This paper aims to address the scope and structure of the Program for the Excellence on PETROBRAS Exploration and Production (E&P) Project Management, a novel initiative in the upstream oil and gas sector that follows the same pattern of PETROBRAS' successful technological programs. This Program is a result of internal and external benchmarkings on project management, and evolved from a systematic for project management to an umbrella corporate program. The paper describes the systematic adopted for E&P project management, as well as the model adopted by the Program and its portfolio of projects. At the end of the paper the results of benchmarking evaluations of PETROBRAS E&P big scope projects obtained prior to the implementation of the Program are compared to those obtained after its implementation.


This article aims to present PETROBRAS' Exploration and Production (E&P) experience in the implementation of a program for the excellence of E&P project management of oil and gas fields located in Brazil. Project management includes planning, execution and control, focusing on production development projects.

In the recent past, two benchmarking diagnostics have been preformed, one internal and another external, related to the quality of the planning process and to successful results of the production development projects. The internal diagnostics refers to the continuous updating of projects' technical and economic feasibility studies (TEFSs), named "Post-TEFS" analysis. The "Post-TEFS" analysis is a managerial instrument, reviewed every six months, which evaluates the project gaps in cost, time and net present value (NPV), comparing values given at the time of a project's sanction to those values obtained over its execution and operation up to its investment close out. Such analysis pointed out that for many projects forecasted NPVs were higher than the real ones.

The external benchmarking analysis was performed in 2001 by the Independent Project Analysis, Inc. (IPA). IPA is an independent US-based company, specialized in project benchmarking and consultancy. Such analysis encompassed nine deepwater production development projects. The main results emphasized that investments have increased during the execution phase if compared to the estimated budget at a project's sanction. The same happened to project timescale, as project startup has a delay compared to the estimated one at a project's authorization.

As a result, IPA recommended some issues, as follows:

  1. create a phase-gated systematic to guide E&P project management;

  2. detail and apply Front End Loading (FEL) to production development projects;

  3. increase the participation of operational team during the planning stage;

  4. establish and put into practice more efficient contracting strategies; and

  5. intensify training in project management.

In 2003 IPA coordinated two workshops, one called "As Is", which analyzed the current PETROBRAS E&P project management process, and another called "Will Be", in which changes to the current process were proposed.

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