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What is good offshore IM? from Aqeel Ajazi, IM consultant at Shell

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Aqeel Ajazi, Information Management Consultant at Shell, provided some ideas about what makes good offshore information management

'Information management (IM) started off as information technology with some project engineering attached, but it is really becoming a bit of a discipline now,' said Aqeel Ajazi, Information Management Consultant at Shell, speaking at the Digital Energy Journal Aberdeen conference on November 28, 'doing more with offshore engineering data.'

Mr Ajazi has an IT background, having previously worked in banking, insurance and telecoms, and joined the oil and gas industry 8 years ago, including 6 years at Shell. He is part of Shell's design office, involved in projects around the world, including in Egypt, Kuwait, UAE and Iraq.

There is no silver bullet answer to the question 'how can I maintain and deliver IM that everyone is happy with,' he said.

IM involves a lot more than just writing down procedures, because if you get the procedures wrong you end up overcomplicating things, he said. It is possible that an engineering company might say, you don't really need so much detail, or 'this is what I think we should really capture.Overkill with data can cost you a lot of money.'

Starting projects

'Whenever I am approached to look at a new project, I try to speak to operations guys,' he said. 'But they aren't usually around because they come onboard when the project is in execution. You should try to get as much feedback from operation people.'

When starting a project it is also helpful to have a look at some of the software systems which are already in place, such as SAP.

It is important to have a 'document distribution matrix' showing the rules about which document goes where.

People typically say it should be put together by information management staff, but it is better if it is owned and managed by the quality assurance / control department, who can make sure the systems will lead to the required quality of operations.

It is important to develop a structured document numbering system, he said. If the numbering system just looks random, it is very difficult to work out which aspect of the plant it relates to. You create problems for engineers in future.

It is important to make sure you have information managers making decisions about how a system is set up. IT people tend to focus on the IT system, and engineers tend to focus on the information they personally need. The IM person can sit in the middle and make sure you have the information everybody needs.

'A lot of projects are very reluctant to bring in an IM person at the beginning, but if you have an IM person or a document controller right at the beginning it makes it a lot easier and a lot more efficient,' he said.

Software and IT

Shell is currently piloting Intergraph's engineering data warehouse software, to capture all of the information involved with a design project, including piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&ID) and tags.

Oil and gas operators often struggle with the idea of providing access from outside the company.
It can be helpful to enable EPC contractors can come in and share information.

Oil companies can be notorious for wanting to customise software applications, rather than use them off the shelf, and these can make them very complicated to use, he said.

You need good IT systems to support a good IM system. For example, if you are working in Iraq, you need a VSAT (fast satellite communication) link, otherwise 'you can have whatever system you want and it is useless.' You end up moving data on CDs.

You end up with document control managers giving up their main job and spending all day reporting data.

Associated Companies
» Royal Dutch Shell plc
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