Company: Indus InternationalCustomer: BG InternationalSubmitted by: The itpr PartnershipDate: October 2000The Armada field in the North Sea is one of BG International’s primary UK sites – and is operated on behalf of co-venture companies.
The management of the off shore platform is complex with some 20,000 different assets to be monitored and repaired in line with both corporate policy and legislative demands.The company is using asset management solutions from Indus International to support its need to manage the platform safely and cost effectively and to meet its stringent health and safety requirements. By taking a strategic, planned approach to asset management, BG International has managed to reduce the amount of stock held on Armada compared to other fields. Using the Curator document management solution from Indus, BG International has been able to implement a no-paper policy on the field, increasing efficiency and ensuring documentation is always up to date.
BG International, part of the BG Group, came into being in May 1999, integrating the Exploration and Production and International Downstream business units. The company is involved in gas and oil exploration and production, gas transportation, distribution and power generation in some 19 countries.
The integration of the two business units builds on the progress already made in delivering successful integrated projects in the UK, Asia, the Americas and the Middle East.The Armada field is operated by BG International on behalf of five co-venturers: BP Amoco, TotalFina, Phillips UK, Yorkshire Energy and Agip (UK) and is the first gas field development in UK waters for which BG International was selected as the operator for a joint venture. The site is 250kms North East of Aberdeen and the three fields produce gas at rates up to 450 million cubic feet per day, through the Central Area Transmission System (CATS) to Teeside. In addition, up to 26,000 barrels per day of gas condensate (the liquid hydrocarbons which come with the gas) are transported through the Forties pipeline system to Cruden Bay.Says Andrew Birkenshaw, IS Engineer at BG International, “Armada is an important development for BG International and a source of great pride.
The development makes an important contribution to the energy needs of the UK.”
The off shore challenge
The management of an off shore platform is complex – with some 20,000 different assets to be monitored and repaired in line with both corporate policy and legislative demands. As Birkenshaw explains, “One of the key challenges faced by BG International is supporting an off shore platform safely and cost effectively. We also have to meet stringent health and safety requirements.”However, when BG International was commissioning the Armada fields in the early 1990s, the company did not feel confident to use its traditional asset management solution – LOMS – which had been developed in house.
He says, “The in house application was really at the end of its life. It was extremely cumbersome to use and costly to maintain. We decided to evaluate other asset management products on the market and opted for a solution from Indus International.”The Indus solution had two key benefits: it integrated with stores and purchasing systems and included the Curator document management application. He says, “When Armada was commissioned we outsourced the entire logistics process which included the provision of a stores and purchasing system: Impala. The solution from Indus is linked to Impala which means we can raise an order in the asset management system and it is automatically pushed through to Impala, removing the need for time consuming and error prone re-keying, which is especially valuable with high cost, technically complex equipment.
By taking a strategic, planned approach to asset management, organisations can minimise operational costs, improve asset reliability and improve workflow efficiency. Key to this is access to a central repository of asset information, tracking the history of each asset back throughout its lifetime.BG International currently holds 20,000 assets on the Armada fields on the Indus asset management solution. The company undertakes both condition based maintenance and routine maintenance and tracking. Health and Safety legislation also demands that routine maintenance be undertaken during specific asset related time periods.
“Good asset utilisation and good return on assets is an important part of a cost effective and efficient operation,” he says. “Additionally, we cannot afford poor equipment availability: the safety issues on an off shore site are paramount. We need to combine a planned strategy of routine maintenance with access to detailed asset information to ensure high asset availability.”Contract staff who have remote access to the asset management system maintains several of the larger assets. “This ensures we have a complete picture of our asset management and maintenance programme and they have access to up to date documentation via Curator,” says Birkenshaw.
Indus International’s Curator is a powerful information management tool that provides access to any file, in any format, anywhere across the computing environment. It has powerful process automation and information management capabilities. Doculabs, an independent industry analyst group, has rated Curator as the top product in the industry for completeness of capabilities, scalability and flexibility.”When the Armada field was commissioned, BG International decided to minimise paper documentation off shore,” Birkenshaw confirms. All the key equipment design and vendor documentation are scanned into Curator and a link between the asset management application and Curator enables users to retrieve the documentation associated with the asset they are working on from Curator.
Users can find documentation quickly and have discovered that information is far easier to read on screen – there is no need to print it out.He confirms, “Curator has provided significant benefits to BG International. It has reduced our costs – with minimised paper documentation we have no need for extensive storage facilities off shore. Additionally, we always have up to date documentation from vendors and it is clear from the system that the document is the most current, overcoming the traditional ‘out of date’ problem associated with paper records.”
In addition to the 20 plus maintenance technicians using Curator off shore, the tool is also used by the 20 on shore personnel responsible for the administration of the asset management system. These users plan the maintenance schedules, check maintenance backlogs and ensure new vendor documentation is scanned into Curator.
The company holds the core Curator database on shore, replicating it off shore which, he maintains, makes the process easier to manage and maintain.Says Birkenshaw, “The asset management database holds the core information that drives the maintenance process.” The company is using the BusinessObjects query and reporting tool from to create a range of tailored reports and analyse the data held within the Indus asset management solution.Standard reports include maintenance status, a seven day overview of planned maintenance and current and future work throughout the year. BG International is also able to break down the maintenance information by worker, by discipline and man hour backlog, which enables more detailed planning of on going schedules. He adds, “The tool also enables us to generate the regular reports demanded by Health and Safety.
“In addition to standard reports, the tool enables the interrogation of the detailed information held within the asset database to address specific concerns – such as repeated early failure of an asset. He says, “Indus’ solution builds up a history of the maintenance of equipment which we can use to track the performance of different asset components. With this detailed information we can raise issues with the equipment vendors if the quality is not high enough.”
The Armada field continues to be a valuable asset for BG International. Its smooth and efficient running can, in part, be attributed to the asset management strategy supported by the solutions from Indus International. Birkenshaw confirms, “We are able to hold less stock on Armada than other fields, which is certainly a result of the coherent approach to asset management.” He concludes, “Our existing asset management solution holds the data that we use to drive the business.