An improved maintenance management strategy for gas field equipment in Escravos gas–to–liquid plant, Nigeria
Onyenanu, Tochukwu Emmanuel
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The safety record of most petrochemical industries in the world and Nigeria in particle, has not been able to come down to the maximum allowable range of 0 - 0.1 percent of tolerance on recordable injuries, due to increasing failure rates of equipment within the plant. Investigations on the maintenance audit carried out on the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC) revealed that 85 percent of such failures are directly linked to improper adaptability of an effective maintenance management strategy and plan within the petrochemical industries in Nigeria. Equally, the growth and continuous operation of any plant depends to a large extent on the maintenance of the equipment that refines the Crude Oil and natural Gas. As such, various maintenance management systems have been used over the years for the actualisation of the above purpose but with minimal success. This is evident in the fact that the level of maintenance performance of most Nigerian Petroleum Companies is always on the corrective maintenance model, which indirectly implies that the plant normally breaks down before maintenance management is applied. A critical look at the deficiency of improper adaptability of these maintenance management plans have conspicuously manifested in five major categories of maintenance failures which includes the following; * Failure of safety critical equipment due to lack of maintenance * Human error during maintenance * Static or spark discharge during maintenance in an intrinsically unsafe zone * Incompetence of maintenance staff, and * Poor communication between maintenance and production staff. These gaps as identified in this research must be corrected in the Nigerian Gas Industry if meaningful progress is to be made. Gas – To – Liquid technology is a very complex technology and with natural gas as the basic raw material, the technology not only looks intimidating but also is full of potential hazards. People are naturally afraid of the complex nature of gas in a confined environment (because of its highly combustible nature), its gaseous state makes it more complex for it to be kept under control and at the same time be moved from one form to another at different temperatures and pressures. The maintenance audit carried out on the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC) revealed some major loopholes in the maintenance management strategies adopted in the country. The audit reveals that the degree of adherence to conditions attached towards the maintenance management strategy of this equipment (in this case Gas field equipment) was too poor. Based on the above, this research is meant to improve the existing maintenance management strategy, by developing a Maintenance Management Strategy (MMS) that will be suitable for gas field equipment in the Escravos Gas–To– Liquid (EGTL) plant, planned to be commissioned in Nigeria early 2011. The need to research the above mentioned Maintenance Strategy became imperative due to the fact that the rate at which most of the petrochemical plants in the world are being gutted by fire, mainly due to poor maintenance management systems is alarming. This research work proffered solutions that will reduce or completely eliminate the highlighted problems above. This was based on investigations and analysis carried out in the chosen research area. Models were developed for the actualization of this Improved Maintenance Management Strategy (IMMS), so that the desired safe operability of the gas field equipment in the Escravos Gas–To– Liquid (EGTL) plant will be achieved without maintenance failure of any kind.
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