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The aim of this article is to frame the development of an asset preservation contingency plan in response to eventual catastrophic risks (Fig-1) like pandemics, natural and climate change disasters, armed conflicts, cyber-attacks, or disturbances in the supply chains including power and energy supply, that may cause temporary shut down of facilities. This adaptation initiative can further strengthen organizations’ risk management capabilities.

Fig-1: Extraordinary ThreatsFig-1: Extraordinary Threats

Definition of Asset Preservation

Asset preservation is the protectionand preventive maintenance (PM)performed on assets that are not in service for a short or long period. The objectives of the preservation are to maintain the safety, and integrity of valuable assets, while ensuring readiness for recommissioning and start-up when required. Differentprotective methods are available (API-686), and their application will depend on the asset type and materials:

  • External: To prevent rust and corrosion, there are a range of products to choose from. Spray, grease, and vapor spray that can be used for external or internal protection. Problem areas could also be wrapped with special tape.
  • Internal: There are a range of methods used to protect the asset. These include spraying, inhibitor, filling with oil or demineralized water, flushing, pressurizing with nitrogen or dry air, desiccant bags, and electrical heating.

The preservation plan that the organization intends to develop in 6 steps (Fig-2), starts with the motivating question: Why they should invest in such a plan?

Fig-2, Contingency Preservation Plan in 6 Steps Fig-2, Contingency Preservation Plan in 6 Steps

Step 1: Motivation

Whoever initiates the preservationplanin the organization shouldprepare a business case. This will align stakeholders to obtain support and resources. The objective of establishing a business case is to proactively prepare contingencies to facenew threats andunforeseen situations that may causethe temporaryclosure of facilities. The valuable lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic should not be ignored. Many facilities in the oil and gas, mining, and energy sectors had to reduce production or shut down due to government-imposed lockdowns and travel restrictions, or economic activity slowdown.

Step 2: Preservation Guidelines

Developpreservation guidelines with requirements and instructions. Take into consideration the particularity of theirfacilities, and the following factors:

  • Short-termand long-termpreservation: Short-term preservation refers to one year or less of idle time, whereas long-term preservation refers to a period of more than one year. The preservation guidelines should have provisions for short and long-term preservation periods.
  • Assets to be preserved in situ: The guidelines document is developed for the preservation of assets in situ. However, high-value assets that are difficult to protect and to maintain in situ should be removed from their locations, protected, and stored in the warehouse.
  • Lessons learned: Previous experiences regarding corrosion protection and methods used should be assessed and taken into account.
  • Original equipment manufacturer’s instructions: The original equipment manufacturer’s instructions on the preservation of assets in-situ are the primary source of information for the preparation of the guidelines. The instructions normally include recommendations for short-term and long-term preservations before installation and after installation.
  • Applicable standards and best practices: The are a certain number of standards (Table-1) and best practices that can be used for references to supplement original equipment manufacturer’s instructions.

Table-1 : List of standardsTable-1 : List of standards

  • Environmentalconditions: Conditions like rain, humidity, hot, cold, sand and dust are the main factors to consider when considering the methods to be used for the preservation.

Step 3: Preservation Plan

Prepare a preservation plan with the objective to prevent corrosion and physical degradation of the assets while maintaining safety and integrity. Itidentifies the PMactivities with individual tasks to be performed on the assets with frequencies and resources.Table-2 shows typical tasks for mechanical assets.

Table-2 : Preservation Plan Tasks (Typ)Table-2 : Preservation Plan Tasks (Typ)

The challenge of the preservation plan preparation is to get the right frequencies and tasks for the routine checks, considering the limited resources that will be available during an emergency. The strategy is to prioritize the assets that need greater attention according to criticality and value.

The computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) route application (Fig-3) is appropriate for the preservation PM when there are a large number of similar assets, and tasks are non-intrusive. Non-intrusive meaning they can be performed in a short period of time.

Fig-3:  PM Preservation Route Principale Fig-3: PM Preservation Route Principale

Step 4: Preservation Job Plan 0.0

Develop job plans 0.0 and specify what the executing crafts should follow when the preservation Pm tasks are performed. The preservation PM requires three different job plans (Fig-4) to be developed for each asset:

Job Plan 0.0 – Preservation - Application

Job Plan 0.0 – Preservation - Inspect and Maintain

Job Plan 0.0 – De-preservation

Job plans can be supplemented with checklists for easy recording and reporting of data and information.

Fig-4: PM Preservation Cycle Fig-4: PM Preservation Cycle

Step 5: CMMS Data and Records

Upload the preservation PMplanand the job plans 0.0 in the CMMS, then setthem in inactive mode. The PM plan with job plans 0.0 should be available as a hard copy, in the event that the CMMS is rendered unavailable by adisturbances in the power or energy supply.

Step 6: Resources Plan

Set up a contingency resourcesplanto ensure that competent manpowerand materialsare available during theshutdown period of the facility. Take the following into consideration:

  • Availability of local and expatriate manpower
  • Feasibility of relying on local manpower only in case of national or international travel restrictions
  • Minimum manpower needs across the critical functions including safety, operations, maintenance, technical, and warehouse to support the preservation plan
  • Potential partnership with nearby facilities or organizations for mutual assistance
  • Support activities can be performed remotely using online technologies
  • Preservation coating and spraying products procurement strategy and shelf-life constraints


Extraordinary risks contemplated in this article are a reality that cannot be ignored. This is particularly truefor organizations that rely heavilyon predictable processes and working practices. The development of a preservation plan is a valuableinitiative to demonstrateresilience and adaptability to postCOVID-19 pandemic new normality.


API-686 (2009) Recommended Practice for Machinery Installation and Installation Design

Benourine Benomar

Benomar has over 35 years of experience in projects, maintenance management and reliability of LNG, LPG and offshore oil production facilities. He has worked with major oil companies like SONATRACH (Algeria), ADNOC Group (UAE) and Technical Consultant EP2C Energy (Ireland). Presently Benomar is a freelance consultant. Education: Bsc. Mechanical Engineering from Plymouth Polytechnic (UK) and a MBA from Nancy2 University (France).

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