Field/project development

Oil and Gas Facilities To Sponsor Project Management Networking Event at OTC

The success rates of E&P megaprojects has dropped over the past decade. What is causing this falloff in performance?


The performance of exploration and production (E&P) megaprojects—measured by overspending, schedule slippage, and continuing production problems in the first 2 years—has dropped to a success rate of less than 30% over the past 10 years, while the industrial sector’s success rate remained at 50%. From 1992 to 2002, however, the success rates of the E&P and industrial sectors were on a par at approximately 50% (Merrow 2012).

What changed in E&P to cause this falloff in project performance?

Oil and Gas Facilities is sponsoring a networking event, “Assuring Technical Competence in Major Infrastructure Projects,” during the 2013 Offshore Technology Conference on 8 May to discuss possible causes and identify approaches to improve project performance.

A panel moderated by Ken Arnold, senior technical adviser at WorleyParsons, will begin the discussion with the premise that the industry must reconsider how it addresses the competencies, motivations, and behavioral norms of the individuals involved in defining and designing megaprojects.

The panelists are Louis Bon, vice president of operations at Total; Murray Burns, recently retired vice president of the offshore business unit at Technip; Richard Westney, founder of the Westney Consulting Group; and Per Aae Staunstrup, head of engineering-Chissonga at Maersk Oil.

Among the topics for discussions are changes that have occurred in the training of facilities engineers. In the past, major oil and gas companies had extensive training programs for a class of in-house engineers called facilities engineers, infrastructure engineers, etc. Experienced subject matter experts provided formal training to the engineers. During the early phases of their careers, the engineers were assigned temporarily to various engineering groups to learn about the validity and uncertainties in data, and to operating groups to see how their designs affected real world operations. They learned the technology of facilities engineering by performing small projects under the tutelage of knowledgeable mentors. By working as team members of large projects, the engineers learned the technology of project management.

Over time, oil and gas companies moved away from considering facilities engineering as a core competency. Instead, the companies increasingly relied on engineering companies (nonemployee contractors) for the expertise needed for conceptual studies and detail design of major facilities projects. The result was decreased opportunities for in-house, hands-on experiences for facilities engineers.

What changes can be initiated to improve the technical competence of facilities engineers? What are the obstacles faced by facilities engineers in their efforts to gain the experience in managing megaprojects? How can their training and mentoring within companies be improved?

Following an introduction by Arnold, the panelists will share their views based on their experiences. The participants will then be invited to share their ideas and solutions, which will be summarized and presented to the group.

If you would like to join us for this networking opportunity, please reply to 

For Further Reading
Boschee, P. 2012. Panel Session Looks at Lessons Learned From Megaprojects. SPE Today, 10 October 2012.