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Round Table

Round Table: Asset Inspections

What are the most common defects – either technical or management issues – that we find when conducting asset inspections? 

Bluefield is often asked by clients to undertake asset inspections. We might do it as part of due diligence prior to a purchase, as part of a Bluefield Transformation to help a client understand how to improve, or as part of an asset integrity inspection to help clients understand their assets’ condition and risk. 

 We asked some of our Bluefield specialists to share their experience by asking the following question: 

 What are the most common defects – either technical or management issues – that you find when conducting asset inspections? 

Steve Mitchell 

(Laughing) You peer reviewed my last Hydrocarbon Management report … I’m still scarred by that one. The biggest issue from that one was an attitude of “it’s not my job”. 

Colin Sheldon 

The most obvious one that we came across on a recent asset integrity inspection was oil/grease leaks. Oil and grease is cheap, and it’s easy to top up a leaking gearbox to nurse it to the next major maintenance outage to conduct repairs or replace the seals.  

Often, we saw hoses run from gearcases to buckets to collect the leaks, which again is all well and good until the bucket is overflowing because it was never emptied. Not only was this a housekeeping issue, but also to my mind a fire issue when we saw this oil pooling on electrical equipment.  

By itself the oil leak doesn’t seem like a significant issue but, when combined with other elements onboard it can be a real concern for safety and asset integrity. 

(Read Colin’s article here) 

Tom Houston 

Obviously, site and area dependent, but what I have seen over the years is that a group of assets or a processing plant tend to display common themes at a particular site. Where you see poor housekeeping, there also follows a similar attitude in maintenance and operating practices.  

For example, in an untidy workshop, equipment tends to have poor finish with areas such as wiring / hose retention and tidiness, oil leaks that are not cleaned up properly after repair, temporary repairs etc. In a processing plant environment the same sorts of issues are visible – spillage not cleaned up, dirty control rooms, parts storage messy etc.  

Good housekeeping is in general followed by good maintenance and operating practices. As with many of our discussions, leadership is the key to ensuring good standards and the old mantra still applies – Set expectations, monitor and reinforce the messages. Whatever we walk past is the standard. 

Peter Yates 

Poor quality maintenance. It can be a combination of leadership, process, attitude, moral, economy……the machines are delivered to site usually new. The machine inspections I have completed of late show a lack of care (hoses rubbing and leaking, clamps missing, incorrect hoses fitted) and this is supported by no one doing anything to fix it. 

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