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Proceedings of the 1st Annual Gas Processing Symposium

H.E. Alfadala, G.V. Rex Reklaitis and M.M. El-Halwagi (Editors)


2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Asset Management Practices at Qatargas


Abdel Kader Attou and Qadeer Ahmed
Qatargas Operating company Limited, Ras Laffan, Qatar

Abstract
In todays competitive market Asset Management (AM) is very essential for all
enterprises especially for asset intensive industries like Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG),
Refineries etc. Best AM practices would be the premier tools for customer satisfaction,
budget control, and firms edge over its competitors. In this paper, we present AM
experiences and practices at Qatargas, a leading LNG company. The study first
discusses the general asset management program, AM practices at the company, its
significance, and requirements. By utilizing the AM practices, we have significantly
improved our data quality, reduced loss production events and trips. We also identify
the improvements to current AM practices in response to the challenges the company is
facing. Lastly, it is also discussed that how the use information technology can help in
managing assets and their performance.
Keywords: Qatargas, Asset Management, Asset Performance Management System,
Reliability, Availability, Asset Centric Approach, Asset Maintenance Management
System

1. Introduction
Gas industry is very asset intensive and requires a focused approach in managing assets.
Asset Management (AM) is a term used widely across many industries but in particular
to oil and gas industry, it is used to refer to equipment, machinery etc. A structured
approach is required to ensure the best management of assets. Asset management can be
very useful when started from the design phase of the project to reap the full benefits;
however a structured approach is mandatory. Sustain outcome is always an issue with
performance of assets because of the multiple variable are involved. It is very essential
to understand the scope of equipment or plant to put together a plan to provide focused
efforts to ensure sustainability.

2. Asset Management (AM)


AM can be loosely defined as a set of tools, to ensure the best utilization of plant from
the start of a project to its successful accomplishment. It is an effort to bring assets,
process, production, people, and safety to highest standard just not only the assets. An
essential motivation for AM is to achieve the highest standards in reliability, availability
and maintainability of equipments.

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It is very important to focus on AM aspect from the early stages of design and
development to reap the real benefits of the approach. Incorporate all design and
operating parameters to develop a robust design which in long run gives us best asset
utilization. An effective asset management typically produces 20-50% reduction in
maintenance cost accompanied by 15-25% increase in throughput with no capital
investment in equipments [2]. AM can only be achieved by a team effort. Before
discussing the AM practices at Qatargas, we would like to discuss essential
terminologies required to comprehend the AM practices.
Availability: It is a measure of percentage of time the resource (equipment,
machine etc.) will be available to be utilized.
Reliability: It is the probability that a resource (equipment, machine etc.) able
to perform its required functions under stated conditions for a specified period
of time.
Maintainability: It is a measure how fast and easy a system can be resorted to
perform its functions after a breakdown.
Asset Centric Approach: It is a methodology to collect and store the data for an
asset in a dedicated system, where the data can be available to evaluate the
complete history of the equipment rather working with different systems to
collect the data.
It is common to assume that asset maintenance management system (AMMS) and asset
performance management system (APMS) are the same, however, AM is more
comprehensive than AMMS and APMS but we want to limit the scope of this paper to
explore the following two systems:
x
x

Asset Maintenance Management System (AMMS)


Asset Performance Management System (APMS)

2.1. Asset Maintenance Management System (AMMS):


AMMS contains the information about the equipment, its hierarchy in plant,
manufacturers information, technical information, called Asset Register. Maintenance
information including notifications, work history, spares parts usage also stored in this
system. This system usually provides the information to APMS to monitor the
performance using the available data. This is usually managed and maintained by
Maintenance Engineering.
2.2. Asset Performance Management System (APMS):
APMS is a tool which provides us the flexibility to query the data in AMMS and make
it available to analyze. It covers monitoring the performance, equipment reliability,
process reliability, and availability etc. There are many ways known to perform this task
but the best way is to integrate the system to retrieve the data, generally known as

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Asset-Centric Approach. In this approach all the data including history, maintenance
strategies, any failure history and recommendations are linked with an asset. This
system is generally managed by Reliability Engineering. A general flow of data is
presented in Fig 1.
Fig. 1. General AMMS & APMS Data Flow
Asset Maintenance
Management System

Assets
Register

Maintenance
Data

Maintenance
Execution

Asset Performance
Management System

Monitoring / Scorecards / KPIs


Record Manager/ Work Execution
(Meridium)

Information in both systems can be shared; system can be setup in a way to control flow
of information only in one direction. Currently at Qatargas, we are using SAP (System,
Application and Products in data processing) as a primary system for AMMS and
Meridium (Enterprise solution software for Reliability) is used for performance
management and reliability engineering.

3. Asset Management Program(AMP)


To implement a successful AMP, it is very essential to focus on both AMMS and
APMS along with other aspects including organization, management of change etc. The
AM program is generally the same as Reliability and Availability program. It starts with
a comprehensive analysis referred as gap analysis. The gap analysis enables a firm
identify its shortcomings. It also provides an estimate to determine an assignment which
not only fulfills such shortages but also helps optimize the firms AM. Likewise many
industrial analyses, both the gap and reliability analyses are data driven. Therefore, data
collection is essential and has to be done with precision in order to achieve the desired
outcomes from these analyses. Following would be key technical items which must be
addressed in setting up the AM Program:
x Asset Management Steering Committee
x Organization Structure & Culture (Reliability focused)
x GAP Analysis
x RAM (Reliability, Availability and Maintainability) Modeling
x Criticality Modeling
x Asset Maintenance Management System

Data Integrity and Quality

Maintenance Strategies
x Condition Monitoring System

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Asset Performance Management System

Utilization of data from AMMS

Reliability Analytics

RCFA Program

Loss Production Events

Scorecards, KPIs
x Implement, Monitor, Evaluate, Re-strategize and Sustain
Besides the above mentioned strategies, a progressive team work is essential to a
successful AM Program. A true success from AM Program is foreseeable when a firm
adopts a culture of team based work and a desire towards continuous improvement.

4. Asset Management at Qatargas


Qatargas is going through the phenomenal growth to become biggest LNG producer in
the world. Not only the LNG trains, Qatargas expansion plans included refinery, tank
farms, berths, sulfur project, and offshore platforms. It is very critical to manage assets
because the projects are linked together. AM is an essential requirement at Qatargas to
ensure the plant availability to meet the LNG demand around the globe and also on-time
deliveries of other products.
Qatargas is using SAP as AMMS and Meridium Software as APMS. Qatargas is also
working diligently to improve the data which is the basis for AM. At QG, the handheld
devices are under study to capture the plant equipment data in many of its ongoing
projects. Furthermore, data collection and storage strategies at QG follow ISO/API
standards. Now we will discuss the QG practices and compare with standard asset
management program which is briefly discussed earlier in this paper.
4.1. Reliability, Availability and Maintainability Modeling:
For new projects, Qatargas is involved in modeling the Reliability, Availability and
Maintainability to ensure the certain level of availability is achievable under critical
conditions to ensure the production. RAM study is a good starting point to identify
critical equipments and develop a direction to ensure their reliability and availability. It
is highly desirable to evaluate the RAM of essential design cases, setup the architecture
and perform sensitivity analysis to ensure the design will meet the expectation. This
study also considers the planned shutdowns of the plant to perform preventive
maintenance. During the construction and installation of the plants, there are generally
many changes need to be done so it is advisable to include these as-build conditions in
the model to rerun to avoid surprises.
4.2. Criticality Modeling:
Criticality is one of the important aspects of AM. Risk is the main driver to evaluate,
what resources and efforts are required to mitigate the risk. Criticality is based on the
probability of failure and consequences. Criticality (Risk) can be calculated using the
following equation and also by the using the risk matrix as show below.

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Criticality = Probability of failure x Consequences of failures

The criticality is based on the risk matrix developed using the information probability of
failure on one axis and consequences on the other axis. Consequences are usually
consisting of economic, safety, and environmental related incidences etc. Companies
must set their own scale to define criticality of a process or equipment. Probability of
failure can be obtained from similar plants or other industry standard databases. A
typical example of the risk matrix is shown in the Fig. 2.
Fig. 2. General Risk Assessment Matrix

PROBABILITY
OF FAILURE

RISK MATRIX
FREQUENT

PRABABLE

OCCASIONAL

REMOTE

NEGLIGIBLE

LOW

MEDIUM

HIGH

CONSEQUENCES
ECONOMIC / SAFETY / HEALTH / ENVIRONMENT

4.3. AMM System


At Qatargas, we use SAP-PM (Preventive Maintenance) as a computerized asset
maintenance management system for plant maintenance. SAP is industry renowned
software and been extensively utilized among asset intensive industry to manage assets,
production, operation, supply, technical and failure data including plant maintenance
and history. It provides the complete package to perform maintenance and other
administrative functions. The SAP-PM is the system is being used to capture asset,
technical, maintenance and failure data. Maintenance plans are also stored and initiated
through SAP. Maintenance execution is generally done by using SAP-PM system. Later
the data is queried in Meridium to monitor performance, statistical analysis, model
growth, and other reliability related indexes. At Qatargas, we have effectively
developed strategies to collect maintenance data by developing damage codes at
maintainable item levels to drive our reliability improvement plan. By utilizing the
approach, the compliance level of the data quality and integrity has significantly
improved from 65% to 95%.
4.4. Condition Monitoring System(CMS)
Condition monitoring system is an essential part for AM and reliability. CMS scope
usually consists of vibration analysis and lube oil analysis to predict the failure or
proactively work to avoid failure. It contains the periodic maintenance plans to capture
vibration data and lube oil analysis to monitor and trend.
At Qatargas, we are using online and offline condition monitoring systems. The online
system is System 1 from General Electric for continuous monitoring of critical

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equipments. The System is very flexible and many advantages over others that it can
combine process and machinery information to enhance your ability to correlate related
parameters from diverse resources. System 1 also works with equipment protection
system to perform shutdowns when required. In addition to online monitoring system
we are using offline (portable) monitoring system to collect data in a database for
analysis and charting. RBMware (Reliability based Maintenance system) is being used
to capture and store the predictive maintenance condition monitoring data to monitor the
assets. This monitoring is done to proactively to catch potential breakdowns before they
occur. CMS provided us a system to catch the potential failures well ahead of time to
avoid breakdowns. It is evident that the breakdown is usually three to four times higher
than the proactive maintenance.
4.5. APM System
APMS is the vital tool to monitor the performance of the equipment using different
modules available in Meridium. Meridium is the basic tool being used at Qatargas to
monitor and manage the assets performance. Meridium has many modules and it
provides reliability engineers the tools to query the data from SAP-PM. Meridium
monitors, manages the Key Performance Indicators KPIs and Scorecards. APM
provides us facility to measure and thus enables control. At Qatargas, we are using the
following Meridium functionalities to manage and monitor asset performance.
x
x

x
x
x
x
x
x

Condition Assessment
Reliability Analysis
o Reliability Modeling
o Statistical and Growth Analysis
o Production Analysis
Loss Production Event
Root Cause and Failure Analysis
FMEA (Failure Mode & Effect Analysis)
RCM (Reliability Centered Maintenance)
Scorecards and KPIs
Implement, Monitor, Evaluate, Re-strategize and Sustain

Asset Centric Approach is the cardinal principal involved in Meridium The philosophy
being used by Meridium, in which all the activities of assets are linked. It provides
support to access all the data at one place to support the decision making process.
Risk Based Inspection is one of important part of asset management to reduce risk and
improve reliability. Condition assessment is one of the modules in APMS to facilitate
risk base inspection of equipments. Risk base Inspection is method of using risk as a
basis of prioritization and allocate resources to mitigate the risk. To evaluate the risk,
matrix shown in Fig. 3 is used. In a nutshell this program helps identifying the critical
equipments based on the risk and developing inspection and maintenance strategies. At
Qatargas, Meridium condition assessment module is being used to perform this task.

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Fig. 3. Meridium Criticality Calculator

Maintenance strategy process is vital part of the asset management program. It is to


ensure that your asset is managed effectively to ensure highest reliability and
availability. There are many ways to develop maintenance strategies.
At Qatargas, we have used different methods based on the criticality of the equipment
and system. The critical system identified using the risk matrix and RAM study was
identified. Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) technique for developing
maintenance strategies was used. Other techniques with vendor recommendation were
also used to develop strategies for low or medium critical systems. RCM module in
Meridium was used to develop RCM based strategies. RCM is a methodology based on
exploring all possible failure modes of a functional loss by asking seven questions. It is
a very extensive and team based approach where all required members from Operations,
Reliability, Maintenance, and Safety need to be present and evaluate the system to avoid
or eliminate all failure modes causing that failure. Meridium explorer is shown in Fig 4.
Fig. 4. Meridium RCM Explorer

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Reliability Module in APMS is in use to manage and monitor the reliability of the
process and equipments. Maintenance data is available in AMMS and used for all
predicting failures, reliability block diagrams, growth analysis, availability modeling
and other statistical analysis to support the plant. All the failure analysis and failure
prediction is being done using Meridium reliability module. One of the examples with
non real data is shown in Fig. 5 to calculate process reliability.
Fig. 5. Meridium Reliability Analytics (Production Analysis)

Production: Eta =10363 T/ D , Beta= 20

Demonstrated Output ( Eta) @


CDF = 63.2% or R= 36.8%

Demons trated Weibull Production Line

Nameplate
Output

Nameplat e
Line

Process Reliability = 94%

Efficie ncy &


Utilization Loses

Cut back Losses

Los ses

Loss Production Event (LPE) functionality in Meridium is to capture the trip events in
the plant. The objective of this system is to monitor the performance of the production
and ensure to capture all trips. LPE has provided us a platform to record the events and
find out the causes of the events to avoid future events by performing root cause
analysis. The program provided us significant results and loss production events have
gone down to 19% to date. The graph in Fig. 6 is given in percentages, the 2005 data
should be considered as baseline to observe the improvements in following years. It
also helps initiating Root Cause Failure Analysis (RCFA) by setting up the criteria in
the system to initiate an RCFA if the loss is above x amount. RCFA is also a module in
Meridium to perform root cause analysis and manage recommendation to ensure
implementation. RCA program has delivered a significant improvement in plant
availability by reducing the trip to 25%, as shown in Fig. 6.

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Fig. 6. Loss Production Events and Trips Vs Years

The following example is showing a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) and scorecard to
monitor the performance of the assets and take necessary step when they are in caution
zone (yellow zone on dial in fig. 7) to avoid undesirable events. In the example below,
the maintenance cost is monitored and threshold limits can be setup in a way to identify,
where the maintenance cost is higher than budget. System can generate email alerts to
inform the responsible, if the costs go beyond the set limits.
Fig 7. Meridium KPI-Maintenance cost

There are some other functionalities in the Meridium APMS are in configuration
process to effectively utilization of the package to improve reliability and availability of
the plant. We will briefly discuss some of the other key issues other than AMMS and
APMS in asset management.
The practice followed at Qatargas is to implement the programs, monitor and evaluate
the performance and re-strategize the action to achieve the best level of performance.

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Once the best level is achieved, continuously monitor and have action plan to sustain
the best in class.
4.6. Integration is a key
The systems must be integrated and talking to each other to ensure the effect utilization
of the systems. We are in the process of integrating all the modules in Meridium using
Asset Centric philosophy. Meridium links the maintenance data, maintenance
strategies, and RCFA to the asset which helps making decision by analyzing complete
history data at one place. Integration of the system must be considered up-front to
ensure the best in class process.
4.7. Organizational Culture to support AM
AM is calibrated by the availability and reliability of the equipments and plant. To work
on reliability and availability requires the joint effort of all cross functional teams. In
order to administrate the AM system efficiently, the culture of team work is as
inevitable as data acquisition, since the AM system needs the collection of vital
information data from different hierarchies within an organization.
4.8. Management Support
In general, reliability engineering is the part of the organization that deals with ensuring
the availability, and reliable operation of the equipments and plant. They must be given
appropriate place and authority in the organization to implement the right tools and
action to support. At present Qatargas is progressing in the right direction and
strategically putting together the resources to deliver and manage a comprehensive AM
and Reliability Program.

5. Summary:
In this paper, we have presented a brief overview of the assets management practices at
Qatargas, a globally leading gas processing company. We have discussed the state of
the art asset management practices at the company. Qatargas has witnessed significant
improvements in data quality and integrity, reduce lost production volume and reduced
number of trips over the years. We have learned from the experience at existing plants
and applying the practices and lessons learned to the new projects to achieve the best in
class. We believe that there are benefits as well as the challenges associated with the
assets management. We conclude that some salient benefits of assets management
along with its challenges can be following:
Benefits:
1. Provides up-to date database with maintenance and equipment information
2. Help us maintaining lower running cost of the plant
3. Improved availability and reliability
4. Proactive rather reactive approach of solving problem
5. Higher profits and customer satisfaction
6. KPIs and Scorecards to monitor performance

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Challenges:
1. Sustainability in data capturing, integrity and quality
2. Integration among different systems is critical
3. Cross function team interaction and reliability culture

Acknowledgement
The authors would like to thank Dr. S. A. Raza and anonymous referees for their
valuable comments to improve this paper. The authors want to greatly acknowledge the
support of Qatargas management in developing this paper.

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