Managing information is key to preparing for operations

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Trond Winther Trond Winther
Head of Operations Department, DNV GL - Oil & Gas

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Operations readiness
Improving information management to reduce time spent reviewing documents helps operators to contain cost as they adopt leaner field development options

  • Experts highlight the growing importance of establishing an effective information management strategy as part of the front-end loading of offshore oilfield development projects

  • Operator says DNV GL Recommended Practice on managing information helps to cut time spent reviewing documents for subsea projects

Improved management of the flow of information and data in pre-operations phases of an offshore oilfield’s lifecycle should be viewed as an early strategic goal, according to operators and service providers on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS).

This key message emerged from a DNV GL-led roundtable discussion of challenges and shared insights on preparing for production on the NCS. It followed the success of the first such event in 2016.

Participants spoke of the importance of improving information management to reduce time spent reviewing documents, as operators respond globally to the need for cost containment by adopting leaner, more flexible, field development options.

These strategies are applicable globally and clearly relevant for the NCS, where there is increasing use of subsea tiebacks to existing production infrastructure, and larger numbers of new, smaller independent operators are entering the market.

One such company, DEA Norge, described at the roundtable event how implementing a DNV GL guideline on subsea documentation proved the value of information management principles that enhance trust between multiple stakeholders in a field development project.

New owner-operator implements guideline to cut subsea costs

DEA Norge is progressing the Dvalin gas field development project offshore Norway through four subsea wells tied back to international operator Statoil’s existing Heidrun platform.

DEA Norge is the first operator to implement DNV GL’s globally-applicable Recommended Practice (RP) DNVGL-RP-O101Technical documentation for subsea projects’ as the operator develops it first own operated field towards first gas scheduled for 2020. The RP was published in the second half of 2016.

“We started developing our management of communication and IT plan within days of project kick-off,” said Jan Fredrik Sørensen, SURF manager, DEA Norge, for the Dvalin project. “It coincided with us joining the DNV GL-led joint industry project (JIP) that led to DNVGL-RP-O101. The timing meant we did not benefit fully from the RP at the tender stage, but we wrote options to use it into contracts and exercised those when the RP became official.”

Setting a standard for reducing subsea document reviews

DNVGL-RP-O101 establishes a required minimum set of documentation to be transferred between exploration and production companies, contractors and suppliers in subsea oil and gas development projects. It covers subsea production systems, umbilicals, risers and flowlines (SURF).

The two-year JIP involving 20 players showed potential for a 40–50% reduction in engineering hours and associated costs, and naturally far less documentation. The gain comes through operators accepting engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors’ reviews of documentation rather than duplicating effort.

Another major improvement lies in maximizing reuse of documentation between projects through the entire supply chain while at the same time minimizing the documentation transactions.

Dvalin’s subsea wells will be tied back to Statoil’s Heidrun platform (Graphic: DEA Norge)
Dvalin’s subsea wells will be tied back to Statoil’s Heidrun platform (Graphic: DEA Norge)

“This highlights a need for better information flow within and between organizations to ensure smoother handover to operations teams,” said Trond Winther, head of risk management advisory, DNV GL – Oil & Gas. “All parties need to come together on this as early as possible in the lifecycle, and certainly before contracts are written, to make sure both expectations and work processes are aligned.”

Experience proves the benefits of a standardization

Early evidence confirms streamlined document handling when contractors follow principles outlined in the RP. Sørensen said it allows DEA Norge’s lean project team for Dvalin – 35 to 40 people – to work more efficiently, spending less time on document reviews.

“The key thing about the RP is predictability for us and contractors about documentation requirements,” he added. “It is also important for handover of operations that you hand over only what is required, using as much standard documentation as possible.”

Based on the RP’s principles, DEA Norge’s view is that the first time a document is received it should be reviewed as if it is being seen for the last time, Sørensen said: “These are important principles that all parts of the industry need to apply to work towards a goal. We are pleased that the JIP and DNV GL’s regular operations readiness and SURF roundtables allow smaller operators to share insights, learn from others’ experience, and make a difference to the industry.”

Trust is key to reducing information overload in oil and gas projects

Increasing willingness to accept that information is available from a trusted EPC contractor, or in a place where it can be found when needed, marks a shift in some operators’ thinking, said Petter Myrvang, head of section, enterprise and information risk, DNV GL – Oil & Gas.

Operators, EPC contractors and equipment vendors typically require different formats and labels for information on the same equipment – a pump, for example.

“This drives cost, so it helps when operators agree that they do not need different information for each project,” said Myrvang. “The idea is to use a common set of information – for a pump, say – for all projects.”

Better information management will improve competitiveness of oil and gas

Using information effectively can transform business processes and models, making oil and gas more competitive and attractive to investments, Myrvang added: “With information standards, sharing and reuse, you boost interoperability between parties, and improve processes. Reusing information many times improves quality, enabling more-efficient decision-making and better insights.”

Smart and lean information management as part of digitalization can improve the quality, availability, and interoperability of information for a wide range of purposes, including preparing for operations.

The Heidrun platform (Photo: Øyvind Hagen – Statoil)
The Heidrun platform (Photo: Øyvind Hagen – Statoil)

Myrvang said: “This is a key strategic element of the future digitalized full field asset lifecycle models, which will go a long way in standardizing the management of data and information in field development projects and operations.”

Sophisticated digital models, such as virtual ‘digital twins’ of platforms, will allow operators to maintain a real-time or near real-time time view of their assets, and to manage and share relevant information and documentation in a more cost-effective way.

“Digitalization is undoubtedly creating new opportunities for leaner, smarter information management. However, applying key principles such as those included in DNVGL-RP-O101 can offer significant time and cost savings in preparing for operations now as well as in the more digitalized future that the oil and gas industry is moving towards,” Myrvang concluded.

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DNV GL prides itself on providing accurate information but makes no claims or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of contents in this publication, and disclaims liability for any errors or omissions. The authors’ views here do not necessarily reflect DNV GL’s views.