ETN’s inaugural Best Practice recognition program salutes five companies

The European Turbine Network (ETN Global) launched a Best Practice program late last year, with assistance from CCJ ONsite, and recognized five companies for their accomplishments in the areas of Workforce Development/Knowledge Management and Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) at the non-profit membership association’s Annual General Meeting in Bucharest (Romania) last month.

ETN Global brings together the entire value chain of the stationary gas-turbine (GT) technology community (power generation and mechanical drive) worldwide. Its 110 members from 23 countries include power-generation and oil-and-gas companies, OEMs, providers of services and equipment that support them, as well as R&D institutes, universities and consultancies. The challenges and concerns of users are addressed in committees and working groups.

One of the main benefits provided by ETN Global is the opportunity for members to increase their technical knowledge through interactions with peers. The Best Practice program is one way to share information of proven value. All members can participate (not just owner/operators as in CCJ’s program). The ETN Best Practice program is directed by Christer Björkqvist, the network’s managing director, and Pascal Decoussemaeker, chairman of the organization’s Asset Management Technical Committee.

Companies recognized for their accomplishments in workforce development and knowledge management were ConocoPhillips (global), Exxon Mobil (Usan FPSO, Nigeria), and GE’s O&M Center of Excellence (Switzerland). ConocoPhillips Australia (Darwin LNG), Sutton Bridge Power Station (owned by the UK’s Calgon Energy Ltd and operated by GE O&M), and Neste Oil Porvoo Refinery (Finland) were applauded for their EHS programs.

Workforce development/knowledge management

Transfer knowledge among the company’s plants worldwide

Challenge. How to ensure and accelerate organizational learning from individual experiences.

Solution. Knowledge-sharing networks were introduced in 2006 with core teams having at least one representative from each business unit. One such network was “Rotating Equipment.” Engineers company-wide with rotating-equipment responsibilities were encouraged to participate. The core team hosts regular teleconferences to share experiences globally. A SharePoint site was created for network members to post questions, share successes, etc. Each member receives daily or weekly updates on the site’s activity.

Outcome. There has been unprecedented sharing of knowledge across business units and country borders. Such networking has contributed to a real sense of comradery among those involved and has identified engineers expert in resolving particular types of challenges encountered at operating units.

Identify best practices for performance improvement

Challenge. Improve fleet reliability, currently not meeting expectations

Solution. Implement an aggressive, proactive, and systematic program to identify and address reliability issues using company’s the existing support system, which consists of an asset machinery/reliability engineer and site resident field-service tech (the core team) in collaboration with the OEM’s gas-turbine technical staff. Important to success is to have clear ownership and stewardship of each issue from identification to closure.

Establishing well-defined objectives is the first step. For the example provided in the Best Practice submittal to ETN, the owner/operator stated the following:

    • A given process train must not experience more than six trips annually.

    • A process train is not allowed more than two open reliability issues at any one time.

    • The amount of time from issue identification to finalization of an action plan should not exceed one month, absent any special circumstances.

Methodology for issue resolution includes the following steps:

    • Create an inventory of all known reliability issues for each process train.

    • Understand and classify each issue identified.

    • Capture, understand, and address any suspected emerging threat—such as a step or frequency change. Proactive surveillance is critical to this effort.

    • Conduct an aggressive review of issues and progress. Examples: The core team should review operating status daily. A fleet performance review should be conducted weekly with the asset O&M team.

Outcome. The initiative commenced in May 2015, and through June 2017, having better visibility of onsite issues and more proactive ways of dealing with them contributed to a 38% improvement in gas-turbine fleet reliability.

Increase fleet reliability by halving trips through awareness, full-circle knowledge-sharing

Challenge. Avoid interruption of the power-generation process in a fleet of 47 powerplants (total of 32,800 MW) across 19 countries.

Solution. First steps taken by the contract operator was to create an awareness among its management personnel of potential trip indicators, openly share issues faced and lessons learned among the sites served, and deliver engineered solutions to the powerplant teams fleet-wide. To transfer information expeditiously, a notification process was established and a weekly call is conducted to share experiences among the sites and the operator’s O&M Center of Excellence (COE).

Solutions developed by the OEM’s engineers to mitigate issues identified are shared with the sites for implementation via so-called O&M Instruction Letters. Results then are reported back to the COE and distributed network-wide, thus creating an ongoing loop of knowledge-sharing between COE experts and O&M teams in the field.

Outcome. Within 18 months of program implementation, trips fleet-wide had been halved.

Environment, health, and safety

Tooling certification and proper use

Challenge. Avoid repetition of an EHS incident related to tooling during the replacement of a high-pressure turbine rotor. The incident was attributed to a tool malfunction and lack of awareness concerning associated risks. The tool and manpower associated with its use were hired from the OEM.

Solution. Purchase tooling to have better control of its certification and use, while also ensuring proper procedures are followed.

Outcome. Sharing of knowledge gained across the company’s business units and country boarders.

Stop-work authority

Challenge. Empower all personnel onsite to stop work if concerned over any aspect of a job’s safety or quality requirements.

Solution. A “Stop Work” program is in place across all GE business units. At Sutton Bridge, the safety campaign was extended to include subcontractors. Also, management recognized that simply talking about the program in meetings was not sufficient. To reinforce the message, a more permanent reminder was created. Stop Work authorization cards (photo), signed by the plant manager, are given to all personnel onsite. They are the size of a typical credit card and made of a similar durable material. A Stop Work poster, signed by all lead contractor managers and safety reps, also was created to reinforce the message.

Outcome. Increased awareness.

Anti-fouling treatment maintains gas-turbine performance without washing

Challenge. Reduce fouling-related degradation of gas-turbine performance caused by a harsh coastal refinery environment containing salt, dust, soot, etc. No online or offline compressor washing was performed to mitigate possible engine tripping and other problems during restart, environmental aspects of water use for washing, and the cost of demin water, detergent, and spent wash-water transportation and disposal.

Solution. Compressor blades were coated with an anti-fouling treatment from United Services Sweden AB, said to be long-lasting and have low-friction properties, during a major overhaul in April 2012.

Outcome. No noticeable fouling-related degradation after 38,000 hours of operation without washing while using F7/F9 inlet air filters.

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