In 1989, Amoco Production Company, as part of a worldwide continuous improvement effort by the drilling department, began tracking unscheduled events during drilling operations. It was readily apparent that downtime due to adverse weather conditions was contributing heavily to unscheduled events offshore, especially in the North Sea and Pacific Rim. When the weather downtime percentages were repeated in 1991, after the problem had been identified and publicized internally, drilling management determined that these weather problems were symptomatic of larger problems that encompassed much more than the drilling department and exploratory well schedule.
To study this problem a multi-disciplinary team consisting of two geologists, a geophysicist, a negotiator, three engineers, and a business process facilitator, was formed within the Worldwide Exploration Business Group. One of the team's final products was a Weather Downtime Model. Using detailed weather data and site specific drilling information, the model can predict potential weather downtime problems (Appendix I contains a complete model description). Using hindcasts, in 1992, the team tested the model in a real-time situation (Danish sections Northsea). It also used the model to highlight potential problems as this concession was being developed. This paper describes the work of this multidesciplinary team and its actual use of the Weather Downtime Model.
The team examined the entire exploration scheduling process. They were trying to determine if the schedule of physical events (seismic and drilling) were being properly coordinated. The team met for several months to map out the process. They then began by studying the work done by individual disciplinary departments as well as examining the entire system. Their goal was not to change how any discipline chose to do the work required, but rather was to understand the dynamics that drove the system itself, as the requirements of the concession agreement were fulfilled. Three of the main driving factors were communication between disciplines, the annual budgetary process, and the delaying effects of the physical environment, including weather. it was recognized that more effective communication could subdue the effects of budget and environment if the communication was both specific and timely.