Collaborative Environments (CEs) are now implemented at scale in a wide range of companies in the offshore oil and gas industry with the rationale to optimize and improve the efficiency of drilling and production operations. CEs provide a new environment for the exchange of real-time data aiming at closer onshore-offshore collaboration and improved decision making. Such implementation projects are associated with a considerable commitment in finances, personnel resources, and organizational restructuring, which makes it crucial to identify factors influencing the long-term success of such large-scale endeavors.

As experiences in other industries show, human factors in terms of attitudes, expectations, and behaviors of personnel play a decisive role in achieving those objectives. At present an empirical study is conducted during an ongoing CE implementation initiative in a major oil and gas E&P company to identify the factors influencing personnel acceptance, satisfaction and attitudes towards CEs. Between February and September 2007 data was collected from thirteen assets at two different geographical locations. The assets were at different stages of the implementation process ranging from a few weeks, to some years of experience of working within CEs. At time of data collection two assets had not yet moved into the new environment. Over the 8 month period, the first author interviewed 86 onshore and offshore personnel at different levels in the organization and observed work processes prior to and after the implementation of CEs.

Based on the collected data the following eight factors were identified as conclusive for the success of CE implementations: general engagement process, inclusion of offshore personnel, inclusion of management, staffing, preparation and training, technology design and implementation, design of the physical environment, and post-implementation evaluation process. Concrete positive and negative examples found in the diverse projects will be discussed to demonstrate challenges and lessons learned. Further, practical recommendations will be offered for the planning and design of similar future implementation projects.

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