There are many texts written on project management. Most people engaged in hydrocarbons engineering will have been on one or more courses teaching the basic or advanced skills. However, most of the time in any given situation it is the ability and willingness to provide timely input, attention to planning detail and adjustment based on feedback that ensures given tasks are executed successfully.
Development Planning and Decision Management
Most of the International Energy Companies have systems in place to provide a corporate structure to how they go about creating and trying to maintain value from their development opportunities. Examples include: Chevron CPDEP, bp CVP, Shell VAR, Woodside OPREP. Essentially, these are all tools to frame the what, when, where, who and why about the countless decisions to be made in each development. In the early stages of an opportunity companies occasionally need assistance in managing two key aspects of development planning:
- which are the next decisions to be made; and
- how to make them in a timely manner.
Process and Facilities Engineering
For the most part process and facilities engineering in the hydrocarbons business is essentially a matter of ‘follow the molecules’. Definition of the required Unit Operations and the systems to support them comes from this task. These tasks have been repeated on thousands of hydrocarbon processing facilities around the world. Sometimes there is a place for ‘don’t reinvent the wheel’ and sometimes for ‘back to basics’ or ‘zero basing’ the facilities design.
The key to adding value during the engineering stages is to identify the appropriate approach to support the business opportunity: which is why engineering becomes involved in the first place.