As oil prices plummet, operators are under increasing pressure to ''sweat the asset''. While industrial organizations expand and optimize operations to meet energy demand, they must commit to consistently optimize asset integrity.

Operations personnel are typically concerned with meeting production targets while maintenance teams primarily focus on minimizing breakdowns. Striking a balance between both goals has remained a major root of occupational conflicts in many process facilities, thereby threatening both process and human safety.

This paper elaborates these areas of conflicting interests and consequences using petroleum transportation and storage facilities in the Gulf of Guinea as case study, discusses how conflicts were progressively addressed and highlights the significant outcomes. A key strategy in fostering operations-maintenance synergy (OMS) was appointing an interface coordinator from each department; existing field personnel with working knowledge of the equipment functionalities and typical malfunctions.

Each coordinator performed facility inspections and post installation and/or maintenance monitoring surveys independently, then a combined gap analysis quarterly. Qualitatively, the OMS intervention was observed to progressively evolve a workplace where maintenance, operations and SHE functions formed sustainable partnerships for production excellence and occupational harmony.

Quantitative results included improved data mining for operational decisions, more efficient maintenance planning and execution, prompt response to faults, enhanced asset integrity, increased productivity and continuous improvement in the safety management system.

These were demonstrated through reductions in audit queries, non-productive time, lost production, customer complaints over supply delays, staff turnover and avoidable demurrage payments on chartered tankers. Lessons learnt and recommendations are hoped to contribute towards addressing asset deterioration, workplace conflicts, process safety accidents and other avoidable negatives in process industries upon diligent application.

This study is also a classic example of how local content, available human capacity and existing systems could be better managed for business growth and creating a conducive working environment.

Bassey Okon Bassey

Bassey Okon Bassey is a PhD Researcher in Energy (Oil and Gas) at Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK. He is currently an ERASMUS+ Scholar at TOTAL Energies Centre for Science and Technology Research at Pau, France, where he works on flow assurance optimisation in multiphase petroleum pipelines. Bassey has been a research consultant, technical marketer and career development coach in private practice for 16 years and counting. He was previously an Hourly Paid Lecturer at Coventry University, UK, upon graduation there with an MSc in Petroleum and Environmental Technology.

He had worked as an Operations Engineer for Northwest Petroleum and Gas Company Limited for five years; during which he was the maiden research and modification team lead, operations-maintenance synergy coordinator (operations), flow assurance team deputy lead and onboarding lead for his department.

Bassey also holds a BEng in Petroleum Engineering from Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria. He has completed several relevant professional certifications including NEBOSH, process safety, technical risk assessment, COSHH, oil spill control, first aid, operations and maintenance excellence. He is an active member of the Energy Institute, IMarEST, IMechE, InstMC, NACE, ICorr, SOE, SPE and several other international professional societies. With over 20 conference and journal papers to his credit; his research interests are flow assurance, asset integrity, process optimization and safety, and engineering sustainability.