Lloyd's Register Energy has launched a new service focused on assets at late-life stages and those nearing cessation of production. The new service will assist operators with maximizing economic recovery and reducing costs by eliminating inspection and maintenance activities that do not fulfill safety or profit objectives.
“Thanks to successful Asset Life Extension (ALE) studies, the application of asset management methodologies, and advances in technology, assets and fields have successfully produced well beyond their original design life,” said Ken Bruce, senior vice president of asset integrity services, Lloyd’s Register Energy. “But there comes a time when operators must consider the viability and profitability of their assets as they move from extended production to late life and cessation of production.”
In a marketplace of tighter margins, identifying where best to concentrate inspection, maintenance, and other core operational activities is a critical success factor for operators. This requires the use of techniques to assess and manage the aging situation such as adopting risk-profiling strategies to gain a clearer understanding of equipment reliability, inspection programs, and the economic influences affecting production.
Bruce comments, “The oil and gas industry, as a whole, is trying to delay premature decommissioning in order to maximize the economic recovery of the UK Continental Shelf, as there are still production gains to be realized from many of these assets at the late stage of the life cycle.”
Oil and gas companies are faced with the challenge of having assets in their portfolios that are operating at various stages of their life cycles, requiring each asset to be managed on an individual basis.
Operators are relentlessly focusing on safety, environment, and life-of-field asset stewardship – a key move in the face of spiraling costs and aging platforms and infrastructure. Many operators across Europe have been reported to have had several assets described as being at the “challenging end of the scale” in terms of decommissioning liabilities. They have to find innovative and creative ways to become safe yet ultra-low-cost operators. There will be a very strong focus on cost delivery, along with selected, but limited, investment to maximize economic resource recovery.
“Across the world, aging infrastructure used in oil and gas operations needs to achieve a drastic reduction in costs to remain profitable,” Bruce said. “Most operators are still resourced for fields operating at peak capacity and have been unable to drive costs down in line with decreasing production, due to outdated operating models. We can help operators safely reduce costs by eliminating unnecessary inspection and maintenance activities, identifying a new level of acceptable risk and realigning operating models.”
The challenge of operating aging assets is impacting the industry in regions including the North Sea, the Irish Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. But the oil and gas industry is not alone in experiencing these challenges. Today mature operating assets make up 70% of the world’s energy production and include nuclear, chemical, and petrochemical infrastructure.
The new “late-life” integrity management service optimizes asset safety, integrity, and lifecycle costs through the complete asset life cycle and is accredited to ISO 9001:2008 and ISO/IEC 17020 standards. It meets health, safety, and environment (HSE) requirements, and provides in-depth assessment and a systematic approach in:
- Facilitating life-extension studies
- Providing integrity efficiency improvement and reliability/availability analysis
- Bespoke fitness for service assessments
- Obsolescence management
- Safety-critical elements and performance standards review
- Identifying critical assets and equipment
- Asset audits and reviews: performance improvement, environmental, integrity management, and technical safety
- Developing and implementing late-life operation strategies, including preservation procedures.
Bridging the gap between late-life operations and cessation of production, Lloyd’s Register Energy can provide detailed insight for operators on their inspection, corrosion, technical safety, and materials engineering issues. This insight can be applied across the energy mix and across any asset, providing a global solution to the challenges of how best to manage and operate aging infrastructure.