Abstract

Once a standard system design is installed, considerable work remains to maximize the portfolio benefit from the investment in the design of a standard system. One must learn how best to operate the system, respond to failures and identify improvement opportunities. One also needs to maintain the design integrity of the standard system while prudently incorporating lessons for future installations. The approach taken for Shell's Standard Deepwater GOM Subsea System (Standard System) was to create organizational structures and work processes, aligned toward a common target of worldclass availability. The fundamental strategy is to maximize the use of the standard system across the portfolio, while making corrections as needed and consciously controlling the application of new ideas and technology. This effort has contributed to improving the availability of our subsea portfolio from about 87% in 1998, to 99% cumulative availability for the new standard system.

Introduction

Shell's Standard Deepwater GOM System (Standard System) was developed as part of the execution of the Angus, Europa, King and Macaroni projects. It incorporated learnings from previous generation systems and strong customer input. It was expected to handle about 80% of future portfolio needs. The intent was to use this standard for most future projects, with minimal re-engineering and considerable scope for learningcurve improvements.

Since then, it became apparent that the original view of creating and freezing a design was incomplete. In fact, once a standard system design is created, considerable work remains to maximize the portfolio benefit from the design investment. One must learn how best to operate the system, respond to failures and identify improvement opportunities. One also needs to maintain the design integrity of the standard system while prudently incorporating lessons for future installations. The approach taken was to create organizational structures and work processes, aligned toward a common target of worldclass availability. The fundamental strategy is to maximize the use of the Standard System across the portfolio, while making corrections as needed and consciously controlling the application of new ideas and technology. This effort has contributed to improving the availability of our subsea portfolio from about 87% in 1998, to 99% cumulative availability for the new standard system.

The work re-emphasized common knowledge that successful strategy implementation requires substantial effort at the detail level, among all stakeholders. For example, change management is a routine project management tool. However, it takes a different form and level of effort when applied to a standard system, with multiple applications. Mechanisms are required to respond to deficiencies and seek a balance between change proposals and preservation of the standard design. Similarly, creating feedback mechanisms between the operating and project units of a company is a worthy objective, but the level of effort required to achieve constructive, high quality and actionable information flows should not be underestimated.

This paper will focus on efforts to (1) manage the Standard System, (2) "operationalize" the system and (3) respond to deficiencies and improvement opportunities.

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