In an industry with infrastructure well beyond its design life, stock sharing for replacement parts can help keep equipment running smoothly.
Because maintenance is critical for safe and continued operations, asset owners tend to keep plenty of spare parts on hand. But maintaining too much stock onshore is an unnecessary cost for operators who embrace cross-asset reporting, says Andy Powrie, technical director of Aberdeen-based Arnlea Systems, which offers software solutions for supply chain and inspection.
“The North Sea is an aged asset place. The vast majority are 30 or 40 years old, and only built for 20 years. There’s a lot to be done in terms of maintenance,” he says. Asset owners often have stock “sitting at the onshore warehouse for 30 or 35 years.”
Further complicating things, he says, is the fact that some suppliers are no longer in business and one asset may have a surplus of some spare parts amounting to more than 100 years of coverage while another asset has no spares. Because most of the older equipment was built around the same time by the same suppliers, backup items could easily be shared from one asset to another.
He calls the idea of using data to facilitate stock sharing a “massive leap” for the industry. He believes the key to acceptance is for companies to think holistically.
One Arnlea client had five assets running as separate entities on the UK continental shelf (UKCS) that weren’t sharing information, he says.
“We’re bringing that together for them,” he says of the Supply Chain and Operations Tracking project, which relies on the IntrinsixMM (Materials Management) and IntrinsixIM (Inspections and Maintenance) software solutions.
When cross-asset reporting was implemented, they were able to better manage spare inventory by tracking equipment use and failures, Powrie says.
Arnlea aims to make this cross-asset sharing capability available in the Gulf of Mexico as part of the company’s growth strategy. Another part of the company’s growth strategy calls for expanding use of the IntrinsixEX software solution, which uses risk-based inspections for ATEX equipment.
As of mid-June, Arnlea had completed the installation of that software for 14 SBM assets. IntrinsixEX has saved the SBM manpower and improved inspection efficiency, Powrie says, noting where one inspection had been completed in a day, now as many as 20 inspections are happening daily. The software provides same-day “unsanitized and unfiltered” inspection results that are visible to SBM’s clients, he adds.