Major energy conference hears Norway/ UK collaboration achieves up to 60% drilling project efficiency improvement

As the efficiency of drilling operations across the UKCS and Norwegian North Sea basins faces growing scrutiny, a joint project run out of Bergen and Aberdeen has been announced which improves project performance by up to 60%.

Ways to manage significant cost implications experienced by operators and their drilling providers, caused by an increasingly challenging exploration and production environment, are the focus of the SAP International Oil & Gas conference in Copenhagen.

Exploration and production decline in the North Sea, where geologically complex fields mean increasingly expensive, advanced drilling and recovery techniques are required mean maximising well performance is critical.

The partnership between Norwegian drilling management company Ross Offshore, and leading UK-based SAP consultancy Absoft, headquartered in Aberdeen, assists operators and drillers by reducing the amount of time engineers have to spend working with support and planning systems at all stages of a project.

Experts from both companies presented to an audience of international energy firms in Copenhagen today.

"Drilling project demands are such that using systems which raise the quality of the work being done is absolutely vital to ensuring the commercial viability of an E&P prospect,” says Andre Nilsen, enterprise resource planning manager at Ross Offshore.

"There are implications for every person on the platform, installation or vessel, and every aspect of their workscopes. They need to be more efficient, more productive, and less costly than in previous decades.

"The bottom line is that the driller needs to be able to look over his shoulder and know that as he starts up the equipment, every step of the job has been done right, from planning and engineering, through to ensuring the right people are on his team.”

Ross Offshore and Absoft combined expertise to develop a portal which optimises the performance of drilling and well operations in upstream oil and gas, using SAP business software.

The portal streamlines activities and processes across projects by defining roles, responsibilities and ownership of drilling and well operations, ranging from planning equipment and service requirements, to procurement, warehousing and offshore activities, for all personnel.

In day-to-day operations, drilling project teams can expect to spend only 10% of their time working with the portal, a significant reduction on the 30% recorded in previous years across international E&P operations.

And in direct terms, engineering end user time spent using SAP has been reduced by some 60%.

“In SAP, we provide a system where the entire drilling supply chain – engineers, economists, purchasers, drillers themselves – work on a single dashboard aligned to their individual roles and responsibilities,” says Absoft’s Tim Galloway.

“It increases every operator's understanding of the processes which manage each project, and is itself much easier to work than the archaic multiple-spreadsheet systems previously used to manage projects."

By saving on the volume of time required to allow a user to update process systems, there is greater resource available for well operations planning, engineering and drilling – in turn improving the production capacity of each project, maximising hydrocarbon recovery efforts while controlling and managing costs.

The SAP International Oil & Gas Conference 2014 is focussing on how the energy sector is transforming established processes to streamline activities, to improve asset life, create operational efficiencies and increase production.

Business integration, managing and mitigating risk, supplier collaboration, capital spend planning and commercial project management are being explored at the event, running from April 1-3.