July 8, 2020 – As much as 40% of maintenance work carried out by FPSO vessel operators is unnecessary, the energy industry consultancy Lloyd’s Register (LR) has found.

An FPSO next to an oil platform - Credit; Igor Kardasov/AdobeStock

Lloyd’s Register (LR), found that by reducing these unwarranted manhours, operators could save on average almost £600,000 per asset each year, which is equivalent to £15m over an assets’ life.

Using its asset performance management platform, AllAssets, LR found that on average, FPSO operators could be spending 500 manhours per specific equipment group (such as an electric motor supporting a compressor or a centrifugal pump) on maintenance activity that fails to reduce the risk of failure or preserve facility uptime.

The findings have identified room for improvement in the way maintenance is planned, highlighting the need for a consistent strategy across equipment groups, systems, and production units, the company said.

They identified that relying purely on Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) guidelines meant that operators were unable to qualify whether maintenance activities were essential, demonstrating that OEM guidelines also don’t take into consideration the ever-changing nature of offshore operations. As a result of this approach, there is an increased risk of failure as a backlog of maintenance is generated, increasing spend and inappropriately targeting resources, LR said.

Victor Borges, Lloyd’s Register’s expert on FPSO maintenance optimization, said: “In an environment that merges both energy and marine assets, FPSO operations are hugely complex. Balancing OEM maintenance guidelines alongside flag, class and country regulations is exceptionally challenging. That, coupled with the tough market conditions we face today, means operators are under more pressure than ever to manage costs and prioritize maintenance activities that reduce risk. Therefore, operators could reap significant benefits from our findings, which highlight areas for improvement in the way maintenance activities are planned.

“There is a perception that implementing the methodologies that can actually help optimize maintenance activities is time consuming, complex, cumbersome, and costly. This attitude, however, only drives a vicious circle of tackling small issues, instead of designing a systematic, informed and optimized maintenance strategy. This approach would see operators save significant time and money longer-term.

“To break the cycle of ‘firefighting’, operators need to adopt a risk-based approach to maintenance, allowing them to cut unnecessary spend, free up resources and reduce the maintenance backlog. By understanding the balance between the cost of failure and the cost of maintenance, operators can focus the right resources on the right equipment at the right time.”

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