Operators and engineering firms regularly challenge manufacturers to “boldly go where no man has gone before”, pushing the limits of their pumping technologies. In their desire to improve the effectiveness of current process designs, as well as conceptualize new cutting-edge processes, they aggressively push against the proven capacity, pressure and temperature limits of commercially available pumping equipment. In the face of this challenge manufacturers are presented with three possible responses:
- Try to find a suitable compromise between what the process demands and what the client has asked for. This approach not only stagnates the advancement of new technologies, but in the end the process effectiveness is narrowed due to the acceptance of the compromised technical solution.
- Advise the client that a proven technical solution is not available at the present time, leaving them in a dilemma with no foreseeable means to realize their process design.
- Promote a new design that is not fully proven in the field. In this case the new technology often consists of many proven elements that now need to be challenged further to handle this new application.
In several cases, response 1 is the most practical approach when the project design and construction schedule is tight, but there are instances with new, grassroots facilities where response 3 is the better course of action. In these situations there is time available to evaluate stronger technical solutions, particularly if they offer huge financial savings over the operating life of the facility.
Pushing the technology envelope is exciting and rewarding… How would you do it? What level of due diligence and commitment would you as a client need to see manufacturers exercise to overcome the dreaded FEAR of Serial Number #1? Would you be willing to invest your creativity, time, and effort to collaborate on something new? Can’t wait to see your comments!
Director, Global Oil and Gas Marketing