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This section showcases case studies from companies that are addressing costs by working smarter and more efficiently. Oil & Gas UK encourages all companies with a story to tell to share short case studies illustrating how efficiency savings are being made, with a view to hopefully inspiring others.



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027-amla New app makes vessel sharing plain sailing
frigg-viking PlanSea collaboration yields £6.5million saving for Nexen
onboard tracker Aberdeen University industry collaboration ensures people and asset management now on the right track
Alder Subsea Tie-back Chevron and core supplier Schlumberger collaborate to save millions of pounds on Alder
Nexen Buzzard Field Exceptional sports performance inspires excellent team delivery at Nexen
Erskine Platform Operators’ co-operative approach boosts production performance on Erskine field
cyberhawk Time and cost of internal tank inspections lowered by Cyberhawk Digitalisation improves efficiency of ship brokering process
PA ConocoPhillips lowers cost and speeds up plugging and abandonment
Deserra Petrofac, Faroe Petroleum and Eni Hewett collaborate to reduce logistics costs
conoco Integrating operations improves offshore efficiency and reduces costs at ConocoPhillips
he-Normand-Flipper-a-Platform-Support-Vessel-directly-hired-by-Chevron-Upstream-Europe Chevron takes a new approach to organising its marine logistics
Drill Floor Chevron Upstream Europe achieves smarter well operations
Size and Shape Tackling Passenger Size – safely, swiftly and efficiently
North West Clair New technology and focus on performance management improves efficiency of BP’s drilling operations
Transocean Galaxy II drill rig to go with BP Vorlich BP teams up with fellow operator to unlock UKCS resources
5365 TOTAL takes bold action to improve productivity 
5366 Amec Foster Wheeler and BG Group deliver industry first
5367 Event presentation: Total E&P discusses sharing and allocating resources
5364  AIS makes steps towards reducing the cost of training
5367 Event video: Ideas on effective collaboration
5369 BG Group launches efficiency drive
5407 BP reduces costs by improving inventory management
5408 Reliability improvement plans to improve BP’s plant efficiency

New app makes vessel sharing plain sailing


Members of the Aberdeen Marine Logistics Alliance (AMLA) now have instant access to vessel sharing opportunities thanks to a new app from the group’s facilitator, Peterson.

The app, developed by technology specialist Streamba, gives AMLA members access to available sailings up to a week ahead, alongside real time information on estimated cost and CO2 savings.  The system uses route visualisation software to help users plan voyages more efficiently.

Users can upload availability on their own vessels to ensure any additional capacity on voyages around the North Sea is made available on the market. With an established agreement covering the contractual and commercial terms of AMLA shares, once a suitable share is identified arrangements can be finalised within an hour.

Chris Coull, regional director at Peterson said: “This app is our latest step in applying data driven technology to facilitate sharing in the North Sea.  Our approach of building software from the bottom up helps us deliver solutions developed from a user perspective and we engaged with AMLA members throughout the development and testing stage.

“With AMLA it’s all about facilitating ad hoc shipping requirements quickly and effectively.  Input and feedback from our members told us that instant access to real time sailings and capacity was fundamental.  This app puts the members in control, giving them full visibility of options and costs from which to make a choice and significantly shortening the time from request to finalisation.”

For further information on the AMLA, please visit

PlanSea collaboration yields £6.5million saving for Nexen


A collaboration between Aberdeen-based software firm PlanSea Ltd and Nexen has resulted in a yearly saving of £6.5 million for the operator.

By applying software developed by PlanSea, Nexen were able to simulate 65 weeks of North Sea operations using different schedules of platform supply vessel (PSV) operations. The simulations demonstrated that significant improvements in fleet size and vessel utilisation were possible if operations were reorganised.

The innovative system, which was developed by an expert team at Robert Gordon University before being spun-out as a separate company in 2015, uses advanced algorithms to optimise vessel utilisation. Working with PlanSea, Nexen were able to reduce their North Sea PSV fleet from four vessels to two.

Jim Cargill, CEO of PlanSea Ltd said: “The ability to accurately identify feasible ways in which reduced fleets can operate and validate that in realistic simulation is a game changer. There is a tremendous opportunity for the industry to collaborate with shared PSV fleets, potentially taking 40% – 50% out of resource costs. In the North Sea that could mean continued viability for assets that are struggling to break even in the current environment.”

For further information on PlanSea, please visit


Aberdeen University industry collaboration ensures people and asset management now on the right track




An Aberdeen based IT services company, which has provided technology to the global oil, gas and maritime sectors for 25 years, has developed Onboard Tracker – a software to simplify workforce planning and reduce costs.

Managing the logistics, training and competence of oil industry personnel is an intensive and costly process using many people and systems. With budget and headcount reduction on everyone’s mind, the monthly subscription model with no upfront capital cost creates immediate efficiency.

The visibility created allows companies to maximise personnel yield, control overtime and reduce training wastage.

Kevin Coll, Founder of Onboard Tracker and Managing Director of Solab, said: “Prior to the introduction of Onboard Tracker, oil and gas companies were accustomed to using multitudes of spreadsheets, network shares and departmental databases to monitor staff and equipment as their large, expensive corporate systems were not written with offshore operations tasks in mind.

“We developed Onboard Tracker to remove the duplication of systems and data that make daily operations of crews inefficient and costly.

“Finding an available employee, qualified and equipped to take the job offshore, was a laborious task involving multiple people. Often the easiest solution was to keep the person on the rig on high overtime rates as no replacement could be found.”

Access to corporate systems, data protection and confidentiality are significant challenges with multiple systems and spreadsheets. Onboard Tracker’s secure, easy to use web interface ensures that users only see what they should.

Since its launch in 2012 Onboard Tracker has spread across the offshore industry – now being used to manage people and equipment on more than 40% of the manned rigs in the UK Continental Shelf and in over 30 countries.

One company to recognise the benefits is global oilfield services company is Archer.

Managing a workforce of 1,500 people in roaming and rotational teams throughout the North Sea meant that operations, logistics, training, competency and finance personnel were laboriously updating data into spreadsheets and systems.

Mark Cowieson, Archer Operations Manager, said: “We used a number of different spreadsheets and databases with no tracker facility and no visibility of our operations. Spreadsheets were travelling from one email to another, from rig manager to payroll/finance department and so on. There was a lot of manual intervention associated with maintaining and updating documents and spreadsheets to meet client requirements and there were issues around who could get access to a particular spreadsheet, who couldn’t, who needed access and at what level.

“Onboard Tracker almost transformed the way we did business overnight. No longer did we need to lose time tracking down data – it was right there and we could access it when needed.”

Commenting on the University of Aberdeen’s collaboration with Solab, University MBA Director Ian Heywood said:  “Now, more than ever, the industry needs to develop better ways to manage its resources.

Working with Solab and Onboard Tracker has enabled us to help drive better practice and also share case studies and white papers. It’s a win-win situation for us, the University, students, Solab and most importantly the industry.”


Link to Onboard Tracker’s website:

Link to University of Aberdeen Business School:

Link to Archer:

Direct Link to Case Study:

Chevron and core supplier Schlumberger collaborate to save millions of pounds on Alder

Alder Subsea Tie-back

As part of Chevron Upstream Europe’s (CUE) ‘total cost of ownership’ approach to ensuring a sustainable business, the company identified that silo working was creating the potential for missing delivery deadlines. To resolve this, CUE forged a closer working relationship between both its drilling and completions and supply chain management teams and one of its core suppliers, Schlumberger. CUE ensured the right people were in meetings to enable quicker decision-making and Schlumberger made a senior executive available for liaison at CUE’s office on a weekly basis. On the Alder project, this enhanced partnership helped resolve numerous technical, quality assurance, on-time delivery and commercial challenges resulting in expected savings of around $5.7 million. More detail on the approach taken is available here and a short film can be viewed here.


Exceptional sports performance inspires excellent team delivery at Nexen

Nexen Buzzard Field

Over the past few years, Nexen’s management have set upon a journey to evolve the company’s performance to become a truly ‘Best-In-Class’ operator.

To inject creativity and eradicate entrenched ways of working, Nexen Petroleum UK’s leadership team examined the outstanding sporting excellence of Olympic athletes for inspiration in motivating their entire workforce and the resulting new practices have improved productivity offshore from five and a half hours to over eight hours per shift.

Nexen’s leadership understood that workforce collaboration and two-way communication was crucial in achieving cultural transformation – to create new experiences, beliefs and behaviours to deliver top business results and establish a common language which would drive accountability both individually and collectively across the business.

To help achieve ‘efficiency of execution’ in every aspect of activity, both on and offshore, Nexen invited Olympic rower, Cath Bishop, to its leaders’ forum in 2014 to share her insights into how businesses can develop practical strategies to unlock the full potential of their teams.

Cath outlined the philosophy behind ‘marginal gains’ theory which came to public attention when Sir Dave Brailsford became the British Olympic Cycling Team’s performance director.

The doctrine is about targeting opportunities to make small incremental efficiency improvements in any process which, when added together, deliver significant improvements.

As a result, the company’s new mindset and behaviours, encompassed in a business model known as ‘The Steps to Accountability’, include a commitment to effective planning and each person holding themselves and others to account for achieving superior results. Along with a suite of tools to equip employees in implementing the culture change and to naturally engrain the new ways of working into everyday tasks, this is now making a difference to the company’s success as the largest oil producer on the UKCS.

Ray Riddoch, Nexen’s managing director UK and SVP Europe, explains: “Efficiency of execution is the core value, along with excellence in HSE performance, which we encourage throughout every department in the organisation, no matter how big or small the task. Our highly effective mechanism ensures all good ideas are gathered, evaluated and disseminated across the company. It is important to ensure collaboration at all levels and share how someone’s input has contributed to our aim of reducing the lifting cost per barrel.”

Nexen used this cultural shift and the new tools to more efficiently provide safety briefings to the 1,000 or so new workers or ‘green hats’ who descend on Nexen’s assets each year. In practice, if ten scaffolders are required for a job, contractors provide five ‘seasoned and experienced’ offshore workers together with five staff new to the platform, creating a ‘buddy system’ which ensures rapid and effective dissemination of key safety procedures and allows Nexen to increase productive time ‘per green hat’.

Another example of the cultural shift and commitment to effective planning is the approach now being taken to well intervention operations. Nexen deploys a tool in the planning stage to measure the condition of internal components within oil wells which, together with predictive technology, allows highly accurate ‘virtual’ well interventions to be modelled. The process has transformed the ability of engineers to visualise the wellbore, select the appropriate tools before the intervention takes place and as a result, reduce the time required to return the well to production.



Operators’ Co-operative Approach Boosts Production Performance on Erskine Field

Erskine Platform

Effective teamwork between operators and suppliers has resulted in the completion of a highly efficient maintenance programme on Erskine, one of Chevron Upstream Europe’s (CUE) offshore installations, which has significantly boosted production performance.

Erskine is a gas condensate field that was discovered in 1981 in Block 23/26 in the Central North Sea. It was the first high-pressure, high-temperature field to be developed in the U.K. Continental Shelf, achieving first production in December 1997. It comprises a normally unmanned installation (NUI) which is remotely controlled from BG Group’s Lomond platform. An 18.6 mile (30 km) pipeline links the two facilities.

Processing of hydrocarbons takes place in a dedicated module on the Lomond platform. Gas and condensate are exported separately to BG Group’s North Everest platform before gas is finally exported via the Central Area Transmission System, while condensate is exported through the Forties Pipeline System.

BG Group and CUE have been working together on a large scale maintenance campaign to upgrade the Lomond hub to improve the efficiency of Erskine production, part of which comprises the cleaning and inspection of the 30 kilometre pipeline using a practice called ‘pigging’ with devices known as ‘pigs’.

Andy Brooks, Erskine Asset manager, explained: “Pigging involves inserting a pig into an oversized section in the pipeline known as a ‘pig launcher’ located on the Erskine Platform.  The launcher is then closed and the pressure-driven flow of the product in the pipeline is used to push it along the pipe until it reaches the receiving trap called the ‘pig catcher’ located at Lomond.  Carrying out this process enables us to clean and inspect the pipeline.

“By developing a joint vision for the campaign with BG Group and securing committed integrated input from the Erskine Asset and Intervention Team, Facilities Engineering Pipelines Group including pigging vendor companies, Logistics, BG onshore and Lomond offshore teams, we ran a total of 14 pigs, including an intelligent pig, which was essential for proving the long term integrity of the pipeline.”

The work took place over three mobilisations spanning a period of three months and, along with BG’s major refurbishment and maintenance programme on Lomond to improve long-term reliability, has resulted in all five Erskine wells coming online for the first time in two years. The daily production rate is now the highest it’s been in two years, at approximately 27,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, and the combined production from Erskine and Lomond is at its highest since changing to a single train operation.  Daily production efficiency is currently sitting at more than 90 per cent.

Steve Cox, BG’s Vice President UK Operated Assets said:  “The recent pigging campaign is a great example of the ongoing success of the collaboration between the two companies,” a sentiment echoed by Dave Dillard, General Manager of CUE’s UK Operated Assets, who added: “With Erskine back on line, the teams are on course to deliver against their performance metrics for 2015 – a position Erskine hasn’t been in for a number of years.  These results highlight the impact of exceptional teamwork and reinforce how a collaborative approach can add real value to the business.”

The Erskine Field is operated by Chevron North Sea Limited (50 percent) with BG International Limited (29.30 percent), BG North Sea Holdings Limited (2.70 percent) and Serica Energy (UK) Limited (18 percent) holding non-operated interests in the field.


Time and cost of internal tank inspections lowered by Cyberhawk


Cyberhawk Innovations has improved the safety, time and cost of inspecting cargo oil tanks on operational FPSOs using Remotely Operated Aerial Vehicles (ROAVs).

Maersk Oil, which owns and operates the Gryphon FPSO in the UKCS, traditionally inspected cargo tanks for integrity, damage assessment and class certification using rope access technicians who were suspended on ropes to inspect the tank structure, focusing on areas of high stress such as stiffeners, brackets, bracing, webs and stringers.

However, carrying out a visual inspection of the tank using Cyberhawk’s ROAV – Cyberhawk mobilised an experienced two-man ROAV team consisting of an ROAV pilot and inspection engineer – garnered many benefits.

Human risk factors presented by rope access such as working at height for sustained periods and in confined spaces were reduced. The inspection of the critical components of the tank was completed within a day, in comparison with rope access which would usually take between three and four days and significant cost savings were made. In turn, Maersk Oil could identify and more efficiently plan for any possible contact based inspections in both this and other tanks.

This inspection technique can now be applied to all large internal tanks, on vessels such as FPSOs, bulk carriers and tankers.

Malcolm Connolly, Cyberhawk’s technical director and founder, said: “We and Maersk Oil were keen to develop an effective ROAV inspection method for FPSO cargo oil tanks as well as other tanks and storage vessels. Not only have we removed one of the most significant risks associated with tank inspection, working at height, but we have also highlighted the significant cost and time savings achieved by ROAV inspection.”


Digitalisation improves efficiency of ship brokering process


Aberdeen based Shipbrokers Online Limited ( launched earlier in 2015, offering an innovative digital platform to manage the shipbroking process that promises to transform the shipping market and drive efficiencies in the brokering process.

The newly launched online platform will create a more efficient, cost effective and transparent shipbroking environment by replacing traditional shipbrokers with an advanced and user-friendly online service.

The technology behind uses the most up-to-date digital processes but works in much the same way as leading travel or real estate search engines.

The company was established to put the power into the hands of vessel charterers and operators by creating an online marketplace that offers significant savings in brokerage fees and removes unnecessary complexity from the process. It also makes tendering a completely transparent exercise.

The founders of have over 30 years’ experience in the shipping and oil and gas industries and have been on both sides of the chartering process.

Kenny MacLeod, Shipbrokers Online Limited’s Chairman said: “After more than two years of development and testing the platform is now ready for use. Against a backdrop of increasing uncertainty in the oil and gas industry, now is the time for a disruptive technology like It demonstrates tangible solutions to help charterers and the supply chain cut costs and creates efficiencies to help secure the future of the industry”.

“We are speaking to a number of interested charterers and vessel operators and look forward to working with them as they continue to trial the platform.”

Please view a video describing how efficiencies are achieved here.


ConocoPhillips lowers cost and speeds up plugging and abandonment


ConocoPhillips has made significant savings on a complex and challenging well plugging and abandonment campaign in the UK southern North Sea by taking a ‘campaign’ approach and working collaboratively with vendors.

The company’s plugging and abandonment campaign in the southern North Sea focused on 15 offshore wells across a 541 day work programme in 2014. The teams adopted a ‘campaign’ approach to the tasks in hand, proactively engaging with personnel, working collaboratively with vendors and continually challenging assumptions. As a result, it only took 435 days which reduced costs by 35 per cent, saving over £50 million.

The wells were originally developed in the 1970s so there were a number of challenges to overcome. The team incorporated a wide variety of skill sets including, drilling, completion, intervention, fluids and wellhead specialists to ensure the safest and most cost effective solutions and tools were used in all cases.

Due to the unknowns of 30-40 year old wells, the team had to continually learn, formulate, apply and reassess mitigation strategies making constant suggestions for improvement throughout. By remaining as flexible as possible and applying a rigorous approach to ensuring that risks were controlled as changes were made, every scenario had back-up plans identified up-front which was pivotal to delivering the performance improvements.

Gerry Cooper, UK well operations manager, commented: “Our objective was to safely simplify our infrastructure in the area to reduce the cost impact of assets that were no longer producing. We also wanted to enhance the focus of our integrated operations team and demonstrate the value of collaboration.

“The success of the project really hinged on close collaboration between onshore and offshore, functional groups within ConocoPhillips and our suppliers. Thanks to this teamwork, we jointly delivered an outstanding business result – re-focusing the right people on efficient implementation, reducing operating costs, and safely achieving our goal at a much lower decommissioning cost than originally estimated.”

The learnings from this campaign are now being shared widely across the industry and the approach continues throughout ConocoPhillips’ ongoing southern North Sea plugging and abandonment and decommissioning campaign.

Petrofac, Faroe Petroleum and Eni Hewett collaborate to reduce logistics costs



Petrofac, Faroe Petroleum and Eni Hewett have established an innovative cost-saving partnership to drive efficiencies and commercial synergies across their UK operations in the southern North Sea.

The tripartite agreement sees collaboration between Petrofac as the duty holder and the respective equity owners and operators of the Hewett, Schooner and Ketch gas fields to share logistics and accommodation services across the facilities.

Faroe Petroleum has invested in a new variant of NHV’s Augusta Westland 139 helicopter, enabling an increase in passenger numbers and freight capacity, and will share the usage of the helicopter with Eni Hewett.

In exchange, offshore personnel contracted to the normally unmanned Schooner and Ketch assets will stay nearby on the Eni Hewett complex rather than returning to shore each day, cutting down travel time and ensuring cost efficient mobilisation of personnel. The arrangement also allows for greater flexibility when deploying personnel as Petrofac can mobilise its workforce, as required, across both operations.

This approach will see the partnership deliver significant cost reductions and effectively manage resource mobilisation through a collaborative and open commercial arrangement.

Walter Thain, managing director, Petrofac Offshore Projects and Operations said: “To deliver the greatest value for our customers we always place a strong emphasis on cost management. The challenges we currently face as an industry are unprecedented and require us to constantly think differently and be innovative in the approach we take commercially to operations and engaging our supply chain.

“Reducing the cost of operations in the UKCS is a collective industry responsibility and we are absolutely committed to playing our part. By delivering cost reductions and synergies safely we benefit our customers and support a broader step change in the culture of the UK oil and gas industry.”

Graham Stewart, chief executive of Faroe Petroleum, said: “Since taking over operatorship of Schooner and Ketch last year, we have focused on a number of measures across the supply chain designed to improve operational efficiency without compromising safety which we feel is especially relevant in this new era of low commodity prices. This arrangement is one such innovative measure, which entails the sharing of key services which will materially reduce offshore operating expenditure, and improve operational efficiency.”



Integrating operations improves offshore efficiency and reduces costs at ConocoPhillips


ConocoPhillips, the world’s largest independent exploration and production company based on production and proved reserves, has significantly improved offshore efficiency and reduced operating costs by integrating its operations, changing work processes and building a cutting-edge onshore operations centre (OOC).

The new approach has helped to increase the number of activities executed offshore, reduce the number of changes to maintenance plans by 70 per cent and has tripled offshore ‘tool time’ (the number of hours per shift spent performing productive tasks).

Unplanned production trips have improved by almost one third, the backlog of work has been reversed and operating costs have fallen by 17 per cent.

In an aim to elevate operations performance across their North Sea assets, back in 2013 the company decided to change their operating model for the UK. The challenge was to integrate all their Central and Southern North Sea operations by the end of that year.

Setting clear goals to reduce risk and to improve efficiency in all operating areas including improved support given to offshore from onshore, the initiative involved significant change throughout the organisation.

Not only was it essential to change the office and equipment, it also necessitated a soft people skills change with the company’s SPIRIT (Safety, People, Integrity, Responsibility, Innovation and Teamwork) values firmly in mind. Behavioural changes included encouraging more collaboration, innovation and improved decision-making.

A dedicated cutting-edge Onshore Operations Centre (OOC) was also built, allowing the multi-disciplinary front-line support teams – condition monitoring, integrated planning, production delivery and health, safety and environment – to all be located in one place.

Since completion, the OOC has consistently delivered tangible results. Its ongoing operation, combined with a programme of continuous improvement, means it is growing in strength and it is successfully delivering improvements to the company’s UK operations.

Brage Sandstad, General Manager, Operated Assets, explains: “For ConocoPhillips, ‘integrated operations’ is a simple and creative solution that has enabled collaboration between our UK offshore and onshore functional teams to achieve results. By embracing this opportunity for change, we have safely reduced costs, whilst gaining a higher degree of assimilation and collaboration with our contractors and service providers. For us, it was simply good sense to integrate our people and improve our work processes facilitated by the use of new technology”.

Please view ConocoPhillips case study here.


Chevron takes a new approach to organising its marine logistics



Major operator, Chevron Upstream Europe (Chevron), is making optimum use of the platform supply vessels which support its installations in the North Sea by taking a new approach to organising its marine logistics which involves greater input from its employees and more effective integration across different departments.

A spokesperson explains: “Marine logistics, involving the delivery of plant, equipment and materials from suppliers to our offshore installations, are a sizeable proportion of lifting costs which are some of the costs associated with producing oil and gas from wells on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS)).  In 2014 Chevron launched an initiative to look at how the business could manage the costs of marine logistics more effectively.

“As part of Chevron Upstream Europe’s operations department, our marine logistics team is responsible for supporting the installations and key projects we manage on the UKCS, including the Alba, Captain and Erskine fields. Working together with the TEAM Marine Consortium, which we looked at ways to make better use of Platform Support Vessels (PSVs), share resources with neighbouring offshore installations and maximise every inch of each vessel’s deck space capacity.

“Chevron, as a member of the TEAM Consortium for the past 20 years, is well aware of the benefits of pooling resources such as platform support vessels. We therefore took this co-operative  working approach a step further to pinpoint opportunities  where we could improve  marine logistics efficiency.

Along with being integrated into Chevron’s operations department, the marine logistics team has been working with cross functional input from our operations planning, offshore workforce, , drilling & completions and facilities engineering groups plus various service providers  to raise awareness of the need for further efficiency across our assets.  We looked at areas where we could help reduce offshore standby times and unscheduled sailings as well as prevent cargoes from being ‘round-tripped’ which is when materials remain onboard taking up valuable deck space.

We have been using tools such as Lean Sigma to help our onshore and offshore teams assess potential opportunities for contributing to smarter ways to tackle both day-to -day and long-term strategic planning across the business. This approach is helping us to generate in our teams a sense of empowerment where they are encouraged to think creatively and constantly challenge themselves to find potential opportunities for efficiency improvement.

Together with raising awareness of the efficiency initiative across these teams, we also reviewed existing processes for tracking costs across the business and identified systems which have enabled us to avoid the rise in costs that can arise from sub-optimal planning or reactive work onshore, offshore and through supporting third parties and suppliers.

As a result of launching our efficiency initiative last year, we have been able to streamline work processes. We have also been able to reduce the cost per ton of cargo transported by platform support vessels and increased utilisation of deck space to 75-80 per cent of each vessel’s capacity



Chevron Upstream Europe achieves smarter well operations

Drill Floor

Chevron Upstream Europe (CUE) has improved the efficiency of its well operations and saved over £9 million in six months by defining distinct operations and performance teams and making more effective use of data.

Over the last few years, inefficient practices and a significant amount of non-productive time on the part of service providers have caused delays of several days to weeks in drilling and completions operations.

Launched in October 2014, the ‘Perfect Execution’ initiative aims to deliver well operations within the time and at the cost predicted. It has involved re-organising the drilling and completions group to ensure a consistent well planning structure.

For all future wells, the performance team carries out extensive historical benchmarking to identify where ‘performance gaps’ leading to non productive time have occurred in the past. Each service provider must also carry out root cause analysis on past issues and then work with CUE planning engineers to develop a well performance plan to resolve them. Progress through the plan is monitored in collaborative meetings and service providers are held accountable with the help of key performance indicators.

Improving how data is used has also been key. Simpler methods of analysing data and real time benchmarking of mudlogging data allows areas of lost time to be understood and captured more quickly in order to improve operational efficiency.

The efficiency drive is focused not only on CUE’s existing producing fields but also applies to new projects such as Alder, Rosebank and Captain as well as non-rig operations.

Andy Mayeux of CUE said: “To combat the drilling delays we were experiencing we have employed a consistent well planning process and made better use of data. The first three wells of 2015 have been completed early, we have accrued over £9 million of savings and service provider non-productive time has more than halved. Most importantly, by reducing well days, wells are being brought online sooner and additional wells can be added to the rig schedule, which ultimately helps increase production.”

To maintain the workforce’s engagement in the initiative both on and offshore, cross-functional well performance reviews are conducted within 30 days of drilling ending. Measures of success against the performance plan and overall well performance data is communicated daily on monitors as well as via posters reminding rig crews of the impact of their support to the delivery of the business plan.


Tackling Passenger Size – safely, swiftly and efficiently

Size and Shape

Step Change in Safety’s workgroup made the most of existing resources to ensure new safety requirements could be met in a cost effective and safe way –avoiding the potential of industry spending millions of pounds.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) published a safety review of offshore helicopter operations in February last year.  The report – CAP 1145 – contained 61 actions and recommendations to prevent helicopter incidents from happening, and also improve chances of survival in the unlikely event of a ditching or crash.

CAP 1145 contained significant changes to helicopter operations –  one of which being that the CAA had the right to prohibit helicopter operators from carrying passengers whose body size, including required safety and survival equipment, is incompatible with push-out window emergency exits.

Not long after its publication, industry body Step Change in Safety set up a subgroup within the Helicopter Safety Steering Group to tackle the passenger size recommendations in time for the CAA-imposed deadline of 1 April, 2015.  The Passenger Size workgroup comprised representatives from helicopter manufacturers, operators, regulators, the workforce and oil and gas operators.

Following close consultation with Robert Gordon University Professor Dr Arthur Stewart, it was decided that anyone going offshore would have to have their bi-deltoid (shoulders) measured before flying.  Helicopter passengers with a shoulder width of more than 55.9cm (22”) would be classed as Extra Broad (XBR), and be required to sit next to windows with a diagonal size compatible with this measurement.

Instead of opting for the traditional method of using commercial training providers to measure workers, the workgroup decided that offshore medics would be the primary measurers.

The workgroup’s solution caused minimal disruption to offshore operations with measurements mostly taken offshore before the deadline.

Workers did not have to pay to be measured offshore, and once the measurer had completed training and purchased the calliper required for measuring, there were no other cost commitments.

Within a month, approximately 100 people – mostly medics – had completed a specifically-designed training course allowing them to train other medics to be measurers.  Armed with sliding callipers, medics began measuring workers on offshore installations in February 2015.

Each trainer has continued to train other people to take measurements, resulting in around 3,000 people trained to take shoulder measurements across the UK. Each trained person has measured approximately 300 people each which means that in six months, more than 67,000 people have had their shoulders measured.

The Passenger Size project meant a significant cost was avoided than if the group had gone down the traditional route of sourcing additional resource.  By using an existing resource, the cost is estimated at approximately £1.1 million, where otherwise it would have been closer to £15million.

The project was also managed by Step Change in Safety. Les Linklater, executive director of Step Change in Safety, said: “The Passenger Size workgroup had a huge task on their hands and the challenging oil business environment meant the solution had to be cost effective.

“Expecting companies to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to measure shoulders simply wasn’t an option, so medics were chosen to carry out the measurements as part of their offshore responsibilities.

“This proved to be a bold but sensible approach.  By 1st April, more than 34,400 offshore workers –both core crew and less frequent travellers – had been measured.

“This solution is a prime example of making the most of existing resources in a sustainable, cost effective and safe way and it has saved the industry millions of pounds at a time when every penny counts.”

View a video describing the project here.

 New technology and focus on performance management improves efficiency of BP’s drilling operations

North West Clair

Major oil and gas operator, BP, has achieved a significant reduction in drilling time by focusing on performance management and introducing new technology.

During the appraisal of the possible third phase of development on the Clair field, West of Shetland, the application of new technologies, applying lessons from previous drilling campaigns alongside a rigorous focus on performance management reduced drilling time by 24 days per 10,000 feet drilled compared to previous campaigns.

The continuous improvement from the first well to the last saw productive rig time – the underlying operational time to complete the same tasks – improve from 53 days to 39 days. The implementation of new technology saved an average of four days’ drilling per well. In addition, completing a dual zone well test in a single run instead of two saved two to three weeks of well testing operations.

Russell Morrice, BP Drilling Engineering Manager commented: “Our approach to well operations in the appraisal of Clair reduced drilling time to such an extent that an additional sixth well was drilled within the original five well schedule. This enabled further appraisal of the Greater Clair field in support of both a potential Phase 3 development and ultimately maximising recovery of the UK’s oil and gas. The approach will now be used in other drilling campaigns”.



BP Teams Up with Fellow Operator to Unlock UKCS Resources

Transocean Galaxy II drill rig to go with BP Vorlich

BP has worked co–operatively with fellow operator, GDF SUEZ  E&P UK Ltd (part of the  ENGIE  Group), to increase exploration activity and help maximise economic recovery from untapped oil and gas resources in a mature play in the Central North Sea.

Using advanced seismic data enhancement techniques and careful analysis of pre-existing well data, BP’s exploration team identified a prospect named ‘Vorlich’ in the central North Sea. The challenge was to see if they could drill and test this cost-effectively and expeditiously. In the UKCS, the days of simple quick finds are behind us. Finds are now in small and complex structures, which are challenging, requiring a large amount of time and forensic effort to properly understand. The high drilling costs in the basin can also quickly erode the value of smaller opportunities, making new discoveries increasingly rare.

It was recognised that the Vorlich prospect extended into adjacent acreage which was licensed to fellow operator GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd, who had previously identified the prospect and named it as ‘Marconi’.  This then  allowed BP to identify an opportunity to drill the prospect in collaboration with its neighbour.

Ronnie Parr, BP Geophysical Advisor, said: “We identified that drilling the main wellbore into the BP acreage was the optimum exploration  location, but  a side-track into GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd’s neighbouring licence block would allow us to confirm the scale of the resource and its extent, so BP and GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd  jointly designed the well to test and appraise Vorlich across both blocks.   GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd operated the  well in 2014 in partnership with BP which allowed both companies to share exploration costs, resulting in a successful, potentially  commercial, oil discovery”.

“At a time when exploration in the UKCS is facing severe investment and cost pressures, we believe the Vorlich project has demonstrated that two UK operators can work together to apply their expertise, expedite a project efficiently and maximise recovery of the considerable remaining resource. We believe there is great potential for other operators on the UKCS to find new ways to work together to ensure that oil and gas is not left stranded and undeveloped.”

BP and GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd’s innovative approach to developing the Vorlich discovery aligns with the recommendations in the Wood report ‘UKCS Maximising Recovery Review’, which notes that exploration will be most efficiently carried out on a regional basis, dependent on the existing infrastructure, collaboration on geological information where there are mutual benefits to both parties , and prospectivity within the region.

Other partners in Marconi / Vorlich are: DEA UK SNS Limited, Maersk Oil North Sea UK Limited and Total E&P UK Limited.




TOTAL takes bold action to improve productivity of offshore field operations



TOTAL, a major international operator committed to maximising oil and gas production from the UK continental shelf (UKCS) is taking bold action to improve the productivity of offshore field operations as part of its group-wide initiative to drive sustainable growth.

To achieve the business transformation required, the company is encouraging staff to commit to making a cultural change in the way they work, think and behave to help bring about improvements under three themes: safety, production and in managing costs better.

Improving the efficiency of offshore field operations, including maintenance activities, is  one of the company’s eight key priority areas which include well construction, geosciences, contracts and procurement, projects, logistics, information services and overall corporate services. The company is using process improvement techniques such as ‘Lean’  to examine how its current practices in operations and maintenance activities could be improved to help control costs and improve efficiency.

“Our commitment to changing our cultural approach is an important part of looking at how our field operations could become more efficient”, explains a spokesman, “For example, we are using ‘Lean’ tools to reassess how we schedule tasks and now encourage our offshore teams in different roles, including supervisors, technicians and operators, to develop a greater awareness of one another’s roles and requirements in each assignment which might include  activities including basic oil changes, electrical breaker maintenance, valve change outs and even gas turbine maintenance.

“On the North Alwyn platform, the team has introduced a visual scheduling process that helps technicians by improving visibility of the overall maintenance plan. This consists of new scheduling boards designed to give discipline teams a clearer 48-hour view of the planned work schedule, showing priorities and the impact of any interruption in equipment operation.

“The new process helps the teams identify additional work that can be carried out during equipment downtime giving them the opportunity to maximise productivity in other related activities. A simple Measurement and Root Causes chart tracks performance against planned work schedules and also highlights the reasons behind any delivery issues to improve performance still further. The plan is to apply these ‘Lean’  principles to other areas of the business.

“There are many processes to consider in each of the tasks associated with field operations and a fair amount of time is taken up with essential preparation activities such as tool box talks, site checks and work permit requirements. However, even in this early stage of the initiative we have seen the completion of planned tasks within the schedule improve by 14 per cent.

“We believe our new approach has succeeded in helping us grow an even stronger team ethos within field operations crews and that it is helping us to develop a shared responsibility for controlling costs which can only contribute towards a sustainable future for our company on the UKCS.”

Amec Foster Wheeler and BG Group deliver industry first



In response to demand from customer BG Group to replace defective caissons more quickly, Amec Foster Wheeler introduced an industry first by developing a new technique for removing caissons, the pillars which underpin many North Sea platforms, a new method which not only allowed the job to be done in a third of the time but was also safer.

In April 2014, subsea defects on the Lomond platform’s C6 caisson were identified along with badly corroded internal dip pipes. Given that the caisson was located directly above a gas export line which it had the potential to damage if dropped, the risk of some part detaching during the removal process had to be mitigated.

Amec Foster Wheeler pumped expanding foam down the caisson, fully encapsulating corroded internal dip pipes. This removed the risk of them detaching during removal and falling onto a gas export line located below and allowed the top of the caisson to be cut away in larger sections than before, saving time and reducing cost.

This innovation improved efficiency by enabling the caisson to be removed in eight weeks, where more traditional methods would have taken 22. The process demonstrates the power of collaboration and holds promise for the future, as BG Group plans to use this technology for the removal of similar caissons on other North Sea assets.

Finding new, innovative ways of working is can help secure the future of our industry and will help to make the industry. BG Group’s Vice President, UK Operated Assets, Steve Cox, commented:

“As an industry, we need to work together to develop innovative methods and technologies. This solution has been an outstanding achievement and is testament to great team work and commitment from all companies involved and has the potential to be used for any other similar caissons in poor condition.”

View a video describing the project here.

Event presentation: Total E&P discusses sharing and allocating resources on a basin-wide scale to improve efficiency


Total E&P UK is finding innovative ways to share and allocate resources on a basin-wide scale to improve efficiency. The ideas, summed up in the campaign to ‘change culture, compete on costs and delivery’ were presented by cost efficiency project manager, John Catlow, at Oil & Gas UK’s breakfast briefing in London on 19 May 2015. Please view the slides here.

Advanced Industrial Solutions makes steps towards reducing the cost of training offshore workers



North East company Advanced Industrial Solutions (AIS) recognised the need to reduce the cost of training for offshore workers in the North Sea early on – and has created a whole new approach to training, offering real cost savings which could have a significant impact on training budgets for the sector.

Over the past three years AIS has invested millions of pounds to create a state-of-the-art 150,000 square-foot offshore training village on North Tyneside. The world-class training on offer includes emergency response, sea survival and wind energy, as well as CompEx electrical, rigging & lifting and more than 120 other courses. The company has also developed an onsite hotel to provide affordable, high quality accommodation for delegates.

As a result, the centre allows people to get all the skills they need in one accessible, affordable location with onsite accommodation from just £29 per night. The company hopes this will eliminate the need for employers to manage bookings and bills for multiple courses, in addition to often costly hotels and travel.

Dave Bowyer, Director of Training for AIS commented: “Inevitably cost is becoming a key consideration for oil and gas companies. Employers looking to do things more efficiently and intelligently find having multi-skilled employees who can effectively complete numerous tasks can help.

We hope our training village will help saves employers significant time and money – so they can squeeze the maximum out of their training budgets. This flagship village in North Tyneside is in addition to new locations in Aberdeen, Grimsby (Humberside) and Cleckheaton (West Yorkshire).”

Event video: Ideas on effective collaboration shared by Shell U.K. Limited and Halliburton



Oil & Gas UK members shared their views on how leaders can effect change and what collaboration means in practice at an event organised by Oil & Gas UK on 2 July 2015. The webcasts of presentations byPaul Goodfellow of Shell U.K. Limited and Matt Betts of Halliburton are available online.

BG Group launches efficiency drive by reducing ‘dead’ time and empowering workforce



BG Group intends to make its offshore platforms more efficient by significantly reducing ‘dead time’ on installations and empowering the offshore workforce to carry out scheduling and planning.

By enabling employees offshore, rather than logistics co-ordinators based onshore, to manage materials, plan projects and schedule jobs, the right parts, people and processes should be in place when a job is due to begin. So-called ‘dead time’, common when tasks are delayed, should reduce and efficiency increase.

The company has embarked on the second phase of a £300 million investment in its Lomond and Everest platforms, 140 miles east of Aberdeen.

The North Everest platform has produced since the early 1990s and investment is required to enable it to safely produce to 2025 and beyond. Operating costs must also come down to ensure that it remains economic for as long as possible.

Read the full BBC story here.

BP reduces costs by improving inventory management


BP’s new 125,000 sq ft warehouse at Dyce


BP has worked hard over the last three years to improve its management of inventory to reduce lead times in getting critical spare parts offshore and reduce waste from the purchase and storage of excess materials.

Over the last five decades of operations in the North Sea, the company has built up a large amount of inventory, stored in many locations. This complexity and excess often resulted in long lead times to transport materials offshore and besides being costly, could have a negative impact on production when these materials were critical to the operation of the platform.

BP launched a project to improve its inventory management – identifying a number of improvements, including better materials cataloguing, disposal of surplus spare parts and a reduction in the number of storage locations being used. As a result, the company has created a more effective materials management process and reduced the costs of inventory management. The number of storage locations has more than halved from 120 to 48, greatly reducing storage costs. The number of inventory items has also halved from 158,000 to 75,000 and around $32 million has been generated by disposing of scrap and materials identified as surplus to the company’s needs.

BP is also participating in Oil & Gas UK’s workgroup focusing on the use of inventory. Through collaboration with other operators, materials are being shared, inventories are being slimmed down and required materials are being made available more quickly.

Arnie Mouat, BP Materials Management Delivery Manager, commented: “The need to address high costs and production efficiency issues in the UK Continental Shelf is clear. Our work to eliminate waste and excess is a good example not only of our relentless focus on making our processes more efficient and reducing operating costs but also of the benefits of collaboration across the industry.”

Please view BP logistics video here.


Reliability improvement plans to improve BP’s plant efficiency



ETAP has benefitted from the reliability improvement plans


BP expects plant efficiency on its UK assets to increase by over twelve percentage points this year as a result of reliability improvement plans put in place over the last three years.

While there must be periodic breaks in production for planned maintenance, the company’s production has suffered from unplanned shutdowns due to equipment failure on ageing topsides and subsea infrastructure as well as insufficient equipment redundancy. In 2013, BP took specific action to address these unplanned shut-downs through the development and implementation of reliability improvement plans. As a result of these plans, BP expects its plant efficiency to improve from 70 per cent in 2014 to over 82 per cent for 2015.

The plans are founded on an ‘n+1’ philosophy, meaning each asset has spare capacity and critical equipment in case of failure, allowing for fewer and shorter unplanned shut downs. A central reliability team has been established and is accountable for owning and updating the plans, which are reviewed by senior leadership on a monthly basis.

Brian Pridmore, BP reliability and maintenance manager, said: “The reliability improvement plans have enabled us to identify vulnerabilities and prioritise maintenance of topside and plant equipment to increase both reliability and plant availability. We are now seeing the benefits of these plans through real increases in plant reliability across our UK assets. Less frequent unplanned shutdowns and production deferrals are good news for our business and the sector as a whole.”



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