WE all know, or have read enough to know, that Non-Productive Time is a serious limiter to the success of any drilling programme.

Whether that is due to Health and Safety Issues, Environmental Problems or just simply the increased Cost and Progress Delays that such events bring.

There are of course NPT events that are beyond our control, though we can predict them, such as bad weather.

But historically, equipment failure has been accepted as a ‘cost of doing business’.

However, the recent slowdown in the Oil & Gas Industry has meant that this is no longer acceptable, and the commercial and human effect that ‘failed equipment’ causing NPT has – is under greater focus than ever before.

Are we getting any better at it?

Databases store events, standards lay down manufacturing requirements, operational training improves equipment handling, and inspection spots the potential for faulty equipment to fail.

Yet equipment failures are on the increase.


  • More Critical and Complex wells
  • The slowdown, and the drilling engineer retirements that followed, mean there is a shortage of experienced drilling engineers
  • Poor Oversight
  • New reservoirs in new and inexperienced locations wanting their nationals to benefit from the drilling programmes
  • Drilling companies wanting faster results on tighter budgets as they run the unpredictable gauntlet of the Oil prices.

So being able to identify through ‘trend analysis’ – where, when and why NPT may strike within one or more drilling operations – would be a significant step forward in their prevention.

Trend Analysis is the ability to analyse current and past patterns and to identify future behaviour. Best known in stock market trading, it is in fact already used in many industries such as Insurance, Health and Agriculture.

Trending NPT occurrences in drilling projects could lead to a number of benefits:

  • The understanding that something is likely to happen and to best prepare for its prevention
  • Avoiding certain equipment and service suppliers or regulating them to make sure that avoidable errors are minimised
  • Preventing errors in operational oversight

New software, now available through Fearnley Procter Group, as part of their Non-productive-time Solutions position, can take your data – recorded as part of their performance oversight services – and identify Global, Regional or National Trends in NPT.

Once these are clearly set out, FPG can work with Operators and their representatives, sharing their 25+ year knowledge and experience in failure prevention, to minimise the opportunity for new events to either occur in the first place or in making the necessary changes to prevent current ones from occurring again.

OFPAT (Operation Failure Prevention Awareness and Trend-analysis) their new global reporting system, will not only provide these trends but will also give the user real-time data on what is assessed, what is wrong and what is being done to prevent potential failure events from taking place – including all the evidential proofs.

In addition, it can tell users the total number of events prevented, their seriousness, their potential for employee injury, and the NPT cost that is being avoided, at any time in the drilling programme.

Kevin Fearnley, CEO said ‘We all know that prevention of equipment failures, and knowing where they are most likely to occur, will be enormously beneficial to the oil and gas Industry’s commercial performance and its global reputation.

Through its ongoing use, the Oil & Gas Industry’s prevention of equipment failure – and the huge environmental and commercial damage that follows – could see a huge uplift.’

Let’s not take too long to make it a reality.