MTL Software Enables Clients to Better Understand Risk

The oil and gas sector is a resilient industry. We have had times where oil price has dropped well below what was expected and we have picked ourselves back up. Currently, we are living in the reality of low oil price and the Covid-19 pandemic which has had a huge impact on our economy and our industry. 

As such many oil and gas projects, maintenance scopes, and some repair works have been paused until governments deem it the time to get back to “business as usual’. PYXIS, our hull structural integrity management system for FPSOs, has allowed management, operations, engineering, and inspection teams to govern integrity efficiently and effectively – with the support of our naval architects. The well-established software has allowed our teams to work with our clients to better understand the criticality of maintenance and repair scopes through risk assessment.

This isn’t new to us, this is how we carry out business. We have used PYXIS for many years working with clients in this way, but with the world, in crisis, we were able to harness our technology to help our clients make quick data-driven decisions, ensuring the safety of the workforce, the integrity of the asset and ensuring FPSO owners and operators are confident in their decision making. 

So, what does PYXIS do? Well, it perhaps helps to start with the challenge. The hulls of FPSO’s are large complex structures, which pose a wide variety of challenges, from corrosion and fatigue, through to access issues as well as limited POB. In order to manage these structures appropriately, it’s critical that the condition of the hull is understood, enabling clear decisions to be made. PYXIS was designed to enable this and is central to everything we do at MTL.

The start of the process traditionally involves gaining a thorough understanding of the design including any analysis carried out along with a detailed review of structural drawings. This in turn leads our team to undertake a semi-quantitative risk assessment of the structure that allows a clear understanding of inspection requirements.

PYXIS enables us to use this information to define inspection plans, providing clear and concise instructions for those carrying out the task. This ensures that suitable inspections are carried out in all the required areas, i.e. fatigue critical locations, areas prone to corrosion, etc. The use of PYXIS makes the generation of inspection work plans more efficient while ensuring items such as anomaly re-inspections are included in the scope. In addition, PYXIS enables the inspection tasks to be ordered in a logical sequence, reducing inspection times within tanks.

Upon completion, inspection plans are sent back to the beach digitally, where the experienced MTL naval architectural team reviews the inspection data and logs findings within PYXIS to create ‘known anomalies’. Typically there are 130 inspectable spaces in a five-year inspection cycle. This equates to 650 inspection reports, with varying anomalies identified ranging from between 10 and 500 per tank (with a variable number of tanks in any one FPSO). It’s easy to see why having a system like PYXIS can help clients manage their data better. The volume of data gathered over an inspection cycle can quickly exceed 20,000 recorded pieces of information. 

Some of the data gathered is nominal but some can be incredibly important. Where anomalies are identified the MTL naval architects provide recommendations to the client for the management of the anomaly. We chose to use a cloud-based system which is securely hosted online and all assessments are recorded within the system, we don’t have the same risks of file corruption or loss of files and knowledge due to personnel changes or staff being furloughed.

Many organisations use a structured folder system or document management system to organise the reports or utilise excel spreadsheets to index which is not secure, resilient, or efficient. At a time where people who can work from home have been asked to, it’s incredibly important the right people can access the right information when they need to. 

To work remotely accessing structured folders or document management systems would rely heavily on data connections and is extremely dependent on familiarity with all of that data. Pyxis enables everything from a whole asset overview to be seen, through intricate details of a particular anomaly to understand its history and the risk it poses to the asset. That’s because the system is designed to securely store and manage this information, so any of our naval architects can reliably find the required information in a few clicks from wherever they are in the world, without any big downloads, and we have extended this capability to our clients also.

PYXIS can also allow our teams to define and track repairs undertaken on anomalies. Repair definitions are defined within PYXIS by the MTL team, i.e. what repair is to be carried out, and the resultant repair tracker documentation is created. This documentation is used offshore to capture all the key quality controls for a repair so that full traceability can be obtained and logged in PYXIS for future reference.

For our clients, this gives them clear visibility of the integrity of their asset and its status at any point, through features such as the overview PYXIS dashboard. The system also incorporates the ability to display known anomalies on both 2D drawings, e.g. a bulkhead, or a full 3D model of the space. This proves extremely useful when presenting the status of spaces to management personnel and/or third parties such as Classification Societies.

For our naval architects, PYXIS is an essential tool, enabling us to manage asset data efficiently and appropriately, ensuring the risk level is understood and enables the challenges to be clearly articulated to our clients. This is especially critical for assets which have adopted a risk-based approach to the management of the hull, rather than the traditional prescriptive Class approach.

In addition, with the severe challenges posed by COVID-19, the offshore industry is having to quickly adapt to the situation, with reduced POB and capability offshore. PYXIS enables a clear picture with regards to the hull structure of the asset to be quickly understood, highlighting the high-risk areas, ensuring clear decisions can be made to focus resources and efforts where it is required most.

And, once we start to see the lockdown eased and some kind of normal coming back into the lives of everyone, PYXIS will allow us to reassess the status of our clients’ assets and will allow FPSO owners and operators to make more effective decisions about what maintenance projects are required and when. And, we will be here to support them when that time comes.