Maximising Uptime Post Covid-19

HV Asset Health & Maximising Uptime in the Post Covid-19 Oil & Gas Industry

With oil prices near an all-time low, global oil storage capacity bursting at the seams and no sign of international travel returning to normal any time soon it’s difficult to remember the days of oil and gas facilities being pushed to production capacity. But as the world economies return to a ‘new normal’ demand will soon begin to rise once again.

With a new financial landscape to contend with, Final Investment Decisions (FID) on Greenfield projects are being pushed into the mid to long-term future, meaning existing upstream and downstream facilities will need to bear the strain of increased demand. One such solution often discussed is through reduced maintenance interventions, the question is, what is the knock-on effect of this and what else can we do to ensure maximised uptime?

There’s no doubt that technology is being utilised in more sophisticated and intelligent ways now, with the majority of us taking to video conferencing on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Webex, etc, to allow us to continue working during this unprecedented time. In the same way, HV assets owners and operators across the world are seeking new ways to utilise technology and ensure their assets remain operational. One such way is through remote condition monitoring – the ability to understand HV asset health without having to take an outage or be physically stood next to it. Such technology is already monitoring thousands of critical HV assets, providing useful live data which can be correlated against both operational and ambient parameters allowing informed operational and maintenance decisions to be made based on condition rather than time.

Covid-19 has accelerated asset owners to adopt condition monitoring and predictive maintenance to minimise downtime and maximise profits. While the consequences of Covid-19 remain open-ended, the pandemic is enforcing the case for condition monitoring on critical electrical assets. Owners and operators are increasingly recognising the benefits of On-line Partial Discharge (PD) support in the digital age of condition-based information backed by responsive specialist support and technical expertise which is key to effective maintenance planning and maximising operational availability. On-line PD systems drive asset repair and maintenance decisions by providing an early warning indicator of impeding failure to allow the owner and operator to plan repairs which avoid costly unplanned outages.

Requests for remote permanent PD monitoring have increased from a ‘nice to have’ to ‘essential’ to keep critical MV and HV electrical assets running efficiently and reliably and to keep personnel safe.. Covid-19 related travel restrictions have consolidated the appeal and driver for permanent continuous equipment condition monitoring. Whereas previously an operator would have called upon HVPD’s expert engineers to mobilise to site to carry out annual or bi-annual PD spot test surveys – with 14-day quarantines becoming the new normal – installing a permanent system has become even more of an attractive proposition. An immediate health and safety benefit of remote monitoring is the reduced potential for exposure to Covid-19, reductions in personnel risk, time and cost by eliminating travel and logistical challenges.

Economically, for the same price of two annual site surveys with quarantine rates included, end users and operators can purchase a permanent monitoring system which provides continuous 24/7 monitoring for up to six  HV motors per monitor, including the feeder cables and switchboard panels, thus providing complete circuit coverage. With one system installed, HVPD can supervise remotely, and provide peace of mind that assets are being monitored continuously with no human contact. The systems sit in the background, linked to a SCADA system and alarms are flagged to notify operators and owners of any assets showing rising PD activity.

The HVPD Complete Network Monitoring application differentiates PD signals from local (switchgear) PD, cable PD and slot section (phase-to-earth) or end winding (phase-to-phase) PD, giving operators and owners the right information to target repairs in advance of a failure. This smart information determines condition, ensures parts are not replaced unnecessarily and supports maintenance decisions to facilitate cost-effective, timely maintenance and life extension. Considering all of the above, it is no wonder that HVPD are now beginning to see an increased interest from operators in remote condition monitoring technology.

Now’s the time to invest – if you are interested in how you can monitor your complete HV network get in touch today at info@hvpd.co.uk