Going green with RAM analysis
The world is facing a new reality when it comes to sustainability. All major oil and gas companies around the world are being pushed to operate their facilities, upstream, midstream or downstream, with the minimum amount of waste and hazardous emissions. The “green processes”, as the industry calls them, are not the exception any more but the standard. How can RAM2S help you?
So what is the starting point?
RAM analysis provides key parameters to guarantee a sustainable process. The equation is quite simple: more reliable processes use less feed products, reduce the size of storage and deliver the same amount of end product.
A good example of how applying reliability methods can guarantee a sustainable process is carrying out a RAM study at an upstream asset.
By replicating the design configuration and operational procedures of the platform in a virtual model, the analyst gets a complete picture of the performance including production rates of oil, gas and water, the critical systems and equipment leading to the major losses as well as the effectiveness of the maintenance strategy. Supplied with this information, optimisation and reduction of downtime can be easily performed by running sensitivity analyses. Finally, suggestions in regards to design configuration, different maintenance strategies and de-bottlenecking of the platform are defined taking into account implementation cost and return on investment (ROI). Any RAM study for the oil and gas industry should be able to go this far.
However, there is a trend to extend the manipulation of the possible outcomes from a RAM study – check out our post about performing RAM analysis during the operational stage. One of possible application is to understand the environment impact of a specific design configuration or operational procedure.
Tobias Alvarenga, heading the Asset Management division in Brazil, has developed an approach named RAM2S– it is basically an integrated approach for combining Sustainability and Safety aspects into the traditional Reliability, Availability and Maintainability analysis (RAM2S). This approach helps to overcome the lack of quantitative numbers to support many potential engineering solutions to account and thus reduce or even avoid methane, CO2 or any GHG emissions. Superficial assessments might have being crucial to avoid sustainable and safer solutions being implement or further developed. This integrated approach, for instance, will allow natural gas industries to find more cost-effective alternatives to align even more their business towards global warming reality, overcoming or minimizing the inherent green-house gas emissions.
For example, taking the RAM2S approach, we could potentially quantify and understand the impact of the flaring operations in any oil and gas field. Flaring operations represent a major source of hazardous gases for the environment such as methane and CO2. The operations in such facilities normally include a flare operation in case a failure occurs in the compression system (or secondary systems related to the production of gas) in order to maintain the production of oil. By performing a RAM2S study the operator is able to reduce the amount of flared gas by increasing the reliability (therefore, reducing the number of failures) of the system or maintenance strategy effectiveness, consequently reducing the downtime. It also could be used to assess carbon capture systems, their efficiencies and bottle necks.
For the aforementioned scenario, Maros will report, in addition to the typical results: the amount of gas flared, the number of stops due to environmental restrictions (regions around the world limit the potential amount of gas to be flared) and the gas production.
The analyst could then change and try different parameters and engineering solutions to minimize the environment impact.