AXESS GROUP CELEBRATES 20 YEARS OF   INTEGRITY MANAGEMENT AND ENGINEERING SERVICES

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AXESS GROUP CELEBRATES 20 YEARS OF INTEGRITY MANAGEMENT AND ENGINEERING SERVICES

What started with two passionate employees working out of Molde, Norway led to a large team of professionals , operating globally. Today, with 14 international offices, Axess Group has established a unique profile within the offshore oil and gas service industry and is proudly celebrating its 20 years of delivering excellent asset integrity management and engineering solutions.



Founded by Børge Gjeldvik and Andreas Mørland as ‘Axess AS’ in September 1998, the company initially provided offshore in-service inspection services to oil and gas companies in Norway. While in-service inspection remains a part of the Group’s operations even today, Axess has evolved its breadth and depth of services and products to cover a much wider field, catering for a much more diverse market. 

From being a local supplier to the offshore and energy industries in Norway, Axess followed its customers’ activities, leading to unprecedented international growth.  With our offices in Norway, Rio de Janeiro, Houston, Singapore, Busan, Cape Town, Aberdeen, Ghana and St. John’s, we support our clients’ offshore and onshore projects to ensure we meet their expectations. More entities will be opened soon in other energy hubs to further reach and support our clients’ activities --wherever they are. 

Over the last two decades, Axess Group has been an important partner to over 300 offshore installations worldwide, delivering asset integrity management services, engineering design, material handling technology, and advisory services. In 2018, we have started offering integrated services to the marine industry, as well as diversified into the renewable energy market.

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INNOVATION THROUGH DIGITALIZATION

Axess started to digitalize all deliveries in 2012 by establishing the software platform Axess Bridgeᵀᴹ, in response to the evolving energy market. Bridgeᵀᴹ is a web-based application that increases Axess’ service efficiency by optimizing our inspection and reporting procedures, which in turn add value to our customers.

This digital platform helps our engineers deliver fast, and accurate reporting in the web-based application, which helps operators and asset owners make well-informed strategic decisions regarding the integrity of their assets. Not only does Bridgeᵀᴹ optimize our work processes, all the data from the inspection activities of our clients are also gathered for future data mining—a valuable tool for deep insight on business risk management.

Axess Group also contributes to value creation by heavily investing in research and strategic development projects that contribute to sustainable innovation. One of our initiatives include machine learning for evaluation of external and internal surface conditions of corroded process equipment. We leverage technological advances such as non-destructive inspection methods and image recognition devices as well as software to increase efficiency and data quality.

The year 2018 saw Axess expand capabilities and tackle new industries. Despite the recent oil downturn, Axess stands firm and will be around for many years to come. Here’s a summary of our key milestones in the last 20 years:

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Axess Group consists of professional engineers, technicians, consultants and project managers who deliver world-class asset integrity solutions, high-quality HSE services and in-depth technical advisory, all based on extensive experience, and engineering ingenuity for the Energy industries.

For more information about our capabilities, visit our website at www.axessgroup.com , or send us an inquiry at post@axessgroup.com.

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PRACTICAL SOLUTION FOR   ENHANCED DRILLING EQUIPMENT INTEGRITY

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PRACTICAL SOLUTION FOR ENHANCED DRILLING EQUIPMENT INTEGRITY

Maintenance cutback is just one of the domino effects of lower oil price and activities within the offshore oil and gas industry, however, recent investigations indicate that near-fatal mishaps may be related to corporate cost-cutting decisions. With extreme budget cuts, is it still economically viable to maintain maximum uptime whilst ensuring long-term equipment reliability?

In this article, we present a viable two-step solution to keep and improve the technical integrity of drilling equipment without compromising production efficiency and safety.

PERFORM GAP ANALYSIS FOR OPTIMIZED OPEX AND CAPEX

Reactive and planned maintenance regimes are quite common among many companies, yet, the majority of equipment failures are not time-correlated. Aside from the original equipment manufacturer's (OEM) recommended maintenance schedule, there are several unique factors that should be taken into consideration, as proposed through API RP8B:

  •  Environmental factors:
    • Different sea depth: 150m or 1000m?
    • Cold or warm climate?
  • Type of drilling operations:
    • Exploration drilling?
    • Production well drilling?
    • Plug and well abandonment operations?
  • Load cycles:
    • Any drilling-related incidents to consider, e.g., heavy jarring due to stuck pipe problems?

  • State regulatory requirements:
    • Is the asset in compliance with relevant rules and standards of the rig’s location?
  • Operating time:
    • Where in the asset lifecycle is the equipment?
    • Close to a CAT IV re-certification survey or recently performed?
  • Repairs:
    • Has the equipment been remanufactured or modified in any way?
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GAP Analysis involves the comparison of the operational conditions the equipment is subjected to, the OEM’s suggested timeline of maintenance and repair, and the operator’s existing maintenance program. It essentially provides operators a foundation for quantifying their investment of time and capital to achieve optimal asset performance.

This practice aims to identify and eliminate non-productive maintenance tasks and replace them with a risk-based inspection program.

ESTABLISH RISK-BASED INSPECTION: BEST-IN-CLASS PRACTICES

The American Petroleum Industry (API) defines RBI as a systematic methodology that uses risk as a basis for prioritizing and managing an in-service equipment inspection program by combining both the probability of failure and the consequence of failure. It utilizes historical operational data and compliance trends to design an optimized inspection program that allocates inspection resources to high-risk equipment

The benefits of RBI include:

  • Focused and minimized inspection resources and costs
  • Optimized equipment lifetime
  • Controlled degradation by analyzing ton-mile calculations
  • Maintained technical integrity

Based on the GAP analysis including relevant standards, an RBI analysis should be performed resulting in a RBI inspection program. In addition, for RBI to work successfully, it requires a versatile and highly skilled inspection team with extensive experience in all types of drilling equipment. The greater the technical expertise on fixed and loose drilling equipment, and the understanding of the relevant standards and regulations, the better the results that in the end influences your drilling performance.

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CONCLUSION

The qualitative and quantitative information obtained from GAP analysis and RBI analysis serves as a basis for developing and implementing a prioritized inspection plan and long-term maintenance strategies. Assisting the asset owner to reduce the need for inspections where the risk of failure is low, and minimizing the time-consuming dismantling related to the preparations needed for inspection. Meanwhile, items with higher probability for failure and severe consequences are given more advanced and more frequent inspection, leading to reduced cost and increased safety.


Axess Group, a highly competent oilfield service company, provides drilling equipment integrity management for the offshore industry. Our accreditations and qualifications include:

Certified Enterprise of Competence since 2003

  • ISO 9001:2008 Certified QA System by DNV (ISO9001 certified since 2001)
  • ISO 14001 certified in 2009 for Environmental Management by DNV
  • In compliance with ABS/DNV requirements for continuous surveys
  • Our team has engineers (BSc, MSc, PhD) with extensive offshore experience and has developed RBI programs and strategies for several clients, e.g., Det Norske, Shell, Wood Group and Transocean
  • Multi-skilled teams offshore - more competence which allows the teams to solve more tasks on-site. Often in a combination of engineers and craft-certified personnel.
  • Extensive regulatory knowledge within relevant standards and regulations
  • Frame agreement with the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) for technical evaluation related to investigation and supervision

For more information about our services, contact us at post@axessgroup.com

 

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ENHANCED SAFETY IN ALPA UTILITY WINCH

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ENHANCED SAFETY IN ALPA UTILITY WINCH

Sourcing for multiple third-party vendors to customize an effective utility lifting equipment is one of the main challenges of operators and rig builders. The devices are altered to suit client application needs, however, the process potentially compromises the integrity of the system because of lack of testing.

 

Alpa Handling, a Norwegian-based material handling equipment supplier, has introduced a compact, lightweight utility winch that features superior safety functions for harsh environment applications. Designed with a safe working load ranging from 5T to 25T to support miscellaneous lifting, pulling or tensioning operations within the offshore drilling sector.

The utility winch can be driven by electric, electro-hydraulic (HPU) and hydraulic ring line, offering rig operators and manufacturers a wide range of advantages.

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Space Saving Design

Offshore drilling rig applications require equipment that are lightweight and compact, yet rugged for material handling operations. The components of Alpa utility winch -eco-friendly gearbox, brakes, electric or hydraulic motors and sensors—are framed within the fabricated alloy steel drum core. Not only does this design protect the component from external damage, it also frees up space on the deck. Its excellent power-to-weight ratio technology offers reliability for the most demanding applications.

Custom-built lifting technology

Different clients have varying requirements. Alpa has a robust and well-experienced engineering team that makes it possible to offer modular components to suit client specifications whilst keeping high product quality. With our modularized design, we can deliver different pull and wire capacities with the same proven design.

Better Tension Control

Minimizing peak tension loads encountered during heavy lifting in tough sea conditions, is one of the main challenges of the industry. Alpa utility winch can optionally be equipped with constant tension (CT) control system that provides the operator a constant line-pull to ensure that loads are lifted and landed safely.

The line-pull is set by the operator, measured by the load sensors, and consistently monitored by the central control system. If the actual load indication differs from the pre-set value, the winch will pay in or pay out wire rope to maintain the pre-set value. Alpa utility winch delivers pull from 5-25T.

Low Load Modus

The reduced load mode supports client demands such as high working speed, high reliability or large hoisting capacity while preventing the load from bouncing on the deck. It promotes efficiency and increases personnel safety.

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Radio Remote Control Technology

The ability to operate lifting equipment from a safe distance and with better vantage points, and at reduced noise levels, are some of the main benefits of controlling the lifting equipment through radio remote. The Alpa utility winch is available with radio remote control technology that allows for greater ease of winch operation, less manual labor fatigue, and increased flexibility and productivity.

Alpa’s “hands-free” line retrieval through the radio remote system minimizes the risk to the crew working on deck. They provide solutions that best fit the operator’s ergonomics and working conditions to address functional safety concerns.

Emergency Lowering

The utility winch is equipped with an emergency lowering feature which allows operators to lower the load in a precise and controlled manner in the event of power failure or unintended stop. The added back-up safety feature, Emergency Operating System (EOS), is activated through simple push button control, and may be paused or resumed whenever needed. This significantly adds safety and protection for loads, equipment and crew.

The winch is also designed with two independent braking systems, both capable of holding and stopping the load upon activation to prevent safety hazards.

Conclusion

Alpa’s utility winch technology provides a superior safe solution to an array of complex lifting operation in the most challenging environments. With certifications to regulatory standards such as NORSOK R-002, DNV SfC 2.22/ST-378, EC Machinery Directive and DNV-OS-E101, not only does the Alpa winch comply with the stringent local safe lifting standards worldwide, it also guarantees high performance, reliability and is low maintenance.

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How to reduce CUI costs with focused maintenance program

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How to reduce CUI costs with focused maintenance program

Statistical data for the oil and gas industry shows that 40-60% of pipe maintenance budgets are related to corrosion under insulation (CUI). Millions of dollars are spent annually, yet many facilities still lack maintenance programs focused on insulated process equipment and piping.

The good news is that combating CUI does not have to consume a large percentage of maintenance budgets anymore. Implementing a CUI-focused Inspection and Maintenance Program can significantly reduce costs and downtime.  

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CORROSION UNDER INSULATION: WHAT IT MEANS

Corrosion under insulation (CUI) is a damage mechanism common within the offshore installation, refineries, and petrochemical industries. The exterior corrosion is usually caused by water ingress into the insulation, worsened by moisture holdup, elevated temperatures (between 32 - 250 F / 0 - 120 C), absence or breakdown of coating, salts, and poor or broken insulation/cladding. Some insulation types have been known to accelerate corrosion when water is introduced, due to reduced pH and dissolved salts.

Because the corrosion is hidden beneath the insulation, CUI tends to remain undetected, leading to critical failure of components and potential major safety incidents.

WHY DO YOU NEED A FOCUSED MAINTENANCE PROGRAM?

Traditional CUI inspection requires insulation removal, scaffolding, coating, and reinstating the insulation on the component again after visual inspection. This is an expensive and time-consuming process, and much of the work is done to confirm that the surface under the insulation is in good condition.

Adopting a CUI-focused inspection and maintenance program is the best approach to address this problem. The components of a sound and comprehensive program will assist facility managers in making informed decisions to fight CUI whilst maintaining safe operations.

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CUI STRATEGY THAT WORKS

Axess Group has developed a focused inspection strategy to reduce the costs for evaluating the condition of insulated process equipment and piping. It entails visual inspection (VT) of insulated carbon and ferromagnetic steel piping and vessels, combined with the use of an advanced pulsed eddy current (PEC) screening tool, the Eddyfi’s Lyftᵀᴹ. This qualitative technique easily detects damaged areas, but to verify the corrosion severity, further Digital Radiographic Test (RT) is deployed to ensure accuracy, prior to making the decision to remove insulation.

Lyftᵀᴹ PEC, with its real-time C-scan imaging, fast data acquisition (up to 15 readings per second), and dynamic scanning modes, can measure the wall thickness of pipes and vessels without removing the insulation. After the turnaround at Statoil Tjeldbergodden industrial facility in 2016, Axess took the opportunity to test the capabilities of Lyft ᵀᴹ, and the results was within the range of previous Ultrasonic Thickness Measurements done while the insulation was removed. This gave Axess the confidence in LyftTM as a screening tool.

Due to Axess’ systematic CUI detection and assessment, the amount of external insulation removal and scaffolding can be kept at a minimum. This will reduce the overall maintenance cost, and based on typical costs related to insulation removal and refurbishment, show a potential for savings of more than 90%. This CUI inspection strategy will reduce the overall cost of inspection and maintenance of CUI related problems, and allow for optimized use of budgets.

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DETAILED INSPECTION REPORTS FOR MAINTENANCE PLANNING

A comprehensive report with detailed findings and optimal solutions is vital to systematic decision making. Additionally, adopting a digitalized reporting process such as the inspection software Axess Bridge could provide easy access to the technical and organizational recommendations and the captured data. When implemented, such a software solution reduces the time from inspection to decision.

CONCLUSION

The extensive expertise of Axess inspectors’ and the application of various NDE techniques, deliver key success measures to fight and monitor CUI. Implementing a CUI-focused inspection and maintenance program, which eliminates the need for extensive insulation removal and scaffolding erection, promotes savings, operational and personnel safety and technical asset integrity.

Axess Group’s team of engineers and technicians have an extensive filed experience and various levels of certification such as API 570, 510, NACE, CSWIP, NS 415, NS476, etc.

Discuss your CUI inspection and maintenance needs today. Contact us at post@axessgroup.com.  

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HOW MACHINE LEARNING CAN IMPROVE INTEGRITY MANAGEMENT

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HOW MACHINE LEARNING CAN IMPROVE INTEGRITY MANAGEMENT

Conventional inspection work processes include several repetitive and time-consuming reporting activities to ensure accurate data is collected and stored in the asset owner’s CMMS. With the integration of an inspection software, the time from inspection to final report is shrunk by 30-50%, capturing and sharing data effortlessly in real time. While it has improved the efficiency of asset management, the emergence of machine learning presented an even greater potential to transform raw information into actionable value. In this article, we look at the practical implementations of these two technologies and how they can dramatically improve the activities performed within integrity management.

QUICK ACCESS TO DATA THROUGH IMAGE RECOGNITION

Axess has developed an inspection software to increase the efficiency of the inspection work process through conventional software solutions. To further improve its functionality, machine learning may be used for object detection on images and video. Machine learning is an artificial intelligence (AI) application that analyses large amounts of data and algorithms, learnt through observation to find patterns, and thereby foresee future issues based on historic data.

An example is during inspection of lifting equipment, machine learning can identify the objects from the images taken by the field technician. Finding the correct equipment type, model, acceptance criteria and applicable compliance rules in an automated fashion reduces the time used on reporting and accessing relevant data.

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CONDITION EVALUATION

With machine learning paired with inspection software, it is possible to derive condition evaluation from images taken by the inspector. Anomalies in data collected such as corrosion detection, cracks, spillage or leaks can be assessed and captured in real time by these tools for a quick comparison of the asset condition today with the previous inspection period. This subsequently determines the next course of action necessary in the asset management lifecycle. With this type of solution, it is possible to acquire more data and evaluate the technical condition based on quantitative analysis as opposed to the qualitative analysis done by field engineers and inspectors today.

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RISK ANALYSIS

The knowledge acquired from condition evaluation leads to a thorough assessment of the damage, specifically, the probability of failure and consequence of failure. To improve the understanding and evaluation of risk, it is necessary to build a tool to estimate the probability of failure. Machine learning can be used to prepare models to predict the outcome from the input parameters and correlated historic results.

It is suggested to prepare models for prediction of probability and severity of degradation mechanism based on process information, materials and inspection history. This needs a large data set to produce a reliable and accurate inspection strategy: focusing on components with the highest risk, coverage and frequency of inspections. The result is a more optimized use of inspection budget to reduce the overall risk.

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CONCLUSION

Inspection software, when paired with machine learning, can improve business services significantly—from defects identification to compliance and maintenance solutions. This innovative methodology will increase the rate of data capture, provide comprehensive real-time data comparison, and allow new types of data to be used for condition evaluation. At Axess, we leverage technology to continuously deliver accurate and reliable asset integrity solutions.

Currently, Axess has an ongoing project covering the profitability of machine learning, supported by the Norwegian Regional Research Fund and some academic and industry partners. The results will be presented at the SPE International Oilfield Corrosion Conference and Exhibition in Aberdeen 18-19 June 2018. We hope to see you there!

For future collaboration, contact us at  post@axessgroup.com

 

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Mitigating the Risks of  DROPPED OBJECTS

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Mitigating the Risks of DROPPED OBJECTS

The risks to personnel and assets from dropped objects is well known in the oil and gas industry. Twenty-four dropped object incidents were reported in 2016 offshore Australia, according to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), an Australian Commonwealth statutory agency that regulates the nation’s health and safety, well integrity and environmental management of all offshore petroleum facilities in Commonwealth waters. Among these cases, 54% have occurred on mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs) and 42% of these events could have led to fatality or serious injury.

Operators have identified that the underlying cause of dropped objects is lack of procedure: insufficient hazard identification and risk control prior to conducting lifting operations, as well as non-compliance with the job-specific lifting operations manuals and procedures. The absence of preventive maintenance consequently results in failure of equipment due to inadequate understanding of corrosion risks, lifting equipment design limitations and poor inspection regimes.

ADEQUATE PROCEDURES AND TRAINING

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All personnel working in DROPS exposed areas on the vessel — rig managers, technical superintendents, stability section leaders, safety officers and other relevant personnel—should have a basic introduction and training to the best practices for prevention of dropped objects. The company dropped object procedures must be pursued and distributed by both the company HSE and senior management; these documents must be active and dynamic over time. A top down approach to dropped object prevention ensures the company is thinking about the issues in all aspects of their work and at all levels within the organisation.

 

EXECUTION OF DROPS INSPECTIONS

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Along with absolute ownership to the challenges with DROPS from management and crew, implementing a DROPS inspection system by a competent engineering inspection provider has proven to be a crucial preventive measure for mitigating risks associated with dropped objects. Frequent inspection regimes contribute to DROPS awareness and increased knowledge to prevent falling object incidents.

 

SECONDARY RETENTION

Correct materials for secondary retention—safety-wiring, lock nuts, carabiners, cotter pins, safety netting etc.— must be installed on equipment in locations with present a high risk in the event of failure. The DROPS Calculator should be used when determining required securing among other factors, such as items location, materials etc. (see figure 1).. It is important that spare securing items are available for crew. The cost for storing a few secondary retention materials onboard is very low but the HSE advantage is very high.

 

Figure 1. DROPS Calculator (Source: www.dropsonline.org)

Figure 1. DROPS Calculator (Source: www.dropsonline.org)

CLOSING OF FINDINGS

It is critical to implement the corrective action based on the inspection’s findings to promptly eliminate the chances of a workplace incident. Don’t let the findings stand untouched until the next annual inspection.

 

 

CONCLUSION

As maximum uptime and production is the main goal of  stakeholders, avoiding accidents should always be  top priority. That said, employing an independent inspection body that can help implement an efficient dropped object prevention plan and long-term inspection routine, is essential to maintain utmost safety without causing operational disruption whilst protecting your reputation.

Axess Group’s DROPS management system and inspection program is a systematic approach to reduce the risk of dropped objects while ensuring compliance and HSE. We have carried out dropped object inspections on drilling platforms, FPSOs, MODUs, fixed platforms, FLNGs and onshore plants to the oil and gas sectors around the world. Axess Group is a certified member of Dropped Objects Prevention Scheme Global Resource Centre (DROPS Online).


 

Contact our DROPS Engineering department for future collaborations at post@axessgroup.com.

For more information, visit our website at www.axessgroup.com.

 

Cover photo: "Ocean Star Drilling Rig" by Ed Schipul is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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What comprises a successful Risk Based Inspection (RBI) implementation?  Risk Based Inspection Program

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What comprises a successful Risk Based Inspection (RBI) implementation? Risk Based Inspection Program

The American Petroleum Institute (API) defines RBI as an inspection approach that uses risk as a basis for prioritizing and managing in-service equipment inspection program, by combining both the likelihood of failure and the consequence of failure. The oil and gas industry, as well as other sectors, has been adopting this methodology for a while as it is both safe and cost-efficient.

 

Improving the safety and integrity of pressurized systems requires both internal and external experts with the right competence, extensive experience and qualifications. Selecting the team you have in place could either bring you operational safety or integrity failure. Read on to know what comprises an RBI program that will help you ensure the technical integrity of your pressurized systems.

 

COMPLETE INTEGRITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM FOR HIGH AND LOW-PRESSURE PIPING SYSTEMS, MANIFOLDS AND PRESSURE VESSELS

A holistic RBI strategy mitigates potential risks and serious injury from the hazard of pressure system failure. This requires a highly-skilled team with extensive engineering knowledge and expertise in assessing the risks that may lead to integrity failure.

 

RISK BASED STRATEGY ACCORDING TO ACKNOWLEDGED METHODOLOGIES

Reliable risk based inspection programs must conform with recommended practices developed by acknowledge methodologies such as API 580, API 581 and DNV RP-G101 as these procedures systematically reduce the probability and consequence of failure by prioritizing resources to high risk equipment. 

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FULL COMPLIANCE WITH AUTHORITY REGULATIONS

Third-party inspection companies with accreditations and compliance from statutory agencies, class societies, company internal guidelines and operator requirements have the expertise, resources and commitment to delivering RBI work effectively. 

 

PREDICTABLE COSTS AND AN OPTIMIZED REPLACEMENT STRATEGY

With RBI system in place, potential risk could be identified even before they materialize, thus maintenance and replacement strategies could be planned to prevent unexpected shutdowns.

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SAFE AND COST EFFECTIVE LONG-TERM INSPECTION PROGRAM

Inspection and maintenance resources focused on systems with the highest identified risks often results to reduced plant downtime, which then promotes safety and significant cost savings in the long run.

 

SYSTEMATIC EVALUATION OF INSPECTION RESULTS AND PROPOSALS FOR IMPROVEMENTS AND ACTIONS

Systematic evaluation and condition assessment from the RBI data is the foundation for high quality improvement report and long-term inspection program which includes long-term benefits. Proposed solutions must cover a comprehensive scope of engineering disciplines—electrochemistry, material science and corrosion processes.

 

IN A NUTSHELL

Although no systems are entirely excluded in RBI program, the systems with highest identified risk associated with the loss of containment will be subject to a higher level of inspection focus. This RBI approach ensures a correct focus for the utilization of resources on systems where the greatest safety and maintenance benefits can be achieved.


 

Engage the right team with the right technical skills, knowledge and experience. Contact us at post@axessgroup.com for more information about our risk based inspection program.

 

All photos by Terje Aamodt

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TOP 3 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE INVESTING IN A LIFTING EQUIPMENT COMPLIANCE TOOL

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TOP 3 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE INVESTING IN A LIFTING EQUIPMENT COMPLIANCE TOOL

Leveraging technology to assess the integrity of offshore installations has become the new business model of many oil and gas companies. Slowly, asset owners are adopting to digitalisation to streamline equipment compliance that will help them maximise productivity and reduce operational costs without compromising safety.

 

Automation of offshore activities is critical; therefore, selecting which asset management software to invest in should be considered thoroughly. At Axess Group, we constantly foster a collaborative culture with our customers, which allows us to fine-tune our lifting equipment compliance software continuously. For this reason, we have listed the core features and benefits to look out for when choosing the best solution that will help you improve your offshore data management.

1. EASY IDENTIFICATION SPEEDS UP TROUBLESHOOTING

Offshore companies in the drilling sector usually have an individual database for each of their offshore platforms, having too much data stored across multiple systems. As a result, operators find it difficult to access real-time data needed to actively control and monitor critical operational risks. 

Whenever an issue arose, engineers sometimes need to travel to the installation via helicopter to retrieve data, analyse it, and troubleshoot, which could take up to several weeks, and on worst scenarios, may trigger platform shutdowns. This process is not only time-consuming, it also incurs millions of dollars in operating losses.

A centralized software with easy identification feature will speed up the problem-solving process, allowing equipment owners and suppliers to access historical and real-time data in just a few clicks.

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KEY FUNCTIONALITIES TO LOOK OUT FOR:

✔ Unique ID – Software solution that supports the following identifiers reduces the time needed for inspection.

► Picture Recognition – Photo reference of areas allows easy tracking of equipment within the inspector’s proximity.

Drawings – General arrangement drawings clearly highlights the locations of lifting components.

Tag systems - Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags and bar code systems enhances traceability and promotes better productivity.

✔ Tag Hierarchy – Having a simplified overview of both static and dynamic data according to level of importance provides high visibility of impending deadlines and compliance requirements.

✔ Centralized System – Seamless integration with most maintenance management systems enables equipment owners and suppliers to monitor and optimize the overall reliability and productivity of their offshore assets. 

 

2.    CONSOLIDATED INSPECTION STATUS REPORTS

Traditional infield inspection processes involve laborious paperwork which usually takes up more time than the actual work itself. A reliable web or app-based equipment compliance tool must be able to shrink inspection time to 40-50%, making the report available to clients at the soonest possible time.

The ability for asset owners and staff on-board to have a standardized overview of the historical data and real-time findings allow both parties to investigate causes of issues and recommend corrective action immediately.

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KEY FUNCTIONALITIES TO LOOK OUT FOR:

✔ Description – A database with a complete description, photo, and technical specifications of individual lifting equipment streamlines cooperation across all user profiles.

✔ Findings – By knowing what triggered incidents in the past, platform operators and engineers can achieve the following:

► Detect early signs of equipment failure

► Quickly rectify problems

► Improving operational safety and reliability

 ✔ Trends – Tracking the inspection history of the entire equipment inventory not only helps suppliers to set performance standards internally, it also empowers staff to meet those targets, and to ultimately save time and money.

 

3.    AUTOMATIC GENERATION OF DOCUMENTATION

A compliance software, when integrated into the asset owner’s maintenance management philosophy, must be able to address the mandated inspection plans. Moreover, the system should be able to produce findings, a clear description on the cause of equipment failure, and recommendations on how to fix the problems.

Compliance with the formal documentation requirements for lifting equipment and offshore machinery is pursuant to the European Economic Area (EEA) trade law. It is an international mandate that lifting appliances on offshore vessels must comply with the technical conformity assessment of regulatory bodies, e.g, Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA), Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (NLIA), Brazilian Minister of Labour (MTE) and Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER).

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It is therefore vital for equipment owners and suppliers to have a reliable system that can automatically generate all their lifting equipment certificates (LEC) for easy compliance audits. The availability of all statutory documents and user manuals in one database completes the full functionality that asset owners need to achieve overall operational excellence.

 

IN A NUTSHELL

Investing in a lifting equipment compliance tool requires a comprehensive review of the features and real benefits to ensure efficiency and safety across the entire offshore operations. Having a standardized software solution for all your assets significantly saves time and costs associated with data retrieval, analysis, and documentation.


Axess Group’s own software division has developed Bridgeᵀᴹ, a web application that streamlines the entire inspection and asset integrity management processes. It offers equipment owners, suppliers and inspectors complete control of their lifting equipment compliance with EQUIPᵀᴹ module.

EQUIPᵀᴹ has been utilized on more than 100 assets and facilities worldwide, with over 250,000 number of lifting equipment in our portfolio. With our continuous releases and configurations, we guarantee a reliable investment and added value for our customers in the oil and gas industry.  

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Email us at post@axessgroup.com for more information!

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OPTIMIZING OFFSHORE INSTALLATIONS INVENTORY THROUGH DATA-DRIVEN SOLUTIONS

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OPTIMIZING OFFSHORE INSTALLATIONS INVENTORY THROUGH DATA-DRIVEN SOLUTIONS

We have initiated data mining from 300,000 offshore lifting equipment inspections recorded through our web-based interface, *Equipᵀᴹ, and the results were surprising.

 

The information covered a span of more than three years with a total of 345 assets worldwide, ranging from fixed installations, mobile offshore units and FPSO vessels.

One of the key analyses derived from the study was how the vast amount of inspection data could be an effective tool in optimizing any offshore installations’ inventory. Read on to discover insights that will help you reap operational benefits from our historical inspection data.

PREDICTIVE ANALYSIS BETWEEN SIMILAR RIGS

Our data show that similar installations have huge differences in the amount of lifting equipment inventory, nevertheless, the in-depth analysis presented by affinity rigs could provide key knowledge that can predict future failure patterns.  By utilizing historical data associated with inspection, repair and maintenance records of similar rigs, we can strategically advise what type of equipment would yield the best result, how much quantity is needed, how often the equipment needs replacement, or which types of gear have the least number of faults.

Our improvement reports, systematically categorized into organization, technical and design, allow us to deliver higher precision analysis for future maintenance requirements of similar rigs.                                                                                      

ACHIEVE MAXIMUM PRODUCTIVITY

Majority of the technical incidents we have gathered associated with lifting equipment are mechanical damage (38%) and corrosion (24%). Lifting equipment failure often results in costly down-time, and may cause disastrous impact in the rig’s operation on extreme cases.

By analyzing the similarities between incident reports in our database, we can optimize the time allotted for inspection and maintenance, allowing rig-owners to focus on the most important part of their operations. The information and evaluations provided in our report allow us to advise the most suitable equipment inventory that can yield maximum productivity on any offshore installation type.

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IDENTIFY COST-SAVING OPPORTUNITIES

In the upstream industry, it is very common for asset owners to hold too many items on their offshore assets, nevertheless, our data-driven solutions can optimize the costs associated with the purchase and subsequent maintenance of these equipment. E.g., assets with too much lifting equipment has a negative effect on the company’s annual inspection budget due to the excessive associated costs in maintaining, certifying and registering of potentially redundant equipment. Having an optimized procurement plan based on the information provided by Axess’ data mining, we can optimize our clients’ inventory, prevent expensive down-time and long lead times, allowing them to save time and costs in the long run.

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ESTABLISH INVENTORY FOR NEWBUILDS

Optimized equipment inventory plays a key role in ensuring the reliability and safety of newbuild offshore installations. Through our vast maintenance history on newbuilds, we have a competitive advantage in analyzing which maintenance activities are really needed, identify potential cause of failure and implement the lessons learned from the past. As a result of our experience and data capture, Axess are able to assist in creating the necessary maintenance schedules for various lifting equipment and machinery onboard such vessels, allowing a simplified and streamlined approach to tackling maintenance and inspection needs.

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IN A NUTSHELL

Overall, we strongly believe that the use of inspection data in optimizing lifting equipment inventory can significantly reduce costs and time related to purchase, inspection and maintenance. Our goal is to focus inspection and maintenance where it is truly needed to facilitate efficient, cost-effective, sustainable and safe operations.

 


Disclaimer: The Lifting equipment inspection data is gathered from our database to give an informative presentation and should not be taken out of context. The use of the data must be approved by Axess Group. Contact us for more information.

 

*Equipᵀᴹ is a web-based system that our clients use to keep and demonstrate control of their offshore lifting equipment. Click here for more information about the software.

 

Main photo by Terje Aamodt

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AXESS WORLDWIDE:  AFRICA  STRATEGIC ACQUISITION

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AXESS WORLDWIDE: AFRICA STRATEGIC ACQUISITION

New acquisition boosts Axess Group’s footprint in Africa

Axess Group has expanded its service offerings in Southern Africa through the acquisition of its long-running offshore services partner Skysite Offshore based in Cape Town. After five years of strong collaboration, the Group has decided to buy the majority shares of Skysite Offshore.

Skysite Offshore is a South African-based offshore asset integrity management provider, specializing in diverse offshore inspection and maintenance services for the upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas sector. The company has ten years’ experience in the offshore service sector, and individual branch certifications for major class societies.

Situated in Cape Town, Axess Offshore Africa Ltd., is now the operational African headquarters that will service the entire region, headed by Managing Director, Mr. Maarten Turkstra.

Axess Group has regarded Skysite Offshore as a strong international partner with a solid footprint in Africa. By acquiring one of the forerunners in the region, Axess Group would be able to strengthen its full spectrum of services and position itself as a leader in asset integrity management within the industry.

Maarten Turkstra, Managing Director of Axess Offshore Africa, said: “We’re excited to bring the full offerings of the Axess Group into Africa and expand on our services to include Engineering, Risked Based Inspection (RBI), crane inspection and maintenance through *Alpa AS, and leverage our global footprint, providing a quality end service to our Clients.”

Maarten Turkstra is the Managing Director of Axess Group's headquarters in the African region. 

Maarten Turkstra is the Managing Director of Axess Group's headquarters in the African region. 

 

*Alpa AS, established in January 2015 in Molde Norway, is a legal entity of Axess Group specializing in design, modification and development of offshore material handling equipment. Visit www.alpahandling.com for more information.

 

Cover Photo: "Cape Point HDR" by Nicolas Raymond is licensed under CC BY 3.0

 

Maarten Turkstra is the Managing Director of Axess Group's headquarters in the African region. 

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AIR CONCEPT:      Access, Inspection & Rescue

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AIR CONCEPT: Access, Inspection & Rescue

Implementing confined space rescue solution for Statoil Mongstad FCC turnaround

 

CLIENT: STATOIL ASA

ASSET: MONGSTAD FCC, RS14 TURNAROUND

LOCATION: MONGSTAD, NORWAY

CHALLENGES:

During the 2014 turnaround at the Mongstad Refinery, Norway, Statoil commissioned the Axess Group to enhance the existing confined space rescue procedures during inspection and repair operations of the FCCU. The plant’s reactor and regenerator were the key areas of responsibility; however, it was extremely crucial to conduct an internal inspection in these areas due to limited means of access, associated confined space risks and difficulty exiting in case of emergency.

SOLUTION:

After an intensive risk assessment and comprehensive review of the current rescue and escape plans, Axess proposed an optimal solution using the AIR concept (fig. 1). This method supports safe access to areas within confined spaces, allows refractory and mechanical inspections within the fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit, and provides rescue and assistance for personnel working at height.

Figure 1: Project Air – FCC Inspection Support Disciplines

Figure 1: Project Air – FCC Inspection Support Disciplines

With Axess’ expertise in mechanical inspections in confined spaces the proposed solution was decided upon as the best solution. In collaboration with Statoil’s Fire & Rescue and HSE Department, Axess developed a safe job analysis, safe egress to all areas under consideration, and a revised rescue plan.

TRAINING STATOIL CONTRACTORS

Prior to implementing the rescue plan, Axess designed and delivered a training program for Statoil’s internal workforce. The program included drills using rope access techniques, rolling ladders and customized work platforms, to limit the need for extensive scaffolding for work teams carrying out the mechanical tasks. Simulated worst-case scenarios were presented to demonstrate the safe methodology for escape and rescue/ retrieval of potentially injured staff.

Prior to ingress into a confined space, Axess gave Statoil’s contractors a thorough pre-entry briefing as well as specialist climbing equipment such as harnesses, industrial climbing helmets, and head torches. Axess’ safety leaders provided job-specific training focused on attention to detail, personal safety management and building confidence in the capability of the rescue team. 

As inspections and remedial works progressed, the employees eventually gained confidence in entering dangerous areas, allowing them to perform tasks more efficiently. 

Figure 2:  Axess Group's qualified technician uses the AIR method in accessing a reactor cyclone for refractory and mechanical inspections.

Figure 2:  Axess Group's qualified technician uses the AIR method in accessing a reactor cyclone for refractory and mechanical inspections.

 

BENEFITS

Deployment of personnel deeper into areas requiring discovery inspection and refractory repair led to increased safety and productivity during the FCCU turnaround schedule.

Contrary to the traditional method of access, the AIR concept allowed the onsite rescue team to lower inspection personnel into areas of interest without using scaffolding. The success of this approach prompted Statoil to re-evaluate future confined space access requirements in other areas of the refinery.

 

Posted on 30 June 2017 by Andrew Hodgkinson

Visit our website for more information: www.axessgroup.com

Cover Photo: "Confined Space Training" by Manchester Fire is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

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Alpa: LOAD RECORDER

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Alpa: LOAD RECORDER

We can probably never fulfill the desire for eternal life of a crane. However, we can assist in assuring that operations are conducted in a safe manner and provide a longer operating life for each crane.

The load analyzer, Alpa Load Recorder, was fully developed in 2012 and since its inception has seen a growing demand within the market. This analyzer is probably the most complete online analyzer in the market. It delivers black box functionality, a complete history over performed lifts and a lifetime calculator available directly on the display. Maintenance schedule calendar is also available as an option. All this can be integrated with the control system in a PLC or delivered as an independent system.

LIFE EXTENSION

One of the major advantages of the system is lifetime monitoring that goes down to the component level in a crane, such as gears, pumps, motors etc. You can have full control over all lift operations made during the operation life of the crane, and have control of the load distribution on the structure and machinery. There is a maintenance calendar system based on equipment load or operational hours in addition to a regular calendar which is based on maintenance intervals. All this enables customers to do thorough ongoing analysis of the need for maintenance at any time, prolonging the operational life of the crane.

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NEW COMPANY: EXPERIENCED PERSONNEL

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NEW COMPANY: EXPERIENCED PERSONNEL

Axess has spun off a new company and moved 25 people over to a separate legal entity that will use all their energy on developing products and delivering services. Alpa will challenge the market with effective solutions that will make their customers businesses easier, and safer. Gunnar Gjeldvik, CEO of Alpa shares his view on the new company and the future.

 

The Axess expertise is deeply rooted in the industrial environment around Romsdalsfjorden, evolving from the early 1900s. Historically, this environment has been, and still is a leader in innovative solutions within shipbuilding, marine propulsion systems and material handling equipment. 

Axess has since 2000 expanded to become a market leader within the area of control and certification of cranes and lifting equipment and is currently the largest service provider in Norway. This position is achieved through our broad expertise within crane- and lifting appliances.The challenge we have experienced through our growth was that some of our departments were hidden among the 14 different services Axess has to offer. Thus, one of the main reasons for establishing Alpa, was to differentiate Axess’ activities within verification and certification, and Alpa’s focus on modification, new design and product development. I believe that both companies will improve by separating these units. This gives us the ability to focus on what we do best. It is all about bringing the quality of our products and services to a new level. Both companies will collaborate on several projects, and with the core of former Axess employees, it is natural to transfer the successful performance culture from Axess to Alpa.

Simplicity

For us it is important from the incorporation of the company to create a clear identity and a way of thinking that will bring out the best in every engineer working in Alpa. We strive for simplicity as a solution to every complex challenge. It’s easy to make things bigger and more complex. We will have the courage to move in the opposite direction.

Alpa will focus on material handling methods based on our personnels passion for finding safe and efficient solutions for our clients. The Alpa team have simplicity as their main goal for every product. We are constantly challenging ourselves in how to obtain the best and safest functionality, with minimum complexity in the end product. Our experience gives us deep insight in drilling operations, and we focus on every part of material handling from shore to rotary.

 
We strive for simplicity as a solution to every complex challenge. It’s easy to make things bigger and more complex. It takes insight and courage to move in the opposite direction.
 

BRIGHT FUTURE

In the long run, I believe that the future of our business is bright. The low oil prices challenge us as we speak, but it has been a continuous growth within the oil business during the last ten years. History proves that a correction is wise, to achieve a necessary cool down in the market. This gives us a chance to bring our core business on a track prepared for the future of the oil and gas industry.

In Alpa, we will focus to build a service-minded culture putting the client needs in front. We will strive to respond and to deliver before or on time, every time. Keywords are “ready to use, solutions which are safe, easy to operate and maintain, machines with high-reliability components and design”. Our mission is to bring forward good solutions from the client need, to installed, commissioned and certified projects. Focus on project management, documentation, cost and communication is essential for us when building Alpa.

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If we go back 10 years, the oil price was considerably lower than now and the activity level was far lower. So if we can deliver high quality, cost-efficient solutions, I think the future is bright and brings a lot of possibilities.

Our customers have more and more equipment that increases the complexity of every operation. We want to listen to our customers' thoughts for the future and actively take part in making the next generation of solutions. The way material handling will be operated in the future is part of a constant evolution. One of the keys to lower costs is the ability to simplify solutions that will lead to efficiency without compromising safety. We believe the timing is right to give our highly competent material handling department necessary focus and resources to exploit the market potential.

We have already made a lot of different solutions for offshore cranes, BOP cranes, Riser cranes, Pipe handling cranes and Riser pull in winches, to name a few. 

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 PASSION: IVAR HESTNES   THE ART OF FLIGHT

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PASSION: IVAR HESTNES THE ART OF FLIGHT

He is a living legend within the global aviation simulator community. His passion for building advanced simulators brought him to places and experiences he can’t talk about in public. The Alpa employee has close to the same knowledge about a Boeing 737 as an educated pilot.

 

How did you get started with aviation simulators?

First time I used a simulator was on an Amiga in the 80’s. But it didn’t catch me. The graphics were bad, so I moved on doing other stuff on computers. In my late twenties it came back to me. I saw a simulator on the internet and thought that it would be cool to have one in my basement. Basically a crazy idea. But I couldn’t let the idea go. I had a chat with my neighbour about my plans. He was quick to reply, "You can do it, why don’t you just build one?". So it started ten years ago, just before I turned 30. I was single so it made it much easier to start the project.

 

How do you start to build something as complex as a full-sized simulator?

I decided to build a full-scale cockpit in my basement. I didn’t have any drawings to start the project, so I did a lot of research to find measurements and a lot of pictures which I scaled up to real size. I figured out where the components were to be placed. I started with what I had, which was the size of the instrument panel. Building one thing led to the measurement of the next component. I had the exact width of the plane, so I just did the math. The simulator was built from the inside out.

 

How realistically did you manage to build it?

The simulator was pretty close to a real Boeing 737 cockpit. I used some replica parts, but they have the same function as the real ones. Suddenly, I had a pilot calling me, wanting to use it as a training simulator in between two jobs. He came from Ryanair and applied for a job at Norwegian, and came to me for a weekend of training before his job interview at Norwegian.

He was happy. He got the job.

 
My passion for research, planning, components and building something from scratch is helping me to conduct my tasks at Alpa even better.
 

 

How many components, hours and pennies have you spent on the simulator?

I divided the cockpit into a few main categories. The main instrument panel, the overhead rack, the pedestal rack and the controls. With all the small pieces it is a lot of components. Thousands! I’ve spent about five years and 3500 hours building it. It cost me about kr 300.000,- in parts, plus all the travelling and shipping expenses.

 

You started this project as a bachelor, but now you are married. How is your wife dealing with your passion?

Fortunately my wife didn’t have any objections about my project when we were dating. She’s realized that this project was a big part of my life. She married me and my passion.

 

You have quite a standing in the aviation simulator community, how did this happen?

We were in touch with others on internet forums. Real aviation geeks! The idea of making a film came up. We did it just for fun. Spent three and a half weeks creating a video of the simulator from inside of the cockpit and outside. That had never been done before. We got massive response. People were very impressed. Newspapers in Norway published articles about the video and my simulator. Rumors started spreading. I earned a pretty good reputation because of it. Not just in Norway, but around the world.

Then what happened?

I was working in a transportation company at that time. One day when I was at work, I got a phone call from a very long number. It was an institution in Bahrain. They addressed a problem with their simulator and wondered if I could come down for a visit and fix it. I did, and ended up staying there for two years as an employee at this institution. I had many amazing experiences which I can’t talk about in detail.

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Obviously, your skills with the simulator has changed your life. How did you cope with it all?

Suddenly I moved up from being just one of many to become one of a very few. People started contacting me for simulator advice day and night. Just before I moved to Bahrain, I stepped down and went under the radar. It was too much. People talk about me as a simulator legend. I’m kind of a low key guy, so I don’t use those words myself. But it has put me in a position as one of the best in the simulator world.

 

Have you ever tried flying a real aircraft?

I’ve tried a small aircraft, Piper. But I don’t strive for taking pilot lessons. Of course, if I ever get the opportunity to fly a Boeing 737, I will grab it. I’ve tried the professional simulators a few times with engine failure and landing gear failure.

I managed to land them without serious damage. In theory I could manage to land a Boeing 737 in real life if it came to it. The difference would of course be the mental stress in real life, but if I keep my head straight and the weather condition isn’t too bad I could land one. To be honest, I prefer the idea of building a simulator rather than flying it. In the beginning of the simulator project I was driven by the thought of flying it, but that quickly changed. I loved the process of building it more.

 

What is the difference between a professional simulator and the one you built?

They are harder and more realistic, with hydraulic motion in the cockpit and amazing graphics. But then again they cost about 100-150 million Norwegian Kroner. There were things that worked better in my simulator. The professional ones had only a limited selection of airports. In my simulator we had the whole world. I could land in Sogndal or Tokyo and fly under the bridge in Tromsø. We based the software on Microsoft Flight Simulator. It is pretty open, so we modified it and adapted what we needed in my simulator.

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What plans do you have for your simulator in the future?

I actually ended up selling my simulator. I had to move on. The simulator started to be a stress moment. It was too many things I wanted to change, I didn’t enjoy flying it because I wanted more. So I am now planning to build a new one, but I’m not stressing. I have ordered a complete new panel-kit, the same as in a real Boeing 737. That’s my aircraft. I like to use switches and not just LCD screens, so I will build the same type of aircraft again. I’m going to pick up a real cockpit from an aircraft at a scrapyard in USA or England, transport it back to Molde and find a proper location for it. I have some ideas for it, but first we have to build a new kitchen in our house. Sometimes reason wins over passion.

 

Is your passion in life helping your performance at work?

Definitely. My passion for research, planning, components and building something from scratch is helping me to conduct my tasks at Alpa even better.

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STRUCTURAL INTERGITY MANAGEMENT  INSPECTION HISTORY AS A TOOL

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STRUCTURAL INTERGITY MANAGEMENT INSPECTION HISTORY AS A TOOL

When operating an aging semi-sub in the harsh conditions experienced in the North Sea this winter, you want to be confident that the structural integrity is acceptable. Axess is the client’s partner to control structural integrity.

 

Many rigs are operating far beyond the initial design fatigue life. But with old age comes long experience. Axess assess the extensive inspection and crack history with a reliability-based integrity program called AIMS (Assessment Integrity Management Structure) to make clients able to extend service intervals for aging units from 2.5 to 5 years. Axess challenge the conservative assumptions from the structural analyses made. The actual fatigue life of a structural member depends very much on the small details.

Axess Structural Integrity Management (SIM) department has trained structural engineers with knowledge and emphasis on the effect fabrication quality, detailed design and small modifications have on actual fatigue life. On some rigs Axess also performs strain gauge measurements at special areas for years to be able to adjust structural analysis models and help achieve longer and more realistic fatigue life values.

SIM also has a highly experienced Marine Structural Analysis team which can do new global and local analyses on both the maximum loads from extreme weather on the hull and the fatigue of repeated loads from operating in harsh conditions year after year. More importantly our team assess the extensive set of analyses performed by others, helps the client verify them and make decisions as a result of them. 

RENEWAL SURVEY

Axess uses the AIMS follow up regime extended with a level of detail more extensive than the standard DNV IIP. It has detailed in-service fatigue analyses, RBI analyses, including inspection history and is further extended with As-is description and improved follow up regime for inspection repair, mod- ifications and weld improvement. AIMS has a probabilistic approach that assesses the findings compared to what theory predicts. Axess uses the inspection results to modify the in-service inspection program.

When planning a renewal survey, the structural integrity engineer goes through the findings since last RS, defines or calculates accept criteria from the structural analyses and regulations and decides which findings need repair or modifications and what measures to take.

 
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The yard stay is also the time to do bigger structural modifications to increase payload or stability. Some clients use Axess as a structural integrity partner to help control these projects. Axess assess which structural analyses the client’s sub supplier must provide and help verify the results. Reading through the reports is not sufficient quality assurance when it comes to structural analysis but one needs to go through the models run.

Verifying the results from the client’s perspective is important to control what actually needs to be done. At a yard stay the suggested modifications are many but taking the correct actions is key. Doing many modifications does not help if the important one is missed. Axess helps the client maintaining the level of safety while also controlling the modification scope.

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INNOVATION: SHAPING THE FUTURE

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INNOVATION: SHAPING THE FUTURE

Axess takes innovation seriously and has done so for years. We look at it as a proficiency of its own. Knut Festervoll, Head of Innovation at Axess, will share his thoughts on innovation in this and future Axess Magazines. We hope you find it as interesting as we do!

Change is the only constant and the speed of change has always been considered high and ever increasing. This is as true today as ever for the energy industry. We see a rapid increase of supply through the shale oil and gas in the US and a decline in demand. This has in turn reduced the price drastically. To make things more challenging on a short term, OPEC has stated that they will not reduce their production to push the prices back up. All this will force an entire industry to look for smarter and more cost efficient ways to work.

An industry or a company in distress has proven a very effective tool to promote innovation. You might have heard the term innovate or die or “burning platform”, both are responses to a crisis and you don’t want to be there. In Axess we believe in taking care of innovation on two levels. The first level is through every day operation and continuous improvement. This is the major part of all our development and innovation. By continuously improving and developing our services we don’t fall behind the competition.

The second level of innovation is when we need new knowledge, systems, partners, organizational structures or other larger and more complex improvements. The development of EquipTM is a good example of this. Axess had little to no experience in developing software. We had to build a new organization ending up as a subsidiary company in the Axess Group developing software complimentary to our

services. Today we use EquipTM as our tool for inspection of all lifting related equipment offshore. This system is widely used by our customers with over 100 installations utilizing EquipTM. It has increased the value for the customer greatly in addition to raising the bar on efficiency in the industry. EquipTM was launched as a demo late 2012 and has grown to become a great success.

Both the short and long term development project has one very important thing in common, the customer is in the center. All our innovation projects are strongly funded on customer needs and usually co-created with the customer.

This way we ensure that all the needs are met and that the customer gets what they need and want. With hundreds of employees interacting with customers each day we discover unmet needs on a daily basis and respond to them in the best possible way.

We believe that our approach to innovation with both short term continuous improvements and the longer and more strategic development projects serves our customers very well. We are ready to meet the new challenges in the market and will continue to improve our existing services in addition to offer completely new services to our customers. We promise to stay ahead of the game by delivering great value to our customers, adapt to change and prepare for the future!

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AXESS WORLDWIDE: HOUSTON GAINING A FOOTHOLD

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AXESS WORLDWIDE: HOUSTON GAINING A FOOTHOLD

A promise to a key client, that Axess would be present in Houston to serve them when they arrived in the Gulf of Mexico, led to the establishment of an office in the energy capital of the world.

 

The process of setting up office and getting the business running was a project Axess approached with great respect. They formed a strategy to be present with local offices in the main hubs of the global oil and gas industry. Fortunately, their promise to one of their global key clients led to a fast establishment of the office in Houston. With growth of 50% last year combined with strong feedback from their clients, show that Axess’ presence has been well received in the North American market.

Due to the current downturn in the oil and gas market, competitive and predictable cost have become more important than ever before. “When we combine our planning capabilities, tools and experience gained from integrity management contracts and projects on more than 300 different offshore units, we can deliver predictable costs. At the same time we can deliver the quality that we know our clients are depending on” says Jostein Tverdal, MD at Axess Houston.

Jostein Tverdal recently relocated from the Axess headquarters in Norway to Houston. He has served in several positions within the Axess Group from the last eight years, and is now taking on his biggest challenge so far. “We have solid in-house competence here in Houston and a broad client base. We are optimistic about the future, but also highly focused on staying relevant and competitive. At the present time we are developing a new unit delivering advisory services, which will be launched later this year. Challenging times certainly dictates good and smart solutions. We’re keeping our heads cool and our long-term targets in sight”, says Tverdal.

Fredrik Rakvåg, Jostein Tverdal, Christian Nerland, Christy Heiland, Thomas Chen and Matthew Cottell at the Houston Office.

Fredrik Rakvåg, Jostein Tverdal, Christian Nerland, Christy Heiland, Thomas Chen and Matthew Cottell at the Houston Office.

Total Rig Integrity Management (TRIM)

Axess has developed TRIM, Total Rig Integrity Management – an approach that has positioned them as a trustworthy company, delivering consistently over time. TRIM is challenging the traditional way of running an integrity management process.

The two main pillars of the concept are the cost optimizing of the integrity management process by taking advantage of service synergy effects, and safeguard against asset failures by maintaining safety barrier functions.

These pillars then result in ensuring compliance with current statutory, class and company requirements. “On a practical level, Axess has incorporated the use of risk-based methodology and when this is combined with known baseline conditions, we can utilize our system tools to ensure efficient inspections and a functioning integrity management process. Over time, we provide our clients with valuable knowledge and trends when it comes to the status and condition of their assets. The reports we deliver ensure that clients have the documentation they need to make the correct decisions and remain compliant. This way, we save cost for our clients”, says Tverdal.

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Axess Worldwide: Aberdeen Growing amidst new market conditions

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Axess Worldwide: Aberdeen Growing amidst new market conditions

Despite the oil gloom that has extremely affected Scotland in the last couple of years, Axess Group stays adamant to follow its key partners across borders, which led to an establishment of an office in Britain’s oil capital. 

 

Opening an office in Aberdeen has been one of the top priorities of Axess Group, however, the plans had been shelved due to the economic downturn in 2015. After winning a major contract with the world’s largest offshore drilling contractor in November 2016, the ambition to set a foothold in the Granite City, has finally been realised.

Axess North Sea Ltd. will be launching the opening of its own building in Dyce, Aberdeen, by the end of this month. Along with the strong support from the global hubs, Donna Gray, Operations Manager at Axess North Sea, supervises the business development in Scotland.

According to Ms. Gray, “The four-years contract with the global offshore drilling company is our focus now. The first two quarters of the year is doing positively well. We’re glad that our customers are being receptive and eager to listen.”  She added that Axess’ global presence, particularly in Norway, yields a competitive edge, as not all companies in Aberdeen are capable of extending their services in the Norwegian sea. The key competence of Axess North Sea is its Asset Integrity Management (AIM), Safe Lifting Gear Operations & Crane Maintenance, Modification and Replacement.

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Opportunities in Britain’s oil and gas sector

“The initial success of Axess in Aberdeen is attributed to the positive collaboration of Axess Group, working together as team despite this difficult period. Steep price competition is the main challenge, nevertheless, Axess addresses this smartly by being versatile.”, said Ms. Gray.

Leveraging its comprehensive planning capabilities and extensive experience gained on more than 300 installations worldwide, Axess Group can provide predictable costs while delivering utmost services and solutions.

Setting up the new office and building a strong team in Aberdeen is one of the priorities of Donna at present time. She said: “In the coming months, we are aiming to recruit an Operations Co-ordinator, Project Engineer, Technical Lead and Work Leaders. Managing our current contract, maintaining excellent customer relationships, and consistently discovering untapped markets are our primary focus to drive profitability.”

In the next couple of years, Axess North Sea aims to solidify existing contract expectations, increase brand recognition in Scotland and UK, build on the strong Norwegian customer base, and develop a plan for future market change. 

Ms. Gray added, “Our long-term goals include nurturing our tier 1 customer base in the UK and focus on income improvement. We will also identify new customers and add them to our strong customer base.”

 

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