With the intent of saving money and increasing profits, many process facilities have begun the practice of operating assets beyond original designated design limits and lifespans. Rather than investing in advanced integrity and reliability programs to mitigate risk and optimize asset functionality and availability, facilities continue operating with degraded equipment. For example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that water process facilities will need to invest $334.8 billion over the next 20 years to address deteriorating infrastructures. To get a better idea of the problems of the oil and gas industries, consider this report from the EPA.
Although facilities aim to save money, these operating practices are not cost-effective over the long-term. Instead, facilities should implement programs that will optimize costs and ensure safety in the long-term through proper planning and risk mitigation. The decision to implement asset integrity management, risk based inspection, and RCM designs are critical to people’s lives, to the environment, and to the reputation, legality, and success of your business. Read on to examine the three cornerstones one should incorporate into any asset integrity review:
Effectiveness of the System
There are many relevant factors that go into running a business, site, or plant, and it is critical that all of these parts are highly integrated. This integration is different for every company, and takes into account things like the health, safety, and environmental impact of losses, plant upgrade plans, and production consequences. Creating a system in which all parts work efficiently to create a product, responsibly and profitably, is the key to a strong operation.
Quality of Operational Procedures and Policies
Most importantly, the quality of processual safety policy, covering everything from the identification of major hazards to the measures in place to eliminate, reduce, and mitigate them. Safe operating limits for equipment, identification of residual risks, and maintenance policies also must be outlined.
Competence on the Part of the Workforce
A competence policy is essential for all the parts of an RCM process to work. The policy will determine what the knowledge, skills and experiences are required for the key personnel at the plant or factory, and how that is to be developed in order to ensure efficient and effective organizational competence. This policy should be informed by feedback from incidents and audits. All mistakes should be used to strengthen the integrity management process.
In an IDC Energy Insights’ security survey, it was found that only around half of oil and gas companies have documented and approved information security strategies in place. Data also shows that by 2020, more than half of the assets in wastewater facilities may be past the midpoint of their useful lives, according to the EPA. In other words, many facilities are not only underprepared for contingencies, but that the facilities are fast approaching obsoletion.
The demand and necessity for RCM practices are about to skyrocket. Make sure that your company is safe, up-to-date, and properly applying risk management and asset reliability strategies.