The Economics, Execution and Management of Complex Offshore Projects

Doherty, Patricia (Dassault Systemes)


Macroeconomic trends, geopolitics, oil prices and the depletion of known hydrocarbon reserves are both motivating and compelling petrochemical companies to venture farther offshore in search of new supplies. And because most new hydrocarbon reservoirs are discovered in ultra-deep (upwards of 5000ft / 950m) remote waters, companies are faced with unprecedented physical, environmental, technical and project management challenges:
- Physical environments are more hostile.
- Exploration and production are more complex.
- Environmental, technical, human and material risks are greater.
- Capital expenditure and expected return on investment are higher.
- Projects are more global and involve multiple stakeholders.
- Contracts are more complicated.
- Expertise is widely dispersed across a global ecosystem of specialized contractors, suppliers and partners.
- Pressure to implement stricter governance standards and enhanced risk-response capability is increasing.
- Investors seek to reduce time to first oil.

This paper examines:
- The impact of macroeconomic trends, oil prices and geopolitics on offshore capital investment strategies.
- The challenges program managers encounter when steering the planning, execution, governance, risk mitigation and delivery of projects involving thousands of globally dispersed multidiscipline participants.
- How a collaborative project management model underpinned by state-of-the-art technology can provide secure on-line access to a single source of information, enabling a globally dispersed project ecosystem create, collaborate and share information seamlessly while protecting Intellectual Property (IP)—from Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) to platform construction, assembly configuration, and commissioning.
- How dynamically updated performance dashboards provide a unique and reliable basis for risk mitigation, issue handling, prompt decision-making and enhanced risk-response capability.
- How all stakeholders reap measurable benefits and valuable time otherwise spent collating unreliable information from disparate systems can be used on high-value management activities that have a direct impact on the economic outcome of a project.

It concludes that the time has come for companies to make a paradigm shift away from inefficient, adversarial, proprietary, stove-piped information systems toward the use of integrated collaborative applications that foster partnership and trust while protecting Intellectual Property (IP) and enabling equitable sharing of risks and rewards.