Castrol Offshore Lubrication Scheduling Tools & Data Warehouse


Scheduling tools

& Data Warehouse


the Challenge

The client, a Technical Services division of Castrol (part of the BP group of companies) provides services and products to a number of sectors including Energy. One of the services is to draw up a schedule of lubrication points on an installation such as an oil rig. Such installations may have thousands of lubrication and sample points. Not only is it necessary to know what lubricants to use at each point, it is also advisable to know how often the “used oil” should be analysed. Such analysis is necessary for forward planning of downtime and to determine a number of very important items of information (for example wear-rate and when a bearing might fail).

Prior to the implementation of this project the customer maintained such lists using spreadsheets. This of course was not a satisfactory solution for a number of obvious reasons.

the Solution

The solution was to set up an online database which would act as a central repository of data. The chosen solution was to use Microsoft SQL (MSSQL) back-end with a variety of front ends.

In fact, when the project was first implemented connectivity on oil rigs was not satisfactory. The early solution therefore required “offline” databases which would synchronise back to the central MSSQL database. Microsoft Access was chosen for this purpose. This enabled Castrol staff to perform their duties regardless of the state of connectivity and to produce draft schedules before leaving the rig. In recent years connectivity is no longer an issue and the system has been modified to be completely online.

Microsoft Excel was chosen as one of the tools to enter data. This is because of the high availability of existing spreadsheets to facilitate lookups and cut ‘n paste operations to make data entry as slick as possible.

One of the requirements of the system was to ensure that the correct product was recommended for a particular item of machinery. This is determined by two criteria:

  1. What products are suitable for the particular make, model and compartment
  2. What products are available in the area in which the item is based

In order to achieve the above, a database of recommended lubricants was implemented. This in itself has become a valuable set of data.

Due to the legacy data and the feeds to other systems it was necessary to provide a number of tools to facilitate Data Quality. It has been our experience that many projects fail due to substandard data quality. Once an issue of trust has arisen (or lack thereof) it is very difficult to claw back that trust. When it comes to trust in information, this old saying holds true: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”.

the Results

Technical Services (Castrol) has a number of tools to enter critical data in order to provide improved services to it’s customers. In addition to this it is possible to provide a degree of consistency not possible before. Several reports and an ad-hoc reporting system have taken this even further providing important management information. At the time of writing, feeds to other systems are being implemented, such is the value of the data.

This project has been a classic case of:

  • Providing effective tools to manage data
  • Implementing mechanisms to transform data into important management information
  • Create feeds of the data to other systems



Case StudyNigel Ivy