1991 saw the implementation of a new approach to well construction in the U K sector of the North Sea with Well Engineering in the Nineties (WIN 90s). With this new approach the responsibility for drilling is devolved to drilling contractors, allowing the operator to concentrate on core business. This has provided the opportunity to streamline the drilling process through integration and improved supply chain management. The use of teams is building close customer - supplier relationships throughout the supply chain, and developing a common purpose focused on the needs of the operator.

After 18 months of WIN 90s operations, there are clear signs of benefits to the operator, the drilling contractor and the drilling service contractors. This paper discusses the results achieved so far in the development of new relationships, the re-organisation due to the shift of responsibility to the drilling contractor and the implementation of quality management. The results of the initiative are measured in terms of safety, drilling performance and productivity. The paper also discusses the work required to take WIN 90s to the next stage, and the opportunities available for further improvements.


In recent years the proportion of drilling and completion costs as a percentage of project development costs has risen significantly in the North Sea. This is a result of: increased safety and environmental demands (including the move away from oil based mud); the drilling of more complex and difficult wells (high temperature high pressure, horizontal and extended reach wells); the increasing trend to extend fields with subsea development wells and the increasing costs of equipment and materials. The industry focus therefore is to reduce these costs.

WIN 90s aims to reduce drilling costs by concentrating on the following goals (Ref. 1 and 2):

  1. Assign the drilling contractor as lead contractor for well construction;

  2. Establish co-operative relationships throughout the supply chain;

  3. Strive for continuous quality improvement by the use of business process quality management.

The strategies adopted for the implementation of the above goals are built around the teamwork concept. Teamwork is considered to be critical to the success of WIN 90s and the following onshore teams were set up to drive the initiative:

  • Joint Steering Group (SG), comprising senior management from the operator and drilling contractor. The SG manages the relationship at the interface between the operator and drilling contractor; develops strategies for WIN 90s implementation and provides the resources, guidance and approval for the plans of the Joint Implementation Team.

  • Joint Implementation Team (JIT), comprising staff at a working level from the operator and drilling contractor. The prime function of the JIT is to plan and implement detailed changes required for WIN 90s.

  • Subcontractor JIT, comprising staff at a working level from the drilling contractor and drilling service contractors. The Subcontractor JITs were set up by the JIT to resolve issues specific to a particular service.

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