Non-transferable travel tickets – 25% saving in annual travel budget

An operator in the oil and gas industry noticed that there were inefficiencies in their internal travel system. A short desktop exercise highlighted that the organisation was hugely inefficient when it came to booking flights – incurring costs for fight transfers, name changes and last minute cancellations.

The operator decided to trial booking non-refundable tickets instead. All employees must travel on the train, plane or car they had booked and could not be transferred.

This small change has resulted in a 25% cost saving in travel across the entire company. This also would have reduced the carbon footprint for the organisation overall.

A spokesperson for the company said, ‘it is amazing how one small change like this makes such a big difference. If a person needs to change their flight it is escalated all the way to the top for approval – so everyone here has changed their mindset to ask themselves if they really need to travel, and when. It’s a personal ownership of being more efficient. It makes sense.’

Are you familiar with your travel policy?

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.

INEOS Oil & Gas – Marine PSV Sharing Solution

Problem Statement  

The PSV spot market was not an economic solution for INEOS’ Normally Unmanned Installation (NUI) support  – The challenge was trying to share other Operators’ PSVs with production assets when the time on a NUI platform is limited.


The aim was to work closely with other local operators who had PSVs on charter and who were willing to collaborate on a workable solution while sharing goals and expectations.


INEOS identified an Operator with spare capacity on its chartered PSVs and logistics teams worked closely to set out a flexible sharing agreement without onerous terms and with an element of trust.


The INEOS logistics team works closely with the other Operator’s marine coordinator in the field to communicate the requirements of INEOS’ platform(s) and activities on a day to day basis  ensuring INEOS works within their sailing plans. Good communication mitigates the impact of schedule changes with enough awareness of each others operations. Throughout the first year of the agreement, the operational & cost benefits of such a flexible sharing agreement have enabled INEOS to manage the requirements and demands of a NUI without an INEOS chartered PSV.

Total Savings Anticipated


Click on the image above to download the case study.

Global Energy Group: Integrated Caisson Team – a Collaboration of Expertise

Problem Statement

Caissons are used in a variety of applications on offshore production platforms and vessels. Common uses for caissons are firewater and seawater lift, drain, as well as I/J-Tube applications. Due to platform life extension, caissons have often been in place longer than planned, and deterioration and failure of caissons is a growing trend in the North Sea and worldwide. This deterioration and failure may present a dropped object risk to subsea structural and piping systems. Their size and location also often make them difficult to access.


As there are a number of caisson-related issues across late-life assets, Global Energy Group (GEG) has reacted to the industry-wide issue of caissons with a bespoke offering via our Integrated Caisson Team (ICT). This initiative provides a cost efficient and value-added turnkey caisson solution and one-stop shop service.


In an industry where innovation and collaboration are key, the ICT is a seamless approach and also offers the opportunity to have one interface and a unique commercial offering.

This ICT is made up of a number of companies with specialities dealing with caisson issues. We’ve teamed together to provide a collaborative offering, cost-efficient and value-added turnkey solution for
caisson-related scopes.


The philosophy behind the ICT model is the provision of a one-stop caisson remediation and replacement offering that identifies best value solutions by combining the services of selected ICT partners throughout the project life cycle.

Of significant value is the ability of the ICT to offer options to a variety of solutions from within the structure of the ICT, without the need to bring in additional external resources. Examples include:

  • Options for either welded or weldless connections of caisson sections
  • The use of conventional rigging equipment or specialist caisson lifting tools during destruct and construct
  • Options to coat caissons with client-specified coating systems or utilisation of
    one-coat systems complete with coating warranties during the fabrication process
  • Options to install marine growth prevention systems at the time of caisson installation, or as retrofit solutions to existing caissons (this option is available to risers, conductors and structural tubulars)
  • Options for nitrox diving capability to 50 metres or cofferdam support in the
    splash zone
  • Alternative access solutions including rope access, WEB deck and tension netting systems, all installed by multi-disciplined access and trade technicians
  • Options for platform, vessel or daughter craft-based diving operations

The ICT is also a platform for knowledge sharing across varied specialist skills and tooling:

  • GEG – inspection, survey, design, fabrication, repair, construction/installation – both topside and subsea
  • Acotec – Solvent free one-coat Humidur coatings and underwater cofferdams
  • STATS Group – caisson securing and lifting tools
  • GMC – weldless connectors
  • CETCO – temporary produced water systems
  • Cathelco – cathodic protection systems

Click on the image above to download the case study.

Agilis – Sharing knowledge effectively

Submitted by Lakshan Saldin

Problem statement

Multinational project needed to run workshop to review issues and  uncertainties with participants from multiple nationalities and across multiple specialisms, taking as little time as possible.


Develop a comprehensive, shared picture of project risk and uncertainty across a diverse group of participants and identify the critical factors affecting project within a very short timescale.


Developed a workshop combining elements of the Delphi technique for developing consensus in expert groups with  an agile estimating methodology to gather diverse views.

Participants worked through a list of keywords and “played” a numbered card for each one, low numbers indicated an insignificant issue and high numbers a significant issue. For issues flagged as significant by one or more participants, a simple consensus based process was used to agree and capture outcomes. Initial output was available the same day.


The multinational, multilingual project team was able to challenge assumptions, recognise cognitive bias (e.g. anchoring, groupthink) and develop a shared understanding of project issues in a low conflict environment.

Material uncertainties affecting project delivery were identified early on and incorporated into execution plan.

Improved understanding of issues/threats through introduction of new information & perspectives.

Short duration enable participation from normally difficult to get hold of individuals.

Click on the image above to download the case study.

Bibby Offshore – logistics case study: unlocking subsea productivity

Submitted by Vikki Thom (Subsea Business Manager)

Problem statement

The current climate has resulted in short inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM) scopes being deferred, delayed or cancelled as they are not viable to carry out on a stand-alone basis.


  • Share equipment and vessels over multi campaigns and operators to reduce non-productive time.
  • Demonstrate cost savings by increasing schedule efficiency.


  • Framework with key clients
  • Dedicated project delivery team
  • IRM campaign builder database
  • Schedule control to support turnaround (TAR) shutdown and opportunities in the vicinity
  • Managing and minimising risks across campaigns
  • Streamlining processes


  • Sustainable campaign management resulting in traditional project costs being significantly reduced.
  • Innovative working relationship with operators and supply chain.
  • Non-productive time managed.
  • Value chain opportunities and economies of scale realised.
  • Efficient framework for a cohesive approach to project delivery.

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

Exceptional sports performance inspires excellent team delivery at Nexen

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.

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: