The Shell International Exploration and Production, Inc. Brutus Tension Leg Platform (TLP) project was challenged to compress the overall project duration while minimizing costs. The Integration effort is a specific project phase where all fabricated assemblies from a structural, piping and electrical perspective are assembled to form an operational facility. The applicable newly integrated systems were Commissioned and specific systems certified by the U.S. Coast Guard. The Integration phase of the project was on critical path and targeted to accelerate schedule by 30%. The Integration core team initially agreed to a 20% schedule reduction without a detailed plan of how to achieve this target. An additional 10% reduction was identified later in the planning stage. The Integration phase of the project is highly visible due to all components coming together to create a working facility and the proximity of this phase in the overall project schedule to first production. The physical changes in the progress can be visually confirmed weekly. This paper will share many of the planning and execution solutions used to achieve the schedule. It will also highlight some benefits, concerns / issues, and risks associated with the planning and execution of this project. The benefits listed below are specific to this project, whereas the concerns / issues and risks are more generic to assist those who may consider using a similar approach.
The Brutus TLP project was approved in May of 1999 for installation in the Gulf of Mexico. Numerous contracts were established to fabricate major components and assemblies in locations around the globe. These included items such as the hull, major modules, compression packages, hydrocarbon dew-point control facility and cranes. The drilling rig and the associated major packages were leased and relocated from an existing facility located in the Gulf of Mexico. Although each of the components received some commissioning and testing at their respective fabrication sites, most required to be commissioned as an integrated system. The project Integration phase was contracted to Gulf Marine Fabricators (GMF) and utilized their Ingleside, Texas facility. The Shell Integration Project Manager assembled a core planning team approximately 18 months prior to the start of the Integration phase. This team worked part time for approximately 12 months planning the high-level requirements and systems to execute the project. The team relocated to the GMF facility for the detailed planning phase approximately 6 months prior to the arrival of the first components. The contractor experienced two ownership changes during the detailed planning phase resulting in changes in the majority of the contractor management and field supervisory staff. The change in key personnel initially impacted the detailed planning effort for the project. The new management meticulously filled all key staff positions with an emphasis on having a successful project. A structured, methodical approach was adopted in planning all aspects of the project including the execution, management, control, and closeout phases.