O&G Whiz

Oil & Gas markets’ effect on repair and service

How do the longstanding energy sources of oil and gas affect the electromechanical service industry? Directly. But plenty of us already know that. The decision of repair/replace, and associated arguments, have been contended as long as many of our machines have been around. However, with alternative energy sources closing in on all sides, and traditional sources either waning or bogged in uncertainty, it’s worth looking at where this relationship stands.

“Companies can’t afford to sit and wait for repairs, especially in today’s fluctuating O&G market” wrote Mary Schimke on Bakken.com June 16. With this editorial (which promotes Ward Leonard’s solutions to it) Schimke illuminates the increased instability of the oil and gas markets due to their constant fluctuation in today’s economy. This has immediate effects on CAPEX (capital expenditure) and OPEX (operational expenditure) costs. The muscles, if you will, of a facility…the machinery that has to operate correctly to make production reliable. Much of this machinery takes a regular beating. It is designed to be used constantly and relentlessly, to perform demanding and repeated tasks.

“And just like a car that can’t go 100,000 miles without service, field equipment like motors and generators require not only preventative maintenance, but ongoing service if breakdowns occur in the field,” Schimke writes. Outsourcing the service when a piece of equipment malfunctions involves downtime and costs that many can ill afford nowadays. And with overtime further evolving into a recent sticking point, it becomes all the more important to manage workers and hours in relation to production.

Potential solutions vary, but the words ‘diversification’ and ‘efficiency’ reign. Ultimately, the timeliest way of avoiding service delays and collateral issues is finding a way to kill two birds with one stone. Or to prevent the next bird from being present. For example, finding service providers that are competent in multiple procedures and can address a variety of issues or difficulties can be crucial. Multi-faceted companies with cross-industry experience can service motors and generators primarily, but also help offer preventative maintenance solutions so you won’t have to call them back the next day. Holistic maintenance and reliability are conducive to this approach, and we see an increase in companies adopting this philosophy.

For example, as repairs to a top drive motor for onshore applications will differ from offshore applications because of the dry or wet and salty environments and the range of damage each of those conditions inflicts on the equipment.

Instead of only focusing on reactive work, companies are taking a longer view, offering proactive solutions before they occur, and providing comprehensive maintenance, repair and testing services, which use advanced, high-efficiency technologies.

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