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Continuous Improvement in the Oil & Gas Sector

Oil and gas companies find themselves navigating through unpredictable market conditions and unforeseen challenges regularly. This uncertainty underscores the importance of agility in the industry. To succeed, organizations must employ strategies that accelerate transformation, enabling them to maximize growth, cut costs, improve efficiency, and scale their operations.

The Power of Process Improvement

Process improvement is the key to achieving these goals. It not only provides short-term wins but also lays the groundwork for long-term success. Underestimating process requirements can lead to slow production and unintended shutdowns, while overestimating those ties up valuable capital. This is where the concept of Value Stream Mapping (VSM) becomes invaluable.

Continuous Improvement in the Oil and Gas Sector

Unlocking Efficiency with Value Stream Mapping

VSM is a powerful tool for process improvement that visualizes the flow of materials and information throughout the value stream, highlighting all activities involved in delivering a product or service. Whether you are analyzing your current process or envisioning a future one, VSM helps identify inefficiencies, making it a vital asset in your efficiency toolkit.

Continuous Improvement in the Oil and Gas Sector

Real-World Success Stories

  • Creating an Efficient Fleet

Consider the case of a refining company operating a fleet of natural gas liquids (NGL) railcars. Faced with high costs and low utilization, they reevaluated their approach. Traditionally, they measured fleet performance based on railcar turns, assuming transportation was the sole utility. However, a holistic analysis revealed that railcars also served as buffers against supply variability and operational disruptions. By expanding the fleet size and redefining utilization, they ensured NGL supply continuity without compromising efficiency.

Continuous Improvement in the Oil and Gas Sector

  • Refining Fuel to Specification

Another example involves a refining company struggling to meet product specification targets. Gasoline and diesel production exceeded required specifications, leading to losses. A detailed value stream analysis uncovered root causes, including conservative targets, recipe deviations, inventory management issues, and unreliable measurement systems. Armed with these insights, the company implemented an online blend analyzer system and an auditing process, reducing product quality giveaway by an impressive 55%.

Continuous Improvement in the Oil and Gas Sector

In Conclusion

The oil and gas industry presents abundant opportunities for continuous improvement in all stages. Enhancing efficiency in any of these phases can significantly boost profitability. Value Stream Mapping, a vital tool in Lean Six Sigma, is more accessible with Minitab Engage, enabling businesses to streamline processes and achieve greater success.

Ready to revolutionize your company with Minitab? Contact Oscar Cruz, our CTO, at Bring your data to life.