Many industry veterans are familiar with the old saying about drilling equipment: “Just run it into the ground. We will buy a backup piece.” Though this approach clearly is not a good one, it has been common, in some cases simply because companies are not aware of what assets they have or the condition those assets are in.

Without an Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), many companies continue buying expensive new equipment while unaware of their current inventory.

EAM gets a handle on assets
Several years ago, the RigMS Asset Tracking system was developed specifically to eliminate these wasteful practices and improve organizational efficiencies by having instantaneous knowledge of every tagged asset via the Web. The asset tracking system helps accomplish this with four components – a handheld scanning computer, radio frequency identification tags, bar codes, and a central database that displays a company’s assets and their location onscreen.

By basing the system on Microsoft Windows Outlook, the tree-view display has simplified usage and eliminated the need for manual-intensive asset searches. However, system benefits go beyond asset finding. Its use minimizes the wait time associated with parts location and better manages the expenses and documentation of equipment movement from one location to another. Additionally, its introduction was well-timed in helping companies comply with Sarbanes-Oxley through instant visibility of company assets.

Enhanced capabilities
The ability to instantly locate an asset was the springboard for taking the basic asset management system to the next level with a fully integrated EAM system. New features include the Maintenance Management system and RigMS 3.1 Analytics, both of which provide a new dimension to asset tracking, equipment maintenance, and the value-add of data collection.


A RigMS tag is attached to a riser for offshore applications. (Image courtesy of National Oilwell Varco)

The maintenance management system builds a comprehensive maintenance function into the basic asset management system, the open architecture database enabling users to create both an asset profile and complete maintenance history by attaching any type of document. This includes a knowledge bar for every asset that shows what needs to be done. The knowledge bar also shows when and where the asset is as well as its complete history. Users can view and correlate extensive information.

In addition to such detailed reporting, the system integrates seamlessly with the asset tracking system. New users have access to short how-to maintenance videos, actionable information, and potential solutions. These solutions are geared toward specific crafts, thus keeping users focused only on their particular area. Feedback from the field often can allow the company to refine procedures by devising ways in which steps can be shortened and even eliminated.

On the asset analytics side, companies and individual users have discovered benefits of which they were previously unaware. For example, through analysis at any organizational level, reports can be used to identify trends and issues at the fleet, region, asset class, make/model, and individual asset levels. With no added work, data interpretation and recommended corrective actions reports are generated automatically.

New benefits grow from new ideas
Perhaps one of the most important capabilities of the system is compliance features such as audit trails and documentation, which give corporate management the ability to make improvements for more reliable operations and competitive strategies.

From another perspective, by providing complete visibility of an asset and its history, this knowledge affords the opportunity for skill allocation to more challenging tasks. Further, error reductions and productivity improvements have translated into greater overall employee satisfaction.

Having all of the relevant equipment information reside centrally enables personnel to more quickly locate necessary maintenance information and thus significantly reduce maintenance times and downtimes.

The more the system is used, the more evident its advantages become, including better data accuracy, fewer support calls, and, consequently, lower overall operational costs. These benefits can be traced directly to not only the system’s user friendliness but also to its user configurable capability according to specific operations and conventions.

EAM in the field
An offshore drilling contractor recently has advanced beyond the EAM trial stage and is installing the RigMS system, including the onsite server, on every rig in its fleet. At about 3,500 assets per rig, it is a formidable task but one that will deliver long-term benefits. On entering assets into the system, the product information and maintenance history regarding National Oilwell Varco equipment comes directly from its corporate library, while input on third-party products comes from other product manufacturers and customers.

For the purposes of narrowing the information presented to users and thereby improving manageability, the drilling contractor is dividing each of its rigs into zones. For example, anything that falls within the safety zone is designated for the safety inspector alone. Likewise, any subsea information is separated out for the subsea engineers, and so on. Using this operational design, users are exposed to substantially less information than with other asset management systems, which makes the information they have more usable. They can concentrate solely on the information their job requires.

One of the most significant issues that has emerged for the drilling company is the recognition that its sign-off maintenance system had a serious defect. Procedures were presented as an unbroken block of text that was so daunting users would sign off, leaving many tasks undone. However, the company had no way to track the work that was completed or the work that was not done. With the new asset management system, the block is replaced with separate, clear steps, each of which must be acknowledged individually to show that the work was actually carried out before proceeding to the next step.

By using the system to its fullest potential from the outset, even before system installation is completed on all its rigs worldwide, the offshore drilling contractor is experiencing its anticipated return on investment. A key in-demand EAM feature coming for this drilling contractor and other users in the near future is the shift from preventive to predictive maintenance occurring down the road.