The construction phase of today’s increasingly complex oil and gas projects involve thousands of workers, millions of details, and numerous complex variables, such as labour, materials, weather, and schedules. How can you manage billions of bits of data every day to complete the project on time and budget? How do you ensure that communication between all parties flows smoothly?
Companies at the forefront of the oil and gas industry are using cutting-edge information management and communication systems and tools to manage costs and schedule, and ensure that the project is advanced in the safest and most efficient manner possible.
Here are three technology strategies that I believe are absolutely crucial if your goal is flawless project execution.
1. Interoperability… it’s all about working together
It is absolutely imperative that your technology provider has a focus on systems interoperability. In other words, your systems must “talk” to or work with each other in order to minimise human error from manual data handling and duplication of efforts; improve the flow of data and information; and ultimately reduce project idle time and enhance efficiency.
Then there is the issue of interface management. A typical CAPEX project will have 20 to 100 separate interfaces that need to be managed, each with hundreds of issues that need to be resolved. Traditionally these interfaces have been managed by way of Microsoft Excel sheets or ad hoc databases, making consolidated reporting and gaining a comprehensive management overview nearly impossible. A project execution solution specifically tailored for oil and gas owner operators will provide template processes that allow for the hierarchical structuring of interface needs and management reporting.
2. A digital handover solution
The handover of data and documentation occurs many times during the project life cycle, resulting in a continuous flow of information between project participants. This often means tens of thousands of documents, and hundreds of thousands of records, which must be validated and organised before handover. The costs, resources, and time required for handover are considerable and have been estimated at over two percent of total installed cost over the life of a facility.
The good news is that a digitised, customised handover solution will minimise the time and money you spend on preparing for handover of responsibility for the physical facility and associated virtual plant asset.
3. Cloud: It’s here to stay
Cloud technology has only been implemented successfully by a select group of the oil and gas majors, so suffice to say we are all eagerly watching the developments in this space. The possibilities are enormous: Cloud allows all partners to work in a consistent environment, since the tools, data and environment are managed centrally, and therefore remain constant. A central repository of data is established across multiple locations, companies, and business units within those companies.
The financial benefits of working in the Cloud are significant. Cloud technologies eliminate the need to implement new hardware, networks and staff, which means capital expenditure can be reserved for investment in resource-producing assets. Another benefit is that an entire project environment can be up and running in weeks, rather than the months that would be required to source and implement those resources.
One owner operator that is leading the way in terms of adopting new technologies is Shell. Find out more about how Shell is adopting Cloud technologies in this short video.
In next month’s article, I will be looking at technologies and innovation strategies that will help you optimise during what is arguably the most crucial phase of any asset life cycle – operations and maintenance. Until then, I would love to hear your thoughts on anything discussed above – please leave your comments below.