Manuel Araneda, director of RBI services at Plant Integrity Management Ltd (PIM), a consultancy and strategic management support provider for critical plant equipment, talks to Pipeline magazine about risk management for corrosion control. Araneda is a corrosion engineer, working in the oil and gas industry, with more than 20 years’ experience.
What are the new trends to watch out for in corrosion control technologies for the oil and gas sector?
Risk Based Inspection (RBI) is not a new technology however it has the potential to deliver much more than it is currently doing. RBI is widely used throughout the Middle East in accordance with API but this does not necessarily give the best possible results. We are starting to see a shift towards RBI being used as more than just a means of achieving compliance. Operators are beginning to understand that when effective RBI is implemented and also tailored to their asset(s), the benefits it delivers go beyond compliance.
It is a value adding tool which can be used to realise improved plant integrity and reliability as well as resulting in the optimisation of inspection activities and the associated cost reductions and environmental benefits. What is the impact on demand for corrosion control products from the protracted low oil prices? The current challenging economic environment means that budgets are ever more constrained and clients are even less likely to implement new/novel corrosion control products unless clear benefit and savings can be demonstrated.
The demand for corrosion control products is likely to come from vendors who can provide products that can optimise existing systems or organisation in relation to managing costs for maintaining operability of the facility. As operators increasingly look to optimise costs, it is highly likely that integrity management specialists will see an increased demand for their services.
What is expected to change from the recent OPEC and non-OPEC producers’ joint-deal to cut production next year?
Over the next 12 to 24 months, irrespective of OPEC and non OPEC operators, the focus will continue to be on cost reduction. We’ve entered a new cycle for the oil industry, we are operating in a low $/barrel environment and although we are now seeing the oil price over around $50/barrel prices are likely to remain low for some time to come.
To date, many operators have responded with measures that achieve immediate cost savings but in order to find a long term solution the industry need to find credible ways to reduce costs without compromising on quality or safety.
For survival, operators are going to have to recalibrate how they operate in order to survive on lower margins. Of course we can expect to see the knock on effect of these measures being played out in the service industry however it will also create opportunities to those who can adapt to new climate.
Where are the major client concerns from the Middle East region’s oil and gas sector?
I think the main concern in the region is political stability. The agreement with OPEC and non-OPEC producers can be viewed as a good indicator that we are moving in the right direction in terms of stabilizing the area.
Where do you see new business opportunities within the oil and gas space?
In the last 20 years in Aberdeen we’ve seen increasing numbers of operators outsourcing more parts of their operations in order to reduce their costs. Unlike the Middle East, the North Sea has always operated with lower margins. This presents an opportunity for the Middle East to implement tried and tested integrity management solutions while realising savings.
This is definitely a potential growth area for companies who can provide the turnkey solution to manage integrity on behalf of the operators.