The rapidly rising sensor count on new offshore developments is having some exciting spin-offs in the maintenance sector. Sensors are primarily deployed to monitor production and other key performance indicators, but coupled with a decent historical data set and some data mining, maintaining the ‘digital oilfield’ is now moving from a set interval-based model, to a ‘just in time’ condition-based model.
Condition-based maintenance (CBM) is the focus of a new alliance between Aker Kvaerner and IBM’s Norwegian unit targeting both offshore and onshore oil and gas production and processing facilities. Under normal circumstances, CBM leverages monitoring to minimize plant downtime, but could also avoid serious incidents when a scheduled maintenance program might fail to catch an unexpected equipment failure.
The agreement integrates Aker Kvaerner’s (AK) competence in engineering, planning and maintenance with IBM’s expertise in data acquisition, integration and analysis. The initial focus will be on installations in the North Sea and onshore in Norway, with plans to expand internationally. AK claims leadership in the provision of operation and maintenance services in the North Sea and has long term contracts with many Norwegian operators. The company also provides operation and maintenance services in the UK, Canada and in the United States.
Center of Excellence
The alliance will leverage work done in IBM’s Stavanger ‘Center of Excellence’, a joint venture with Statoil, ABB, Aker Kvaerner and SKF that opened last year with a three year, €15 million budget. R&D at the center targets Statoil’s use of new technology to ‘extend oilfield lifespan, increase safety and reduce environmental risks.’
The CBM project is one the first fruits of the Center’s work on ‘smart sensing’ and integrated operations. The Center is one of five such IBM facilities around the world – the most recent IBM Oil Sands Centre opened in Calgary this month (see back page). According to the Norwegian Oil Industry’s Association, OLF, it will be possible to ‘extract increased revenues of NOK 250 billion’ through the use of integrated operations, a significant part coming from efficiency gains in the maintenance process.
AK President Tore Sjursen said, ‘This deal implies outstanding business opportunities in our home market and internationally.’ For more on the AK/IBM alliance and on CBM’s potential read our interviews with AK’s Arne Bjorlo and IBM’s Arild Kristensen on page 3 of this issue.
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