Unplanned shutdowns come with major costs. One source estimates that equipment failures causing unplanned downtime cost oil and gas companies an average of $42 million USD a year and up to $88 million a year in the worst case scenarios. The US Department of Energy reported 1,700 shutdowns at refineries between 2006 and 2017; 46% were due to mechanical breakdown.
Even more worrisome than economic losses, unplanned downtime has a big impact on safety. Sherman Glass, Jr., retired President of Exxon Mobil Refining and Supply Company once said, “…while we operate in the start-up and shutdown mode less than 5 percent of the time, almost 40 percent of incidents occur during these ‘take-off and landing periods.’”
Having more time to plan around a predicted failure allows companies to schedule repairs and reschedule production, reducing maintenance costs, shutdown duration and capacity losses.
A recent benchmarking study by ARC Advisory Group found that more than 60% of industry professionals receive less than one week notice of impending machine breakdowns. Predictive maintenance can provide much earlier warning of failures, and most maintenance professionals recognize that unplanned repairs are many times more expensive than planned maintenance. At the same time, many believe predictive maintenance is expensive and should be restricted to key assets.
Being able to quantify the risk of NOT doing a maintenance task and understanding system reliability and risk is just as important as the benefit of doing predictive maintenance. Companies that have embraced predictive maintenance, however, have realized strong returns by turning unplanned downtime into planned downtime and rescheduling production. Using these technologies to move some maintenance activities from turnarounds to in-situ maintenance during production periods also presents an economic opportunity.
For example, one refinery suffering from repeated hydrogen compressor failures was able to reduce shut-down time by 8 days thanks to a 35-day time-to-failure prediction. In addition, the cost for planned maintenance was less than 30% of the cost of emergency repairs. Other oil and gas companies using predictive maintenance solutions have similar stories, which my colleague Ashok Rao and I will share in a workshop at next week’s Downstream Conference & Exhibition.
Join us for the workshop, Turn Unplanned Downtime Into Planned Downtime: Using Predictive Maintenance to Prevent Failures and Reduce Turnaround Times, where Ashok and I will discuss the economic potential of using predictive maintenance to turn unplanned downtime into planned downtime. We’ll be presenting twice during the conference:
- Tuesday, June 11 at 12:45 p.m. in Workshop Room C (open to conference pass holders only)
- Wednesday, June 12 at 12:30 p.m. in the Reliability / Maintenance & Turnarounds Theater on the exhibit floor (open to all attendees)