This article, written by Features Editor Diane Langley, contains highlights of paper SPE 95442, "Deploying Common Process Across Global Wells Teams - Integrating an Online Project Management Application With Effective Behaviors To Enable High Performance," by S. Sawaryn, SPE, BP plc; D. Dressler and K. Been, SPE, Frontline Group; and T. Bailey, SPE, BP plc, prepared for the 2005 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Dallas, 9-12 October.

The full-length paper details the concept and integration of a Web-based project-management application to support the common processes for well delivery now in use across BP’s global wells teams. Applicable to both managers and engineers, the paper not only presents a case study of project implementation and documents goals, results, critical success factors, and challenges and lessons learned, but it also highlights behavioral effects, customization, and how the application actually becomes a part of the common process.


As pointed out in a published study, 70% of the deficiencies in earlier well delivery processes lie in the lack of project definition and planning rather than poor performance. Poor planning and scheduling, conflicting goals, poor teamwork, incomplete authorization-for-expenditure costs, and an inadequate learning process top the list of causes. Predecessors of the BP “Beyond the Best” initiative and subsequent Web-based application include the Well Learning System adopted in 1995 and a three-team approach employed in 1997 on a five-well Norwegian exploration drilling program. The rigorous learning loop involved with the 1995 system captured more valuable information than was its primary objective, revealing that the functional elements of the common-process tool and the manner of implementation within an organization are very valuable aspects. Similarly, it was determined from the 1997 drilling-team efforts that there is great value in separating a well project into distinct phases, engaging in detailed planning, and adhering to key principles. These early successes offered valuable learning and laid the foundation for development of the BP proprietary Common Process Online (CPoL) system. This highly dynamic system can be customized for each project and improved upon for subsequent projects and, at the same time, preserve process integrity.

Common Process

Defined as the application of best practices and the building of a common language across a multidisciplinary community, common process provides a means to define what activities are core and mandatory, reducing workload and less-valuable activities to free up time for tasks that are deemed most valuable. The four elements of common process include: Drilling Value Assurance (DVA), Right Scoping, No Drilling Surprises, and Technical Limit.

DVA, consisting of three “gates,” or stages, assures choice of the appropriate project and proper development, execution, and delivery. Work progression through each of these gates is controlled by a “gate-keeper” appointed by the business unit. A front-end-loading assessment is conducted by trained assessors to measure the effectiveness of a well team’s planning effort. For critical wells, scores of more than 80%are expected.

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