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.

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

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

Centrica- 100 in 100 Campaign


Success requires a clear time bound goal, with the right resources to support the campaign and visible leadership commitment from the management team. With this in place, the teams “at the coal face”, who could see where inefficiencies and opportunities for lower costs were, took ownership of the campaign and were critical to its success, with ideas ranging in savings from hundreds of pounds to more than £4million. These ideas identified £105.5million of bankable savings in 100 days. Work continues on evaluating the remaining ideas, in total the teams submitted more than 1450 ideas with total potential savings of £266million. The campaign has not stopped there, the mind-set of cost-saving and looking at things differently to find efficiencies is now embedded within Centrica’s culture across its E&P business in the UK and the Netherlands. The teams are also now looking beyond our own industry to find appropriate cost saving ideas in other industries that we can apply at home.

The approach we took for 100 in 100 has also led to a long-term change in culture, with the campaign now moving into the Beyond 100 phase and cost savings still being banked and identified.

Description of Best Practice

Gas prices started dropping in 2014, in response to that reduction in revenue, we identified that a wide-ranging internal cost efficiency campaign was needed. However, instead of taking a red pen to the budget, we recognised that our people are our most important asset and had the greatest experience and knowledge of where savings and efficiencies could be found.

Using a shared vision and a bottom-up approach, we created the 100 In 100 campaign – a drive to identify £100million of savings across our UK and Dutch operations in 100 days. All 750 people across four different locations were empowered to contribute ideas, and solutions came from across the organisation. A task force was created to capture and evaluate the ideas, track them and feedback weekly to the organisation. Ideas submitted were not just cost savings in the supply chain – they also looked at how we operate as a company, our approach to key developments and efficiency savings we could make within our own organisation. Teams were encouraged to look beyond their own part of the business and look at other areas with a fresh pair of eyes.

Traditional cost-cutting campaigns in the industry have focused on top-down targets only, with teams being told what to do and where to make savings. This makes it hard to get buy-in from the organisation and isn’t sustainable. This alternative approach engages a complete workforce, it shows that a bottom-up, honest approach to tough decisions is possible in the industry and that the teams delivering the work are the best source of ideas for improvements. It requires visible leadership and appropriate resourcing with a clear goal and boundaries. It was critical to ensure that the teams knew there were no “sacred cows”, and that all ideas would be considered.

Contact: Ross Davidson

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

Nexen – £500,000 saved through efficient induction of “Green Hats”

Submitted by Nexen Petroleum U.K. Limited


  • Nexen Petroleum U.K. Limited reduced non-productive time associated with “Green Hats” inductions by 11% – saving approximately £500,000.
  • Improved safety on the platform and enhanced business continuity with experienced personnel returning to do work on the assets.

Description of Best Practice

Nexen set out to reduce the productive time lost through the volume of inductions for personnel unfamiliar with their North Sea assets – otherwise known as “Green Hats”.

Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the workforce is central to Nexen’s core values and culture.  Workers across all platforms receive a thorough induction, welcoming them to the installation and preparing them for their role onboard. This includes safety training specific to each platform, together with an understanding of the company lifesaving rules and culture, before embarking on their job. This induction is mandatory for personnel who are not platform familiar or have not been on the platform within one year.

Each induction session involves an average of 19 hours of training and support which includes approximately;

  • 8.5 hours platform familiarisation for each “Green Hat”
  • 2 hours induction session by core crew
  • 8 hours of core crew  support and shadowing as part of permit to work duty
  • 30 mins attending Offshore Installation Manager’s evening brief

When Nexen analysed the process, the company discovered the planning behind inductions could be tightened up and run more efficiently – and calculated that over 57,000 hours had been lost in 2014 through Non Productive Time.

Nexen recognises the value and skills which new personnel bring to it operations and encourages trainees and new-starts to it assets, and does not discourage this practice. For improved efficiency, requests are made to contractors that when an experienced person is being mobilised, a check is carried out to see if they are platform familiar and if they have been on the platform within the last 12 months.  This decreases the number of one-trip personnel to the assets.

Overall, this has resulted in improved safety to the platform and enhanced business continuity with the experienced personnel returning to do work on the installations.

A number of steps have been introduced to support this initiative, which range from reviewing the trip history of all personnel travelling offshore, planning workscopes around securing platform familiar personnel where possible, and the introduction of “Green Hat” figures within contractual KPIs.  This approach is encouraged across every department in the organisation, onshore and offshore, no matter how big or small the task.

As a result of this initiative, in 2015, Nexen reduced non-productive time associated with “Green Hats” by 11% and has saved approximately £500,000.

Contact: Ray Riddoch

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