An alternate strategies were developed for achieving early oil production from partially commissioned oil gathering and export facilities to minimize the project delay and to accelerate the production with-out compromising health, safety and environment (HSE) and integrity requirements. Extensive technical and operational reviews conducted while exercising agile approach. Adopting agile approach may benefit other upstream companies and give them with necessary insights to overcome the challenges and realize the benefits from reviewing the lessons learned.

Unlike conventional approach, where ready for commissioning (RFC) is considered with full readiness of production facilities, we added first oil date earlier than RFC with min. required facilities. The schedule risk analysis showed several months delay due to late site mobilization, late material deliveries, and inadequate construction progress. As a result, stakeholders asked to explore alternative strategies to accelerate the production. Early production scenarios were developed, evaluated while considering associated risks, hazard and operability study (HAZOP), constructability and simultaneous operations (SIMOPS). An optimal agile strategy was selected by stakeholders. A block flow diagram with partial facilities with natural flow was approved and construction works were prioritized accordingly.

The agile approach contributed in achieving early production several months ahead comparing to RFC date and forecast delays. During initiation of alternative strategies evaluation, there was little resistance from stakeholders who think that adopting agile approach may not be beneficial and will interrupt project progress. But, it overcame once benefits were realized during discussions, workshops and negotiations where key stakeholders buy-in the alternative strategy. Team morale improved and energized after achieving early production. It was celebrated at organization level incl. coverage in local and international media. Sub-surface and surface data was reconciled to support early oil with natural flow with min. number of wells and production increased progressively. The contractor agreed to be strict in brownfield demarcation to minimize impact on operations, and construction works due to simultaneous operations (SIMOPS), etc. A proper risk assessment & mitigation, fast decision making, and one team spirit were essential component in unlocking the potentials of agile approach. Based on successful results achieved by adopting alternative strategy and agile approach enabled our company achieved early production within 19 months in-spite of all challenges occurred during first 13 months of the project. And finally senior management leadership, guidance and support played a key role in the achieving the agreed milestone.

The early oil production by adopting agile approach without waiting for full facilities readiness is somehow novel. By sharing our experience with challenges, and lesson learned may enable others to unlock the potential of such alternative strategies. We can include such scope statement during initiation phase in the future projects that can empower operating companies to achieve the same results with-out going through the learning curve and optimize the schedule to achieve early production.

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