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Mark Dobler, CEO of EthosEnergy, talks about outage planning, overhauls, industry trends, and the new company formed from elements of Wood Group GTS and TurboCare.
EthosEnergy was created as a joint venture company between Wood Group and Siemens, with Wood Group contributing its GTS division (not including its shares in RWG and TransCanada Turbines) and Siemens contributing its TurboCare business.
Wood Group brought service breadth across the entire asset lifecycle, whereas TurboCare brought OEM depth in the form of technology, facilities and product. Both companies had developed a similar culture of innovation, responsiveness and customer focus that made it easier to create a new company name and a common set of values, we call our ethos.
We focus on installing and maintaining mission- critical rotating equipment in the power generation, oil and gas and industrial energy sectors. We offer a full suite of services over the lifecycle of these assets, customized to specific business objectives.
For example, our Capex-facing businesses, such as design, construction and startup and commissioning, provide their services either at the beginning or at the end of the life of a plant, including relocation and repurposing this equipment and extending useful life.
Many times, these services develop into opportunities to provide maintenance or operations through our Opex-facing businesses. While we are known for our gas and steam turbine parts and repairs, we also operate 12 GW of power generation under performance- based care, custody and control contracts.
Thirty years ago, there were doubts that power plants could be operated reliably and efficiently as regulated plants with operations and maintenance staffs reduced by 90%. Yet technology, natural gas fuel sources, predictive and preventive maintenance, and continuous equipment monitoring have contributed to making this possible.
Gas turbine and HRSG technology improvements provide better certainty around outage planning and scheduling. So today, it’s all about staff utilization. Why carry the full-time cost for an in-house maintenance crew sized for plant turnarounds when their utilization would be less than twenty-percent?
This makes sense only for those with large fleets to maintain, but even with those resources, these companies will find themselves with unplanned outages or scheduling conflicts and that’s where we can help. Our field services businesses perform well over two-million man-hours per year. We strive to improve our service levels as we are ultimately an extension of the plant maintenance staff and critical contributor to reliability and availability.
Technology will dictate future outage planning and overhauls. Our Economax turbine control technology, for example, has been installed in hundreds of gas turbines. It gives operators the ability to control advancedtechnology combustion dynamics to suit operational requirements including power output, heat rate and part-life expectancy. 3D printing will also fundamentally change the way we plan, stock inventory, mobilize and execute future outages and overhauls.
From fuel nozzles to turbine nozzles, both gas and steam, EthosEnergy services the power, oil and gas, industrial, military and aviation sectors with overhaul services and manufactured parts. We do this from facilities in the U.S., UK, Europe, Middle East and Asia.
Our manufactured parts are designed to be improvements on the OEM design, in terms of performance, reliability and cost. We have a robust materials and engineering capability that was part of the TurboCare library and can apply these to industrial and aeroderivative gas turbines, steam turbines and related components. We also develop repair technologies that extend useful life.
How many times have you upgraded your phone in the last five years? Turbine control systems are no different. With unlimited spare parts, turbine control systems can theoretically last forever. But manufacturers are constantly advancing their product and don’t stock obsolete inventory to support it indefinitely. Our approach to controls is openarchitecture to give customers choice in terms of the operating platform, code, and access.
Siemens designated EthosEnergy as the OEM on certain legacy Fiat and Westinghouse engines. We are also the OEM on certain Pratt & Whitney gas turbines. On the independent side, we generally focus on GE and Solar gas turbines.
In all instances, you have to consider the lifecycle. Enter into long-term contracts with limited flexibility and it will destroy project value. Therefore, being an educated consumer is the best recommendation to maximize the value of equipment.
Carefully select a maintenance partner. Make sure they meet your criteria in the areas of technical competence, commercial flexibility and financial strength at a minimum. Then commit to build a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship.
For those with fleet sizes that can support it, do the same with more than one supplier. Develop performance metrics and then measure these and discuss them. The goal is to find a supplier that can act as an extension of yourself and thereby deliver the greatest life cycle value possible.