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Do you have assurance that your Ex equipment is being maintained?

26 June 2018 by Add Energy

 It is vital that your Ex equipment is maintained to mitigate risk and assure reliability. Having a fully populated and up to date asset register is a critical milestone in the achievement of this. If equipment is not captured in the asset register, maintenance and spares cannot be assigned, which in turn exposes operating assets to the risk of equipment failure, unknown safety integrity and possible loss of life.

Identifying, validating and capturing key equipment data continues to be a substantial issue for many operating assets. This is mostly due to the quality and incompleteness of documentation relating to the equipment, where we often see that the data is outdated, illegible or inaccurate. Meaning that the collation of the critical information can be extremely time consuming and is therefore often categorised as  "too hard to do".

Due to the significance of the risks associated with not maintaining your Ex equipment or having assurance or evidence that the equipment is operating within safe criteria, it is imperative that the equipment information is captured in the asset register so that it can be managed effectively.

So, if you have been asking yourself if it is worthwhile investing budget into the verification and data improvement of your Ex equipment, or if you want help in developing a business case to get a verification project approved, then this blog is for you. 

Avoiding Risk and Assuring Return on Investment

In the current climate it is essential to keep costs low and assure that any capital spent has a return on investment. It is therefore critical to expose business and operational inefficiencies, understand the risks associated with them and conduct an impact assessment to identify the projected return on investment before embarking on a verification project.

Communicating the financial and safety risks of having an incomplete asset register and what the tangible benefits of fixing it are, will therefore not only assist in obtaining the budget for the project to be sanctioned, but it will also assure buy in from senior management and key stakeholders to aid project success because they will have a vested interest.

Establishing the Compelling Reasons

Before any change can be made in an organisation, it is critical to communicate what the change will be, who it will affect and how it will impact operations. So, when building a business case for data improvement you must establish the compelling reasons for change.

Because Ex equipment used in the oil and gas industry epitomises the volume of hazardous working areas, there are numerous factors to consider why verifying them is important. You must therefore focus and communicate what the project will deliver, and for successful buy in, talk in monetary terms by exposing the dangers of doing nothing.

Although data improvement can be difficult to attribute actual dollar savings to, focusing on the business and production risks which are directly linked to poor foundational data should be a big enough shock factor and help sanction the project.

Identifying the risks associated with poor data quality and completeness is a good starting point. Some key issues that we have attributed to not having Ex equipment accounted for include:

  • No assurance that the equipment is being maintained or operating safely
  • Unnecessary expenditure relating to spare part sourcing and lack of assigned BoMs
  • Inability to analyse equipment performance to identify opportunities for optimisation
  • Unable to assign criticality to equipment for the purposes of maintenance prioritisation and scheduling
  • Inability to allocate maintenance to the equipment
  • No assurance of legislative compliance and alignment to the safety case/performance standards
  • If the existence or condition of Ex equipment is unknown it can expose the asset to significant safety risks due to there being no assurance that the equipment is being maintained
  • Hazardous locations heighten the risk of faults being exposed

All of these issues are easily avoidable and can be resolved efficiently, providing long term commercial and operational benefits for your asset.

So, now that you have caught their attention, how do you fix it?

It is crucial that all hazardous equipment is verified to reduce associated risks to both your asset, and more importantly your people.  Ultimately, you will be held accountable for any incidents that occur and costs that follow this.

Conducting a Physical Asset Verification (PAV) of your Ex equipment is the best way of capturing the information that you need to manage your equipment efficiently. Although this is a timely process, going out to the asset and "killing three birds with one stone" reaps huge rewards.

Being able to:

  1. Verify the equipment tag will provide the opportunity to assure the equipment is captured in the asset register and allow for maintenance, and associated costs, to be assigned
  2. Collect name plate data such as the make, model and manufacturer information to improve BoM data for better spare part management
  3. Conduct a visual inspection of the state of the equipment to identify any issues with the equipment that could incur failure or incident will help prioritise maintenance  

With limited resources and ever-growing pressures to reduce expenditure, it is often hard to justify the time and money required to fix gaps in data. But by focusing on the compelling reasons why and being clear on the deliverables of a PAV being multi-functional, you should be able to build a strong business case and help assure that your Ex equipment is being managed and maintained. 

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