Across the global Energy industry organizations are facing the risk of knowledge loss, being the unintended consequences of for example mergers and acquisitions, industry contractions and a reliance on smaller numbers of ‘experts that were there from the start’. Additionally, the industry seeks to increase the economic life of assets, many will remain in operation longer than anticipated. Lessons learned from projects form a major component in the success of the industry. With cost pressures and delivery deadlines, the time and effort required to capture and share those lessons are frequent casualties of those pressures. The unintended consequence that our industry faces is a universal challenge: the retention of critical knowledge. Treating knowledge as an asset to be managed through the management system, addresses that challenge and unlocks the potential organizational benefits that can be gained through active and systematic strategies for knowledge retention. DNV GL has developed a programme for the retention of critical knowledge, to counter this new Industry risk. This programme covers a three-stage process. Firstly, a risk-based approach, enables management to understand and identify the critical knowledge risks both locally and on a company-wide basis and to create plans to mitigate the risks of losing knowledge during these market critical times. Secondly, a plan is developed to mitigate identified knowledge risks and knowledge transfer processes and workshops are designed and facilitated with tooling and guidance that enable experts to share their knowledge with colleagues focused on knowledge retention and reuse. Finally, DNV GL will undertake a detailed evaluation into integrating knowledge retention mechanisms in the company's management system and will propose the improvements to help to establish knowledge retention and reuse as common behaviors.


Whilst knowledge management (KM) is not new to the Oil & Gas sector, with companies such as Shell, Schlumberger and BP, amongst many others, being consistently recognised as leaders in KM within and outside the Energy sector (see, for instance, Collision & Parcell 2001), recent interest has focused attention to a significant risk to organisations in the sector: knowledge loss.

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