TOTAL takes bold action to improve productivity of offshore field operations

TOTAL, a major international operator committed to maximising oil and gas production from the UK continental shelf (UKCS) is taking bold action to improve the productivity of offshore field operations as part of its group-wide initiative to drive sustainable growth.

To achieve the business transformation required, the company is encouraging staff to commit to making a cultural change in the way they work, think and behave to help bring about improvements under three themes: safety, production and in managing costs better.

Improving the efficiency of offshore field operations, including maintenance activities, is  one of the company’s eight key priority areas which include well construction, geosciences, contracts and procurement, projects, logistics, information services and overall corporate services. The company is using process improvement techniques such as ‘Lean’  to examine how its current practices in operations and maintenance activities could be improved to help control costs and improve efficiency.

“Our commitment to changing our cultural approach is an important part of looking at how our field operations could become more efficient”, explains a spokesman, “For example, we are using ‘Lean’ tools to reassess how we schedule tasks and now encourage our offshore teams in different roles, including supervisors, technicians and operators, to develop a greater awareness of one another’s roles and requirements in each assignment which might include  activities including basic oil changes, electrical breaker maintenance, valve change outs and even gas turbine maintenance.

“On the North Alwyn platform, the team has introduced a visual scheduling process that helps technicians by improving visibility of the overall maintenance plan. This consists of new scheduling boards designed to give discipline teams a clearer 48-hour view of the planned work schedule, showing priorities and the impact of any interruption in equipment operation.

“The new process helps the teams identify additional work that can be carried out during equipment downtime giving them the opportunity to maximise productivity in other related activities. A simple Measurement and Root Causes chart tracks performance against planned work schedules and also highlights the reasons behind any delivery issues to improve performance still further. The plan is to apply these ‘Lean’  principles to other areas of the business.

“There are many processes to consider in each of the tasks associated with field operations and a fair amount of time is taken up with essential preparation activities such as tool box talks, site checks and work permit requirements. However, even in this early stage of the initiative we have seen the completion of planned tasks within the schedule improve by 14 per cent.

“We believe our new approach has succeeded in helping us grow an even stronger team ethos within field operations crews and that it is helping us to develop a shared responsibility for controlling costs which can only contribute towards a sustainable future for our company on the UKCS.”