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Technology &

Innovation

Asset Integrity
Management

Asset Integrity
Management

Technology &

Innovation

Asset integrity is the key


to operational excellence
The nature of our industry recognises
the potential human, environmental and
financial consequences that can result from
failing to maintain the integrity of vessels, tanks, pipelines and other assets. The
importance of effective asset integrity management increases as the industry infrastructure continues to age.
Asset integrity management refers to the
management systems, strategies and activities
aimed at maintaining plant assets in fit-forpurpose condition for the desired life of those
assets. It incorporates aspects of design, operations, maintenance and inspection to maximise the return from assets, says Maarten
Lorenz, Inspection and Reliability Engineer
at Shell Global Solutions.
Its crucial to remember that asset integrity
management is a key element of what we call
the steps to operational excellence. Its an equal
partner with a number of other stepssuch as
MERITTM reviews, risk management, maintenance efficiency, shutdown management and
availability modeling. But it is certainly the first
step you should consider, assuming your assets
are already designed and in place.
The most remarkable thing I findand this
was confirmed by a marketing study we undertook last yearis that many of our clients are
not familiar with what is meant by asset integrity management. If you talk about inspection
problems or corrosion problems, then people do
understand. But getting people to see that these
are just aspects of the much broader approach of
asset integrity management is crucial. It is this
broad approach that makes asset integrity management so powerful, adds Mr. Lorenz.
The benefits of undertaking such a broad
approach are clear and straightforward, he
adds. And its difficult to overestimate their
importance.
Preserve the integrity of your assets and you
are likely to have smoother operations with
fewer interruptionsin short, more uptime
and less downtime. And that, of course, means
more profits for your operation.
Secondly if you get this right, it means
you are likely to have safer plants and processeswith less accidents, fewer spills and
leaks, fewer people hurt and less damage to
the environment, says Mr. Lorenz.
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He adds, Ultimately what typically flows


from these two benefits is an enhanced reputation for your organisationwhich is another
crucial element of improved business performance.
Globally its estimated that the costs of
corrosion-related leaks and equipment failures amount to a staggering 220 billion for
the oil and gas and chemicals industries.1 A
large portion of this is avoidable, and Shell
Global Solutions has been striving to become
the industry leader in delivering asset integrity
management solutions, which can help businesses tackle the problem.
Shell Global Solutions asset integrity capabilities stem, in part, from its extensive access
to operating experience with a wide range of
plants and facilities in the oil and gas industries including offshore platforms, production
facilities, pipelines, gas and LNG plants, refineries and chemical plants.
A 150+ strong team of experienced
engineersmany of whom have worked in
chemical plants, refineries or production facilitiesis based in three primary service centres
to provide an extensive global network.
But critical to the teams effectiveness is
an approach that aims to pay close attention
to customer needs. Our solutions are customised to optimise operations. Its about creating solutions together with the customer,
adds Mr. Lorenz.
In Africa and Europe, the problem of managing assets poses some major challenges, and
it is now widely recognised that this is an area
where Shell Global Solutions customised
approach to asset integrity management can
help.
For a large offshore operator in the North
Sea, the primary focus was addressing the challenges arising from assets with ages between
20 and 30 years old.
Mr. Lorenz explains, There was a strong
desire to maintain high standards of equipment integrity and a need to undertake
an assessment of the condition for critical
equipment. From that, the company sought
to plan its equipment repair and replacement
expenditures.
Specialists from Shell Global Solutions
worked with the operators staff to conduct a

Asset integrity is the key to operational excellence


Focused Asset Integrity Review (FAIR) of its
facilities to assess current plant conditions and
to advise on necessary repair and replacement
requirements.
The review brought together the disciplines of
materials and corrosion, rotating equipment and
mechanical engineering to cover a representative
sample of the operators assets including various
platform types and ages. Critical equipment was
identified and detailed assessments were made of
equipment condition using records, equipment
observation and staff interviews.
The value delivered to the company
enabled fundamental changes to be made to the
entire organisation, says Mr. Lorenz. Central
to this way of working was close co-operation
between Shell Global Solutions advisors and
key staff members from the client.
The operator was able to gain a clear
understanding of its integrity status and to
identify potential problem areas, and this went
on to form the basis of its multi-year equipment operating costs and capital investment
plans. The operator viewed the work undertaken by Shell Global Solutions so highly that
it decided to undertake a second phase of
FAIR equipment reviews on a wider range of
onshore and offshore assets.
This is typical of the way Shell Global Solutions asset integrity management team works.

The breadth and scope of the teams expertise


is equally well-placed to address other challenges facing the sector.
Other challenges might stem from workforce issues, and we can tailor solutions to
those problems as well, adds Mr. Lorenz. For
example, problems such as an aging workforce, limited availability of qualified staff,
growth of remote locations and the high costs
for in-house expertise can all impinge on asset
integrity management.
In such instances, Shell Global Solutions
would draw on its technical expertise, global
operational experience and ability to share best
practices while delivering project technical
expertise, training and competency development and support ongoing operations.
Whatever the issues, we are usually able to
add value to a clients bottom line through solutions that combine extensive depth and breadth
of technical expertise, unique tools and global
operating experience, concludes Mr. Lorenz.
We are like fellow operatorsas we know the
issues you face, and we have first-hand experience available to deliver solutions for those
same issues faced by our own plants and facilities. Thats what makes us unique.
1

LITERATURE CITED
 S Federal Highway Administration, www.costofcorU
rosion.com.
Technology and innovation

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