The Asset Integrity Management (AIM) industry has witnessed significant growth this millennium, largely as a result of a changing attitude from senior execs. They no longer view AIM as a costly box-ticking exercise but rather a measure that’s hugely beneficial to their organisations.
AIM’s new positive image conveys a reputation of environmentally friendly organisations who value their employees’ safety (aiding the fierce contest to secure scarce staff). This benefit is in addition to ensuring operational efficiency and return on capital employed, and I believe this will continue beyond 2014.
Scottish devolution and AIM
The Scottish Devolution Referendum will be a significant event for the UK Oil & Gas industry – one that will lead to increased emphasis being placed on maintaining a strong AIM programme. The referendum, scheduled for May 2014, shouldn’t be underestimated as an influencing factor. Figures published in late 2013 suggest uncertainty in the marketplace from operators, which has resulted in a fall in planned investment in new developments and modifications to existing platforms.
As the infrastructure of the Oil & Gas industry matures, effective AIM becomes critical; the industry needs to further extend the life of its assets to ensure maximum efficiency and returns on existing developments. Ageing assets will continue to grow as a percentage of worldwide operational assets; there are more than 6,700 platforms in operation globally with 30% more than 20 years old.
Successful AIM integration
I’ve seen numerous articles about how the development of new innovations will pave the way for better detection, monitoring and mitigation of integrity concerns – allowing a more accurate and effective integrity programme. This has led to better awareness of the potential effects of an insufficient AIM strategy among decision makers.
From speaking with engineers working within the industry, it’s clear that further advancements and products need to be developed. This increased innovation is fed by the Oil & Gas industry’s strides into new environments, creating new challenges for Integrity Management professionals.
The AIM industry is also one of growing importance to the world’s energy markets. These trends may be furthered by a number of factors, including:
The growing focus on environmentalism.
The greater strain on resources.
The need for lower energy prices.
The ever-evolving regulatory environment.
Despite significant demand and an expanding market, the biggest challenge to the growth of AIM is an insufficient pool of skilled labour. As a recruiter specialising in this industry, I’m working to source candidates for a number of the leading players in the market, so I’m exposed to the demand for these skills.
With the start of a new year many people are looking for a fresh start – could Asset Integrity Management be the new start you’re looking for? Have your say on the ARM Oil & Gas LinkedIn page.
Sources and useful links:
- Shell, Asset integrity management: The key to operational excellence
- Scottish Enterprise, Innovation in Oil & Gas asset integrity and reliability
- Oil & Gas UK
- NACE International, Corrosion in the Oil & Gas Industry