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SPECIAL REPORT

Next Generation Software Solutions for Operations, Training and Procedures The Technical Effectiveness of Next-Generation Software Solutions for Operations Training and Procedures A Growing Need for Great Skills Getting Skills to the Right Place A Shortage of Skills The Communication Challenge

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS FOR OPERATIONS, TRAINING AND PROCEDURES

SPECIAL REPORT

Next Generation Software Solutions for Operations, Training and Procedures The Technical Effectiveness of Next-Generation Software Solutions for Operations Training and Procedures

Contents

A Growing Need for Great Skills Getting Skills to the Right Place A Shortage of Skills The Communication Challenge

Foreword

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John Hancock, Editor

The Technical Effectiveness of Next-Generation Software Solutions for Operations Training and Procedures 3 Systems Analysis Technology (SAT) Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media

Published by Global Business Media

New Operating Environment for the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry The Next Generation Software Solutions for Operations Training and Procedures SAT Software Deliveries

Global Business Media Limited 62 The Street Ashtead Surrey KT21 1AT United Kingdom

A Growing Need for Great Skills

Switchboard: +44 (0)1737 850 939 Fax: +44 (0)1737 851 952 Email: info@globalbusinessmedia.org Website: www.globalbusinessmedia.org

Instability Drives Production to Difficult Lengths

Publisher Kevin Bell Business Development Director Marie-Anne Brooks Editor John Hancock Senior Project Manager Steve Banks

John Hancock, Editor

Offshore is the Future Driven by Demand‌ and Reality The Skills to Match the Challenges

Getting Skills to the Right Place Getting the Business Lean Integrated Operations (IO) Onshore Operations Centre (OOC)

A Shortage of Skills

Production Manager Paul Davies

A Complex Sector with a Complex Process

The opinions and views expressed in the editorial content in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the views of any organisation with which they may be associated. Material in advertisements and promotional features may be considered to represent the views of the advertisers and promoters. The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily express the views of the Publishers or the Editor. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, neither the Publishers nor the Editor are responsible for such opinions and views or for any inaccuracies in the articles.

Š 2014. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright. Full details are available from the Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.

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Peter Dunwell, Correspondent

Advertising Executives Michael McCarthy Abigail Coombes

For further information visit: www.globalbusinessmedia.org

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Francis Slade, Staff Writer

Skills are in Increasing Demand Skills are in Short Supply A Brake on Progress Training is the Key

The Communication Challenge

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John Hancock, Editor

Technology and Training Communications, the Links in the Chain Microwave, Cable or Satellite 3D Modelling for Planning and Training

References 17

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS FOR OPERATIONS, TRAINING AND PROCEDURES

Foreword T

HERE ARE very few activities today for

describe various training support solutions developed

which software is not an issue. Not only

by Systems Analysis Technology (SAT), based in Oslo.

does it make long established processes much

The Report goes on to describe operational

easier to complete and more efficient but also

procedures, skills and training. The second article

software or, rather, the digital phenomenon

looks at what has generated the imperative for the

that underpins it, has made it possible to view,

types of software improvement and development that

manage and conduct activities and processes in

are so changing the way we do things. It has been the

ways not previously considered. It has even made

phenomenal growth of offshore oil and gas, driven by

possible wholly new operations and has also

the growing demands of a growing population and

supported a communications revolution that has

the need to find resources away from geopolitically

tied the world together in ways we might not have

unstable places that has underpinned the levels of

thought possible just a few decades ago. The lean

investment that make high caliber software solutions

approach that has not only improved productivity

not only viable but also necessary.

but, in the process, has also improved safety and

Peter Dunwell then continues to look at how new

efficiency, and working conditions would not have

levels of skills are supporting better ways of working

been possible without software.

and helping to keep offshore oil and gas at the forefront

The opening article in this Special Report looks

of lean operations, notwithstanding the inaccessibility

at the rapid rise and development of Integrated

and hostility of many workplaces in the sector. Francis

Operations for offshore oil and gas operations.

Slade then examines the so called ‘great crew change’

Onshore Operating Centers (OOCs), functioning in

and how a skills shortage is one thing that could hinder

tandem with offshore platform Central Control Rooms

the future course of offshore oil and gas. Finally we

(CCRs) or Drilling Control Centers, have become a

look at the communications issues whose resolution

reality. However, communication via computers and

will be prerequisite to any deployment of new software

other ICT solutions may not always be effective and,

solutions for any purposes across the sector.

as a result, collaboration may suffer. This problem can be mitigated by the development of an effective and user-friendly operating manual structure and content to be used in both locations. The article goes on to

John Hancock Editor

John Hancock joined as Editor of Offshore Reports in early 2012. A journalist for 25 years, John has written and edited articles and papers on a range of engineering, support services and technology topics as well as for key events in the sector. Subjects have included aeroengineering, auto-engineering and electronics, high value manufacturing, testing, aviation IT, materials engineering, weapons research, supply chain, logistics and naval engineering.

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS FOR OPERATIONS, TRAINING AND PROCEDURES

The Technical Effectiveness of Next-Generation Software Solutions for Operations Training and Procedures Systems Analysis Technology (SAT) Operations Training and Procedures are key elements in the quest for zero accidents, minimum downtime and optimal production in oil and gas facilities

New Operating Environment for the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry Rapid developments in the field of Information and Communication Technology have presented new opportunities for offshore oil and gas operations. High band width fiber optic- and satellite communications combined with open interface systems have given land-based operation centers access to real-time data from offshore operations. Onshore Operation Centers (OOCs) functioning in tandem with the offshore platform central control room (CCR), or Drilling Control Center, has become a reality. This evolving technology arena is often referred to as Integrated Operations, e-Operations, Smart Operations, etc. depending on geographic location and operating company. Integrated Operations have developed over the years as a result of emerging driving forces and new technologies. Platform manning should be targeted for safe and efficient operation. If more activities in the work processes can be moved to a land-based operation center, then some of the same staff can serve several platforms. Also, the same staff can deliver better value to work processes in this new location. Potential gains become possible both in reduced operating costs and higher petroleum recovery. From a demographic viewpoint, in the next few years we will witness the retirement of a varying share of the offshore workforce, including engineering- and technical support personnel. Despite the fact that Integrated Operations in itself will reduce the required workforce, we may very well experience a lack of skilled personnel. Internationally, the

demand for skilled personnel will probably stay at a peak for some time. The drive for exploration and development in remote locations with increasingly complex operations will also strengthen this trend. From the personnel resource requirement viewpoint alone, it would appear that Integrated Operations will be deployed extensively and at a relatively fast pace. Some of the technologies that enable Integrated Operations are: •S  ensor technology (e.g. drilling and well bore production). •B  road-band telemetry, fiber optics, satellite communications, open interface systems etc. •S  torage and processing of transmitted real time data. • Analyzing- and simulation software. • Graphical visualization of real time data. These technologies have evolved at different rates. It is when they are available at certain combined and advanced states that Integrated Operations opportunities arise. A central theme of 1st generation Integrated Operations has been Integrated Work Processes between offshore CCRs and Onshore Operation Centers (OOCs). The present 2nd generation Integrated Operations has moved into additional features like: •O  il and gas installations are operated by personnel from the operating company and from suppliers, supported from separate suppliers’ OOCs. •S  uppliers will typically be responsible for online real time condition monitoring, analyzing data and providing optimized operations and maintenance advice for supplied equipment. WWW.OFFSHORETECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM | 3


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS FOR OPERATIONS, TRAINING AND PROCEDURES

These technologies have evolved at different rates. It is when they are available at certain combined and advanced states that Integrated Operations opportunities arise

2ND GENERATION INTEGRATED OPERATIONS. PHOTOS COURTESY OF BP NORGE

•T  he supplier of the process control system will supervise and optimize control functions from the supplier’s OOC. •S  upplier’s OOC will take over ConditionBased Maintenance in order to optimize maintenance and timely replacement of parts and equipment. •M  aintenance work and plant modifications will be planned in detail at OOCs utilizing online video and up-to-date plant 3D models. On-shore-based maintenance crews will carry out the work. •N  ew ICT solutions are being developed to support work flow and collaboration, including plant-wide visualization technology. •T  he CCR and the OOCs will operate as one virtual Integrated Operations Center 24/7. It is difficult to predict the total value of Integrated Operations. It is important, however, to look at life-cycle costs. It is equally important to evaluate the total value creation potential based on all contributing (and negative) factors, since there are many interdependencies and synergy effects. Collaboration between offshore CCR and onshore OOC has been viewed as a backbone in Integrated Operations. It should be realized, however, that communication via computers and other ICT solutions may not always be effective. Complex offshore operations may be “a piece of cake” for a trained and experienced CCR operator, while personnel at the OOC may not fully grasp the step-by-step operations. The value of the collaboration will suffer. This problem can be mitigated by developing an effective and userfriendly operating manual structure and content to be used in both locations. The manuals must cover standardized operations. In most cases, the trained OOC personnel will then be able to follow operations step-by-step in real time. The same is true for vendor support personnel at other OOCs. The use of a 3D field model with a user-friendly graphical interface will enable OOC personnel to view physical details of operational procedures. Integrated Operations collaborations and work processes will require new skills. Personnel from

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different disciplines and organizations will work closely together in new ways. The foundation underlying all this will still be the need for traditional skills, e.g. experienced operators, discipline specialists, etc. It may be challenging to “re-train” personnel from traditional working environments. Younger applicants, on the other hand, may find the new ways of working more attractive. Integrated Operations is a multidiscipline approach. The operating manuals, with start-up diagrams, and systems training manuals therefore become a central part of the personnel training program.

The Next Generation Software Solutions for Operations Training and Procedures SAT (Systems Analysis Technology) has been developing Operating Manuals, Procedures for Initial Start-up, System Training Manuals and Operator Training Courses since 1990. Our clients include oil and gas operating companies on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. SAT has taken on the challenge to address the new requirements for training manuals and operating procedures tailored to Integrated Operations. SATOT (Operator Trainer) Developed by SAT, SATOT (Operator Trainer) is an online solution for handling Systems Training Manuals. The central element in SATOT is the web publishing and associated operator training features. When selecting a System Training Manual in SATOT several choices are given. The long version is for self-study. The short highlight version is for classroom training. E-learning provides introductory material. The objectives of SATOT are to increase the effectiveness of operator and staff training and reduce the costs of developing and maintaining training functions. SATOT uses web database solutions to access System Training Manuals information in the form of text, training course material and


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS FOR OPERATIONS, TRAINING AND PROCEDURES

CLASSROOM TRAINING

e-learning courses. A Learning Management Solution (LMS) is part of the same web solution, with a common database. E-learning courses become much less expensive to produce and update, and the courses can easily be much more detailed and advanced. This is because the SATOT System Training Manuals solution generates the e-learning course as well. SATOT is a web- and database tool. It can handle any type of System Training Manuals file inputs, new and existing (e.g. existing System Training Manuals). It can web link to any type of documentation, which can be viewed in a web browser. An interesting feature is the linking to 3D plant models. The production and updating of online System Training Manuals, training course material, e-learning courses and the LMS becomes very cost effective. In sum SATOT is ideal for cost effective online operator and staff training, in a classroom or individually online from anywhere at any time. SATOS (Operator Support) Developed by SAT, SATOS (Operator Support), is an online solution for handling Operations Procedures. The central element in SATOS is the node diagrams (start-up or shut-down diagram) and the associated structured operating procedures. The objectives of SATOS are to increase safety and regularity by facilitating standardized operations. SATOS uses database solutions to access procedures, check-lists and other relevant information for the operator. Control room operators can collaborate with specialists in an Onshore Operation Center and

with suppliers since procedures and operations progress can be followed from all locations. SATOS is ideal for use in the following applications: • Integrated Operations • Planned Start-up & Shut-down • Start-up and Shut-down History log • Trip Restart • Routine Operations • Commissioning Procedures • Shift Handover Status (Start-up / Shut-down) • Emergency Procedures • Simulator Training

The Node Diagram Start-up and shut-down or trip and restarts are operations which should be handled safely and efficiently. This may be achieved if the elements of operations are standardized and well known to all operators. Standardized operations means that most cases of start-up and shut-down or trip and restart follow the same procedure route between operating levels. The order of start-up of individual systems between the main operating levels must typically follow some (by design) sequence. SAT developed the start-up diagram (also known as the Node Diagram) in order to be able to map the total sequence of system startups and activities. A node is a system procedure. Each defined operating case must have its dedicated Node Diagram. The procedures in the nodes collectively describe all systems interdependencies, and steps and actions necessary to start the plant. The Node Diagrams with associated nodes and procedures allow early “on paper” operation of the plant. This is of great value since it represents: WWW.OFFSHORETECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM | 5


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS FOR OPERATIONS, TRAINING AND PROCEDURES

SAT (Systems Analysis Technology) has been developing Operating Manuals, Procedures for Initial Start-up, System Training Manuals and Operator Training Courses since 1990. Our clients include oil and gas operating companies on the Norwegian Continental Shelf

SATOS IN INTEGRATED OPERATIONS

• Overall plant systems verification • Operating procedures verification •E  arly training capability in plant operations, e.g. through simulator training The Node Diagram in an electronic format becomes a “clickable” map. Click on a node and the procedure is launched.

SATOS and Integrated Operations One primary goal with Integrated Operations is to collaborate on optimization of the production. It would seem obvious that an optimized and agreed (common for all operators) set of operating procedures is the answer. An 6 | WWW.OFFSHORETECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM

important aspect of collaboration between the Central Control Room (CCR) and the Onshore Operation Center (OOC) on operations is the ability of personnel in both locations to follow operations step-by-step. This can be achieved with a common set of operating manuals accessed from all locations through SATOS. In the figure above, SATOS is shown both in the CCR and in the OOC. Operators in the CCR can use SATOS to retrieve operating cases, operating information etc. This will also be possible from the OOC. However, SATOS in the OOC will normally be for information only, reflecting (mirroring) what is going on in the CCR.


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS FOR OPERATIONS, TRAINING AND PROCEDURES

SATOS Technical Structure SATOS is designed for handling operations procedures. a) N  et based application using an SQL database b) Programmed in ASP/.Net c) N  ode structure with Main Node, Sub Nodes and Check Sheets can be created/modified/ re-structured through an intuitive GUI d) S  tatus of a Check Sheet, Sub or Main Node is reflected in colour coding e) C  heck Sheets, Sub-Nodes, Main-Nodes & entire Node Diagrams can be copied and modified as required f) E  ach Check Sheet can be built with various numbers of Checkpoints g) L  inking Module (Clickable links) to an Internal Archive & external links h) S  eparate login module (can be integrated towards Companies’ own login systems) i) M  odule for input of process data from the SAS system, i.e. link to the process control system (not yet implemented with clients). SATOS includes the option to link to the process control system. This implies that the system can receive and handle real-time data/signals from the SAS system and reflect this information in the Node diagram in real time. SATOS can handle any Procedure. For Startup & Shut-down Procedures and Trip & Re-start Procedures a Node Diagram can be created, and the Procedure text can be either stored directly in the SATOS database (filed in the internal SATOS File Archive), or linked to

Procedures stored in external archives. When using a procedure, the operator must sign off each step of operation or every completed section. When the operation (procedure) is completed, a procedure file is saved with date, electronic signatures and comments. SATOS includes an Access Control Module which handles who has access to the system, and their Permission Level in SATOS. There are three permission levels. Administrator level is the top level and gives the person full access to all the functions in the system, including access to the User & Edit functions. The next level is the User level, which gives the person permission to use all User functions in the system. The third Permission level is Guest, which is used during Operations Procedure Collaboration for anyone monitoring the status of a Procedure Operation sequence taking place in the Central Control Room.

SATMH (Material Handling) SATMH is an online solution for handling Material Handling documentation. The central element in SATMH is the web publishing and associated operator (user) interface features. The objectives of SATMH are to reduce the costs of developing and maintaining optimal material handling documentation and to keep a common up-to-date material handling document structure. SATMH uses database solutions to access material handling procedures, data sheets and other relevant information.

VALHALL FIELD VRD CCR – PHOTO COURTESY OF BP NORGE

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS FOR OPERATIONS, TRAINING AND PROCEDURES

SAT has been fortunate to work with some of the major oil and gas production companies during the development and implementation of our software solutions

The production and updating of an online material handling solution becomes very cost-effective. SATMH allows for easy retrieval of all crossreferenced documentation for material handling of equipment through an effective user interface. SATMH is a web and database tool. It can handle any type of file inputs, new and existing (e.g. existing material handling documentation). It can web link to any type of documentation which can be viewed in a web browser, including the plant 3D model. This adds to the ease of collaboration between offshore and onshore operations facilities in material handling planning and execution.

SATIG (Industrial Gaming) SATIG is an online gaming solution, simulating plant operations. It is perfect for operator training prior to plant completion or for basic training of new operators. SATIG represents an integration of SATOS, a plant 3D model and 3D gaming technology. The “games” are designed to let control room and field operators perform the same task according to real life operating procedures, step-by-step, in SATOS, in the CCR and in the field.

SAT INDUSTRIAL GAMING

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When for example performing a platform “Black Start” game, the challenge is to do it correctly at a minimum time (reduce downtime). More than one operator can compete.

SAT Software Deliveries SAT normally delivers online solution software together with developing its content, e.g. Systems Training Manuals, Classroom Courses, e-learning, Operating Procedures, Documents etc. However, all software solutions are available as stand-alone software packages with installation CD for a server database, and easy-to-follow installation and user guidelines. SAT has been fortunate to work with some of the major oil and gas production companies during the development and implementation of our software solutions. BP Norge has been pioneering the introduction and implementation of SATOS and SATMH in the Valhall Redevelopment Project. With the ongoing trend of Integrated Operations, SAT believes in a surge of opportunities for web database solutions for multi-location collaboration, making operations safer, more efficient and with minimum downtime.


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS FOR OPERATIONS, TRAINING AND PROCEDURES

A Growing Need for Great Skills John Hancock, Editor

There are challenges to be faced offshore and a need for the skills to face them

Instability Drives Production to Difficult Lengths Offshore energy discovery and production is a growing sector, and the development of associated specialist technologies, equipment and operating methods engages many business and engineering skills. In this sense, “Subsea [activities] are usually split into shallow water and deepwater categories to distinguish between the different facilities and approaches that are needed.”1 Moreover, many known oil and gas reserves are located in either politically unstable or, at worst, potentially hostile areas of the world. “Against a backdrop where 43% of global oil production is in high risk regions — the Mid-East and Africa account for 32.5% and 10.9%, respectively — and add on top of that another 16% from Russia and Venezuela, you have nearly 60% of world oil production in areas of high geopolitical risk.”2 Faced with this type of geopolitical threat, most countries would choose to meet energy demands form resources within their own jurisdiction if possible: it’s secure and it earns export dollars. Increasing numbers of countries are looking to their own territorial waters as sources of energy and wealth; but this poses a number of major engineering and logistics challenges, which themselves generate challenges as far as the skills to undertake the work are concerned, securing to the sector people with those skills or training those skills into people already in the sector. But it’s worth it because the subsea sector is growing: industry analysts Douglas-Westwood3 has predicted that some $77 billion will be spent on subsea vessel operations, new field development, well intervention, and inspection repair and maintenance (IRM) in the period between 2012 and 2016. And with steadily rising energy prices reflecting growing demand from a population increasing not only in size but also in expectations of life quality, what might have previously been unprofitable or

low value production from a field can become worth exploiting.

Offshore is the Future It could be said that offshore oil and gas is a manifestation of this economic fact. With offshore fields currently operating in the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and seas adjoining a number of US states, the Caspian Sea, Brazil, Canada, West Africa, South East Asia, Russia and the Persian Gulf to name but a few, plus new fields being discovered and developed all the time, offshore oil and gas is set to become very significant in the near-term. Estimates vary, but it is likely that offshore oil production will account for 34% of the global total by 2020 and that, within that figure, 13% will be attributable to deepwater installations. A number of producers are even now planning to explore and exploit reserves under the Arctic ice cap. This will stretch skills even further and make them even more important because, at the costs involved, the consequences associated with failure will be daunting. So, whether it’s to support the latest subsea technologies or the on-going maintenance of life-extended subsea installations, demand for the specialist skills to get the jobs done will remain high and growing as the wider industry grows. According to Infield Systems’ latest research published in late February 20134, “… the subsea industry is amongst the most promising in the offshore oil and gas world, with subsea capital expenditure (Capex) set to grow at a staggering 14.8% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) to 2017.” Douglas-Westwood, again, is projecting a global fleet of more than 7,000 fixed and more than 200 floating platforms, and with 190,000 km of pipeline currently installed plus a number of major modification programs to push growth in offshore operations and maintenance in the next couple of years. Again, this will all require a large and growing skilled workforce to maintain the necessary levels of activity and capability. WWW.OFFSHORETECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM | 9


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS FOR OPERATIONS, TRAINING AND PROCEDURES

Whether it’s to support the latest subsea technologies or the ongoing maintenance of life-extended subsea installations, demand for the specialist skills to get the jobs done will remain Driven by Demand… and Reality

high and growing as the wider industry grows

According to ‘The Oil Market to 2030 – Implications for Investment and Policy – Building the Outlook,’5 “Population and income growth are the two most powerful driving forces behind the demand for energy.” The paper concludes; “Oil (and biofuels) will likely remain dominant in the transport sector until 2030…” As if to confirm that outlook, Brock N Meeks writing in the ‘Ideas Lab’ ‘Crucial Skills Gap Puts Oil & Gas Industry in Bind’6, “The world’s energy needs are in rampant ascent. Despite the US boom in shale gas production and advanced technologies unlocking previously untapped global energy reserves, the International Energy Agency is predicting that the demand for energy will continue to grow by one-third by 2035. Such a demand is pushing the oil and gas industry to expand the boundaries of exploration and production. But there is an almost cruel wrinkle to this story: For every new technology deployed, for every new well, for every new oilfield, there remains a critical shortage of skilled workers.”

The Skills to Match the Challenges The trend is definitely towards ever more challenging reserves demanding of ever greater

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levels of skills. “The deep and ultra-deepwater oil and gas market is the key growth area offshore and also the most capital intensive.”7 In a May 2013 interview with O&G Next Generation (not now available), Dr Neil Thompson, ExPresident of the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) said; “Most often hostile environments are associated with offshore pipelines and facilities. As production goes deeper, the environments of production almost always become more hostile (temperature and pressure) and often with higher concentrations of aggressive species...” His use of words like ‘hostile’ and ‘aggressive’ suggest, correctly that the challenges facing deep sea pipelines are as threatening as they are intellectual. This is no environment and no sector in which one could afford to play fast and loose with the skills and capabilities of those who work in the industry. And even when you’ve dealt with the environment, with whatever hazards it might throw at the operation, it is still the case that; “… most of the world’s petroleum is trapped between 500 and 25,000 feet (152 and 7,620 meters) under dirt and rock.” Is how Robert Lamb describes the presence and location of oil and gas reserves in his article, ‘How Offshore Drilling Works’8 for ‘How Stuff Works’. That reality is what accounts for most of the high tech and very costly equipment, not to say the sophisticated processes and software solutions that are associated with any oil and gas extraction program. It isn’t only engineering and technology skills that are required. Even before the engineering begins, as the ‘How Stuff Works’ article (see above) explains, “Once oil companies have identified a possible undersea oil deposit, they have to obtain drilling rights. Most of the coast and ocean belong to states or nations, so companies have to lease desired areas from the respective government.” Not only for the profitability of the business but also because anywhere where conditions might be described as hostile or aggressive, it is very sensible that everybody knows exactly what they’re doing. In these circumstances, high quality systems for the delivery and maintenance of skills are not a luxury but a necessity.


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS FOR OPERATIONS, TRAINING AND PROCEDURES

Getting Skills to the Right Place Peter Dunwell, Correspondent

The impact of new process methods on the way things are done and how skills are deployed

A

DVERSITY IS often the progenitor of engineering and technological progress. Unfortunately, this has all too often been demonstrated in times of conflict. However, these days there are several peaceful economic activities which face the kind of challenges that bring out the best in engineering technology and process developments. Not least of these is the offshore oil and gas sector in which, as can be seen in John Hancock’s article above, significant challenges require significant engineering and technology, which in turn require significant skills.

Getting the Business Lean But it isn’t just in the engineering and technology hardware where process improving developments can be applied. There is usually plenty of room for improvement in the way the processes themselves are conducted. In other industries, ‘Lean’ has become the order of the day and there is no doubt that the oil and gas industry could benefit from this business philosophy but, while “The philosophy of lean production has spread into almost every industry, be it manufacturing or service… No substantial research has been done to identify the awareness of the lean philosophy and its implementation in the oil and gas industry.” That at least is the conclusion of Rohan Sakhardande in his paper ‘Lean Manufacturing in the Oil and Gas Industry’9 C Jagadees, of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, explains that ‘Lean’10, “propounds to eliminate waste in a manufacturing or production system, which means elimination of any activity which is not adding any value to the product or to the customer… Lean maintenance means delivery of maintenance services to customers with as little waste as possible.” He continues to add that; “, in order [for Lean] to be successful, basic requisites are: - Presence of a fully computerized maintenance management system to manage

work and to capture the data necessary to make continuous improvements.”

Integrated Operations (IO) Offshore oil and gas has a number of components that contribute to a Lean approach, such as Integrated Operations (IO), including practices like the use of always-on video conference rooms between offshore platforms and land-based offices. This includes broadband connections –……æ the sharing of data and video surveillance of the platform. It has made it possible to move some personnel onshore in order to use scarce human resources and their skills more efficiently. Instead of having an expert in each aspect of the operation available on every platform, the expert can be stationed on land and be available to consult with several offshore platforms. Also, with global communications there will always be experts available in an onshore center to support a platform in any time zone. A simple definition of Integrated Operations is of a concept that carries the benefits of better use of competencies – across disciplines, location and organisation – in a way that makes decisions safer, faster and better quality. The goal is to make operations and asset management more efficient through the integration of data and models, and utilizing the powers of cross disciplinary team work and work processes. It is considered to affirm a new era in offshore and subsea oil and gas development and operations. In fact, according to Kenneth Stoltz11, “Better resource utilization is a hot topic in the petroleum industry. Research and investments in Integrated Operations (IO) could generate billions… The Norwegian Oil Industry Association has estimated that the profit from the rapid introduction of IO on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) [could] be NOK 250 billion in the period 2005-2015… The greatest potential lies in increasing the recovery rates from oil fields and rationalizing operations.” WWW.OFFSHORETECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM | 11


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS FOR OPERATIONS, TRAINING AND PROCEDURES

The challenge with all of these developments is not so much the technology of the developments themselves but rather the challenge of training personnel to operate

ABB – PROCESS CONTROL ROOMS – PHOTO ABB’

the centres or, sometimes more difficult, retraining personnel from more traditional working environments

This is not just a theory; GE energy of Norway12 has put the Integrated Operations idea into practice with a “land-based Operations Centre in Sandsli, Norway, [connecting] subsea installations at Vale, Tune, and Fram with offshore platforms at Oseberg, Brage, Njord, Troll, Heimdal, and Grane under a single roof for monitoring mechanical and thermodynamic condition.”

Onshore Operations Centre (OOC) Because modern technology and communications capabilities make it easier to site some of the elements in the process at a single onshore facility, an increasing number of Onshore Operations Centers (OOCs) are delivering a range of functions to a number of offshore facilities. The key components for remote operations monitoring include13, “An Integrated Control and Management Solution (ICMS) [offering] a control room application for monitoring and managing all of your network systems, including telephony, LAN/WAN, backbone networks (IP/MPLS, SDH), radio networks, CCTV, public address and alarm systems and access control. These operational functionalities will typically be made available at Main Control Center (MCC) operators via ICMS workstations.”

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And there’s nothing academic about this development. As Engineer Live14 reported in February 2014, “Global producer of oil and gas Wintershall has invested in a new control and safety solution to co-ordinate control of multiple offshore platforms in the North Sea. Changing market conditions require more flexibility and efficiency in the offshore production of natural gas and oil.” Also the control center does not have to be onshore15. “The Liverpool Bay Development BHP Petroleum’s largest single project worldwide – comprises four oil and gas fields, together with significant offshore and onshore facilities used for extracting, transporting and processing these reserves. Offshore operations are centered on the Douglas complex – a three-platform facility that monitors and controls the development’s three unmanned satellite platforms at Lennox, Hamilton and Hamilton North.” The challenge with all of these developments is not so much the technology of the developments themselves but rather the challenge of training personnel to operate the centres or, sometimes more difficult, retraining personnel from more traditional working environments. Also, delivering training to the right people at the right time in such a scattered working environment without the time loss associated with having to travel to central training locations is a further and significant challenge.


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS FOR OPERATIONS, TRAINING AND PROCEDURES

A Shortage of Skills Francis Slade, Staff Writer Past decisions have left the oil and gas sector short of the skills it needs to progress so steps will need to be taken

A Complex Sector with a Complex Process A tally of the kind of jobs being offered in offshore oil and gas gives a good clue as to the current and growing skills requirements in this most demanding of economic activities. From administration to design to engineering to geoscience, IT and communications, legal jobs, marine jobs, procurement and technical roles; offshore oil and gas presents a microcosm of the gamut of business activities. So it is no surprise that finding people with the right skills and training the right skills into the people already there is a high priority for companies in the sector: or it should be. Skills are the issue. As long ago as “August [2011], BP regional boss Trevor Garlick announced the FTSE 100 company’s intention to recruit between 150 to 300 extra jobs per year to help fuel an expected growth in production. However, he noted that one of the biggest challenges facing the company was finding the right people with the right skills to fill vacant positions.”16 And Oil and Gas UK confirms that17, “ It is the young professionals of today from across the sector and those who are yet to join who will lead the way in the future…”

Skills are in Increasing Demand The reason that so many skills are needed can be linked to the many and complex challenges faced at every stage in the process of finding and exploiting oil and gas from offshore reserves. Just take a look at what has to be done. Oil wells are complex pieces of engineering right down to the hole which connects the reservoir to the surface. Geological uncertainties may make it difficult to predict the expected drilling environment. Also, as boreholes move away from vertical to angled geometry to access ever more difficult reserves, it becomes increasingly challenging. That level of complexity for even one element in the process indicates the quality and level of skills needed to ensure a safe and profitable overall process. And it’s all like that. As Lamar McKay, BP Upstream Chief Executive put it19… resources exist to satisfy rising world energy

demand, but reaching them poses increasing technical, financial and political challenges. These challenges also present opportunities,

Skills are in Short Supply But it isn’t only the level of skills that drive demand; there is also the sheer size of the sector. As John Hancock’s earlier article, ‘A Growing Need for Great Skills’, showed, growth in the sector increases the demand for all skills. In his article, ‘Oil & Gas Boom 2014: Jobs, Economic Growth And Security’ David Blackmon, writing about the whole oil and gas sector, says20, “The oil and gas boom is producing millions of jobs, and not just where you might expect. Employment is up 40% in the oil and gas fields since the recession began in late 2007.” That might be so but it is also true, as Brock N Meeks suggested in the Ideas Laboratory21, that “For every new technology deployed, for every new well, for every new oilfield, there remains a critical shortage of skilled workers… a skills gap created by… an aging workforce, the ‘shale revolution,’ and… layoffs during lean times… has left the industry with a constricted talent pool pipeline...” Oil Online summed it up22. “There’s a demand for many different skills and workers, from roustabouts, engineers, geologists, and drilling supervisors, to environmental consultants. Some of the problem might relate to attitudes within the industry towards people who could have relevant skills but have not previously worked in the sector. Colin McAndrew, HR and competency manager at GE Group believes23; “It’s a combination of factors. For me, I think it’s almost as if the oil and gas industry was closed off to people who weren’t known or who weren’t specifically trained in oil and gas, so it was difficult for people to break into. I think there has also been a lack of training given. People have been kind of precious about keeping hold of their expertise, and not sharing that with some of their staff.” John Tait, global recruitment director at BP believes in training and explains the firm’s Challenge program24. “… a worldwide WWW.OFFSHORETECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM | 13


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS FOR OPERATIONS, TRAINING AND PROCEDURES

Skills shortages is a problem in the oil and gas sector we have known has been coming for a while. But it has got to a tipping point, where organisations are genuinely worried about how they are going to grow in the future

graduate training scheme for fresh graduates… Additionally, each year we employ hundreds of trainee technicians globally. These include instrument technicians, mechanical technicians, electrical technicians and production technicians.”

A Brake on Progress None of this was helped by the fact that, when the global financial crisis struck in 2008, some firms curtailed their apprentice and graduate training schemes to save costs but, having failed to restart the schemes in time have found that the retirement of older workers (known colloquially as ‘The great crew change’) has left them with a worrying skills gap. In fact, Oil & Gas UK cites the incipient skills shortage as the biggest barrier to growth, according to companies in the sector. It certainly seems to be the case that the shortage

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of skills is impacting project schedules and driving up costs. Steve Harvey, HR Director at Subsea 7 interviewed in HR Magazine25, summed it up: “Skills shortages is a problem in the oil and gas sector we have known has been coming for a while. But it has got to a tipping point, where organisations are genuinely worried about how they are going to grow in the future.”

Training is the Key There is little doubt that this is a sector where raising the quality and quantity of skills needs to be approached using every available technique. Recruitment, yes; but also deploying today’s technology capabilities to train and support the appropriate levels of skills in the entire workforce – newly recruited and established people.


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS FOR OPERATIONS, TRAINING AND PROCEDURES

The Communication Challenge John Hancock, Editor When the workplace is far offshore, communications are both more challenging and more vital

BP VALHALL CONTROL CENTER

Technology and Training As with many operations these days, offshore oil and gas is increasingly moving to a paperless environment. That will make operational and training material available without the need for heavy paper files. However, the concomitant of a paperless world is that information should be able to be communicated in a way that makes it available to right people at the right time on whatever device they are using. This is a particular challenge for operators of offshore oil and gas installations; far from base and, often, far from each other. If technology is one key area for companies in the sector, training, as Francis Slade explained in the previous article, is another. Training programs are on the rise. For example, BP’s ‘Challenge Program’ is an opportunity for new graduate recruits during their first three years with the company. In a similar vein, GE’s Edison Engineering Development Program, offers a two-year program aimed at recent engineering graduates. This trend shows the

sector encouraging qualified people from other industries to look at oil and gas (offshore or onshore) and putting in place programs to train skills into the workforce already in situ. It won’t only address highly specialist skills, but will also extend to newer and better ways of doing mundane but important things. The problem is how to deliver any level of training to a workforce as dispersed as that in offshore oil and gas but without the need to take people away from their workplace: after all, if a worker has to attend a central training venue for even a half day course, that could amount to two days away from the workplace and the cost of accommodation. Fortunately, technology is also at hand to resolve this issue.

Communications, the Links in the Chain It all links to the technology that supports the central control room and onshore operations center, and integrated operations covered in Peter Dunwell’s earlier article ‘Getting WWW.OFFSHORETECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM | 15


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS FOR OPERATIONS, TRAINING AND PROCEDURES

Skilled workers prepared to go offshore for long periods will expect communications capability and the services it supports to be as good as onshore. But there is a challenge in how to get that grade of communications to an offshore facility

Skills to the Right Place’. In particular, it is the communications capabilities in those systems that will be useful. Or it could be said that without today’s communications capabilities, none of that would be possible. High grade communications systems enable the monitoring, consulting and daily information exchanges that make up any business but are more challenging for a business scattered over several hundred (or even thousand) square kilometers of ocean. As well as supporting business processes, good communications improve quality of life for workers. In addition to training and other functions, a high capacity, high speed communications network will support communication with families, paying bills online, watching movies and generally staying in touch. It can even support the monitoring of workforce health. These days, skilled workers prepared to go offshore for long periods will expect communications capability and the services it supports to be as good as onshore. But there is a challenge in how to get that grade of communications to an offshore facility and link it all together. Comtech Systems express the problem well 26; “Offshore platforms… represent a significant construction effort and investment. Telecommunication links between an offshore platform and a shore facility are crucial and essential for platform operations and must be designed and selected carefully. Typically most offshore platforms are in a relatively fixed location for long periods, and telecommunication links may be planned and implemented in a conventional manner.”

Microwave, Cable or Satellite The actual links will vary according to a number of factors such as where the platform is situated, cost considerations and capacity requirements. For platforms within about 30kms of the control center, i.e. with line of sight, a microwave connection will offer capacity and reliability at a reasonable cost. For longer distances it might be worth laying a fiber-optic cable but that is a considerable expense which, unless it could be shared among several platforms and/or serves

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a large number of people and a lot of functions, might not be justifiable. These days, a lot of what can be achieved with cable can also be achieved using a satellite link. Vaughan O’Grady interviewed Martin Denari Orange Business Services’ Global Director of oil gas and mining for OffComm News27 and asked him whether satellite is the answer. Denari suggested that it’s a touch more complex than that. “If you have a production offshore platform, you know that it is in place for a long period of time. Therefore, it might make sense to consider fiber optics. If we are considering a drilling rig utilized in non-conventional exploration, then that rig is not going to stay for long on a given point. In this case, it might be better to consider satellite connectivity. There might be situations where a hybrid solution is the best option, for instance in vessels and a platform. You might connect the platform using fiber optics, but connect the vessels to the platform using microwave or satellite.” Vast distance offshore (fields in Brazil, Eastern Australia or West and East Africa, for example), local regulation, environmental rules, weather – and cost savings compared to dedicated fiber – may also make satellite a more logical approach.

3D Modelling for Planning and Training One other technology advance, among many, will add a lot to offshore operations and working with complex plant. 3D Plant Models have long been mooted and are used for remote working in hazardous environments such as nuclear generation facilities. But, as well as being an enormous aid to effective design, they can also be a great help for training by supplying plant simulation 3D training models where trainees can test their awareness of the area in which they’ll need to work and the techniques they’ll need to deploy before entering a potentially hazardous work environment. Today’s technology capabilities have made offshore operations and their management a great deal more efficient than ever before.


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS FOR OPERATIONS, TRAINING AND PROCEDURES

References: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subsea_%28technology%29

1

2

CS Monitor http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2013/0702/Why-oil-and-gas-drilling-is-going-deeper-and-further-offshore

3

Jason Waldie at the ‘Subsea Asia Conference’, Kuala Lumpur http://www.subseauk.com/documents/subsea%20asia%20-%20jason%20waldie.pdf

4

Infield Systems, ‘Subsea Oil and Gas Sector Set For 14.8% CAGR Growth To 2017’ http://www.infield.com/news/subsea-oil-gas-sector-growth-2017

5

The Oil Market to 2030 – Implications for Investment and Policy – Building the Outlook

6

http://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/pdf/Energy-economics/Energy-Outlook/The_Oil_Market_2030.pdf ‘Ideas Lab’ ‘Crucial Skills Gap Puts Oil & Gas Industry in Bind’ http://www.ideaslaboratory.com/2014/02/03/crucial-skills-gap-puts-oil-gas-industry-in-bind/

7

Offshore Magazine http://www.offshore-mag.com/articles/2012/03/deep--ultra-deepwater-capex.html

8

How Stuff Works http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/offshore-drilling.htm/printable

9

Rohan Sakhardande, ‘Lean Manufacturing in the Oil and Gas Industry’

http://www.academia.edu/1390067/Lean_Manufacturing_in_the_Oil_and_Gas_Industry and download PDF

10

Oil Asia http://www.oilasia.com/iors/PDF/23.pdf

11

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) http://www.ntnu.edu/research/research_excellence/io

12

GE Energy, Norway http://www.ge-mcs.com/download/orbit-archives/1q07_hydro.pdf

13

Alcatel-Lucent http://www2.alcatel-lucent.com/oil-and-gas/farther

14

Engineer Live http://www.engineerlive.com/content/21402

15

Offshore Technology http://www.offshore-technology.com/projects/bhp/

16

Oil Careers http://www.oilcareers.com/onstream/2011/09/30/oilcareers-com-urges-oil-gas-sector-tackle-skills-shortage-issue/

17

Oil and Gas UK: http://www.oilandgasuk.co.uk/Attracting_New_Recruits.cfm

18

Diamond Offshore http://www.diamondoffshore.com/offshore-drilling-basics

19

BP http://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/press/features/bp-showcases-latest-offshore-technology.html

20

Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidblackmon/2014/02/20/oil-gas-boom-2014-jobs-economic-growth-and-security/

21

(limited access for one free view of article only per device) ‘Ideas Lab’ ‘Crucial Skills Gap Puts Oil & Gas Industry in Bind’

http://www.ideaslaboratory.com/2014/02/03/crucial-skills-gap-puts-oil-gas-industry-in-bind/ 22

Oil Online http://oilonline.com/resources/talent/getting-started-oil-and-gas/

23

Offshore Technology http://www.offshore-technology.com/features/featureroundtable-how-plug-offshore-industry-skills-gap/

24

Offshore Technology

http://www.offshore-technology.com/features/featurebps-global-recruitment-director-discusses-the-offshore-oil-and-gas-skills-outlook-4169815/

25

HR Magazine http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/hro/news/1077370/skills-shortages-north-sea-oil-gas-industry-tipping-subsea-hr-director

26

Comtech Systems http://www.comtechsystems.com/images/whitepaper_LinksOffshore.pdf

27

OffComm News http://offcommnews.com/article/can-satellite-services-respond-to-growing-oil-gas-needs-in-2014/

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