Fostering an environment of oil and gas collaboration: Five key takeaways from last week’s oil and gas surface engineering seminar
Last week we hosted an oil and gas surface finishing seminar in Aberdeen, titled: Providing a New Lease of Life for Oil and Gas Equipment in Stormy Times.
The seminar, which included presentations from coating and plating chemistry suppliers Whitford and MacDermid Enthone, selective plating specialist SIFCO ASC and our own technical team, took a look at how the oil and gas industry can work together to innovate and become faster, leaner and smarter at developing subsea technology.
The attendance of senior design, quality and project engineers from major manufacturers such as FMC Kongsberg, NOV, Dril-Quip, Oilstates and Plexus Ocean Systems underlined the focus on collaboration which runs through the oil and gas industry.
Five key takeaways from Providing a New Lease of Life for Oil and Gas Equipment in Stormy Times
1. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got: It’s a commonly cited sentence and one that is patently clear in today’s oil and gas industry. Whilst engineers in the sector have always been exceptionally good at overcoming the challenges of accessing and harvesting crude oil in challenging subsea environments, there remains a great aversion to change. Change is risky but, when managed correctly, change leads to great advancement. However, managing change effectively requires a collaborative approach. A comment made at one of the sessions summed it up perfectly “as an industry; we are adventurous, but conservative”
Surface Technology’s Group Operations Director, Andrew Courtney, highlighted the benefit of working with a technical team with proven oil and gas surface engineering expertise through a series of case studies where changes had been made to coatings and application processes through suggestions Surface Technology’s technical team had made.
The careful management of facilitating change to coating and application processes was also outlined, including how, through a close working relationship with key coating and plating material suppliers, Surface Technology has enabled manufacturers to update specifications to use improved coatings and application methods, safe with the assurance that the new specification had been rigorously tested.
2. Benefit from a collaborative partnership with your coatings applicator: In the surface engineering market place there are countless small applicators of coatings who will follow specifications, there are very few that will take a collaborative approach in order to understand the challenges faced and potentially suggest a better solution, whether that results in reduced production cost, improved operational performance, increased reliability or a longer lasting end product.
One such issue flagged in the seminar was instances when high levels of surface finish is stipulated early in the manufacturing process within technical drawings, only for additional coating to be required; resulting in a needlessly costly and time consuming grinding and post machining processes to achieve the required surface condition. When the component is received for subsequent surface treatment, on the same area of the component, it is grit blasted in order to roughen the surface and provide a key for the final coating. A collaborative coatings applicator will uncover issues like this and suggest better methods.
3. Work together to innovate maintenance, repair and overhaul of oil and gas technology: Collaboration with the supply chain not only improves new product development but can also innovate MRO processes.
One case study during the seminar highlighted how Surface Technology Aberdeen changed one manufacturer’s processes for repairing scored surfaces, their normal repair procedure involved removing the inlay, re-welding and then machining. Surface Technology recommended and applied a novel method where thermally sprayed Inconel is used to repair Inconel inlay welding. A change that has meant the manufacturer is no longer limited to three repairs due to pre and post heat treatment, subsequently extending operational life.
SIFCO ASC’s Carl Hamilton also highlighted how the SIFCO Process® has been successfully used by NOV in the Gulf of Mexico to repair damaged surfaces in-situ on large components. The process can re-build surfaces damaged, worn or scored back to the original specification. Significantly reducing the downtime and cost associated with removal of components from the rig and the huge expense of logistics getting parts from the rig to on-shore repair shops.
4. Work together to adapt to changing regulations: MacDermid Enthone and Whitford both discussed the changes regarding REACH and how manufacturers need to update specifications in order to comply. With a deadline of 2017, the sunset date for several important materials widely used in surface coatings, the value of working with a proactive applicator like Surface Technology, with the in-house resource to help oil and gas manufacturers update specifications and find suitable alternative solutions without compromising on end quality, performance, safety and reliability was underlined at the seminar.
5. Develop a partnership with key suppliers from the start of new projects: Collaborating with coating and plating applicators from the start of projects will help identify cost savings and develop a better quality end product.
Through the seminar presentations, questions and answers highlighted the benefit that a broader knowledge base can bring for overcoming challenges and finding innovative, new ways of doing things.
In a number of instances the technical team at Surface Technology has used experience gained through working with manufacturers in aerospace, power generation and automotive sectors to point out alternative methods and processes oil and gas manufacturers can use to do things better. Similarly Surface Technology has benefited through being involved in projects with designers, engineers and manufacturers in the oil and gas sectors and uncovered innovations for customers in other sectors.
At Surface Technology we are keen to drive through an environment of collaboration between ourselves and oil and gas manufacturers and suppliers. We find taking a consultative approach to surface engineering fosters a greater understanding of customers’ challenges, ultimately leading to us providing a better service and our customers benefitting from a better quality end product; collaboration in action.
Download our new white paper: Providing a new lease of life for oil and gas equipment in stormy times or contact us now to discuss how we can help you repair and maintain offshore oil and gas equipment.
Register below for our monthly email and stay up-to-date with the latest surface engineering white papers, case studies and innovation news.