Exclusive: Project Symphony gathering pace

A GROUP operators across Western Australia and the Northern Territory, gathered under the banner of ‘Project Symphony’ is looking at a swathe of initiatives to improve operations and is seeking European expert input, Energy News has learned.
Exclusive: Project Symphony gathering pace Exclusive: Project Symphony gathering pace Exclusive: Project Symphony gathering pace Exclusive: Project Symphony gathering pace Exclusive: Project Symphony gathering pace
 
Project Symphony, which is understood to include Woodside Petroleum, Chevron Corporation, Shell, Quadrant Energy, Inpex and ConocoPhillips, has already delivered one initiative with the Bureau of Meteorology around cyclone forecasting and preparedness.
 
Energy News understands Project Symphony is working on seven initiatives in all, including one around spare parts sharing, and an integrated activity plan for maintenance.
 
The group also has initiatives underway around workforce development, safety protocols and medical evacuation sharing, from helicopter usage down to the type of stretcher used.
 
The workforce development initiative involves verification and competencies, particularly for high risk roles but also more broadly across various aspects of the workforce.
 
Other issues relating to core operations are stickier subjects that require more time and compromise, but progress is being made.
 

Impressive collaboration

 
Oil & Gas UK director of business excellence Stephen Marcos Jones told Energy News after addressing AOG's Collaboration Forum in Perth last week that his own industry could learn much from the way collaboration has penetrated down to the plant floor at the Woodside Petroleum-operated Karratha gas plant.
 
"What really struck me was the workforce engagement piece," he said. 
 
"One of the challenges we have in the UK is the case for change to be collaborative hasn't necessarily percolated through individual organisations very effectively.
 
"The workforce can sometimes be misaligned with the objectives of the senior executives. 
 
"That wasn't the case up in Karratha. There was a clear understanding right through the organisation, right through the whole team that was working on the LNG plant as to what the objectives were, and the role that they played in achieving those objectives."
 
Marcos Jones and his OGUK colleague, market intelligence manager Adam Davey, were fully booked during AOG week with operators seeking their input, indicating an increased openness to solid collaboration.
 
Such collaboration was flagged by Chevron Australia general manager, asset development Gerry Flaherty, when he proposed a ‘single-basin approach' at the Society of Petroleum Engineers' Asia Pacific Oil & Gas Conference in Perth late last year.
 
"When you see how big and spread out it is, I look at it as a tentative North West Shelf centre, a Gorgon-Jantz-Wheatstone-Pluto centre than [an] Exmouth-Scarborough [centre]," Flaherty told Energy News.
 
"You probably need two hubs that have compression, water separation, flow assurance capacity to bring all of those things together into a trunkline system that can get it to shore."
 

Crunch time

 
North West Shelf operators are realising that, as they consider the region's future, "minds are really starting to focus on how to proceed, and a line of sight to a solution is sought as decisions actually start needing to be made soon", a highly-placed Perth-based industry source told Energy News.
 
Having met Project Symphony operators during AOG, the OGUK officials suggested that, based on their experience in the UK, it was vital that different types of operators - "not just the large ones, but some smaller and independent operators" and suppliers were engaged in the same discussions.
 
"The inclusivity is absolutely essential to overcome the concern about anti-competition. That's certainly something we heard from Project Symphony which has been a blocker to some of the efforts in the past, but they're starting to come around to new ideas," Davey said.
 
"The fundamental is that you have to include everyone on the value chain to unlock the value from these sort of resources initiatives [like Project Symphony]".
 
Marcos Jones told Energy News that following discussions among operators of Western Australian assets that an organisation like OGUK, which brings together the operators and suppliers right across the value chain, was key in order to provide a platform for sharing. 
 
"We went up to Karratha and visited one of the helicopter operators and it was nice to see that there were different business models coming up and where there were was more sharing of choppers than previously," he said.
 
"So already you're starting to see the kind of green shoots of collaboration happening and people seeing the benefits of doing collaboration."
 
The challenge, he said, was the willingness to be transparent and share. 
 
"In the UK we've had to unpick these very ingrained cultures in order to get us over the hurdle that prevents us from being more collaborative in doing business," Marcos Jones said.
 
"The key message is you need somebody to provide that kind of platform to have these discussions going forward. Companies can't do it off their own bat.
 
"Like everything in the oil and gas industry - at least in the UK - people like to wait for the first movers before they get interested themselves. 
 
"So the biggest challenge is getting these first movers to try something new."
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