Stalled Capital Project Revived and Completed Successfully, Well Ahead of Schedule and Under Budget


A senior oil and gas operator saw a timely opportunity to create value with a brownfield capital addition. If the proposed addition could be brought online soon enough then substantial additional output could be created before the next major phase of capital development.

Similar projects in the past had taken 2 years or more to conceive, develop, and execute successfully. This addition had to be completed within 18 months in order for the investment to pay off. Succeeding at this project represented an opportunity to demonstrate excellence and kick start a transformation of the project development process. On the other hand, taking up the project and failing to substantially improve upon the historic timeframe, would have made it seem like a foolish decision. Leadership was divided as to whether the opportunity was worth pursuing. The project’s supporters had been advocating for its initiation for some time, but to no avail. To the project’s detractors, it seemed like an unwarranted risk. This discord was taxing their performance as a team. Stroud was called in to help them progress the opportunity to resolution rapidly, one way or another.

Rather than trying to improve upon the timeline of the last similar project, the team set about determining the theoretical minimum time in which the project could be designed and built with no constraints. This analysis showed that, in the constraint-free scenario, it was theoretically possible to do so in six months. While achieving this scenario in its entirety would not have been feasible, a number of the opportunities it exposed could be realized for little or no extra cost. For example, adding a small redundancy to the design, for nominal additional cost, allowed a dependency in the project’s critical path to be eliminated, saving three months of schedule.

From a body of similar improvements, the team was able to take the project from conception to operation within the required 18 month window. In addition, the project was completed 9% below budget and produced 6% more than its design capacity. This demonstration of excellence by the project team went on to seed a number of other successful efforts to improve the organization’s capital project delivery.

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