Well construction and maintenance partnerships have come of age for the Operator, based on their success in the North Sea environment. This paper examines those critical success factors and provides an overview of how the Operator moved from the back to the front of benchmark performance tables through the application of partnering.

The well construction partnerships typically include the Operators well engineering group, the drilling contractor, the Deviation Drilling and MWD contractor, the well testing contractor, the data acquisition contractor and the cementing contractor.

The Operator currently has three partnerships in place. All of these are driven by a commercial engine that rewards ‘best in class’ performance through an independently benchmarked process as well as providing ‘continuous performance-contingent’ contracts that removes termination clauses and regular tendering and puts the power for contract continuity in the hands of the partnership. This commercial environment has provided an incentive for all the partners to make long term investments in the partnership.

It is considered that true alignment of goals has been achieved with a win/win strategy being applied at the wellsite as well as at managerial and organisational levels. The role of other critical success factors such as; leadership, core strategics and rules, integrated team-working, specialised partnering training, an organisation designed to focus on performance and rewards systems are examined. This paper provides a comprehensive review of the key factors leading to significant performance improvement for the Operator and provides a generic checklist for well construction partnering / alliance efforts elsewhere.

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