Asset Performance Management
With origins in the Cooper Basin, Santos has one of the largest exploration and production acreages in Australia and extensive infrastructure—safely and sustainably discovering, developing, and delivering natural gas to the people of Australia and Asia for more than 60 years.
In 2012, Santos GLNG (Santos), a pioneering venture that produces natural gas from Queensland, Australia’s coal seams and converts it into liquified natural gas (LNG) for sale to the world markets, reached 90% completed of an expansion (spanning an area equal to the U.S. state of Florida) from the Gladstone LNG plant via a 500km pipeline to Gladstone Harbor.
Moving away from manual asset management strategies to an intelligent APM solution
With sites spanning a large geographic area and many wet and boggy conditions across the project, Santos needed to establish an asset performance management (APM) strategy that would minimize travel to well sites and allow most maintenance decisions to be made remotely from the company’s Brisbane control center. Santos’ existing asset management strategy consisted largely of spreadsheets with a variety of siloed maintenance and operational data, individual decision making, actions with little corporate asset management strategy, and untraceable knowledge and activity.
Minimizing operating costs, while maximizing productivity with APM
The overall goal for Santos’ APM initiative was to minimize the need for travel to well sites, maximize productivity, and minimize operating costs. Santos selected Asset Performance Management from GE Digital (formerly Meridium Enterprise APM), with the plan to build dashboards containing information relevant to production, reliability, and integrity engineers. (Since the initial rollout, Santos has increased and improved those dashboards as more users go online and more information and analysis are available.)
Santos started by assembling a super-user group consisting of individuals from various disciplines, each of whom went through “power user” training and learned how to design asset policies and strategies that help automate, alert, and recommend how equipment is operated, monitored, and maintained. Santos engineers made a special effort to ensure they had the right condition monitoring in place. Operators at each site were provided with complete management metrics and information from all well sites, transmission pipelines, gathering networks, hub compressor stations, and legacy compressor stations.
In Santos’ APM strategy, information is rolled up to the company’s three primary focus areas: asset utilization, asset health, and asset stability, then further parsed for a management dashboard. The same information flows back down to various departments, ensuring that the correct engineers can be assigned and have the ability to drill down through the dashboards to find the location, the asset, the tag, and the issue to be resolved.
Initial areas for analysis and review included:
- Pipeline pressure cycle count
- Pipeline temperature excursions
- Separator pressure excursions
- Sand lift rate
- Pressure differences in well tubing
- Well shut-in pressure data collection
Remote monitoring and visibility across operations with APM
Since the initial implementation, Santos has created a policy for valve alerts and, as a result, has identified two valves headed toward failure, and remedied the situation without event.
Through videoconferencing technology, engineers in the Brisbane operations center can communicate with field-based team members and display their desktops, including videos, production data, and other pertinent asset data, to enable better decision-making, faster response, and more active support. Benefits included minimized field travel, decreased operating expenditures, maximized productivity, and robust and sustainable operations.