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Getting to the root of the problem

Published by , Senior Editor
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The identification and correction of equipment that is negatively impacting throughput is a required process that must be a core competency for any processing facility to remain competitive. These pieces of equipment are commonly referred to as bad actors and the understanding of why this equipment is not meeting performance targets is often the task of the asset engineer, reliability engineer, or the engineer responsible for that class of equipment. Regardless, the bad actor screening process will include some level of cost analysis with high cost being attributed solely to maintenance.

High corrective maintenance costs are a combination of human and process factors that must be addressed to positively impact cost. It is common practice that a bad actor evaluation will get tunnel vision, locking onto costs associated with physical asset management while the source(s) of the cost tend to be overlooked. Cost data is the starting point for understanding a bad actor, however, converting that into actionable information is where improvement begins. Potential contributors that impact corrective maintenance costs will be analysed with contributions of production, operations, and materials management included.


Maintenance costs associated with equipment or a functional location (FLOC) is a common indicator for inclusion as a bad actor. Organisational discipline on assigning costs to the correct location and proper cost categorisation will directly impact the usefulness of cost as a trigger. In this context, cost is a lagging indicator that reflects the potential return on investment should the cause(s) be addressed.

Predictably, a report is run that contains cost over time vs site assets...

Written by Lance Bisinger, T.A. Cook Consultants Inc., USA.

This article was originally published in the May 2020 issue of Hydrocarbon Engineering. To read the full article, and other great technical articles in this issue, view the full issue here. You can also register to receive a free regular copy of the magazine here.

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Downstream news