During Bentley Systems’ Year in Infrastructure 2018 Conference and Awards program last October, Bentley announced its PlantSight cloud platform jointly developed with Siemens for as-operated digital twins of process assets. At the event’s Industrial Infrastructure Forum, ARC Advisory Group delivered the keynote on digital transformation in the process industries. This provided us with the opportunity to speak with the Oman Gas Company (OGC), the Year in Infrastructure 2018 winner in the “Utilities and Industrial Asset Performance” category, about how they feel the APM solution improves reliability.
Asset Performance Management at Oman Gas Company
Oman Gas Company (OGC) operates 2,500 kilometers of gas pipeline in the sultanate, transporting natural gas and delivering it to industrial consumers such as power, desalination, chemical, steel, and cement plants. The company was founded in 2000 and grew from 400 to almost 19,000 billion standard cubic meters of gas delivered. OGC set the goal to be the operator of reference and has several strategic programs to support that goal: teamwork, commitment, operational excellence, and respect. The reliability initiative contributes to the operational excellence program.
Setting up a Reliability Team
Fahmi Reza, the head of reliability and condition monitoring at OGC, explained that when he joined the company in 2013, he developed a reliability approach from scratch. Mr. Reza, a certified maintenance reliability professional (CMRP) and certified reliability leader (CRL), introduced reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) to the company in 2015. He built up a team that regularly performs the following calculations and tasks:
- Reliability and availability performance calculations and reporting
- Bad actor and worst bad actor identification using a Pareto diagram and tracking the bad actors
- A root cause analysis (RCA) and failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) followed by an RCA report with recommended actions for improvement and subsequent tracking of action plans
- Equipment criticality analysis (ECA) using a risk matrix. Equipment criticalities are updated in SAP
- Combining ECA with first-line maintenance (FLM) and condition monitoring (CM) data provides clarity on asset performance and permits a reliability centered maintenance (RCM) analysis, from which a maintenance strategy is derived. Plant maintenance activities are triggered through SAP
- In collaboration with the asset integrity team, Mr. Reza’s team creates risk-based inspection (RBI) workflow sequences based on API 581 and enters these in the integrity data base to calculate remaining useful life of the assets. Inspection data are entered in the inspection data management system (IDMS)
- Risk-based inspection and maintenance strategies are used as input for safety and criticality analysis updates
Although this represented tremendous progress for the company, it required significant effort and still involved large risk of inconsistencies and loss of information. For example, it took two weeks to perform the tasks for just three compressor stations and the team had to do this for forty of those plants. As a result, analyses were updated only every three months.
Also, if Mr. Reza was on leave, the three engineers in the team would execute their engineering assignments, but not consistently update the data or the calculations. The team members would get tasks assigned by management, which would distract them from routine reliability work. In addition, the multitude of tools (some paper-based), poor historical data, lack of workflow automation and activity tracking did not contribute to building a reliability culture. Mr. Reza realized he needed a solution to streamline the process and ensure reliability work would be done with the required quality whether or not he was present.
Scope and Requirements
Mr. Reza performed a business case to compare the relative benefits of acquiring a tool vs. adding personnel. He determined that additional resources could improve the team’s performance but would not necessarily address the inconsistencies or enforce processes. He therefore investigated software solutions that could execute most team tasks. While Mr. Reza didn’t initially favor one supplier over another, he wanted to avoid multiple tools that would add complexity and management effort. He issued a formal tender in 2016 and, after careful review, selected Bentley Systems’ Asset Performance Management (APM) software based on its cost/performance ratio.
Implementation – the APM Solution Improves Reliability
Oman Gas Company started using the software in 2017. In the early stages, operators updated failure information both in SAP and Bentley APM. Reliability and availability growth calculations were one of the first tasks done in APM. Gradually, bad actor, RCA, and ECA analyses were migrated from Excel to APM. In 2018, the company migrated its condition monitoring data to the new solution.
The reliability team, operations, and maintenance supervisors now receive automatic and immediate email alerts through the software, enabling them to handle any issues quickly. Currently, the company digitalizes operator routine duties and updates Bentley’s APM through information that operators enter in handhelds or by scanning bar codes. This automatically updates asset health statuses and performance. The implementation of risk-based inspection and inspection data management were expected to be completed by the end of 2018 along with criticality updates, task updates, and task tracking.
Individual and Organizational Behavior
An ecosystem of stakeholders supports the project. This starts with the reliability project leader who started working with a small circle in operations and maintenance, gradually increasing the reach and improving processes. In the future, engineering and process safety groups will also be involved. The culture had been very reactive. People needed to adopt more systematic work practices to be able to anticipate, rather than just respond to issues and management demands. Mr. Reza engages as much as possible with the team executing the work and makes sure they understand the project rationale.
For root cause analysis, he explained that implementing the recommendation in a timely and effective manner is more important than the RCA itself. “We customized the software such that, after an RCA task is assigned to a specific role, dashboards indicate the percentage of completion of the action plan. If tasks are not completed in a given time frame, the email reminder is escalated to the line manager.”
For the operators to execute the tasks during their rounds, they need to use handhelds and scan barcodes on devices, which requires them to execute the tasks in the field. This is an easy method for recording data and reduces the errors typically encountered with manual entry.
Importantly, workers and supervisors are now being measured on their reliability performance. In conjunction with the APM software, this contributes to a proactive and motivated dynamic. According to Mr. Reza, “Now, everyone wants to understand how they can help improve reliability.” Plants that previously ignored each other, are now competing to see which can improve reliability the most.
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Keywords: Asset Performance Management (APM), Availability, Reliability, Culture, Bentley Systems, Gas Distribution, Midstream, ARC Advisory Group.