From Oil & Gas Australia | March 2020 Issue

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Australian manufacturers need to improve execution of maintenance outages and turnarounds

by Fred Biery, AP-Networks – Regional Manager, Australia

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Many capital-intensive Australian companies are losing money as a result of poor execution of key maintenance activities. Like a small leak that is not properly closed, the drain on the balance sheet is slow but devastating.

Compared to the rest of the world, Australian manufacturers take nearly 20% longer to perform maintenance outages and turnarounds. Efforts to return to regular operations after an outage or turnaround are about twice as likely to encounter problems. And crucially, workers are much more likely to be hurt in executing these outages than they are during similar maintenance events executed in North America and Europe.

Australian industries have been making significant investments in new plants and equipment over the last two years, ameliorating a half decade of under investment that followed the last commodity super-cycle. New plant and equipment investment grew more than 20% in 2018 and by nearly the same amount in 2019. Unfortunately, if current maintenance trends hold, some of the positive impact of this investment on future returns will be lost.

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