An economic appraisal and engineering analysis identified both the profitability and technical feasibility of installing a dedicated workover rig, in addition to the existing drilling rig, on a mature North Sea platform.

The paper discusses the formation of an alliance between a drilling contractor and a well services contractor to provide the expertise necessary to plan and execute workover operations. The paper expands on the following integral concepts included in the contract:

  • Integration of planning and operations, utilizing the combined resources and experience of both the well services contractor and the drilling contractor.

  • Flexible manning levels, thus allowing up and down manning as required for various activities associated with workover operations.

  • Multi-skilling of the workover rig crews to minimise the required manpower with training under the guidance of the alliance.

  • Co-operation of subcontractors with the concept of multi-skilling.

  • The responsibilities and indemnities provisions in the subcontracts to reflect as closely as possible the responsibilities and indemnities provisions in the contract with the operator and main contractor.

The resulting operating contract exemplifies the optimization of resources available from a partnering agreement between contractors and operators, and illustrates the utility of clearly allocating the risk between the parties. Success of the concepts integrated in the contract, particularly with respect to the value of partnering agreements between contractors and operators, may result in similar future agreements for managing the operator's assets.


The operator has made substantial progress in implementing Drilling in the Nineties initiatives, which were introduced in early 1990. The initiative was broadened to include well services and equipment supply, leading to the resultant name change to Well Engineering in the Nineties (Win90's) (Ref. 5).

Contracting strategy within the Win90's framework centres on the use of a lead contractor, in this case the drilling contractor, to integrate all required personnel/services under one contract. Because drilling and well services activities are anticipated to remain equally important in the field activity portfolio, the drilling contractor and a well services contractor formed an alliance, and, together with the operator and various subcontractors, formed a well engineering team. Success of this strategy is contingent on the teamwork of the operator/contractor/subcontractors, working together towards common goals, involvement in planning and design, and seeking to continually improve performance. An organizational change model has been implemented in practice to achieve the requisite culture change to advance Win90's.

The well engineering team participants required an open atmosphere of joint interests and joint continuous improvement to consider what is "best for project" as opposed to that which benefits solely the individual company. Kanter states that successful alliances involve the creation of new value altogether (collaboration) rather than getting something back for what you put in (mere exchange).

The decision to place a second rig on a mature platform provided an opportunity for the well engineering team to implement a partnering arrangement requiring the experience and capabilities of all alliance partners.

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