Having finished construction behind schedule, a new, upstream oil and gas facility faced added pressure to ramp up to full capacity quickly. Seeking to restore the project’s reputation, senior stakeholders challenged the planned 18-month period to achieve design production rates. Failure to improve upon this plan was deemed unacceptable for the operations team.
The team had worked diligently to devise and optimize the ramp up plan, focusing on what they could control within the project’s design. Some elements were unpredictable, such as the reservoir’s response to steam application and, at this point, the team could have little impact on the order in which they received finished assets from the construction team. Some even considered the 18-month duration optimistic given that, on average, similar projects were only achieving 48% of their design production rate by that point in their operating lives.
Stroud was engaged to help the operations team seek and realize any new, previously hidden opportunities to ramp up faster. Following a structured methodology, the group reviewed each constraining assumption within the ramp up plan in search of constraints that could potentially be solved another way, un-locking options to save time and advance the ramp up. Their work showed that over 80% of the planned ramp up duration represented opportunity to improve. While some of this opportunity was indeed complex a considerable portion could be realized.
The team went on to deliver significant improvements to all aspects of the facility ramp up, including reducing the time to circulate wells, challenging dependencies in the asset start-up sequence, and eliminating unforeseen technical challenges that would have otherwise capped production well below the design rate.
The combined impact of these improvements was a 10 month, 55% reduction in the time taken to achieve design production rates; achieved with no additional capital spent. The operations team exceeded their senior stakeholders’ expectations and revived the project’s standing in the industry.
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