Oil sands projects continue to grow in scope and complexity. The average oil sands project is well over $1 billion with several projects approaching $10 billion. On large-scale projects, easy access to up-to-date data is critical for achieving project success and meeting the triple constraints of cost, schedule, and scope, as well as the 3 additional factors mentioned in the previous blog:
- Management and control of engineering deliverables
- Project management processes refined from large capital project experience
- Transparent communication with contractors
Along with scope expansion comes a need for companies to deliver process improvements to effectively respond to increased public engagement, regulatory issues, and environmental compliance requirements.
To address these additional factors, five project information management lessons learned should be considered:
Lessons Learned in Project Information Control
- Evolving Technologies & Managing Information
The technologies used in-situ are in a constant state of change and improvement. Oil sands projects are challenged by a lack of reuseable technical information from current projects and operations. In addition, there has traditionally been limited project information sharing both internally by Owners between projects, and externally with contractors.
Project information management practices are advancing in oil sands projects, and have proven to be essential in addressing both the information sharing, change management, and interface management challenges that result in part from the evolving technology in use by oil sands projects. Adopting a web based Project Information Control system will help address these issues. Successful project information management practice assists managing evolving technical design, managing change, identifying risk and equipping project stakeholders with actionable information.
- External Stakeholder Management – Public and Regulatory
Oil sands projects face a massive burden from managing many program environments – drilling, infrastructure, competing stakeholder interests, overlapping permitting authorities, and local procurement pressures. As a result, companies require effective governance, risk, and compliance processes, as well as effective stakeholder communication. Companies involved in process improvements require ways to effectively respond to increased public engagement, regulatory issues, and environmental compliance requirements.
Leveraging automation and collaboration tools to achieve project transparency helps remove time consuming and costly communication barriers.
- Internal Stakeholder Management – Project and Operations
Oil sands projects are complex and cultivate a challenging environment in which to track decisions, deliverables, deficiencies, and ownership. Disparate geographic locations with multiple stakeholders further increase the complexity of decision making. Owners engage contractors at all phases of a project, and are another internal audience on a project.
The combination of granular and high-level reports allow for efficient management of large volumes of data by focusing on exceptions or problem areas. Workflow and collaborative work models applied to, for example, HSE, where daily reporting is often completely manual, provides immediate project efficiency gains.
- Asset Management for Efficient Maintenance and Operations – Looking at the Full Asset LifecycleResource-based industries like oil & gas are constantly looking for efficiencies in project execution and asset management. Owners who have delivered wells, processing plants or distribution systems in one location consistently look to repeat success by applying the same design or practice to new leases and facilities. This is a challenge because although the high level deliverables are reasonably well understood by stakeholders, the details have often not been systematically managed, recorded or communicated resulting in confusion from the multiple different document revisions.For this to occur, there needs to be keen focus right from the project’s design phase on the full lifecycle of the asset. SAGD plants, for example, have very different lifecycle characteristics than managing traditional assets. Therefore, effective management of the asset lifecycle from an information deliverable perspective is integral. The goal is full reuse of all the project information, not just engineering and design.
Enforcing traceability of project purchasing activities, contracts, revisions and related workflows ensures all asset information is current and accessible for all project stakeholders.
- Vendor Data Management Once an oil sands plant is commissioned, focus turns to the information handover, and in particular the quality of the information. The better the vendor data handover, the better equipped maintenance departments are to plan work, hire staff and manage costs. Operations also benefit from high quality vendor data handover, and will also find itself with more accurate data to manage work.Vendor Data Management strategies and programs must be developed when the project is in design. Vendor data handover plans must be blended with all aspects of a project’s physical deliverables.
When a vendor deliverables framework is applied for successful design, support, management, and handover of vendor data along with physical deliverables, the owner’s long-term operations costs can be reduced substantially.