Instrumentation & Calibration Q&A: delivering agility and greater efficiencies

Instrumentation & Calibration Q&A: delivering agility and greater efficiencies

Posted: January 5, 2023

Jackie Lawrie and Elton Willemse from our Instrumentation & Calibration (I&C) team, based in Aberdeen, reference their adaptable certification and testing services, how they can help optimise their customers’ operational processes and highlight our Aftermarket Service Portal.

With strong production revenues across the industry through much of 2022, operators must prioritise the calibration and certification of their instrumentation as any downtime, resulting from inaccurate readings or faulty equipment, would prove very costly?

We say that no matter what the background landscape is around market sentiment, critical infrastructure and kit always need to be consistently checked and tested. This is the only way of maintaining smooth and efficient operations. So, it stands to reason the regular, accurate calibration of the master instrumentation to undertake that testing is a key piece of the equation.

Trusting in faulty metrological equipment could eventually lead to an issue regarding pressure or temperature, for example, and potential downtime. When prices are strong, any subsequent outage is expensive – on a large producing platform, even a few hours of lost production could represent hundreds of thousands of dollars. The comparison with the modest cost of deploying a trusted, regular service partner like Proserv to undertake necessary calibration checks on gauges and recorders is stark. The only option, no matter if commodity prices are high or low, is to keep instrumentation accurate and precise.

Operators do recognise the importance of this testing and they plan for shutdowns every year to carry out these vital checks through critical calibration campaigns so that their operations are always efficient, enhanced and safe.

What we then say is choose an established, highly qualified expert like Proserv to undertake this work. We offer a United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) purpose-built laboratory, mobile service capabilities and can get technicians offshore rapidly if required. Our aim is to be their go-to service vendor.

Proserv’s service support targets the optimisation of our clients’ assets and operations, where does your team add this extra value?

One of the key efficiencies that our customers gain benefit from is our online platform, this is a very useful multi-dimensional tool. It stores all relevant paperwork from the most recent test certificates through to work reports. This eliminates the need for, and the waste of, physical paper trails.

Our online resource is a secure environment, accessible to us and the customer, and it has an intuitive interface, incorporating colour-coding, so that we know when key calibration equipment is approaching recertification testing. This delivers an extra layer of scrutiny over timeframes and supports operational performance.

The equipment that will ultimately be monitored by the instrumentation we calibrate will be intrinsic to production processes offshore, so, again, making sure gauge readings can be 100% accurate and trusted is essential.

Our agile mobile lab service fleet also provides real efficiencies around time savings for our customers. We are one of only a few Aberdeen based service vendors offering UKAS approved certification and testing at our facility, but we can also deploy our servicing experts to supply national standards of calibration on a wide range of equipment via our mobile capabilities.

This can really speed up turnaround for customers. Sending equipment to our facility for certification is swift but might take a few days, with the various procedural stages then required, but by going direct to our clients’ sites, we can quite literally recertify a range of gauges in just a few hours.

As the energy transition moves forward, with increased emphasis on reducing carbon footprints, where can you make a difference?

We play an important role in extending the life of core equipment. The instrumentation that we calibrate and certify has a critical role in supporting, monitoring and providing visibility on the day-to-day, hour-by-hour, performance of production infrastructure. When we do our job, we make sure pressure relief valves, gauges, pressure recorders are all functioning well so that any fluctuations can be readily identified.

Trusting the outputs from poorly calibrated instruments not only heightens the risk of unplanned outages, but also, if an operator or drilling contractor is assessing operational impacts based on inaccurate temperature readings or pressure levels, then the wear and tear on infrastructure becomes significant and pain points are accelerated. This would reduce, not maximise, the life of this equipment.

Similarly, our Proserv ethos prioritises “refurbish not replace” and if a customer has an issue or a failure with some vital instrumentation, we have the service and maintenance abilities to see if we can repair and restore that kit as our Plan A. If so, it saves time and money (four or five test pumps could cost £50,000 to replace) and mitigates the environmental considerations around waste, the manufacture of replacement parts and their subsequent transportation.

With our rental model, and by becoming our client’s incumbent service partner, we can maximise such advantages. We can hire out freshly certified, quality instruments; manage any servicing 24/7; monitor certification schedules and swap over the kit when that needs to take place. This promotes operational excellence across the board with accurately calibrated equipment that can be entirely trusted to offer the required insights into live production processes. This gives customers performance assurance and efficiency.

This year Proserv has launched a new, updated Aftermarket Service Portal – how does this help your team and your potential clients?

The new Aftermarket Service Portal is an exciting update that is supporting Proserv teams right across our offerings and our global regions. It speeds up processes when we are looking to reach out to potential customers with information, while, from their side, they can access exactly what they are looking for really fast, get the relevant details and download brochures and spec sheets – this can all be done in ten minutes, and requests for quotes are easily built and uploaded. It is both accessible and convenient, with everything in one place.

Another important aspect for us is that it gives our I&C team wider visibility to more possible clients – and the same for other Proserv offerings too. For instance, our IWOCS or Measurement teams might have some long-standing partners who value their specific expertise and services, but these customers are currently unaware that Proserv also delivers I&C know-how, products and rental packages. This new service portal enables those parties to consider us now, and not simply go to one of our competitors as they may have done previously. This will potentially drive more opportunities our way.

We also believe this portal can make more operators aware of our renowned service capabilities. We have a very persuasive rental model but, again, we want to inform prospective customers, who have multiple gauges, relief valves and other instrumentation needing checking and maintenance on vessels and platforms, that we also have the agility and expertise to supply that support.

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