SWIRE Oilfield Services is helping to drive proactive management planning and efficiencies in the oil and gas sector with the launch of its inspection, maintenance and testing (IMT) service in Australia.

Company general manager for Australasia James Parsons described it as a holistic, managed service.

He told Oil & Gas Australia that the web-based service addressed compliance management which at times can be overlooked.

“There is a lack of holistic visibility of all the equipment that needs regulatory safety inspection and testing,” Mr Parsons said.

“Through our consultative approach working closely with our clients, we have found that many have reduced visibility of their maintenance and certification requirements and have more difficulty in proactively managing the costs and processes required to keep a large array of equipment up to the regulatory standard for both owned and rented equipment.

“It is quite fragmented.”

Swire, which is responsible for thousands of carrying units throughout Australasia, believes it has found the answer to assist client control and maintainence of their equipment through its new IMT offering.

“We don’t believe there’s anyone else that has bundled or collectively grouped a holistic managed service where inspection, testing and maintenance are [offered] all in one,” he said.

Swire’s IMT service will enable customers to either oversee or actively manage and control the certification and maintenance requirements of their assets and equipment, with the upside being that all regulatory inspections and testing is completed by one provider.

The IMT service is part of a suite of managed services that complements the provision of the company’s traditional core business – cargo carrying units.

“It’s an integrated service delivered using specialist operational planning, customer service and account management systems to ensure consistent and high quality outcomes,” Mr Parsons said.

“We can test, we can inspect but we can also maintain the equipment while we are on site or in our workshops.

“It’s a holistic service.”

In explaining the service, Mr Parsons said what Swire was doing was simply opening up its own advanced systems to host some of its customers own equipment or tools.

“The client can manage their equipment on Swire’s system from their own desk or they can make us responsible for managing it,” he said.

“When equipment becomes due for certification there’s automatic alerts that are sent to the customer.

“In the case that the customer has decided to have his equipment registered with Swire we will service and inspect for them but if the customer wants to control the process then they can get automated alerts.”

The benefits for the industry are significant, ranging from minimising client downtime, cost and time savings while at the same time reducing compliance risk, he said.

“If you’re streamlining the process you are getting a more efficient workforce,” Mr Parsons said.

According to Mr Parsons, compliance testing on equipment is a process that can become costly quite quickly.

“When you look at how many small or large pieces of equipment need a regulatory controlled approach to keep them compliant it has a multiplying effect,” he said.

“When you gather all that information and put it on the table it can be quite a substantial cost.”

Mr Parsons says Swire’s pioneering, fully managed IMT service could at times challenge the customer to think across their entire business, but he believed that planning ahead could only prove beneficial.

“I want to drive a bit more predictability and proactive management planning into how our customers manage their regulatory inspections,” he said.

“While it does in some way force the customer to rethink how they’re managing, it’s part of the continual improvement of driving efficiency, taking compliance risk out and consolidating multiple small spends into a more manageable, controllable process and service.”

The IMT Service has been soft launched and is ready to delivered through its key branches in Perth, Karratha, Darwin, Exmouth, Broome, Melbourne and New Zealand. The feedback to date has been encouraging.

“We’ve got a number of customers who are starting to see the benefits to our approach,” Mr Parsons said.

“We’re in the process now of getting testimonials.”

Mr Parsons puts the capital investment injected into the IMT service at “a few hundred thousand”, but said that investment would increase in line with business growth.

“We’ve got the key capabilities in place and now it’s a question of scale,” he said.

Mr Parsons is confident that Swire will see burgeoning demand for the service as small and large scale projects transition into new phases.

“We’ve gone through two years of rapid oil and gas investment growth and that’s an opportunity,” he said.

“But now when things are pretty much consolidated you go from construction into maintenance so you have to make sure the equipment you have has a long life so you get the return on your investment. And that’s what we are tapping into now.”

“We know that many of our customers are focusing on efficiency and cost productivity,” he said.