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Find Small, Fix Small: How Minor Repairs Prevent Major Fixes

Published on January 9, 2024

Corrosion is like a broken skin; it does its damage slowly and if overlooked, can escalate into a bigger and more expensive problem. External corrosion of structures and process equipment has been the single biggest reason for repairs in Brunei Shell Petroleum’s (BSP) assets, resulting in operational and capital expenditure – and, often, the need to shut down production to carry out the repairs (a process known as turnarounds). 

Currently, 70% of turnaround scope is related to repairs of external corrosion. Recognising this as an issue, BSP’s Operation Asset Integrity (OAI), in collaboration with asset Fabric Maintenance focal points, took up the challenge to lean down the current external corrosion remediation process.

Thus, the “Find Small, Fix Small” approach came about – an early intervention of rust or coating breakdowns, way before they can develop into critical anomalies requiring repairs. 

Example of external corrosion that was fixed by First Aid Painting.
(left picture – as found ; middle picture – after surface prep; right picture – single coating applied)

The initiative was started by organising a Value Stream Mapping (VSM) workshop to streamline the existing end-to-end process. Using an Agile approach, a project management methodology that involves breaking the project into phases, an implementation strategy was produced.

As a step to ensure a successful outcome, the team ventured to engage all stakeholders. This was executed prior to the strategy roll-out, a crucial move to keep all players on the same page. A weekly cadence was also set up to drive development of the new process, subsequent implementation, and monitoring of actions identified for improvement. 

As a new approach, the initiative did not come without challenges. The project required the mobilisation of Inspection and First-Aid Painting teams to the assets, which means this can be a tricky juggle between managing logistics as well as the number of offshore People on Board (POB). This is on top of other challenges such as the shortage of painting material at the start of the initiative, difficulties in accessing piping or structural steel, and the varied abilit to read isometric drawings in the First-Aid Painting crew. 

Through meticulous planning, and collaboration with different stakeholders, the project saw the simplification of First-Aid Painting process from 24 months to merely days, conducted more than 20,000 minor fixes within eight months across BSP assets, and a reduction in the requirement for major repair and unnecessary production deferment due to unmitigated external corrosion.

“This initiative embodies our BSP Bersatu mission to “Simplify and Integrate” as the end-to-end process was significantly leaned down leading to faster mitigation of external corrosion anomalies. In the long term, this will result in improved asset integrity for BSP’s facilities and a reduction of major repairs due to external corrosion,” shared Robert Warmerdam, BSP Production Maintenance and Excellence Manager. “It is also a great testament to the capabilities, accountability and focus demonstrated by Orang Kitani.”