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Is now the right time to invest in new equipment?

RichardParley,21 Sep 2017

Our Technical Support Manager, Richard Parley, shares his insights on developing and launching new equipment in tough trading conditions.

Stacked Dual Air Compressors in Use

At Airpac Bukom, we recently launched our new 2100 cfm Dual Air Compressor. In the current market climate (and as I write this Brent Crude oil has been fluctuating between $45 and $55 per barrel for a number of months) you would not be alone in suggesting that now may not be the best time to devote capex to new products. However, I disagree. At a time when project cost-management is hugely important, companies in the oil and gas supply chain need to provide their clients with the most cost-effective solutions.

The Dual Air concept started after discussions with our customers highlighted the need for more cost-effective equipment to be introduced to the marketplace. Clients were particularly looking to support the well test industry with purpose built equipment that not only saves money, but is reliable and able to be transported easily and at minimal cost.

Before committing capital to the project, we had to make sure we developed the right unit and therefore we took the following steps:

  1. Listened to the Client:
    Our clients had highlighted that the compressor container had to be as mobile as possible for shipping, cranage and forklift movement. It was therefore designed to comply with DNV 2.7-1, CSC shipping and with the inclusion of forklift pockets, ensuring that all lifting requirements had been addressed. Designing the product with shipping in mind will help to keep customer costs to a minimum when transporting the unit globally. As the container houses two 1050 cfm units, our clients will be getting two compressors in one, helping to cut back on the shipping costs that two individual 1050 cfm units would incur. Further considerations were also made for access points to check fluid levels and for servicing, maintenance, air discharge points and the position of the operational control panel to ensure that operation was as seamless as possible.
  2. Employee Input:
    One of the greatest assets we have at Airpac Bukom is our team of experienced Operators, and utilising their extensive knowledge and experience would prove incredibly beneficial. The project was developed by involving our most senior Operators who have many years of experience within the well test industry, using their recommendations for the most practical unit. The Operators highlighted that deck space is at a premium on board offshore rigs and clients are continuously looking for greater cfm per square foot of deck space used. Using this as a basis, we decided that the inclusion of two Air Compressors within one shipping container would allow greater output and allow flexibility. The additional 1050 scfm compressor also allows for a contingency in the unlikely event that one compressor breaks down.
  3. Testing:
    The unit was built and then extensively tested, with high ambient being one of the greater issues that had to be overcome. We successfully tested the Dual Air Compressor to +50C with no overheating issues.
  4. Safety:
    In our industry, safety is paramount, and this has to be at the forefront of any new product development. Below are just some of the safety considerations Airpac Bukom took when developing this unit:
    - The units are designed to be safely and securely double-stacked whilst in operation, increasing the effective use of space.
    - Personnel platforms have been designed and stored within the container for shipping; these have been tested and meet current EN-ISO 014122 legislation, removing the need for scaffolding when operating the units in a stacked formation. There are also two external ladders positioned diagonally on the container for clear access to both sides of the compressor.
    - We eliminated the need for the Operator to be inside the unit when running, and all operational services are undertaken from outside the unit, ensuring Operators are as safe as possible during operation.
  5. Further Considerations:
    After all the other steps had been taken, it is obviously appropriate to take a step back and consider the overall quality and longevity of the unit. We addressed corrosion issues by changing as many utility parts on the skid to high grade stainless steel, with a view to prolonging the serviceable life of the unit. 

Overall, and although short-term we have had to invest a considerable amount of time and money in these new units, we know the equipment will be a solid investment and perfect addition to the Airpac Bukom rental fleet. Due to the quality of the materials and the careful considerations taken in the design process of this unit, we are sure they will benefit our customers long-term.

A tough economic climate such as the one we are enduring at the moment may not be seen as the most appropriate time to invest but we fully believe that this is the time for innovation in order to tackle these industry challenges. The Dual Air Compressor is just one of the developments that Airpac Bukom has been working on in order to improve and develop our equipment range and reflect the needs of our customers.

We believe the steps we are taking demonstrate our commitment to reducing costs and supporting our customers for the years ahead, no matter how tough the market conditions may be.   

Pictured are two of Airpac Bukom’s Dual Air 2100 cfm Rigsafe units in stacked formation. 

The two 1050 cfm Air Compressors contained within each 20ft container provide a total air output of 4200 cfm in this instance.

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