Co-ordinated approach to preventive maintenance project proves its worth for Chevron’s Captain.
ABB’s recent electrical preventative maintenance project for Chevron’s Captain North Sea FPSO, WPP and BLP is a good example of a new approach to the planning, coordination, execution and reporting of routine service activities. By involving ABB’s Aberdeen-based marine service team at the early planning stage, Chevron was able to ensure that all technical considerations were covered and documented in advance, reducing the overall time to complete the project. At the same time, ABB was able to ensure that a crew with the most appropriate mix of skills and experience was available.
Captain is located 134km (90 miles) north-east of Aberdeen in a water depth of 104m (340ft). It came on stream in 1997 and has an average production of 85,000 barrels per day. The field infrastructure comprises a WPP (well head protector) platform and BLP (bridge linked platform) connected by a network of pipelines to an FPSO (floating production storage and offloading) vessel, on which the crude oil is processed and stored, ready for export by shuttle tanker.
ABB supplied the majority of the MV equipment for Captain’s 11kV electrical distribution network when the FPSO and WPP were constructed around 11 years ago. When the facility was recently taken out of service for an extended planned turnaround, Chevron asked ABB to carry out inspection and maintenance activities on some 30 items of distribution equipment. Primarily, this involved opening up switchboards and checking the internal condition, measuring resistances, maintaining circuit-breakers and calibrating protection relays.
Although the maintenance activity on Captain was not unusual, the way it was planned and coordinated was innovative, as ABB project manager Phil Churn explains:
“Right from the start, Chevron made a firm contract commitment to ABB for the project. By taking early ownership of the maintenance activities, in turn we were able to identify the ideal crew for the exercise and make a commitment that they would be available. This eliminated the possibility of any slippage causing them to become unavailable. Normally, there is a risk that any slippage in the project can cause a knock-on effect in which experienced people might be called away to other projects.
“Furthermore, ABB was able to review in advance exactly what was involved, so that we could prepare detailed documentation and advise Chevron of the implications of taking specific items of switchgear out of service. This level of pre-planning, with the direct involvement of the maintenance crew, not only reduced the amount of time that the crew spent on the site, it also facilitated detailed planning and a comprehensive wash-up.”
An important further benefit to the maintenance work on the platform was the availability of an experienced and committed workforce to assist in the inevitable works that could not be anticipated prior to the turnaround. This ‘on-hand’ team proved its worth a number of times during the turnaround, adding real value for Chevron.
Phil Churn continues:
“The feedback from Chevron was that the way that both parties worked together on the Captain project, from planning to close-out, should be held up as the future standard for maintenance exercises. In particular, they recognise that market conditions are very buoyant and demand for this type of service currently exceeds supply. So advanced planning and coordination between the customer and vendor is a very positive way to tie-in expert resources.”