Every little bit counts

Knowledge and experience of fuel efficiency, built up in the Maersk Group’s shipping businesses, are now helping in oil-related areas. It has already achieved substantial savings for Maersk Drilling and more are possible.

Sometimes, a simple idea can bring big benefits.

When a number of employees switched from ­Maersk Tankers to Maersk Drilling, they noticed there was potential for running a fuel efficiency programme to reduce the environmental and cost impacts of ­operations – something that had become common in the Maersk Group’s shipping businesses.

These costs had not been of great importance in oil- and oil-services businesses like drilling while prices were high. However, with tougher competition for business, providing customers with a better service can help to keep assets at work.

Working together: Varun Ramdas (left) and Steen Sander Jacobsen are using expertise from shipping businesses to bring more fuel efficiency to Maersk Drilling.
We target abnormalities very quickly. We capture them almost immediately and for example, stop pumps running that should not be in operation or optimise the use of auxiliary engines and power generation.
Steen Sander Jacobsen, Head of Cost Leadership at Maersk Tankers

A pet project with potential

Steen Sander Jacobsen spent a week going through the systems on one of Maersk Drilling’s new V-class drillships. Jacobsen, Maersk Tankers’ Head 
of Cost Leadership, found there was nothing on board he could use to ­capture the data on energy flows – the first necessary step towards improving efficiency.

The reporting system from the Group’s shipping businesses was imported and adapted to the drillship. Processes were set up to conduct daily analysis of fuel consumption and trend performance, and specialist software was developed and installed to further evaluate efficiency and identify areas for improvement.

The results of this initial pilot study showed fuel savings of around 8% per year. In 2014, the drillship consumed 4,000 tonnes of fuel at a cost of USD 3.8 million – a reduction in emissions of 1,000 tonnes of CO2 and savings of USD 304,000 in fuel costs for the client.

“It has developed from being a pet project to analysing consumption and helping with maintenance costs,” says Jacobsen. “We work with the drill units as we work with a vessel, and the potential is not exhausted yet.”

A pilot study was initiated and fuel flow metres and energy meters were installed on a rig. This let to fuel savings of about 8% a year – and USD 304,000 for the client.

“Why reinvent the wheel? Let’s use the expertise we have in the Group,” says Varun Ramdas, Environment & Energy Manager at Maersk Drilling.

“Shipping pays for its fuel; the client pays for fuel with Drilling. This led us to think: why not use our internal experience and draw on that knowledge to try and differentiate ourselves. Every little bit of differentiation counts, especially in a new oil reality.” 

“We want to make energy efficiency an integral part of our business model and help clients reduce their operating costs in the process,” says Ramdas, who moved from Maersk Maritime Technology, where he had worked on efficiency for Maersk Line and Maersk Tankers, in 2014.

Not rocket science

Practices that were already common in the shipping industry were adopted by Maersk Drilling and modified to its assets, with the aim of benchmarking performance across its fleet and potentially across the drilling industry. Ramdas asked Maersk Tankers if they could help and Maersk Drilling’s client agreed to help fund the installation of the necessary equipment because of the potential savings.

“We target abnormalities very quickly. We capture them almost immediately and, for example, stop  pumps running that should not be in operation or optimise the use of auxiliary engines and power generation,” says Steen Sander Jacobsen, Head of Cost Leadership at Maersk Tankers, where a team of 16 is now looking at Maersk Drilling’s data as well as that for its own and pool vessels.

“What we’re doing is not rocket science, but we never let go. In fact, we are making the biggest savings on simple, simple things.“

More agile, more value

With solid evidence of the programme’s success, Maersk Drilling approached other clients and considered other opportunities for using practices from the shipping industry to make savings, which Varun ­Ramdas sees potentially reaching almost 15% in total. Depending on fuel prices, that could amount to USD 300,000-1 million.

Techniques like hull cleaning and polishing and slow steaming, used already in the Group’s shipping businesses, can offer value to both the service provider and client because using equipment more efficiently also reduces maintenance costs as well as fuel consumption.

“This makes us more agile and the data we capture through this programme helps our experts in technical and operations translate that into economic value – both for the client and Maersk Drilling.”

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