May 2024

Surveys for cost-effective long-term maintenance

The saying goes “If it's not broken, don’t fix it” - we don't quite agree.

In the energy industry, cost of lost time is never a welcome item on the P&L; the only way to avoid it is to ensure the smooth, safe and timely execution of operations - and those are heavily reliant on the correct functioning of your producing assets. Waiting for things to break down before addressing the root cause means setting yourself up for failure.

In this blog, we delve into the risks of adopting a reactive maintenance strategy - and how to flip that narrative with the adoption of expert asset surveys.

The pains of not planning ahead

From FPSOs to platforms, your offshore assets require regular maintenance to ensure the smooth functioning of your operations. Those maintenance practices can be split into three types: reactive, proactive and predictive maintenance.

Reactive maintenance, though it may be the default approach, can lead to several challenges:

  • Unplanned downtime
    By only addressing issues once they arise, operators leave themselves vulnerable to unexpected equipment failures. This can disrupt operations and lead to emergency repairs and production losses.

  • Suboptimal maintenance schedules
    Some offshore equipment may be well-maintained while other equipment could use a little more TLC. From an onshore position, it is difficult to determine which is the case for your equipment but this uneven attention can create weak points in the operations, as certain assets become more prone to failure. Without proactive measures in place, operators may miss early warning signs of potential issues, leading to larger problems down the line. This also limits the ability to optimise maintenance schedules and resources, potentially resulting in inefficiencies and increased costs.

  • Compromised safety
    Furthermore, this mindset can foster a culture of complacency when it comes to safety. Operators may become accustomed to addressing problems only as they occur, rather than taking proactive steps to prevent them from happening in the first place. This can compromise the overall safety of offshore operations and increase the risk of accidents or incidents.

The power of foresight

But how do you efficiently transition from a reactive mindset to a proactive strategy? An easy-to-implement approach is by leveraging offshore surveys.

Based on proven engineering techniques, they allow you to evaluate your assets' structural integrity, performance and adherence to regulatory standards. Techniques used may include visual inspections, non-destructive testing (NDT) and other evaluation methods.

  • Visual inspections involve the physical inspection of your offshore assets through cameras or drones to identify any visible signs of damage, corrosion or wear such as cracks, leaks or structural deformation.

  • Non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques allow you to assess the integrity of your offshore assets without causing damage to them. One common method of NDT is ultrasonic testing, which involves sending high-frequency sound waves through materials to detect internal flaws, corrosion or thickness variations.

Surveys offer a comprehensive understanding of your assets' health, enabling informed decision-making to extend asset life and maximise existing equipment usage. This not only enhances your ROI but also minimises the environmental footprint of ongoing operations by reducing the need for new asset construction.

It's about time

So when should offshore surveys be conducted and how can you schedule them effectively, to ensure the continuous monitoring of your assets' health?

Ideally, surveys should be carried out during planned downtime or maintenance periods to minimise operational disruptions. When scheduling the works, operators should also consider factors such as the weather conditions and availability of skilled personnel and equipment.

If you don’t have access to the appropriately qualified personnel to carry out these surveys, don't worry. One Team MDL is here to help.

Drawing on a quarter of a century experience in building and maintaining back-deck equipment, we offer our expertise to help you assess the condition of your critical equipment, identify potential issues before they escalate, carry out repairs if required and devise proactive maintenance plans.

This is precisely what we did for a North Sea Operator, when they were looking to extend the working life of their main platform crane. We inspected their asset and modelled different scenarios to ensure continued safe operations. Based on these, the client was able to determine a winch replacement as the number one priority in their maintenance schedule. Read the full crane winch replacement case study.

Regular surveys are an effective tool for proactive maintenance, so if you are ready to transform your operations by staying on top of your assets' health at all times, get in touch.