This paper represents the views of two parties seeking to optimise a working partnership. It represents the "official" view of neither operator nor contractor.

Industry has interpreted partnership in many different ways, from alliances to lead contractors, incentive through gainshare. In the late 80's, Shell Expro embarked on a strategy of contracting out the execution of drilling and the management of many associated services on its North Sea installations via a "lead contractor". Perception of its effectiveness throughout the next decade covered the whole spectrum of opinion. Supporters highlighted the potential for reduced overheads, performance improvement and focus on core business. Detractors highlighted increases in "hidden" overheads, loss of control and reduction in performance focus.

This paper then describes the evolution of a working relationship between operator and contractor from the initial implementation period when Win 90's was being forcefully promoted throughout the industry, through the development of a workable and working partnership, and looks forward to what the future may hold. Contractual issues, incentivisation, organisational issues, other environmental factors as well as performance, are all examined during the course of the paper.

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