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Wasting away
By Chris Hamlet Senior Advisor, Operations

“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”

So said Thomas Edison, a man who had notched up 1,093 patents in the US and many more across Europe by the time he died in 1931. One has to wonder what he would have made of efficiency and time management efforts within the oil and gas industry where many more people seem to be far less productive.

There is phenomenal wastage in this sector. The average working day offshore is based on a 12 hour shift but within that there is only actually about four or five hours of productive working.

Some of this is down to unexpected factors which impact on work stoppage like equipment malfunctions and those we just have to work around but a significant percentage – including insufficiently defined workscopes, missing permits and incorrect equipment arriving offshore – are simply down to poor planning.

As a result, labour overruns, overtime, missed deadlines and expensive rush orders have become par for the course among operators and contractors. While this is generally recognised, what’s worrying is that it is also generally accepted.

We have lost the ability to plan properly, instead thinking of scheduling as planning, and that is impacting on workload, contingency and mitigation. With the size of the service sector in the UK larger than is currently required, costs should be looked at as a matter of priority to in order to remove inefficiencies and non-productive time from the system.

More than ever, oil and gas companies are under pressure to improve performance and reduce waste. Using experienced planners with a solid knowledge of planning processes, cost estimation and workable schedules will ensure plans are ready to implement before resources are allocated.

Lean teams delivering planned activity at pace will result in more uptime, increased safety, improved efficiency, reduced costs and enhanced reliability.

You don’t need to be a genius to work that one out.

Chris Hamlet

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