Subsea UK pleads for help as Norwegian oil companies achieve 40% cut in engineering hours and 80% less paperwork with new industry-standard procedure for subsea documentation

Subsea operations CGI
Subsea operations CGI

A cross-industry project led by DNV GL to halt the ‘blow-out’ in subsea documentation shows that implementing a standardised approach can significantly reduce engineering hours. 

A two-year collaboration led by DNV GL has concluded in a publicly available Recommended Practice which can reduce the amount of subsea documentation and enable documentation reuse in a typical subsea field development project.

The DNVGL-RP-O101 ‘Technical documentation for subsea projects’ details a required minimum set of documentation transferred between E&P companies, operators and contractors for the construction, procurement and operation of a field.

The outcome will reduce the volume and variety of documentation exchanged between the parties in a project, thereby making project execution more cost effective. 

According to a contractor in the joint industry project, subsea documentation increased by a factor of four between 2012 and 2015. 

Previously, a contractor in a typical subsea project would deliver around 10,000 documents, with each one averaging three revisions, resulting in up to 30,000 transactions between two parties. 

Now, projects can deliver 40,000 documents, with three revisions resulting in 120,000 transactions. Handling time has also doubled per revision and a big project may require a contractor to have 25 people just on document control.

Bente Helén Leinum,
Bente Helén Leinum

Bente Helén Leinum, Project Manager, DNV GL Oil & Gas, said: “Whilst we like solid documentation, this massive explosion in paper hasn’t tangibly improved performance, safety or environmental impact – it’s just escalated costs without adding value

“A benchmarking exercise by one participant showed that adoption of an industry-standard Recommended Practice could deliver a 42% potential reduction in engineering hours.

The savings come from reduced reviews by re-using documents, having more standardised documents and avoiding unnecessary reviews of non-critical documents. 

“Another supplier estimates that the potential cut in documentation can be as high as 75-80% through increased use of standardised documents,”

Jan Ragnvald Torsvik, lead engineer of Life Cycle Information at Statoil and co-chairman of the project, said: “All project partners have invested considerable time and the outcome is a fantastic achievement that will dramatically cut waste in the handling of technical information in projects. 

“We have already learned that this standard’s approach in utilising package-specific requirements has a positive impact on standardisation and efficiency. We are already seeing the benefits of implementing a draft version of the RP in Statoil’s Johan Sverdrup project last year.”

The companies which took part in the working group were: Aker Solutions, Brightport, Centrica Energi, DEA Norge, Det norske oljeselskap, DNV GL, ENI Norge, GCE Subsea, FMC Technologies, GDF SUEZ E&P Norge, Kongsberg Oil & Gas Technologies, Lundin Norway, Oceaneering, OneSubsea, Statoil, Subsea 7, Subsea Valley and SUNCOR Energy Norge.

Neil Gordon
Neil Gordon

Meanwhile, Aberdeen-based Subsea UK will today urge UK MPs and Tory Cabinet Ministers to do ‘everything they can’ to protect the £9billion subsea industry at a drinks reception in London.

The association’s recent “snapshot” survey revealed that 90% of subsea companies had seen a fall in revenues, with 28% seeing a drop in sales of between 30-40% and a further 28% losing half or more.

Subsea UK chief executive, Neil Gordon, said: “This is having a major impact on the £9 billion sector which previously supported around 53,000 jobs and contributed significantly to the country’s balance of trade with over £4billion in export revenues.

“We urgently need government support and funding for R&D, greater incentives that will stimulate exploration in the North Sea, including models for exploiting the smaller, currently uneconomical pockets of hydrocarbons and increased, focused support for maintaining and increasing our export potential.”

Callum McCaig, MP (Aberdeen South) said: “The SNP is aware of the incredible challenges facing the subsea sector in the current low oil price climate.

“The type of investment we have been pressuring the Westminster Government to provide would suit the crucial research and development undertaken to allow exploration and drilling to continue, and extend the life of the North Sea and revenues within it.

“Subsea companies could hugely benefit from that, and from financial assistance being easier to access, which only Westminster has the power to enable.”

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