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The High Importance of Proper Pipeline Maintenance

Nov 23, 2021

The oil industry is the lifeblood of nations like Saudi Arabia. Even as the world transitions away from fossil fuels, there will always be a need for oil in manufacturing and energy production. That means pipelines are unlikely to be uprooted any time soon. However, as infrastructure ages, pipeline maintenance becomes even more important. Not only will well-maintained pipelines yield positive effects on your company’s bottom line, but it can help keep your enterprise out of trouble.

Pipeline maintenance Saudi Arabia

The High Importance of Proper Pipeline Maintenance in Saudi Arabia

The Value of Maintaining Pipeline Infrastructure

Unlike other industries, where a component failure may simply halt production for a short time, a failure in the oil industry can have catastrophic results. This is especially true for oil extraction sites and oil transportation via pipelines. Accidents at either of these two points can result in massive losses. That’s why asset maintenance is one of the largest budget items for any oil company. Considering the massive risk posed by oil extraction, the high cost of maintenance is justified.

However, anything that could bring down that cost has the potential to greatly increase company profits. Nevertheless, many companies have made the mistake of simply slashing the maintenance budget, especially when oil prices decline. This approach increases risk and only reduces costs in the short term, possibly even increasing them long term. You need a better solution to pipeline maintenance.

Preventative Maintenance is Paramount

Rather than reducing the maintenance budget by scaling back maintenance activities, your company should strive to find more efficient ways to maintain its assets. The best maintenance strategies are proactive, driven by data, and need-based, rather than routine-based. This means detecting faults before they happen, monitoring hazardous areas more frequently, and implementing digital monitoring as much as possible to reduce staff demand.

Considering that a single oil spill can cost tens of millions of dollars to clean up, without even counting the opportunity costs, investing in smarter maintenance pays for itself very quickly.

Staying in Good Standing

Oil and gas companies are squarely in the crosshairs of environmentalists and green politicians. Incidents like the Deep Horizon oil spill or the Keystone Pipeline in the United States make oil companies easy targets for the ire of legislators and activists alike. As an energy company, when you invest in better maintenance systems, you can bolster your reputation and image in the public eye. When you build a solid record of safety and reliability, contracts are easier to secure.

That has become more important than ever with the country’s Vision 2030 plan, which outlines the first steps towards a more diversified energy sector in a country where oil has faced a monopoly. Competition between companies is likely to increase in the coming years. The better your company’s reputation, the more likely you’ll be able to secure deals that will only become scarcer as time goes on. 

Pipeline Risks in Saudi Arabia

Besides commonplace accidents, energy companies and their suppliers need to also consider the unique risks in the Saudi market. Acts of terrorism, like the drone attack that occurred in 2019, present risks that require novel solutions. Maintenance in conflict-prone regions likewise calls for additional security for staff. How can you keep your maintenance budget in check when faced with these complications?

The answer is to use modern technology to secure your assets. With the right equipment, you can improve your monitoring capacity, simplify maintenance scheduling, and reduce the frequency of accidents.

Technology to the Rescue

A quality preventative maintenance system starts with sensors. The more you have, the more data you can collect. Pipelines are valued for their simplicity, so many companies balk at the idea of complicating them with additional technology. However, modern sensors are small, cheap, and can easily relay information wirelessly using GSM modules. Once you are able to poll data from your infrastructure, you can use analytics to improve your maintenance practices.

Predictive analytics can help you identify faults before they occur. Instead of simply relying on a maintenance schedule, which could force you to pay visits to perfectly fine components, you can take a proactive approach by addressing parts that are most likely to fail based on your data. You can even leverage drones to help you monitor distant areas instead of sending out a manned crew to investigate, which is also much safer in conflict-prone areas.

Modernize Your Infrastructure

Maintaining your infrastructure should always be a top priority, but it doesn’t have to be your top expense. With the right tools, you can improve profits and safety at the same time. Contact SAAB RDS to learn more about our maintenance solutions.