Streamlining Success: How Our Tubular Management Services Empower Operators’ Core Business
Energy companies worldwide face a daunting challenge: monitoring, managing and maintaining the quality of their pipe inventory. Aiming to optimize costs and yard safety, they often turn to third parties who can provide end-to-end supply chain management support. Vallourec’s Tubular Management Services (TMS) respond to their needs, managing their inventory and supply chain from yard to rig, enabling customers to focus on their projects.
“We’ve got 30 years of experience helping our customers find the most efficient way to store their materials at their yards,” says Axel Mahuzier, TMS Business Manager at Vallourec. “Thanks to a skilled workforce and innovative inventory tools, we can maintain accurate tallies of all tubular materials, and improve our customers’ operational efficiency.”
Tubular Management Services falls under Vallourec® Services‘ range of offerings, aiming to enhance operational efficiency for its customers. Through its TMS offer, Vallourec can either provide full onsite inventory at a client’s yard, or store and manage inventory from its own nearby yards.
Thanks to our global network, we’re always by our customer’s side. Services can be customized to each operator’s needs, guaranteeing pipe inspection, rig preparation and on-time delivery while maintaining reliability, safety and cost optimization throughout the procurement chain.
Our Vallourec qualified inspectors undergo rigorous training, ensuring adeptness in conducting visual inspections on pipes. Adhering to API standards, they meticulously examine both pipe bodies and threads. The value they bring surpasses that of third-party inspectors, as their expertise mitigates the risk of contractors inadvertently passing subpar goods or rejecting products perfectly suited for their intended use. This meticulous process empowers our customers to efficiently manage their cost of ownership, ensuring they receive high-quality products aligned with their specific needs.
Bringing added value
Beyond these core services, Vallourec is always innovating to offer its customers the best experience possible. “When the customer puts in an order for pipes, our skilled onsite team goes through a checklist to inspect each one before loading for delivery,” Axel explains. “But when needed, we can go well beyond that, like performing in the field full wall mapping of the internal diameter across the entire pipe body. With the actual pipe internal diameter, our customers can optimize the packer setting and/or their cementing volume.”
Another added service helps ensure pipes are “rig-ready” for immediate use once on the job site. “Usually, operators have to swap out a pipe’s storage dope after delivery, replacing it with running dope before the pipe can be run,” Axel says. “When requested, we can do this for the customer before the pipes leave the yard so that clients can then simply install rig-ready pipes, saving rig time.”
It is common practice in the industry to deliver 10-15% more products to a job site for contingency purposes. Then, on the back end of a job, customers return any unused products. In this case, Vallourec again inspects all returned products, reintegrating them into the current stock if they are in good condition. “If not, we provide repair and refurbishment services,” Axel says. Indeed, Vallourec’s Tubular Repurposing service leverages Ultrasound and Eddy Current In-pipe Rovers to obtain an enhanced assessment report of stock of tubes to later determine the best reutilization solution.
Innovation + Expertise = TMS
TMS technicians utilize Vallourec’s proprietary digital field app onsite, which helps them optimize pipe traceability, inspection and delivery. The digital field app automates inspection reports, improves stock rotation by 20% and enhances inventory analysis with real-time analysis. But the job involves more than simply using the latest technology.
Technicians also need a deep understanding of the products they’re working with. This expertise falls under the umbrella of what Vallourec calls “VAM® Awareness,” named after its superior line of VAM® connections and related field services. “VAM® Awareness is an expertise,” Axel says. “It means we know our products better than anyone else. We’re more than skilled. We’re ‘aware’ of the important role we’re playing in helping our customers run their operations more efficiently and perform at a higher level. In fact, Vallourec technicians even conduct training sessions with customers to pass on our awareness directly to them.”
Putting TMS into action in the UAE
An operator in the United Arab Emirates, faced many challenges in managing its massive inventory – over 100,000 metric tons of tubulars. In 2019, it decided to turn to OCTG suppliers, including Vallourec, to take charge of its tubulars stock.
"Some customers just need to get rid of the hassle of having to manage so much inventory," says Cyril Blanpied, Service Director, Middle East at Vallourec. “It’s several hundred million dollars of inventory, so they’re looking for us to handle it in a reliable manner, and according to industry best practices.”
Once awarded the contract, Vallourec built its local set-up, Vallourec Tubular Services Abu Dhabi, in less than a year. It is a state-of-the art asset, consisting of a total area of 98,000 m2, 4 inspection bays, and indoor warehousing for more sensitive products. The layout of the yard was designed to maximize efficiency, performance and safety.
The customer told us on numerous occasions that our yard management is really one of the best they’ve ever seen, a sort of role model for their other yards. In the end, they get peace of mind and cost optimization, and they’re freed up to focus on the operational aspects of their business.
Two years into the contract, the operator agreed to move to a rig-ready solution. This means that the running dope is already installed, so the pipe is ready for installation from the moment that Vallourec delivers the pipe to the job site. This has been a continuous improvement process that required a change in the way that the customer’s Drilling Supervisors were handling tubulars at the rig site. “Our VAM® Field Service presence at the rig site and continuous communication from our office engineers were instrumental in making it happen,” Cyril adds.
Increased efficiency leads to greater emphasis on safety
When Vallourec implemented its TMS offer in 2020, it was managing delivery of around 15 pipe trucks daily from port to yard and from yard to the job sites. The combination of increased sales post-COVID and the more efficiently run yard means that today Vallourec is handling up to 60 deliveries daily. “At first, this meant longer hours for our permanent staff, and inevitably overtime,” Cyril says. “To avoid the possible strain that comes along with overtime, we increased our permanent workforce – today more than 60 people – to maintain a proper balance for our workers while maintaining optimal efficiency.”
Adding local value in Uganda
In 2021, Vallourec began providing its integrated TMS offer to a major international energy operator on a technically challenging project in Uganda. Vallourec’s TMS team designed and built a yard measuring over 45,000 m2 for the storage and management of more than 22,000 pipes at the same time, within a complex supply chain environment.
Together with key partners, Vallourec handles all tubular logistics starting in Kenya, through their arrival in the Buliisa District in Western Uganda, where the project is taking place. “There, we manage all customer inventory to continuously supply tubulars for three different onshore rigs,” explains Bernardo Pestana Mello, Europe & Africa Services Director.
Upon product delivery, TMS teams handle stock management, ensuring full pipe-by-pipe traceability: “We take care of all handling and storage, inspections, rig preparation, rig return management and make-up assemblies at our yard,” explains Erwan Le Gouadec, Vallourec Uganda Director. “We also supervise the running operations with our VAM® Field Service team, completing the full tubulars life cycle.
Vallourec protects customer assets’ quality and integrity until final use in the wells. Thanks to an integrated supply chain, from the mill to the well, Vallourec can remain highly sustainable, responsive and proactive. “Our customer can trust us to manage everything so they can focus on their core business,” Erwan adds.
Today, Vallourec manages over 60 direct and indirect local Ugandan employees, who service the yard and supply the rigs with products and services.
We’re showing our positive commitment to the people of Uganda and creating real value for the country by training and developing local people while respecting its environment.
TMS can be implemented anywhere in the world, thanks to Vallourec’s global reach. And it’s not just for the oil and gas industry. “Some of the new players getting into renewable energies now don’t have the infrastructure to store and manage pipes,” Axel says. “We’re getting requests from geothermal operators and others looking for support, and we can definitely help them out. We believe in being there for our customers wherever they are across the globe. We’re ready to support them from our service centers, and when needed, we can assist them directly at their yard or set up a facility near their operations.”