The value of understanding your projects…

Technical & Commercial Evaluation & Validation

The Projects Team (TPT) are an organisation who help other companies realise value and efficiency through rigorous application of management and technical processes. The case study below is a real-life example of how their processes offered huge savings, identified several efficiency opportunities and encouraged continuous improvement.

  1. Task
    TPTs SMEs were tasked to implement & deliver the following evaluation activities on the ISBL FEED Study deliverables submitted by a technology owner under a lump sum basis for the client (classified).
  2. Activities
    The TPT SMEs implemented the following activities:

    – An impartial cold eyes evaluation & validation review of the study;
    – A bottleneck evaluation to determine all design limitations within the plant design to engineer out future debottlenecking and major CapEx investment for the 1st 20% production capacity increase;
    – The Application of TPT’s and the client’s value improvement practices to optimise plant performance operability;
    – An evaluation & qualification of all identified bulk quantities which is a critical aspect in achieving overall project success;
    – The Generation of an AACEI Class II cost estimates utilising the evaluated, validated & corrected FEED study Technical & Commercial deliverables. Validate the accuracy parameters met the client’s internal governance structure;
    – The generation of a full evaluation Risk & Opportunities Register including the identified cost levels and risk factors plus a full evaluation findings & recommendations report (Rev. A1 & C1).
  3. Findings
    Following the TPT SMEs implementation of the technical & commercial evaluation, an optimised engineered solution was presented, with all clarifications, technical & commercial errors being addressed. This resulted in a total identified overestimated value of 29.25m€, almost 30% of the original total project ISBL upgrade cost estimate, that was derived from the following:

    – Identified errors, optimisation & savings within the estimated minor equipment deliverables totalling 2.9m€;
    – Identified errors, optimisation & savings within the estimated steelwork structure deliverables totalling 0.9m€;
    – Identified errors, optimisation & savings within the estimated pipework materials deliverables totalling 3.1m€;
    – Identified errors, optimisation & savings within the estimated instrumentation deliverables totalling 7.2m€;
    – Identified errors, optimisation & savings within the estimated total electrical deliverables of 3.4m€;
    – Identified errors & savings within the estimated total design and engineering costs totalling 3.3m€;
    – Identified savings within the estimate defined construction overheads/expenses costs totalling 8.45m€.
  4. Outcome
    This enabled the client to reduce the overall estimated project cost requested at the Final Investment Decision (FID) as well as helping our client to negotiate a lower contract price with the technology owner.

Iron Ocean/OGIC – Collaborative working for life-saving technology

Problem Statement   

Globally there are 370,000 deaths annually due to unplanned immersions into open water, as reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO).


To develop a highly engineered offshore travel system designed to save lives at sea. Self-heating when immersed in cold water to prevent cold shock and hypothermia, the garment is also fire resistant and features anti-slash properties. A collaboration with Heriot Watt University & The Oil & Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC), the garment is the first of its kind.


Designed to be worn under the traditional offshore survival suit, the ‘Centurion 3’ garment has been developed as three separate garments that are worn together. Garment one is a CARFIBEX base layer, an extremely soft material bespoke to Iron Ocean incorporating anti-static, advanced moisture management, anti-bacterial and superior thermal properties.

Garment two is a self-heating layer infused with Iron Ocean’s flagship technology REACTA GEL AQUA, a compound engineered to provide immediate heat on contact with cold water. Garment three is the fire and slash resistant outer layer developed to promote escape through areas of high heat and jagged wreckage.


As a major hazard industry, the UK’s offshore oil and gas sector has a duty to protect the health and safety of its people.

The prototype ‘Centurion 3’ garment, developed alongside OGIC and Heriot-Watt University, could save the lives of offshore workers in the event of an incident at sea.

With unique properties, the ‘Centurion 3’ effectively protects workers from the harsh elements of the North Sea.

Acting as an under layer, the garment will activate to produce life-saving heat in the event of outer suits being torn or found to be leaking.

This pioneering technology underpins collaborative working with a strong focus on safety; ultimately ensuring people come home safely.

It allows the industry to become more efficient, whilst reducing risks to the workforce.

Click on the image above to download the case study.

Nexen – EPC/operator collaboration successfully changes out single point failure equipment on Buzzard

Submitted by Nexen


  • Nexen Petroleum U.K. Limited in collaboration with Amec Foster Wheeler successfully changed out one of the largest shell and tube reboiler heat exchanger bundle on the Buzzard installation during the 2016 Turnaround (TAR).
  • This was the first time this bundle, a single point failure for the processing facilities, was changed out since the Buzzard field was constructed in 2007.
  • The change-out workscope required engineering of movement corridor, the removal method and detailed sequencing of the removal c/w complex lift plans.
  • Plant clashes were resolved outwith the Buzzard TAR period, and the main bundle change out was managed during the TAR period with no detrimental impact to TAR duration.

Description of Best Practice

In line with vessel integrity inspection requirements, Nexen set out to a complete inspection of the amine reboiler shell vessel during the Buzzard 2016 TAR.

To ensure a best in class inspection was carried out, it was determined that the reboiler bundle would be withdrawn from the shell. Given the single point failure status of the unit operation, the bundle would be subsequently replaced with new equipment on reinstatement.

Driven by the duty of the exchanger, this was one of the largest bundles on the Buzzard installation at  16.4T, 1.7m diameter x 7.3m length, however it was located in a challenging position on a mezzanine deck within the process facilities deck. The weight of the bundle (with movement and lift cradles) approaches the capacity of the platform crane at minimum radius.

As this was is the first time the bundle had been changed within Buzzard production life, it was necessary to identify the extraction route and sequencing of the bundle movements to ensure no detrimental impact to the TAR duration.

This involved close collaboration between Nexen and the AmecFW team in engineering the extraction route, methodology and sequencing to minimise the impact on pre-work and shutdown duration, whilst offering the most stringent level of safety mitigations. Significant benefits were realised through this collaborative approach, with a strong focus during the scoping phase on the various methods available for such a complex activity.

The execution strategy was then confirmed by a  full onshore mockup trial that recreated offshore deck plan and validated the selection of air skates as the motive solution. The onshore trial also identified further safety and operational enhancements which were then incorporated into the final execution strategy.

Execution of the change out was completed and successfully managed within the planned TAR period.

Contact: Tracey Miller

Nexen – Innovative lance cleaning system washes gas cooler exchanger tubes in-situ

Submitted by Nexen Petroleum U.K Limited 


The duration of the cleaning work scope was reduced by 72 hours, compared to the original forecast using traditional cleaning techniques.

The benefits of using the dual lance cleaning system resulted in a reduction in risk to personnel, manpower requirements and duration of workscope.

The system yielded superior cleaning results and an improved understanding of the inspection/integrity findings.

Description of Best Practice

The 2016 Scott Platform turnaround included a critical path workscope to clean the Dehydration Feed Gas Cooler.  A combination of simultaneous operations and the design of the facilities necessitated that the exchanger tube bundle could not be removed, which meant that the exchanger tubes had to be cleaned whilst they remained in the exchanger shell.

Nexen’s turnaround team investigated techniques and technology to use in this workscope and discovered a solution based around lance cleaning systems.  This lead the team to investigate a dual lance cleaning technique used by Stone Age.  The benefits of using the dual lance cleaning system were found to be a reduction in risk to personnel, manpower requirements and work scope duration.

The company Stone Age were affiliated with Stork, with whom Nexen already has a contract, which enabled Nexen to further look into how the cleaning method could be used on the Scott Platform.

Through collaboration between Nexen and Stork, resulted in Stork purchasing the cleaning facilities and technique.  Trial runs onshore were subsequently conducted, which were vital in ensuring the system worked proficiently.   The successful offshore execution of the cleaning was the result of excellent team work and collaboration between Nexen and Stork over the course of about 6 months.

Contact: Tracey Miller

Shell and Repsol Sinopec- Valve procurement collaboration

Submitted by Shell UK


The risk to Fulmar Alpha was at least an additional 2 shifts to modify the existing valves representing 80kboe or $3.9M lost production.  The value to Gannet was  approx. 40kboe per day at $1.9m and we mitigated a total of 7 days of post turnaround start up deferment on Gannet – estimated at $14M of additional revenue.

Description of Best Practice

The Shell Gannet complex in the Central North Sea exports oil via Repsol Sinopec Resources UK’s Fulmar Alpha then exported via the Norpipe Export System to Teesside.  Gas is exported via Fulmar gas pipeline to St Fergus.  Due to shared infrastructure when the Fulmar platform is shut down, so is Gannet.   The Gannet Facility Manager asked colleagues to see if we had 2 x 16”, class 900 valves suitable for an Emergency Shut Down (ESD) riser at Fulmar Alpha.  Shell had nothing in their inventory that matched and Repsol Sinopec were already out enquiring to market heavily without any immediate success.   The Shell Strategic Contract Management Team reached out to MRC Transmark (Shell Global Framework Agreement supplier) and they had some stock that was fit for purpose. It took a mere 48 hours to source and send these valves to the Fulmar platform in comparison to typical lead time of weeks or even months.

Contact: David Rodger

Lytbulb – Standardising work processes using cloud collaboration generates efficiency in project execution

Submitted by Lytbulb


Lytbulb has been proven to create step-changes in execution outcomes over the medium term, but also creates immediate quantifiable efficiency gains.

Implementation of Lytbulb’s disruptive technology on projects in the oil and gas industry over 2015-16, has shown immediate efficiency increases of 5-8% regardless of the project phase or team size. In one FEED and Execution example, Lytbulb saved the engineering team 1,700 man-hours, constituting 5.3% of total man-hours.

Step-changes in execution outcomes are harder to quantify, however, the step-change is created by the transparency and control that Lytbulb gives the project team. This creates benefits such as reduced rework, reduced deliverables recycle, more efficient and effective interface/project/subcontractor meetings, and more effective collaboration with clients.

Some words from Denis Marshment, Project Manager, WorleyParsons:

“As a project manager, you want predictability of outcomes, you don’t want surprises. That means you have to be in control. With Lytbulb I am in control, which frees up my time for driving efficiencies and improvements in project delivery.  A key part of my role is to ensure that issues don’t derail the delivery of the project schedule and budget.  Lytbulb gave me complete transparency of issues that could have impacted the project.  This allowed me to communicate with the client with confidence and demonstrate that issues were being addressed in a controlled and timely manner.”

Description of Best Practice

Standardising work processes using the cloud tool Lytbulb takes less than half an hour to set up and brings consistency to your entire project execution team regardless of how many locations, timezones or sub-contractors are involved. It has been shown to increase execution speed, produce superior engineering outcomes, and provide a cost-competitive advantage. This is a sophisticated digital transformation tool for oil and gas project execution.

Currently, oil and gas project execution is lacking the sophisticated task-level management available in the digital technology industry. Whilst oil and gas project execution has excellent project management and excellent deliverables management, the task-level collaboration that sits in-between is largely done using outdated technology (emails, spreadsheets and discipline/interface meetings). Lytbulb was built specifically to bring oil and gas engineering collaboration into the 21st century using the best-practice agile technology available in silicon valley.

Lytbulb works by standardising the process of task execution, ensuring it is available in real-time to all team members in the cloud, and significantly reducing project interfaces and project controls at the task level.

What can Lytbulb do for you?

  • Helps standardise operations.
  • By virtue of standardisation you get a consistency in your work methods.
  • Standardisation = time savings = cost savings = competitiveness.
  • All your project work process are standardised in Lytbulb (document design review, technical queries, material requisitions, workshare, technical specifications, model reviews, HAZOP action tracking, safety registers, risk registers, and others).
  • All of this gives you a concrete way of bringing cloud collaboration and digital transformation into your company and project teams.

Lytbulb does not replace project management or document management. It sits between these two and immediately brings transparency, efficiency and competitiveness to your execution team.

Contact: Jerome Bowen, Lytbulb

Agilis Delphi – Workshop process creates rapid alignment on project issues and risks

Submitted by Agilis


Communication, both between and within stakeholders and specialists, is required for all oil and gas projects and is always challenging. A project that can integrate knowledge and experience from all parties is more likely to be successful. Uncertainties are identified and mitigated sooner, unforeseen showstoppers can be avoided, cost and schedule risk is reduced and project value is increased.

The Delphi Workshop is a simple and rapid structured communication process to bring about stakeholder alignment. The benefits of the Delphi Workshop are speed (less than half a day) and effectiveness. Delphi Workshops for risk and issues identification have been used on a number of oil and gas projects. Impacts include; aggregating knowledge from a diverse range of participants, uncovering uncertainties and improving the understanding of existing risks. The workshop is also ideal for mixed cultural and language groups.

The Delphi Workshop process allows for unusual and nuanced issues to be fully expressed. Alternative workshop methods by comparison are cumbersome, time consuming, and require issues to be captured into fixed categories.

Description of Best Practice

 The Delphi Workshop is for 4 to 20 participants, and takes 2 to 3 hours. The Delphi Workshop method is a structured communication technique drawing on behavioural psychology. It allows for participants to express and discuss shared knowledge with low cognitive bias, independence of thought, and fewer collaborative communication roadblocks (such as dominance of the “home” culture, or participant fatigue/boredom).

A facilitator works through a list of approximately 300 generic keywords, developed to cover all aspects of project delivery. Each participant holds numbered cards. For each keyword, each participant “plays” a card, where low numbers indicate an insignificant issue, and high numbers a significant issue. For potentially significant issues, participants are guided through a simple process to agree and capture the issue.

The Delphi Workshop has been used successfully for safety, technical, schedule, cost, and commercial risk applications.

Contact: Lakshan Saldin

Wood Group- Maintenance challenge for late life asset management

Submitted by Wood Group


When we work with our clients on their assets we always challenge scopes of work to offer an alternative solution to the client’s benefit. This challenge culture has helped to significantly reduce the maintenance scope of various projects, especially those in a late life asset management context.

Description of Best Practice

Case 1: Innovation through deviation of painting standards

A platform was being decommissioned with Cessation of Production (CoP) in January 2012 for a single lift removal in 2015.

We noted that there was an extensive fabric maintenance programme due on the platform to maintain integrity. As part of the ongoing evaluation of work scopes, a challenge process was carried out to review the fabric maintenance programme with two opportunities identified to reduce or remove the painting scope.

The proposed reduction required engagement with the client’s technical authorities to agree to a deviation on painting standards which are written for operating assets and are not always appropriate for assets coming to the end of their field life. This proved to be the first deviation of its kind in the client’s organisation.

A total reduction in scope of 42% was realised. The drilling derrick painting scope was reduced considerably by using wax oil instead of normal paint. This took less time to complete, enabling the work to be carried during a planned drilling outage saving £1,120,000 (cost of drilling down time for original scope). Revised scope was estimated at 41 man days, and the scope was completed in 14 man days. This 27 day reduction delivered a total saving of £2,160,000 alongside the obvious HSE benefits achieved by reducing the time spent working at height and over the side.

Case 2: Challenge to customer coating standard for handrails

It was found that structural material defects (MD’s) or repair order appeared to have a longer fabrication time compared to piping, partly due to the double coating system specified by the customer. Our MD team noted that the specification included galvanising handrail panels and then shipping to a coating company for a two coat paint system. We highlighted that due to the remaining life of the asset the specification would be worth investigating and reducing to galvanizing only, thereby reducing delivery times and cost. The team agreed the way forward and deviations for each facility were submitted and approved for use. The deviations were then passed on to WGPSN to use on future MD’s.  Overall, this resulted in a cost reduction of 78% and a significant reduction in fabrication time.

Contact: Philip Oliver

WorleyParsons- Emissions Compiler is a secure, auditable and simple way to reduce the burden of emissions legislation

Submitted by WorleyParsons 


It has been the first choice of several customers to help eliminate spreadsheet errors and provides a robust system. Sites where the software has been installed includes Britannia (BOL) and Dunlin (Fairfield).

Description of Best Practice

Emissions legislation is a complex matter, with each operator having to compile different systems to record, audit and report different pollutants and wastes (e.g. ETS and EEMS). It is often found that different spreadsheets are setup by individuals for each, however, such systems lack auditability and are open to error.

Emissions Compiler gives operators a ‘one stop shop’ that fulfils all emissions reporting requirements, which links to the historian and calculates the emissions automatically.

Emissions Compiler is a truly flexible system. It can be tailored to suit your needs and combined with the emissions forecaster to create a comprehensive and controllable emissions reporting system.

Contact: Jane Gospel

Maersk Oil – Optimising to remove risk

Submitted by Maersk Oil


The Maersk Oil team adapted an existing inspection technique forecast to produce cost savings in excess of 80% over the next five years as well as a considerable reduction in the duration of the activity.

Description of Best Practice

In order to scan the flexible hoses on the Gryphon Alpha’s turret, Maersk Oil previously used radiography, a technique which uses gamma radiation to capture an image onto a film. This technique is widely used throughout the industry but isn’t without issue:

  • Radiography could not be carried out in the direction of the asset’s nucleonic detectors as this will trip the vessel’s High Integrity Pressure Protection System (HIPPS), causing an unplanned production outage.
  • The entire turret area has to be shut off to personnel during scanning as radiography poses a significant danger to health. This prevents routine operations from taking place in the vicinity.
  • Radiography was carried out over nine months of the year but this only achieved around 50% of the required work.

Maersk Oil engaged with Innospection, innovative inspection specialists, to investigate alternative inspection techniques, with a goal to reduce personnel exposure to ionising radiations, spurious plant upsets and identify possible cost reduction.

It was discovered that Innospection already used Saturation Low Frequency Eddy Current (SLOFEC), an electromagnetic technique, on subsea risers. The current method was employed on a much larger scale than required, so teams worked to figure out how the technique could be adapted for topsides. A bespoke tool (MEC-P7), small enough to work successfully with the flexible hoses on Gryphon, was developed and tested onshore; an old section of a flexible hose was intentionally damaged to see if the tool picked up the discrepancy. It did. Overall, around six months was spent developing the tool and validating the technique.

The MEC tool was then trialled offshore on the Gryphon Alpha FPSO where it scanned all of the 6” flexible hoses, around 40% of the turret system in just two weeks, providing better coverage whilst delivering required image quality.

It’s estimated that the use of the MEC technique will deliver cost savings in excess of 80% over the next five years as just two fortnightly trips per year are now required. The tool has also eradicated the risk radiation posed to personnel and the risk of unplanned outages.

Contact: Danielle O’Donnell