Oil and gas exploration: Ensuring safe, reliable field performance with end-to-end enterprise asset maintenance

Matt Danna, Director of Product Strategy, ServiceMax October 26, 2022

When it comes to success rates for discovering new oil and gas resources, 2021 saw one of the lowest on record. However, with the return of high-impact oil exploration in 2022, O&G businesses have seen a much higher success rate. In fact, by September 2022, exploration, development and production (E&P) firms had already discovered more than 1.7 Bboe at high-impact wells–four times what was discovered for all of 2021. With success rates like this, E&P organizations plan to move forward with a range of new projects that will have pumps producing oil for years to come.

With the recent extraordinary energy crisis unfolding, the steady movement forward on high-impact oil exploration feels urgent. This has amounted to the expectation that, overall, offshore oil and gas engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) spending globally could total $276 billion between 2022 and 2026, a 71% increase. While expenditures will certainly be high, production sites offshore can produce better profits at lower prices when they are completely up and running. Furthermore, these offshore projects are expected to produce oil for several decades. And ultimately, because of the large scale of the developments, the production is expected to come at lower break-even costs.

Risky business

There’s no question that the business of oil and gas drilling comes with an array of hazards, especially true when drilling offshore, miles from land. There is a plethora of heavy and dangerous equipment, and part of ensuring rig workers are safe means receiving in-depth training regarding equipment usage. However, it’s just as important to ensure that all assets and equipment used are maintained for healthy working conditions. This all translates to the need for effective field support and digital alignment, with a framework for application and focus on new technology.

A technical solution like end-to-end enterprise asset maintenance (EAM) software will not only support maximum availability, performance and reliability in the field, but it will ensure proper maintenance with a clear picture of all assets’ location, status and historical conditions. It is vital to ensure that assets are operational, increasing reliability through predictive and preventive maintenance and efficient inventory management.

Excelling maintenance in the field

When in the field on a drilling rig or platform, technicians can have limited access to Wi-Fi, creating a debilitating lack of access to information and safety issues. An advanced EAM solution can interlink equipment maintenance and field processes without the need for cellular data, so that the entire job can be done efficiently in remote locations. What that means is this: Templated work orders can be accessible at the asset or asset category level, regardless of whether the system is online. This includes work orders, as they are needed for certain jobs, which can consist of direction and predicted cost, forms, and parts and labor, and it’s easy to configure so that it considers a rig’s various processes. This ultimately helps create successful user adoption.

There’s working on an asset to repair a problem, and then there’s working on an asset to prevent a problem. Waiting until equipment breaks can impact performance, make for long downtimes and leave a company dealing with unanticipated costs. An EAM solution offers the means to get ahead of these issues by providing processes and intelligence that will execute preventive maintenance through equipment meters, event-based schedules and a calendar, all of which are linked to detailed work instructions. This is a knowledge base that indicates which pieces of equipment are available, as well as where they are located. Proper maintenance is one of the most important pieces of running a rig, so having a tool that can provide the knowledge, as to whether an asset has been properly maintained, ensures efficiency and guarantees reporting and compliance.

Understanding operational data

An EAM solution empowers oil and gas managers to access every single piece of data and then make it actionable. Any oil and gas firm that has workers in the field needs to be able to transfer data in and out of a field operations platform. Thus, accessing all of this is vitally important for any company going through a digital transformation. Any data point within a solution can be reportable, making available financial data from enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, field data from tickets, and costing data from a maintenance system. Files and documents are also managed easily and attached to work orders. Additionally, managers can compare forecasted costs to actual costs, giving a clearer view of maintenance spending metrics. This supports a more strategic approach to long-term expenditures and planning.

Invaluable insight

With the inherent risks that come with working on rigs, it’s unsafe, irresponsible and costly to allow technicians in the field to work with outdated technology. An advanced EAM solution is the best way to be sure preventive maintenance is done in a way that leaves assets reliable, performing correctly and – most important – safely. It gives managers a comprehensive view of procedures and invaluable insight into every single detail of the business while supporting the best service execution in a safer environment.

About Author:

Matt Danna is the Senior Director of Product Strategy at ServiceMax and has worked in software for over 25 years. Mr. Danna’s background brings a depth of knowledge in software engineering, sales engineering, and product management. He primarily works with customers, key stakeholders, implementation managers, account executives, and developers to ensure alignment across all parties.

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