A major oil and gas owner-operator
Downstream facility expansion
The client needed a tool that enabled them to control project information and share it with all project participants. The solution was to implement an owner-controlled A web-based application that allows users to organize, validate and collaborate on asset data and documents regardless of their source and location.... Read more (hub) before the start of front-end engineering design (FEED). The hub included an integrated suite of engineering and design applications along with a data portal to facilitate sharing of data among various applications. All contractors were required to perform their work within the owner’s hub. Our team served as a bridge between the owner’s project team, their corporate IT department and the project-engineering contractors to implement the software, work processes and educate all the project participants.
Because the early phase project deliverables were completed under the conventional execution model, this information needed to be converted and input into the hub. The conversion and data population activities were conducted in parallel to other DBM phase activities to avoid delaying the start of FEED.
The data conversion process revealed errors in the engineering deliverables, which is typical of the conventional engineering approach. These errors were corrected during the conversion process to establish a reliable and accurate set of project data before going into FEED. The deliverables included the following errors:
- Incorrect or missing document references. For example, off-page connectors (OPCs), which show a connection between two things on two separate piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs), were either missing or pointing to the wrong connection point.
- Mismatched lists (i.e., 1D deliverables) and drawings (i.e., 2D deliverables)
- Discrepancies in information across disciplines. For example, information on P&IDs and the instrument index did not agree.
The observed outcomes included:
- high data integrity and avoidance of costly data errors
- reduced lead time on certain tasks
- simplified interfaces among the project participants
- real-time access to information
Fixing information errors before FEED is critical to avoid time-consuming and expensive actions during FEED to fix these issues. Using the hub and establishing baseline data with high integrity allowed the client to maintain consistent data throughout the subsequent project phases and easily retrieve information to manage the project effectively.
As FEED progressed, the project team worked through issues concerning changing from a conventional engineering approach to a digital one. Like most EPCs, the engineering contractor had many work practices and quality procedures based on a document-centric approach. The team addressed these issues systematically before work started on a task.
Another benefit of the an outlook that views data as the most important and perpetual asset used in support of applications to produce deliverables approach realized during FEED was a two-thirds reduction in the time required to create a cost estimate based on material take-offs. The time saving was achieved by eliminating the task of manually extracting information from documents and inputting it into the cost model.
During the project, multiple engineering contractors were able to works concurrently and seamlessly within a single environment, eliminating the many interface issues that typically arise among the project participants.
The owner team had real-time access to project information allowing a more proactive collaboration between the client and its engineering contractors – logistical meetings around the timing of information delivery were mostly eliminated.
The cost of data conversion was relatively small cost compared with the savings realized by the hub. This case study illustrates the advantages of implementing a data-centric approach to digital execution architecture at the outset of engineering.