Chevron and core supplier Schlumberger collaborate to save millions of pounds on Alder

As part of Chevron Upstream Europe’s (CUE) ‘total cost of ownership’ approach to ensuring a sustainable business, the company identified that silo working was creating the potential for missing delivery deadlines. To resolve this, CUE forged a closer working relationship between both its drilling and completions and supply chain management teams and one of its core suppliers, Schlumberger. CUE ensured the right people were in meetings to enable quicker decision-making and Schlumberger made a senior executive available for liaison at CUE’s office on a weekly basis. On the Alder project, this enhanced partnership helped resolve numerous technical, quality assurance, on-time delivery and commercial challenges resulting in expected savings of around $5.7 million. More detail on the approach taken is available here and a short film can be viewed here.

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:

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.

New app makes vessel sharing plain sailing

Members of the Aberdeen Marine Logistics Alliance (AMLA) now have instant access to vessel sharing opportunities thanks to a new app from the group’s facilitator, Peterson.

The app, developed by technology specialist Streamba, gives AMLA members access to available sailings up to a week ahead, alongside real time information on estimated cost and CO2 savings.  The system uses route visualisation software to help users plan voyages more efficiently.

Users can upload availability on their own vessels to ensure any additional capacity on voyages around the North Sea is made available on the market. With an established agreement covering the contractual and commercial terms of AMLA shares, once a suitable share is identified arrangements can be finalised within an hour.

Chris Coull, regional director at Peterson said: “This app is our latest step in applying data driven technology to facilitate sharing in the North Sea.  Our approach of building software from the bottom up helps us deliver solutions developed from a user perspective and we engaged with AMLA members throughout the development and testing stage.

“With AMLA it’s all about facilitating ad hoc shipping requirements quickly and effectively.  Input and feedback from our members told us that instant access to real time sailings and capacity was fundamental.  This app puts the members in control, giving them full visibility of options and costs from which to make a choice and significantly shortening the time from request to finalisation.”

For further information on the AMLA, please visit

New technology and focus on performance management improves efficiency of BP’s drilling operations

Major oil and gas operator, BP, has achieved a significant reduction in drilling time by focusing on performance management and introducing new technology.

During the appraisal of the possible third phase of development on the Clair field, West of Shetland, the application of new technologies, applying lessons from previous drilling campaigns alongside a rigorous focus on performance management reduced drilling time by 24 days per 10,000 feet drilled compared to previous campaigns.

The continuous improvement from the first well to the last saw productive rig time – the underlying operational time to complete the same tasks – improve from 53 days to 39 days. The implementation of new technology saved an average of four days’ drilling per well. In addition, completing a dual zone well test in a single run instead of two saved two to three weeks of well testing operations.

Russell Morrice, BP Drilling Engineering Manager commented: “Our approach to well operations in the appraisal of Clair reduced drilling time to such an extent that an additional sixth well was drilled within the original five well schedule. This enabled further appraisal of the Greater Clair field in support of both a potential Phase 3 development and ultimately maximising recovery of the UK’s oil and gas. The approach will now be used in other drilling campaigns”.

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

Operators’ co-operative approach boosts production performance on Erskine field

Effective teamwork between operators and suppliers has resulted in the completion of a highly efficient maintenance programme on Erskine, one of Chevron Upstream Europe’s (CUE) offshore installations, which has significantly boosted production performance.

Erskine is a gas condensate field that was discovered in 1981 in Block 23/26 in the Central North Sea. It was the first high-pressure, high-temperature field to be developed in the U.K. Continental Shelf, achieving first production in December 1997. It comprises a normally unmanned installation (NUI) which is remotely controlled from BG Group’s Lomond platform. An 18.6 mile (30 km) pipeline links the two facilities.

Processing of hydrocarbons takes place in a dedicated module on the Lomond platform. Gas and condensate are exported separately to BG Group’s North Everest platform before gas is finally exported via the Central Area Transmission System, while condensate is exported through the Forties Pipeline System.

BG Group and CUE have been working together on a large scale maintenance campaign to upgrade the Lomond hub to improve the efficiency of Erskine production, part of which comprises the cleaning and inspection of the 30 kilometre pipeline using a practice called ‘pigging’ with devices known as ‘pigs’.

Andy Brooks, Erskine Asset manager, explained: “Pigging involves inserting a pig into an oversized section in the pipeline known as a ‘pig launcher’ located on the Erskine Platform.  The launcher is then closed and the pressure-driven flow of the product in the pipeline is used to push it along the pipe until it reaches the receiving trap called the ‘pig catcher’ located at Lomond.  Carrying out this process enables us to clean and inspect the pipeline.

“By developing a joint vision for the campaign with BG Group and securing committed integrated input from the Erskine Asset and Intervention Team, Facilities Engineering Pipelines Group including pigging vendor companies, Logistics, BG onshore and Lomond offshore teams, we ran a total of 14 pigs, including an intelligent pig, which was essential for proving the long term integrity of the pipeline.”

The work took place over three mobilisations spanning a period of three months and, along with BG’s major refurbishment and maintenance programme on Lomond to improve long-term reliability, has resulted in all five Erskine wells coming online for the first time in two years. The daily production rate is now the highest it’s been in two years, at approximately 27,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, and the combined production from Erskine and Lomond is at its highest since changing to a single train operation.  Daily production efficiency is currently sitting at more than 90 per cent.

Steve Cox, BG’s Vice President UK Operated Assets said:  “The recent pigging campaign is a great example of the ongoing success of the collaboration between the two companies,” a sentiment echoed by Dave Dillard, General Manager of CUE’s UK Operated Assets, who added: “With Erskine back on line, the teams are on course to deliver against their performance metrics for 2015 – a position Erskine hasn’t been in for a number of years.  These results highlight the impact of exceptional teamwork and reinforce how a collaborative approach can add real value to the business.”

The Erskine Field is operated by Chevron North Sea Limited (50 percent) with BG International Limited (29.30 percent), BG North Sea Holdings Limited (2.70 percent) and Serica Energy (UK) Limited (18 percent) holding non-operated interests in the field.

ConocoPhillips lowers cost and speeds up plugging and abandonment

ConocoPhillips has made significant savings on a complex and challenging well plugging and abandonment campaign in the UK southern North Sea by taking a ‘campaign’ approach and working collaboratively with vendors.

The company’s plugging and abandonment campaign in the southern North Sea focused on 15 offshore wells across a 541 day work programme in 2014. The teams adopted a ‘campaign’ approach to the tasks in hand, proactively engaging with personnel, working collaboratively with vendors and continually challenging assumptions. As a result, it only took 435 days which reduced costs by 35 per cent, saving over £50 million.

The wells were originally developed in the 1970s so there were a number of challenges to overcome. The team incorporated a wide variety of skill sets including, drilling, completion, intervention, fluids and wellhead specialists to ensure the safest and most cost effective solutions and tools were used in all cases.

Due to the unknowns of 30-40 year old wells, the team had to continually learn, formulate, apply and reassess mitigation strategies making constant suggestions for improvement throughout. By remaining as flexible as possible and applying a rigorous approach to ensuring that risks were controlled as changes were made, every scenario had back-up plans identified up-front which was pivotal to delivering the performance improvements.

Gerry Cooper, UK well operations manager, commented: “Our objective was to safely simplify our infrastructure in the area to reduce the cost impact of assets that were no longer producing. We also wanted to enhance the focus of our integrated operations team and demonstrate the value of collaboration.

“The success of the project really hinged on close collaboration between onshore and offshore, functional groups within ConocoPhillips and our suppliers. Thanks to this teamwork, we jointly delivered an outstanding business result – re-focusing the right people on efficient implementation, reducing operating costs, and safely achieving our goal at a much lower decommissioning cost than originally estimated.”

The learnings from this campaign are now being shared widely across the industry and the approach continues throughout ConocoPhillips’ ongoing southern North Sea plugging and abandonment and decommissioning campaign.

Digitalisation improves efficiency of ship brokering process

Aberdeen based Shipbrokers Online Limited ( launched earlier in 2015, offering an innovative digital platform to manage the shipbroking process that promises to transform the shipping market and drive efficiencies in the brokering process.

The newly launched online platform will create a more efficient, cost effective and transparent shipbroking environment by replacing traditional shipbrokers with an advanced and user-friendly online service.

The technology behind uses the most up-to-date digital processes but works in much the same way as leading travel or real estate search engines.

The company was established to put the power into the hands of vessel charterers and operators by creating an online marketplace that offers significant savings in brokerage fees and removes unnecessary complexity from the process. It also makes tendering a completely transparent exercise.

The founders of have over 30 years’ experience in the shipping and oil and gas industries and have been on both sides of the chartering process.

Kenny MacLeod, Shipbrokers Online Limited’s Chairman said: “After more than two years of development and testing the platform is now ready for use. Against a backdrop of increasing uncertainty in the oil and gas industry, now is the time for a disruptive technology like It demonstrates tangible solutions to help charterers and the supply chain cut costs and creates efficiencies to help secure the future of the industry”.

“We are speaking to a number of interested charterers and vessel operators and look forward to working with them as they continue to trial the platform.”

Please view a video describing how efficiencies are achieved here.

Petrofac, Faroe Petroleum and Eni Hewett collaborate to reduce logistics costs

Petrofac, Faroe Petroleum and Eni Hewett have established an innovative cost-saving partnership to drive efficiencies and commercial synergies across their UK operations in the southern North Sea.

The tripartite agreement sees collaboration between Petrofac as the duty holder and the respective equity owners and operators of the Hewett, Schooner and Ketch gas fields to share logistics and accommodation services across the facilities.

Faroe Petroleum has invested in a new variant of NHV’s Augusta Westland 139 helicopter, enabling an increase in passenger numbers and freight capacity, and will share the usage of the helicopter with Eni Hewett.

In exchange, offshore personnel contracted to the normally unmanned Schooner and Ketch assets will stay nearby on the Eni Hewett complex rather than returning to shore each day, cutting down travel time and ensuring cost efficient mobilisation of personnel. The arrangement also allows for greater flexibility when deploying personnel as Petrofac can mobilise its workforce, as required, across both operations.

This approach will see the partnership deliver significant cost reductions and effectively manage resource mobilisation through a collaborative and open commercial arrangement.

Walter Thain, managing director, Petrofac Offshore Projects and Operations said: “To deliver the greatest value for our customers we always place a strong emphasis on cost management. The challenges we currently face as an industry are unprecedented and require us to constantly think differently and be innovative in the approach we take commercially to operations and engaging our supply chain.

“Reducing the cost of operations in the UKCS is a collective industry responsibility and we are absolutely committed to playing our part. By delivering cost reductions and synergies safely we benefit our customers and support a broader step change in the culture of the UK oil and gas industry.”

Graham Stewart, chief executive of Faroe Petroleum, said: “Since taking over operatorship of Schooner and Ketch last year, we have focused on a number of measures across the supply chain designed to improve operational efficiency without compromising safety which we feel is especially relevant in this new era of low commodity prices. This arrangement is one such innovative measure, which entails the sharing of key services which will materially reduce offshore operating expenditure, and improve operational efficiency.”