allows operators and maintenance personnel to make crucial strategic decisions using both their established expertise and supporting operational and cost data. The dashboard is capable of monitoring drilling parameters, predicting critical asset failures and providing insight into the overall health of the rig by delivering immediate feedback to operation and maintenance personnel and management.

It tracks asset health by monitoring predetermined asset-failure modes and triggering only when maintenance is actually necessary, based on the business value of an asset. This approach offers increased visibility into asset health across the enterprise and allows personnel to prioritize and tailor maintenance policies, minimize costs and human error and potentially recover lost revenue.

Multistep process

By working with a service provider, asset owners can implement a dashboard of this type with minimal investment and effort. It begins by identifying critical assets on the rig. Next, the dashboard developers must identify the key operational and maintenance parameters they need to monitor, such as pump performance or equipment-vibration statistics. Third, the service provider’s subject matter experts work with the asset operators to identify key cost factors, such as uptime, labor rates, rig day rates and others. The development team then begins to collect the data using sensors on the rig and organizes and reviews that information in the PI System via a connected-services agreement.

The PI system by OSIsoft provides a basic open data infrastructure that allows service providers to collect, archive and distribute real-time and historical process data into a single comprehensive format.

Using a connected-services agreement, the service provider can use the PI System and its large array of complementary components to remotely collect and manage data on the asset owner’s equipment. Once the real-time data is collected and combined with historical data, experts at the service provider use their advanced skills to analyze the data and transform it into actionable intelligence.

For example, the service provider’s asset-management specialists can help the rig owner implement a maintenance program that includes setting up an asset hierarchy; collecting asset data for inclusion into computerized maintenance management systems, EAM or ERP[VS4] systems; analyzing asset criticality; and developing asset maintenance and supportive predictive/preventive-maintenance job plans. The connected-services agreement between OSIsoft and a service provider allows the service provider to take advantage of the enhanced efficiency and reliability capabilities of the PI System and pass those benefits onto the rig owner. Moreover, the agreement gives the service provider the flexibility to operate on a "pay-as-you-grow" subscription model, which permits the service provider to add services without incurring high upfront capital costs.

Using the dashboard, rig operators can develop reliability-engineering-driven processes that define predominant failure modes, map them to the most cost-effective control strategies and more easily create effective maintenance procedures. Along the way, they can identify critical operating parameters, tag data points and interpolate the data to the output of key performance indicators.

Using process intelligence software to report asset operating data as indicative of its real-time health status, this user-friendly dashboard can show management the overall health of a rig fleet and give managers the ability to drill down by location, rig and asset.

This new capability helps eliminate guesswork and enables management personnel to take the most appropriate maintenance actions. It can also have across-the-board implications for the entire company. When the dashboard is used with financial business data, managers can make more risk-informed decisions that help reduce nonproductive time, improve efficiency, maximize performance and increase drilling safety.

Some of the additional benefits include:

  • By identifying critical operating parameters for each asset, operations and maintenance personnel have better insight into the way each asset fails.
  • By acquiring and analyzing both historical and real-time data, rig personnel can track the health of each asset and see prospective maintenance issues before they occur and slow production.
  • The ability to see the threat of maintenance problems before they occur allows the rig owner to put in place strategies to minimize downtime and lost revenue.
  • Instead of experiencing unplanned interruptions in operation, rig operators can now plan and schedule downtime at a time that impacts production the least.
  • By supplying this crucial information to all stakeholders, both internal and external, the asset-management system offers transparency across the organization and helps operators, maintenance personnel and management be more proactive.
  • Service providers can work with the rig owner to use predictive models and apply them against statistical data to predict when failures might occur in the future. This helps the asset owner more efficiently plan capital expenditures, thus saving money and boosting the bottom line

Operating an oil rig is an increasingly complex business. The escalating sophistication of drilling equipment and the volatility of oil pricing can make it extremely challenging to compete. Plus, unexpected factors can quickly undermine profitability. Asset integrity and maintenance should not be one of those factors. By taking advantage of the latest advances in sensors, data-management software and analytic tools, rig owners can gain tremendous insight into each asset’s health and, in the process, take some of the guesswork out of rig operations.

Original content can be found at Oil and Gas Engineering.