The exploration and production upstream sector has adjusted to the oil price collapse of 1986 and has entered the new decade with a rationalized and restructured business portfolio. There has been a considerable drive to reduce cost and consolidate the business around the core activities, with increasing emphasis being placed on the maintenance contribution to the business objectives.

The prime role of maintenance is accountability for management of the safeguarding of technical integrity, and ensuring the required long term facility availability at optimum cash flow.

The oil industry entered the new decade having gained valuable lessons from the turbulent experiences of the later 80s period, demonstrating an ability to adapt and be sensitive to the need to "manage change".

There is now a growing realization that a number of issues need to be addressed, in order to safeguard the long term technical integrity of assets.

This activity is made the more challenging by the number of facilities approaching design half-life, and the ever changing demands in production profile necessary to gain further commercial advantage.


The oil industry came through the 80s period, by focusing on business objectives and cost structures, with major increases achieved in efficiency and productivity.

Consequently, confidence is returning to the oil industry. But, clearly we cannot be complacent, we operate in uncertain times and must expect the unexpected and be flexible enough to respond to change, as witnessed recently by the military events in the Persian Gulf.

The pressure on today's business managers to maximize short term profits often seems at odds with the need to maintain facility integrity and to sustain company value over the long term.

The solution to this apparent dilemma starts with the recognition that a commercial business's value depends on the level and pattern of its cash flow. Fundamental to its achievement is the assurance of technical integrity, and consequently the attainment of long-term facility availability.

This article describes the contribution made by maintenance to an oil company's success and survival, by the achievement of safeguarding technical integrity, whilst paying due regard to optimization of short-term cash flow.


A realization In any organization, goals and objectives must be geared to achieve results. In the term "management by objectives", management is the key - the use of objectives to help manage for results.

Specifying objectives can only begin after the purpose of the organization has been defined, the environment has been analyzed, the strengths and weaknesses have been assessed, and the relevant assumptions made.

Whereas strategies are in sports or military related terminology, "game plans", they are the "thinking stage" of the long range plan, considering resources, direction, priorities and policies accomplishing objectives.

Business strategy considers the question of how a business should compete in its chosen market place.

The corporate strategy of a company in its simplest form is a description of the decisions and actions necessary to realize a particular future state. It is a statement of what the company particular future state. It is a statement of what the company wants to do and what it wants to become - the Company's Vision.

This vision and associated dominant themes have been translated into an explicit statement - an Operations Mission. A strong dominant theme provides focus and serves as a plumb line for managerial behaviour. plumb line for managerial behaviour. P. 673

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