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A faster way to make offshore part databases by Sharecat

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sharecat is helping companies put together databases of technical information much faster, with global agreements with BP, Shell and Statoil

Sharecat of Norway is helping oil and gas companies put together structured information about all of the parts and components in their offshore operations faster, by sharing the data.

The basic idea is that Sharecat maintains its own databases of standard information about millions of different parts. If you (as a customer) have a certain part on your platform, Sharecat might already have all the necessary specifications and materials lists (items you might need to purchase for it). So you can use Sharecat's data rather than collect it again from scratch.

In a greenfield project, all suppliers, EPC contractors and the end client will upload data and documents, review and collaborate in the same environment.

Sharecat has been gathering its equipment catalogue for over 20 years and now has millions of pieces of data, said Sturle Drageset, sales and marketing director with ShareCat, speaking at the Digital Energy Journal Aberdeen conference on November 25, 'Doing More with Offshore Engineering Data.

Sharecat is based in Bergen, with offices in Aberdeen, London and Houston, and a reseller agreement with WorleyParsons in Australia.

The database can be used both in greenfield projects, to help put together better part databases faster, and in brownfield projects, to help operators clean their data up. It also provides associated consulting services.

Sharecat has global agreements with several oil majors, to put together a global catalogue of suppliers for Shell, and run a central information store for BP. It manages materials data for Statoil.

Sharecat has a frame agreement with engineering company WorleyParsons, where Sharecat will provide specialist information management software and services to WorleyParsons to sell as part of its service to customers.

The services are made available over the cloud as Software as a Service (SaaS).

Data problems

It is too common for operators not to have accurate records of what they have installed on their rigs, he said.

We see inspection reports stating missing certificates, missing history, impossible to trace parts in the material master, and missing documentation and numbering information.

This might be expected, when you consider that it is common for operators to take delivery of an oil rig or FPSO, but they do not receive the associated documents, part information and materials lists, in a usable format.

The problem can be ignored until it is time to do modifications, but at this point, engineers can spend 2-3 hours gathering specification data (tags) for each component, before they can put together a purchase order for new materials.

Every time any information is missing, you need to search for information and involve colleagues, which take up hours of expensive time. Poor information will lead to incorrect purchase, increasing the cost even more.

On greenfield projects, it should be much easier to gather necessary information.

But operators are often overwhelmed by the amount of data. The operator may deal with only a small number of contractors directly, but each contractor will go on to send hundreds (or thousands) of purchase orders to their suppliers and manufacturers, which generates an enormous amount of documentation.

Sometimes documents for a single component (such as a motor) will be sent back to the operator many times, because this component is used as part of many different pieces of equipment.

The information is sent by email, which means it easily gets lost, and no-one is sure if it is correct.

Meanwhile, the operator's projects staff do not necessarily have an incentive to make sure that the data is good, because after the project they will move onto a new project, and leave the data problem to the company's operations staff.

It can take many thousands man hours to put together a complete parts database for a new offshore asset, he said, so it is not a surprise that the work is often not done, and the project is handed to operations staff with only 30 per cent of information available.

'We end up with poor and missing information in the material master,' he said.

As the industry has to lower costs, the EPC (Engineering Procurement and Construction) companies must work more efficient and at the same time deliver better quality. This is what Sharecat's products are tailored for, Mr Drageset said.

We also experience drilling companies to struggle with procedures and routines to build up information correctly, he said. A lot of data is only entered as free text, and no possibility to retrieve crucial information in later maintenance, modifications and purchase of equipment and parts.


Sharecat's service is to reduce the overall workload, by maintaining and continually updating the 'shared catalogue' of part data and deliver quality data to the clients.

So for example data about a part such as a specific ABB motor, which might be used in thousands of different pieces equipment on many different offshore assets, information only needs to be entered once and re-used many times.

Sharecat provides templates which can be given to engineering contractors so they know what data they need to provide, and which can be automatically uploaded into Sharecat.

Sometimes the information is already in Sharecat's database. If Sharecat already has both the part information and the material master (information about materials which might need to be purchased to go with that part), there is no need to enter the material master again.

All the time, the quality of information in the database improves, in terms of accuracy and completeness. 'We can evaluate and improve the information in the project as we go along,' he says.

There is no need to keep sending data back to the vendor for checking, and enormous volumes of data can be handled.

'Doing this, you will save a lot of time and money, you will provide correct information to operations.'

'We capture information into templates, process into ShareCat, point out the incorrect information, then return it back to whoever is responsible to manage the information. All processes are controlled by a powerful workflow tool.' he said.

Set requirements

With Sharecat, you easily know if you have the information you need or not, and if you don't have it, you can inform your suppliers.

It is important to make sure the suppliers are aware of what they will need to provide in advance. 'You have to set up all the requirements at the beginning of the project, how that is supposed to be delivered,' he said. 'If you start asking for information after the work has been started it is too late.'

'You can report daily, to see how to the different package suppliers progress on their deliverables.'

If you don't keep track of the quality of the data, you can end up with data which is as bad as if you were just receiving it ad hoc by e-mail.

Associated Companies
» ShareCat
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