Maintenance: A network of contacts and experiences
During a dedicated three-day course held at both the facilities in El Tordillo and company headquarters in Buenos Aires, Maintenance managers from all the company’s operations came together to share different aspects of their work and discuss the complex contexts where they operate.
El Tordillo, the company's flagship site, hosted the first day of Tecpetrol's 2022 Maintenance Workshops, a three-day event bringing together those responsible for a task that is vital to operations for an in-person meeting: the people in Maintenance and Asset Management.
The agenda continued in the Buenos Aires offices, where managers were joined by directors for two days of presentations by top experts about the particularities of each region and the latest news about the projects under way. The event opened with a few introductory words by Daniel Sauthier, while Ricardo Markous also made an appearance, sharing a moment with those present to single out the vital role played by the Maintenance area for the business as a whole. He also stressed how important it was to continue holding these types of workshops.
“It was a moment to meet and share experiences. During the pandemic, we found all kinds of creative solutions to ensure operational continuity, despite the limitations of remote communications,” explained Walter Seri, Sr Manager for Quality Maintenance, stressing the constructive effects of holding these workshops in person. Employees from Mexico, Colombia and Ecuador travelled to meet their colleagues in Argentina, while personnel at the Pesquería Power Plant (CEP, Mexico) joined in virtually since they were carrying out a major scheduled maintenance program.
This edition of the workshops was joined by the managers working with the company Transportadora de Gas del Norte (TGN), where Tecpetrol is the main shareholder. Also present were managers from Quality Management, Reporting and Process Optimization Management while Human Resources provided logistical support.
Destination: El Tordillo
The visit to El Tordillo, hosted by the local team, provided answers to many of the diverse questions about the maintenance issues handled by this field. Many of the challenges are exacerbated by the harsh weather conditions in the area, from wind gusts of over 100 km/hour, to heavy snow in winter. "Such conditions make it impossible to work at height so we need to adjust our general programming. We find ourselves forced us to take measures based on the context, which goes beyond any technical issues we may have," explained Javier Leiva, Quality Operations Sr Manager, to Tecpetrol Hoy.
Walter Seri added that, “There’s an art to maintaining the company's assets and locations. But art can be ancient or modern, and we have old facilities and newer ones like Fortín de Piedra and those in Colombia. The point is that they all have to be efficient, because they have a fundamental part to play for our industry.” Regarding the sheer range of problems that Maintenance and Asset Management have to tackle in their different areas, he pointed out, "it’s in these contexts when creativity comes to the fore, something which is typical of those working in maintenance when they have to solve problems."
One of the leading objectives of these conferences is to move towards the standardization of a maintenance management model. "Work is also being done on setting up common management indicators, despite the particularities of each Operation as mentioned before," highlighted Leiva.
The experience of Sergio Gerez, Maintenance Engineering Lead Engineer
“We enjoyed three days of sharing experiences and forging relationships that add an extra to the jobs that we have to carry out at our respective sites. Knowing other people, and knowing the particularities of each region and the tools they use to solve problems, are lessons learned that we can apply if we find ourselves in similar situations.”
“Ours is a subtropical climate, and now that summer is beginning, the roads are prone to flooding by the rains, preventing us from reaching the field. That’s why we need adequate planning to overcome these difficulties or be able to deal with roadblocks or closed accesses.”
“For this reason, given that the service offer in the region is not very broad, we implemented a teamwork model, rather than the customer-supplier model. This means that we all share responsibility for the operating results in the context of these difficulties. We organize crews and schedules to be ready in case something happens: bring forward larger-scale tasks to the summer and leave machines and equipment ready so staff can replace these with backup if there’s a problem or a breakdown.”
“It was very enriching to be able to build a network of contacts and experiences and to know that we have a telephone number we can ring to ask people for help when solving a problem. That's the most valuable thing."
Alexis Meléndez, Maintenance Manager: his experience
“This was an incredibly productive meeting as it allowed us to meet our maintenance colleagues from other operations, exchange good practices, identify opportunities for improvement and discuss common challenges.”
“In addition, we had the chance to learn about the work carried out by the Quality and Process Optimization departments to improve the efficiency and standardization of processes in the maintenance area.”
“As for the presentations given by colleagues from different operations, they were all excellent. I particularly found the presentation given by the Neuquén group very interesting, as they explained how they’d created an app to monitor and control overhauls.”
“The visit to Tordillo was also extremely interesting as we were able to learn about one of Tecpetrol's flagship fields, and see for ourselves the standard of the work carried out by the maintenance team as well as the challenges they face, such as the weather conditions in the area.”
“Our presentation from Colombia centered on how we carried out prior planning management and how we managed the involvement of different parties in the start-up of the Pendare CPF. This was an excellent activity to expand our contacts network.”