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Using Mobile Operator Rounds to Enhance Oil and Gas Equipment Reliability and Safety

Using Mobile Operator Rounds to Enhance Oil and Gas Equipment Reliability and Safety

Paper equipment inspections and safety checklists are slow and tedious. They also leave too much to chance. Mobile operator rounds are faster and more thorough. Learn how they are better at detecting asset reliability issues before they cause downtime or safety problems.

Unplanned downtime costs the oil and gas industry $38 million every year on average. Maintenance teams in oil and gas companies spend so much money and effort on equipment maintenance to control unplanned downtime. The first step to maintenance is operator rounds, where operators inspect equipment health and detect problems. Oil and gas is an asset-intensive industry that uses heavy and critical equipment like miles-long pipelines, boilers, heat exchangers, coolers, refineries etc. So, operator rounds are critical for boosting equipment reliability. Do you think mobile solutions help you enhance operator rounds?

Challenges Facing Oil and Gas Operators Rounds

Equipment failures in the oil and gas industry show severe impact on the environment and global economy. The North Sea Piper Alpha platform disaster in 1988 remains the deadliest accident in the industry’s history, killing 167 people. The cause of the tragedy was a lack of information. A critical valve was removed from a pump and that was not communicated to the shift managers later in the day. They unknowingly proceeded with using the pump, causing a gas leak and massive fire. 

Performing operator rounds effectively helps companies prevent such catastrophic incidents. However, many oil and gas companies today still use paper forms to perform operator rounds. Paper poses many problems. Paper-based operator rounds, inspections and checklists bring problems that erase many of the task’s benefits. These issues render the inspections ineffective at best, useless at worst. They also lead to:

  • Increased expenses
  • Lost production
  • Revenue disruptions
  • Customer service problems
  • Potential fines and penalties

An operator round inspection needs to be thorough to be effective. A static paper checklist just can’t achieve this. It’s not easy to alter a paper checklist or form to reflect changing business or operational needs. Furthermore, an inspector may skip checklist items or leave them uncompleted. Decision makers need the completed checklist quickly to figure out what action to take. Paper-based operator rounds are static objects, however. The information remains unseen and unknown until the technician completes the form and turns it in or manually uploads data into an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, such as SAP.

Leveraging Mobile Operator Rounds Solutions

Mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, wearables, etc.) replace paper checklists and binders, enabling technicians to collect accurate, mission-critical information in less time. Technicians access digital forms on their device to conduct the round. These digital forms are dynamic, unlike paper checklists, meaning they can be quickly and easily changed on the fly to better meet a plant’s situational needs. The data is immediately uploaded into the back-office system, letting decision makers view inspection results in real time.

Technicians scan equipment barcodes and complete the digital form by checking customized data fields to indicate the present operational status and safety condition. That information is immediately uploaded electronically into the back-office system. Decision makers can view inspection information on their own mobile device or on a desktop app. They can also communicate and collaborate with the technician as he or she is conducting the round. This means nothing is overlooked, questions or concerns can be instantly addressed, risk and threat levels quickly ascertained, and action taken before downtime is incurred or a safety threat emerges.

To sum up, mobile operator rounds solutions help you overcome these key challenges by replacing paper-based processes:

  • Lack of real time visibility 
  • Lack of real time data visibility
  • Low/no value data
  • Lack of risk modeling

Want to Learn More about Mobile Operator Rounds?

Our experts are always happy to help you learn more about mobile operator rounds solutions and how it helps your oil and gas company? Schedule a free demo today or call us at 844-464-6668.

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