Mega projects are entities that usually encompass high investment, high participation in the corporate portfolio and high complexity. Complexity is usually underestimated and inevitable in a globalized world based on technological innovation and growing demanding agents, which generally affects projects. Projects grade from simple to complicated and complex. Complex projects consist of multiple, diverse parts that operate in a standardized mode, whose interactions change over time. Because of those mutable interactions associated with possible unwelcome surprises, uncertainty plays a significant role in mega project management.

An important question then arises: how could mega projects could be managed, considering the impacts of complexity and uncertainty. An aggravating circumstance is that a simple project may become complex if immersed in a complex environment. Therefore, the context enhances complexity, notably in mega projects.

This article aims to define mega projects, complexity and uncertainty, and understand the interactions among these three concepts. These concepts and interactions will be applied to E&P mega projects. As a result, the authors propose new knowledge areas that need development and integration with traditional approaches already in use for managing E&P mega projects, which are associated with three dimensions, such as: (1) integration, collaboration and co-accountability; (2) knowledge and technical issues management; and (3) project governance and compliance.

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