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By local, for local: The vendor ecosystem of the future

A remarkable thing happens when a good and industry-compliant design becomes tangible. Operators feel safe and comfortable with it right away. The reliance level is so high that the risks—surrounding the area—come to be afterthoughts. That is until an urgent and dangerous situation arises. In a trice, teams and crews are back to reality. A state of constant awareness takes over.

What to do under those trying circumstances?

Beyond standard protocols, are there other ways to strengthen the response to unforeseen contingencies?

The answer is yes!

Building a local and focalized vendor ecosystem is a practical solution to beat operational mishaps. Dare we say, faster, safer, and sturdier. Are you intrigued by it? We’ll tell you how it works.

Houston, we have a problem. The main pipeline just collapsed!

Plenty of things can happen in a plant during an operating shift. A slight change in the conditions can cause many process disturbances.

A rising liquid level inside a pressure vessel?

Loss of duty in a heat exchanger?

Product contamination?

All are possible examples!

Still, those issues are more easily resolved than other threatening incidents that lead to a total shutdown. We mean impactful events like a piping failure due to chloride-induced stress corrosion cracking (CISCC). A real-life case that built up silently over time until it finally burst, creating damage for a MENA oil and gas operator not too long ago.

The thing about CISCC – or any form of corrosion, for that matter – is that it can lead to catastrophic events if not attended to on time. As soon as the mechanical integrity of the material collapses, it wreaks havoc. Discharges of toxic substances and stored energy might jeopardize more than the plant itself. The bigger the rupture, the larger the leaks to compromise the well-being of nearby communities, lives, and habitats. 

Behavior patterns to overcome urgent and dangerous situations

Operating personnel receive special training to handle any number of contingencies in the plant. They also have an emergency response program to stick to that addresses most issues. The point is that if a situation unfolds, there are clear rules to follow.

Nonetheless, incidents of the scale of the main pipeline cracking under stress can leave even the most experienced with little to no time to catch a breath. Every passing second counts and the stakes get tremendously high, especially for plant operators. At such a time, their responsibility moves past closing and opening valves. They are the ones with an unhinged pressure over their shoulders to safeguard the process, achieving the focal priority of:

>> Isolating the pipeline to stop the leak ASAP. <<

>> Avoiding human and material losses. <<

Besides plant operators, HSE, maintenance personnel, instrument technicians, and supervisors must also be in place to assist as the maneuvers call for on-the-dot coordination from the whole team. Proceeding otherwise could mean more damages and financial losses than anticipated. Restoring normal operations might take longer too.

Counting on expert hands makes a great difference!

How can a vendor with local reach help?

Corrosion is oddly specific. It affects certain areas while others remain untouched. Spotting what’s happening on a large scale implies rooted expertise, intrinsic material knowledge, and advanced technology. And that’s only to land on an unbiased diagnosis.

In spite of all the progress achieved to make materials more durable against pollutants and the devices safer and void of imperfections, for operator companies, building a local vendor ecosystem within the context of a strategic partnership has a newfound relevance to save time when trouble strikes.

Because of the nature of their work, vendors have skills and qualities that come in handy during a plant contingency. And, particularly, when there is local reach, a vendor can emphasize the worth of its services furthermore through:

As you can see, the pros are genuinely staggering.

How to find a reliable, local partner?

Having a partner with an active vendor ecosystem to rely on can really make a difference between restarting your operations after a few hours or with several weeks of delay.

To find it, you have to look with the same effort you’d put into it if it were your private life.

So, begin by keeping a close eye on those vendors with the technical capability to mitigate risks in the area. Along with those who show no hesitation to be there when and where it matters.

Basically, you want a local partner who can:

Image Source: © metamorworks (Adobe Stock) & AS-Schneider