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Moving the virtual mountain Disclosure Number: IPCOM000217645D
Publication Date: 2012-May-10

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The Prior Art Database

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OE Feb 06

Moving the virtual mountain

b~Jbnnation, inJbrmation, inJbrmation. And still more information. For the giant ACG development in the Caspian Sea, engineering contractor KBR was .fi~ced with an unprecedented challenge in succes~fidly keeping control of the mountain of electronic documents and data moving through the ether. Terry Knott gets an exclusive look at how it was done.

Few projects ira the offshore world can match the scale and logistics complexity of the ongoing development of the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) fields in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea. The $9 billiou programme, led by BP in the AIOC operating consortium, started in 1997, targeting estimated recoverable reserves of 5.8 billion barrels ofoil, and is being executed in three overlapping phases, the final stage of which should come onstream in 2008. At peak the three fields will deliver one million barrels of oil per day through the new $3.4 billon, 1768km-long Baku -Tbilisi-Ceyhan export pipeline to world markets - first oil deliveries to Ceyhan on the Mediterranean in Turkey are imminent.

    The development consists of six new fixed offshore platforms, constructed in Azerbaijan, together weighing around 220,000t; plus two large oil trunklines to shore, a new gas pipeline, 26 interfield pipelines, subsea cables and umbilicals; and an onshore terminal at Sangachal near Baku which is believed to be the largest in the world. Over one million tonnes of equipment and materials have been imported into the Caspian region, the bulk of this moving through the canal systems of Europe and Russia, canals which are closed by ice for half of the year, adding to the overall logistics challenge. According to BP, the ACG project has already topped 100 million manhours of effort to date.

    The main engineering contactor for the project is Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), a company with long and successful experience of handling large offshore projects. But when the company began front end design work on the first phase of the development in 1997, focused on the first two platforms, it could not have foreseen that even its expertise was soon to be put to the test.

    'We approached Phase 1 much as we would any large offshore infi'astructure project, says Bill Ebdon, KBR's business manager for the project ira the central project office in Sutton, south London. 'The work was sanctioned by the development partners in 2000 and consisted of two large


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OE Feb 06

platforms, each around 30,000t with a steel jacket and floatover deck, a template, export pipeline and the first section of the new terminal. Our normal document control systems worked well for this.

    'At this stage, no-one knew if a second phase would be sanctioned, but subsequently it was and detailed engineering came along in 2002. Around this time, BP placed strong emphasis on a standardisation philosophy for the phases, endeavouring to gain cost and schedule benefits by cloning t...