Production assurance concept, implementation and improvement

Abstract: The dynamic business environment is characterized by short-term and long- term uncertainties in the business processes, combined with a short-term focus on meeting customers' and share-holders' requirements. Therefore, making correct decisions in a dynamic business environ-ment is a major challenge for production plant engineers and managers all over the world. Such a situation necessitates the successful application of tools and engineering solutions to minimize the total business risk and reduce uncertainties through assurance of world-class production plant performance, which can ensure that the right level of production can be ob- tained in order to meet customer demands. To meet these challenges, many approaches such as reliability analysis techniques have proved an effective solution during both design and operation of a production plant, and have been implemented by production engineers and managers. The main focus of reliability is on the process of ensuring a reliable product and/or system as well as reducing system uncer- tainty. However, these are not discussing the issues of production availability which are criti-cal for meeting customer requirements and market demands and may increase risk and uncer-tainties in decision-making. However, production assurance (PA) plays a significant role in supporting the decision-making process by production managers and engineers deal with the above mentioned challenges. The main focus of existing research on the area of PA is on the models and methodologies for data analysis and prediction of future system performance. Fur-thermore, existing models and methodologies supporting PA analysis and management have been primarily developed for the planning phases, specifically for the petroleum sector, but have not yet been sufficiently developed for general use. In many cases, the engineers and managers may face many problems in the process of implementing and executing the PA con-cept. The purpose of this research is to study, analyze and evaluate the application and implementa-tion of Production Assurance Programs (PAP) in production plants, and find some importance measures that show the criticality of the components or subsystems. To fulfill the stated pur- pose, an explorative literature study combined with a case study of a process plant has been performed. Various examples and data from the oil and gas industry are also used to support the thesis. In this study, firstly the concept of production assurance is discussed and Overall Production Assurance Effectiveness (OPaE) is suggested as a developed metrics for measuring the per-formance of a production plant which is considered internal effectiveness of production plant as well as external effectiveness as it considered customer requirement and demand. This thesis present and discusses a methodology that facilitates implementation of PAPs in a production plant. Such a methodology would support production engineers and managers in reducing or eliminating uncertainties and risks in their day to day operation and maintenance decisions. In this research study, some availability importance measures are defined. Thereafter, it a methodology is suggested to improve the production assurance effectiveness through im-provement of reliability, maintainability, and availability of production plant. In the method-ology, the concept of importance measures is used to prioritize the components or subsystems. This analysis of importance measures has helped to identify the critical and sensitive subsys-tems or components that need more attention for improvement. The research study shows that in order to measure the performance of a production plant, the PA provides a more comprehensive measure of a production plant's real performance com-pared to system availability performance as the production assurance provides information about the production plant's delivery capacity, production rate and ability to deliver according to design or customer demands. The study also indicates that availability importance measures can serve as a guideline for developing a strategy for improvement of production assurance.

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