BC: Yes, that’s exactly right. And in a situation which is already complicated by having hundreds of people on site doing things in an environment that they don’t typically work in day-to-day, the difficulties will be exacerbated by the number of new plants coming online and the need for services that simply have not been delivered in Australia. There is a clear comparison in that respect to the Canadian oilsands, where there is a more mature industry and there is more familiarity with the services required.
So it is important that Australian oil and gas companies plan now for their first turnaround, which would be happening roughly one year after they start up. They need to plan not only to be efficient within the turnaround, but actually plan the turnaround in such a way that they can maximise access to skilled resources, minimise the number of green hats in the facility at any given time, and keep an eye on both the cost and production situations.
When you are taking your plant offline obviously you are not producing, so you have to consider not only the cost of the turnaround, but also the potential impact that any scheduled delay would have on your ability to meet your contractual requirements. And then the third dimension, safety, is one of the key things the Australian industry really has to get right.
There will be challenges ahead in managing turnarounds within a highly complex 21 LNG train environment.
What technologies are available to owner/operators to improve turnaround efficiency?
ST: The solution that Accenture has pulled together is relatively new in that it
is similar to a WiFi system that you would have in your house. Out on site, it allows for a standard commercial WiFi to be used for both devices and for active radio frequency identification (RFID) tags.
For the RFID tags, it will give the position of the person, with a relatively wide specificity of plus or minus 15 to 20 m, to help geo-locate them in a facility.
We then take that data and combine it with other legacy data elements from the owner: the access control system the workers come in on; the back office system, which pulls the contractor or the vendor data, and timesheet records, which the vendors themselves are typing in. We are able to pull that all together in near real time and provide it back to the execution leads for the event, both on the vendor side and the owner side.
So now both the vendor and the owner are making real-time decisions, where currently without that tool set they are working with data that is anywhere from three days to two weeks old. The turnaround events only last from between four and eight weeks, so it is really important to get this data quickly.
How many contractors are generally involved in an oil and gas plant turnaround operation?