Advanced Collaborative Environments (ACE) have been shown to generate improvements to BP's business performance. To deliver efficient collaborative practices, asset teams have altered their ways of working, their organisational structures and business environments. These ACEs are designed to ensure that offshore production facilities can have immediate access to shore-based specialist support teams via visual, audio and data connectivity to improve the quality of decision making and the problem-solving processes.

BP has several ACE programmes in operation around the world, supporting application of the Field of the Future concept and driving better decisions faster. This paper describes the performance benefits (in terms of increased production, lower costs, improved safety and operational integrity) that the creation and usage of these ACEs have brought to the organisation, as well as highlighting the need to see collaborative environments not as purely process or technology driven initiatives, but more as a capability transformation programme. The authors explain the necessity of genuine engagement and ownership by the end-users so they can search for and leverage advantage themselves. ACE programmes require significant operating expenditure, and it has proved of vital importance to put efforts into maintaining the programme profile, sustaining senior management endorsement and encouragement of the programme, both in funding and leadership behaviour.

This paper also describes the need to develop relationships centered on trust and respect between the onshore and offshore communities so that jointly made decisions can be consistently implemented with confidence.

The personal characteristics and behavioural traits and etiquettes which individuals need to have to work effectively within these environments are also discussed. Offshore personnel need to know when to ask for advice and in turn onshore users can become "respected brokers" to either deal with the issue themselves or seek further input from specific functional teams.

The similarities and differences between the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) and North Sea programmes illuminate the forces which are at work when shaping an ACE programme, and along with the successes, areas for further improvement and plans for the future of both programmes are analysed.

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