The oilfield of the future vision, as pursued by almost all of the oil and gas majors, has wide-reaching implications for the way that the industry operates that go beyond mere technology implementation. To date the industry has focussed on the acquisition and transport of data to decision makers so as to capitalise on the opportunities to optimise productivity, efficiency and recovery of the field. However, attention is turning to those decision makers and the tools, methods and work processes that will support their activities. Of particular relevance to this debate is the role of collaboration and the ways in which integrated multi-functional teams can work together to make better and faster decisions.

In an effort to gain better insight into the potential benefits from working in such new collaboration environments, Chevron, Hydro and Shell decided to sponsor a Joint Industry Project with Epsis and SAIC. This project has been set up to analyse and test central topics related to operation centres for Production Optimisation, using the facilities of the Epsis Operating Centre Environment.

This paper defines what is meant by collaboration in the context of Production Optimisation and discusses the various forms of collaboration, physical and virtual, that are possible. It also sets out a framework in which to evaluate the extent to which collaboration can be used in work processes and decision scenarios. This framework is the starting point for the analysis and re-design of work processes and the paper presents an approach to how work processes might be tested within an operation centre.

It is recognised that operation centres will be significant developments within the organisation and will affect both people's work habits as well as have an effect on organisation design. The paper presents some of the challenges associated with implementing these facilities and associated working practices and some of the solutions that organisations may adopt to help manage these changes.

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