Oil and Gas Industry Equipment Reliability
Table of Contents:
Each year billions of dollars are spent around the globe to construct/manufacture, operate, and maintain various types of equipment/systems used in oil and gas industry. Nowadays, reliability of equipment used in the oil and gas industry has become an important issue due to various types of equipment reliability-related problems. For example, in 1996, corrosion-related failures including maintenance, annual direct cost in the US petroleum industry alone was $3.7 billion [1,2].
Today, the global economy is forcing all the companies involved with oil and gas to modernize their operations through increased automation and mechanization. Thus, as equipment used in the oil and gas industrial sector is becoming more complex and sophisticated, its cost is increasing quite rapidly. In order to meet production targets effectively, oil and gas companies are increasingly demanding better equipment reliability.
This chapter presents various important aspects of oil and gas industry equipment reliability.
Optical Connector Failures
Optical fiber connectors are used for joining optical fibers in situations where a connect/disconnect capability is needed. In oil and gas applications, fiber-optic equipment including wet-mate optical connectors is an important part of the current subsea infrastructure. A study of reliability-related data (excluding cables or jumpers) collected over the period of 10-years reported four factors/issues (including their percentage breakdowns), as shown in Figure 11.1, that cause optical connector failures . The data include field failures and the failures that took place during integration into equipment and testing process prior to field deployment.
It is to be noted from Figure 11.1 that 86% of the optical connector-related failures were due to material, external, and mechanical factors, and only 14% of failures were related to optical-related issues. Furthermore, when just field failures were studied, the optical connector-related failures occurred due to two types of issues only. These two types were mechanical issues and material issues. The mechanical issues accounted for 61% of the failures and the material issues accounted for 39% of the failures .
FIGURE 11.1 Factors along with their percentages in parentheses that caused optical connector failures.
Additional information on optical connector-related failures is available in Dhillon .
Mechanical Seals’ Failures
Mechanical seals have been increasingly used for many decades to seal rotating shafts. Nowadays, they are the most common types of seals found on items such as centrifugal pumps and compressors used in the oil and gas industrial sector. Over the years, mechanical seals’ failure has become a very important issue. For example, a study carried out in a petroleum company reported that around 60% of plant breakdowns, directly or indirectly, were due to mechanical seal-related failures .
A study of mechanical seal failures conducted in a company reported the following ten causes for the failure of mechanical seals : 
Mechanical Seals’ Typical Failure Modes and Their Causes
Past experiences over the years indicate that mechanical seals can fail in many different failure modes due to various causes. Typical failure modes and their corresponding causes for mechanical seals are presented below .
Additional information on mechanical seal failure modes is available in Skewis .