What Are Your Commissioning and Start-up Strategies?

July 13, 2015 Audubon Companies

Sure, operating an oil or gas facility efficiently and safely is vital. But to ensure that operations are smooth and maintenance lean, there’s more to consider, namely the commissioning process beforehand. Commissioning takes into consideration all the independent and interlinked systems and components of a build, from initial design to operation and maintenance, and verifies all operational requirements are met or exceeded. Also vital to commissioning and completion are numerous processes, including scheduling construction teams and inspections, managing testing, and analyzing data.

Experienced commissioning and completion teams have their own strategies for ensuring project success. They understand that developing a clear plan of execution before a project begins is vital, issuing detailed information packets describing design, construction, testing, and inspection requirements as well as available asset data to key personnel. As construction progresses, team leads will also evaluate the sequence of handover operations from system to system to ensure efficiency and resource availability throughout the project. This process may include organizing construction activities by operational area such that new modules and sections can be hooked-up in an optimal order without wasting manpower. In some builds, engineers and project planners may recommend modular and offsite-built units, which undergo pre-testing before installation, saving time by ensuring more speedy transitions from construction to operational testing. And when internal expertise is limited, oil and gas developers turn to consulting groups and specialty companies with years of commissioning experience.

Given the complexities of commissioning a project, many project managers choose to implement commissioning management systems (CMSs) to better manage the large quantity of activities and data associated with the project. This software is designed to manage schedules, documents, engineering data, contracts, and vendors to ensure a project runs smoothly. It’s not all about the technology, however. Training the necessary people in an organization on commissioning and start up (CSU) practices is vital, as the people in the organization inevitably apply their knowledge and skills to a CMS and other technologies. If they aren’t familiar enough with the methodologies of commissioning a project, fancy data management and monitoring technology won’t be enough to save a project. As such, wise project managers suggest vital commissioning personnel take additional training courses on system completion methodology.

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