LNG deck at sunset. Photo: Teekay Corporation

SPM in cooperation with Teekay LNG Partners

To reduce operational expenditure costs and keep dry dock budgets down, Teekay LNG Partners (TPG) in Glasgow, Scotland, implements a condition-based maintenance (CBM) strategy. SPM Instrument UK is a proud long-term supplier of condition monitoring products and services to TPG.

Dry dock budgets justify CBM

Dry docking for repairs and overhauls represents a significant expense to ship owners. James Thomson, Fleet Manager for Teekay LNG Partners, says: “The justification for condition-based maintenance is the dry dock costs, which are eighteen days duration and the budget is US $5 Million. Just to replace or rewind every motor on the vessel would exceed the dry dock budget.

Within the framework of the condition-based maintenance strategy, TPG’s goals are to improve safety while reducing operational costs in the long term. The bottom line is to protect business reputation, preserving cargo value and quality is a top priority. Maintaining operational capability through preventive maintenance actions – enabled by the condition monitoring system – plays a key part in keeping dry dock costs down.

James Thomson: “SPM gives us an interface and an early warning to be able to know that only thirty or forty electric motors need replacement due to the condition. For example, if a ballast pump is in good condition according to SPM condition reports, this simply would be not overhauled. To remove and replace a ballast pump would cost in the region of US $14,000 to get the old out and the new one in for crane and lifting in etc.” 

However, some equipment is always opened for inspection during dry-docking, for example, machinery space fans and propulsion system machinery. 

Comprehensive condition monitoring program

TPG implements condition monitoring on all critical propulsion equipment, such as turbine machinery, alternators, shaft generators and gearboxes. Ancillary equipment such as bow thrusters, ballast pumps and seawater pumps are also included in the condition monitoring program, as well as cargo sensitive equipment like nitrogen air compressors and service air compressors along with E/R ventilation fans.

An example of this approach is lubricating rolling element bearings on condition after SPM readings are taken – by reviewing the alert list – without resorting to adding a work order in the maintenance management system. Another example is tightening mounting bolts or optimizing the alignment of shaft and belts when vibration analysis indicates this is needed.

TPG also has a target to improve TPM*) type maintenance and reduce the number of work order type maintenance actions that are logged in the system to make the maintenance regime more streamlined. Something that moving to a condition-based maintenance methodology can help achieve.”, James Thomson says.

Investments in condition monitoring equipment are an integral part of the condition-based maintenance strategy. Many vessels were equipped with the T30 EX instrument from SPM when they were built at HMD yard in Korea. Some of these instruments have since been replaced with Leonova Infinity and Leonova Emerald. Furthermore, four intrinsically safe Leonova Emerald IS instruments have recently been delivered to TPG, giving the crew the capability to monitor deck machinery and enter zoned areas freely. 

Long-term cooperation

Within the scope of a five-year contract, SPM Instrument UK provides maintenance action advice and decision support to TPG. The contract involves the provision of monthly and quarterly condition reports which provide documentation of the condition-based maintenance program, according to class requirements. The TPG-SPM cooperation is now in its fourth year and has delivered savings in terms of reliability and reduced dry dock scope, based on machine condition. The service contract has been expanded as more vessels were added to the fleet. An extensive new building program over the next five years will see further investments in condition-based maintenance. 

About Teekay LNG Partners

Teekay LNG Partners is an international provider of marine transportation services for liquefied natural gas (LNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and crude oil. Teekay LNG Partners provides marine transportation services under long term, fixed-rate time charter contracts with energy and utility companies through its fleet of twenty-seven LNG carriers, seventeen LPG carriers and ten Suezmax class crude oil tankers.

Teekay entered the LNG shipping market in 2004 and today have one of the world’s largest independently owned LNG fleets and offer solutions for floating storage and regasification units (FSRU), floating liquefaction units (FLNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG). The LNG tanker fleet is managed by the TPG offices currently based in Glasgow.

*) Total Productive Maintenance