Integration – keyword for success
As the oil and gas industry (and technology) moves forward, traditional performance prediction techniques are unable to cope for the degree of complexity encountered these days. Nevertheless, they offer a strong base to new techniques and methods. Modern plants tend to be highly complex and tightly integrated. Consequently, the extent of integration is a key influence on the performance of the overall system; understanding its impact is now of crucial importance.
This increasing complexity in many areas has led to a corresponding rise on discipline specialism. Would you like a quick example? Ask yourself how many specialists of different areas you have met in last 6 months – pipeline integrity engineers, process engineers, safety specialists, Rotating machinery reliability engineers, RAM engineers and so on. Whilst this brings dedicated focus to each area, it also means that the understanding of plant operations is fragmented across various individuals.
The ability to integrate all this expertise presents a solid opportunity to better manage any asset. And that’s what Maros and Taro are trying to achieve in the oil and gas industry.
For the oil and gas industry, the performance of a system is not only dependent on the reliability and maintainability of a system but also many other factors. For instance, the performance of a typical refinery encompasses of interactions between the process units, the storage tanks, the market constraints and the operational issues. The key challenge is to capture all the relevant interactions between these inter-related parameters.
Therefore, in order to achieve a complete view of the production efficiency, the model employed has to take into account a large number of parameters such as: the equipment/unit reliability, the maintenance strategies, yields and material balance, storage and inventory management, impact of utilities systems and support units, operational flexibilities, alternative product routings, and any external system constraints (e.g. feed/export limitations). Through the definitions of all these rules and parameters it will be possible to simulate the real life asset operations.
Associating this information with dynamic simulation techniques ensure that all the factors (and expertise mentioned above) that can potentially influences the production are considered and integrated in the analysis so that a more realistic picture of the future asset performance is produced. For existing assets, the final result could even be compared to the actual production in order to validate the model which could help on predicting future years of performance.
By the end of analysis, Maros and Taro become a unique source of information integrating the three main pillars of any oil and gas asset: design configuration, maintenance strategy and operational procedures.
RAM studies are better developed when different areas of expertise work together with one final goal: get the best performance from the asset. The challenge here is integrating everything under one specific platform. For the oil and gas, Maros and Taro can easily achieve that.