There is a lot at stake every time an oil and gas operator decides to develop a new field. How do you ensure that every little detail is in place before production start-up? Operations readiness is Front Group’s most important expertise.
Since the company was founded, Front Group has helped operators on the shelf preparing for operation of oil and gas fields under development. It is a long and meticulous process, often spanning over several years.
One of the founders of Front Group, Bjørnar Småge, has a broad experience with operations readiness from several prestigious projects like Shell’s Ormen Lange field and the Nyhamna plant. Before he co-founded Front Group, he was also the manager of Shell’s operations readiness team in Norway.
Operations readiness on Wintershall Dea's Dvalin project
Since 2017 Småge has worked as an advisor on operations readiness for DEA Norge, now Wintershall Dea, on the Dvalin project, a subsea tie-in at Haltenbanken in the Norwegian Sea. Read more about it on Wintershall Dea’s webpage.
“It has been a very interesting project to be a part of – in many ways. Dvalin is developed as a subsea tie-back which introduces some interesting challenges on operation set-up and interfaces,” Bjørnar Småge explains.
The merger between DEA Norge and Wintershall Norge also meant adjustments had to be made to the original plans.
“It was necessary to match the Dvalin project to the systems and processes already established on other fields Wintershall operated. It worked out really well, and I learnt a lot from that process,” Småge says.
Scope, plan and execute
Operations readiness means preparing for and putting in place everything needed to be able to operate a field.
“Every aspect must be taken into account; tie-in to management systems, interfaces with connected fields, setting up an operational organization and managing competence. You also need to establish all the systems and processes related to production, inspections and maintenance,” Småge explains.
Digitalization and remote solutions are more in focus to achieve more effective operation and reduction of OPEX (operational expenditure) over the field’s lifetime. This is a perfect match with Front Group’s competence and initiatives.
In addition, the total system must be in compliance with the authorities’ requirements and meet the operator’s targets for production and maintenance efficiency.
“Our job is to enable the operator to start production from the field at the planned time, in accordance with the current regulations, and with optimized operation throughout the lifecycle of the field,” he says
Know-how put into a digital tool
Why do you think operators enlist Front Group with handling operations readiness?
“Not all operators have enough staff with operational experience and want a partner who can deliver a complete package; both experience from operation readiness and a birds-eye view of every aspect needed to take the project into the operation phase,” Småge says.
In addition, Front Group has developed their own digital tool for defining the entire project scope, as well as managing the project until the field starts production. The tool is currently being updated with new features and is an essential part of what Front Group offers clients.
“Our digital tool is developed using all the experience, insight and competence of the individuals in Front Group, and that is what makes it so unique. I am confident we can offer a highly valuable package to our clients,” he concludes.