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Foundation for Maintenance & Reliability Excellence

The group photo shows the Project Integration (Maintenance & Reliability) team turning over the completed AMS work to the Maintenance & Reliability management team at the operating site. Sridhar Ramakrishnan is standing 4th from left.

Identifying ahead of time the right kind of maintenance to be performed at the right time for the right equipment using the CMMS/ EAM system is a challenge that can only be overcome through effective partnership with all stakeholders.

The maintenance and reliability team in Suncor Energy's In Situ Business Unit followed a systematic three-pillar approach to set up master data, manage spare parts and develop maintenance programs. These three pillars form the Asset Management System (AMS).

In the AMS model, SAP (systems, applications and products) is at the front end and is used to drive the maintenance and reliability processes and tools - the three core pillars of AMS comprising of master data development, spare parts management and maintenance program development. The scope was divided into three parallel parts based on the engineering disciplines of mechanical, electrical, and instrumentation and controls (I&C). One of the important attributes of this model is the tag-based approach versus the much broader material requisition (MR), purchase order (PO), or criticality based approaches generally followed in the project phase.

Each and every maintenance significant tag is identified and included in this model. The AMS work started during the detailed engineering phase of the SAGD expansion project at Firebag and was completed just before commissioning and start up. The maintenance and reliability team collaborated with 12 different functional groups that included reliability engineering, site maintenance and supply chain, among others.

The AMS work also addresses all maintenance and reliability related hazards and operability studies (HAZOPS), technical decisions and deviations, and nonconformance reports (NCRs), in addition to those related to safety and regulatory requirements, like the measurement accounting and reporting plan (MARP), continuous emissions monitoring system (CEMS) and safety instrumented function (SIF) testing.

As a first step, approximately 100,000 physical pieces of tagged equipment were screened based on documented guidelines and close to 23,000 maintenance significant equipment were identified. Piping and instruments had the largest population comprising of 9,000 and 8,000 tags, respectively. Electrical and mechanical equipment tags formed 5,000 and 1,000 tags, respectively.

All 23,000 equipment (tags) were risk-ranked based on Suncor's corporate risk matrix. Master data was created in SAP for all of them based on master data standards and guidelines.

For spare parts, the maintenance and reliability team followed a failure modes driven approach and identified all those spares that were likely to be utilized during commissioning and start up and for a few years of operations thereafter. Materials masters (stock codes) were created in SAP for all such spares. The spare parts were then rationalized following documented guidelines and purchased. In certain cases, spare parts were rationalized in partnership with the equipment vendors. These spares were linked to the parent equipment in SAP through bill of materials (BoM).

Equipment strategy data sheets (ESDS) were developed for groups of equipment (tags) based on similarities of preventative and predictive maintenance tasks and their frequencies. The maintenance tasks themselves were identified through basic failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA). Maintenance procedures and check sheets were developed for all maintenance tasks identified on the ESDS. All ESDS, maintenance procedures and check sheets were reviewed by site teams, approved and uploaded in Suncor's electronic document management system.

The strategies were then translated into maintenance programs in SAP. The operations in task lists in SAP listed only "what to do" by way of key maintenance and inspection steps. "How to do" is made available in the maintenance procedures linked to individual operations in task lists using production resource/tool (PRT) functionality. This would enable maintenance procedures to be printed off automatically along with the work orders.

For fixed equipment, risk-based inspection (RBI) studies were carried out for the loss of containment failure mode and the resulting inspection work plans (IWPs) were used as ESDS for such equipment.

It was observed that maintenance programs developed through the AMS work were distributed evenly between predictive and preventative tasks, and that the estimated costs for planned maintenance in the expansion project were approximately two-thirds of the planned maintenance costs for the existing operating unit (of comparable capacity and number of equipment). In addition, it is estimated that doing this kind of detailed work upfront has the potential to halve the annual corrective maintenance costs, too.

In addition to the linkages to the maintenance program in SAP, the ESDS, maintenance procedures and checklists were also linked to the associated equipment master data in SAP. All the HAZOPS, technical deviations and NCRs related to maintenance and reliability were also linked to the master data of related equipment in SAP, thus making all such critical information available throughout the equipment lifecycle.

The AMS work has helped commission the new facility with a comprehensive asset management system in place to address and manage all the new equipment and systems over their lifecycle. Doing so has also enabled the capturing of equipment maintenance costs and history, even during the commissioning phase.

The entire project involved 30,000 direct man-hours spread over 18 months. A tracking sheet was developed to measure and track every significant element in each of the three AMS pillars. The score was measured in terms of percentage completion for individual AMS pillars as well as for overall AMS.

The AMS work was turned over to the end users in the form of a main report containing the high-level summary of the work, supported by 19 appendices in Microsoft® Excel spreadsheets and Microsoft® Word documents that contained every detail of the work done. This report was signed off by senior management members. The scorecard recorded a 97% completion rate when the AMS work was finally turned over to the end users.

In addition to the hard copy binders, the complete AMS report was uploaded in Suncor's document management system. The report was also made available on CDs and distributed widely.

As part of operational excellence, the maintenance and reliability team is working on a plan to offer selective onsite support to end users for a period of one year. The support would be mostly on monitoring and controlling the changes to the maintenance strategy (part of the third pillar of AMS) in the first year.

This type of structured, diligent and detailed work will set up the end users for success by providing a head start on the maintenance maturity curve - thus laying the foundation for maintenance and reliability excellence. The AMS work is only a beginning in the journey for operational excellence. In the following years, efforts will be made to improve the work based on site feedback received from actual equipment usage and failures experienced.

Going forward, there are plans to replicate this work on all new SAGD projects in Suncor.

Sridhar Ramakrishnan, P.Eng., MMP, Senior Reliability Engineer with Suncor Energy Inc., Calgary, Canada since 2007. His current role is to help establish sound systems, processes and methodologies to support Maintenance and Reliability excellence on new In Situ projects. Sridhar has been working in the upstream oil and gas industry for 22 years.

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