This page is part of our decommissioning toolkit.

Britannia Field Development

Dates: April 1993 – October 1998

The Britannia field was one of the largest known remaining gas fields in the U.K. to be brought onto production.

With estimated gas reserves of 3 trillion cubic feet, the field produced at its peak enough gas to meet at least eight percent of the country’s energy needs.

Operated jointly by Chevron and Conoco on behalf of an international consortium, Britannia is located 130 miles northeast of Aberdeen in the U.K. sector of the North Sea.

The field was developed with the major part of its gas production pre-sold under long-term contracts. The main feature of the huge development is a production, drilling and accommodation platform comprising a 28,000 tonne topside.

As a member of the Infield Alliance with operators Conoco (U.K.) Ltd and Chevron U.K. Limited, our collaborator AMEC were responsible for front end and detailed design, procurement, hook-up and commissioning, project management of the topsides and information technology and office support services for the project.


Dates: 1995 – 2006

The Coryton refinery occupies 370 acres bordered by the River Thames to the south and Holehaven Creek and Canvey Island to the east.

The refinery processes 33 million litres of crude oil a day and produces approximately 10% of the UK’s transport fuel. Our collaborator, AMEC, provides project engineering services and related procurement and contract management services and is an integral part of BP’s refinery asset support group to the extent that they manage the project’s budget on behalf of BP.

The relationship commenced in 1995 and has developed with changes in refinery ownership. The current ‘evergreen’ contract has recently been renegotiated to demonstrate BP’s ongoing satisfaction and commitment to the relationship.

HMS Illustrious

Dates: 2003 – 2005

Illustrious is a Royal Navy ‘Invincible’ class aircraft carrier that entered service in 1982.

This 104 week project with £120m target cost was an in-service refit as part of a rolling programme of major warship upgrades and was designed to see her through to 2012, when it is planned that she will be replaced by the new Queen Elizabeth class carriers.

The primary aims of the refit were to:

  1. Maintain the vessel to sustain high readiness until the next upkeep period and beyond to her Out of Service Date
  2. Update the vessel to comply with legislation,
  3. Replace high cost driving equipments and improve habitability
  4. Upgrade the vessel

The refit was carried out by our collaborator, Babcock engineering and the Rosyth Dockyard and was the third major carrier refit undertaken, so there was a significant opportunity to benefit from previous learning.

A partnering approach was adopted, as it offered the best vehicle for sharing of learning and cost reduction.


Dates: 1995 – 1998

Our collaborator, BP’s, Eastern Trough Area Project is located 240 km east of Aberdeen in the North Sea and is an integrated development of nine different reservoirs with differing ownership and “operatorship”.

Six separate fields are operated by BP and a further three fields are operated by Shell.

ETAP ranks as one of the largest North Sea projects of the last fifteen years. The ETAP platform was completed at AMEC’s Newcastle facility, and was unusual in so far as the physical size and weight of the platform exceeded the lifting weight of the offshore installation cranes, and it therefore had to be built in two sections.

The project achieved exceptional performance all round: the schedule delivery target was beaten by two months; 18% savings were made against the Capex target estimate; the 6-week offshore hookup which was achieved represented significant improvement on the industry norm.

Key to the success of the ETAP project was the level of integration, collaboration and openness achieved amongst Alliance members (BP, AMEC, KBR, Barmac, Heeremac and Consafe-Facilities Alliance) resulting in exceptional performance by all.


Dates: 1993 – 2001

E4 was a major petro-chemical construction project at BP’s Grangemouth refinery undertaken by an alliance of 7 companies.

Our collaborator, BP, was the client, and the other members of the alliance, from across the U.K., were Lilley Construction, William Hare, U.K. Construction and Engineering, SSL and AMEC Capital Projects.

This was one of a number of alliancing arrangements operated by BP at Grangemouth. These involved appointing specialist contractors, to handle the wide range of engineering disciplines involved in the construction of a new plant.

All the selected companies worked together as a closely integrated project team, building carefully on relationships which in some cases had been forged over many years of previous projects. Partners were chosen as much for their approach to partnering and alliancing, and the wider issues of project management, as for their own proven track records in cost and efficiency.

The installation, part of a £500m expansion programme at the refinery, which is strategically situated at the terminus of the North Sea’s Forties Pipeline Transportation System, was the first plant in the U.K. to be able to synthesise ethanol to the E4 level, and as such a critical venture.

The project was characterised by innovative working and communication arrangements and empowerment of personnel at all levels to suggest “fixes” and solutions to assist the process.


Dates: 1994 – 1998

In the notoriously difficult exploitation of North Sea oil and gas reserves, which is BP’s principal area of upstream activity, it had become imperative by the early 1990s to achieve drastic reductions in development costs to remain globally competitive.

It was recognised that technological advances alone would not achieve this, but that a fundamental shift in the oil industry’s traditional and often adversarial contracting relationships was also essential to break through the cost barrier.

At this point, the Andrew field, which had been discovered over 20 years earlier, had consistently failed to meet the business model required for it to move into production, so BP selected it as a breakthrough challenge for a pioneering alliance of seven contracting companies, of which our collaborator, KBR (then Brown and Root) was one, to develop offshore facilities for it.

The power of the alliance surprised even its most ardent supporters by the unexpected degree of commercial success that it delivered, surpassing all anticipated levels of performance to set new benchmarks for the industry.


Dates: 1997 – 2000

The Shell Exploration and Production (Shell / Esso) Shearwater alliance project involved the design, engineering, construction, installation, hook-up and commissioning of a complex integrated processing, utilities and accommodation platform designed to produce sales-quality gas.

It was completed by our collaborator, AMEC at its Newcastle facility. Exceptional performance in delivery was required across the entire scope of the project.

The significant achievements which completion of this project represented were accomplished through innovation, forward planning and collaborative working between all alliance members.

It was recognised early in the development of Shearwater that a concentrated effort would be required in order to deliver a result that was more than just “business as usual”.

The use of an alliance contract with aligned objectives and a range of risk and reward elements set the challenge for the alliance to maximise Net Present Value for the Shearwater co-ventures and produce financial rewards for extraordinary performance for all the alliance partners.

This represented a true win / win scenario that was successful because in a true partnering spirit every aspect was open to challenge, even Shell’s specifications and standards.


Dates: 2001 – 2005

The Clair field is located off The Shetland Isles in about 140 metres of water. It covers an area of 220 square kilometres.

The Clair development comprised a conventional platform with production and process topsides facilities supported by a fixed steel jacket. The development was the first fixed platform in the west of Shetland area.

Clair was not established as an Alliance project but used learning and collaborative behaviours developed through Andrew to generate innovation and establish a target cost that then made the project economically sanction-able.

The project was initiated with pre-sanction scoping in 2000 and was sanctioned in 2002. Production started in 2005. The operator, BP, targeted a total cost for the platform at around £200 million, a relatively low cost solution which was deemed essential for the field to receive development sanction.

Previous attempts by UK contractors, most recently in 1998, to deliver a viable solution, managed only to get costs down to £300 million.

To overcome this cost hurdle, the company had to look outside the UK – specifically to the Gulf of Mexico, known for its simple cost-effective platform designs – for new approaches to project delivery.

Our collaborator, Wood Group’s, acquisition of Mustang in Huston was key to delivery of the project.

Terra Nova

Dates: 1998 – 2002

Terra Nova is the first harsh environment development in North America to use a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel.

Production from the field began in January 2002. Innovation and cost drove the Alliance approach with the formation of the Grand Banks Alliance (SBR Offshore, Doris Conpro, PCL Industrial Constructors, Coflexip Stena, our collaborator Halliburton Canada and FMC Canada) to carry out engineering, procurement, construction, installation, commissioning and possibly pre-development drilling activities up to the production of first oil.

The project partners and Grand Banks Alliance consequently established a single alliance: the Terra Nova Alliance, with each company participating on a risk-and-reward basis.

This was a risk and reward contract with performance linked to Capex delivery and operational efficiency.

The Terra Nova Oil Field was discovered in 1984 by Petro-Canada, who are the operator and 34% interest holder. The field is the second largest off Canada’s East Coast, located 350 kilometres off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Field reserves have been estimated at 406 million barrels (Mbbl).

The hostile environment posed numerous challenges to the project with shallow water depths – between 90m and 100m and a mean annual wind speed of 35kmph, with the strongest recorded wind speed being 145kmph and the largest recorded wave height being 25m.

The area is also characterised by the seasonal presence of floating sea ice, ranging in thickness from 0.5m to 1.5m, produced by the freezing of the ocean’s surface layer and icebergs.

Low water temperatures require that fluids such as hydraulic control fluids be heated or treated to lower their freezing point. Similarly, low temperatures combined with the waxy nature of the crudes require that the flowlines and riser are insulated to reduce wax deposition.

The FPSO is designed to operate in moderate sea ice, up to a limit of five-tenths coverage and to disconnect, as required, to avoid heavy pack ice and potential collisions with icebergs.

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