Big Oil Firms Crack The Whip Over Service Companies

"Over many years people have become very inward thinking and believe the processes they have built up are the Holy Grail," said Ashley Heppenstall, the CEO of Swedish oil firm Lundin Petroleum.

Rising oil prices had also masked the sector's eroding competitiveness and energy firms grudgingly swallowed cost blowouts or delays without revising their contracting models.

"We have seen what .... we refer to as 'gold-plating', specifications beyond what is really required," Kristian Siem, the chairman of Britain-based Subsea 7 said.

"There is a lot of 'it is nice to have' but not 'need to have'. If you eliminate that, that is where the big cost is."

The Sverdrup Way

Norway's Statoil, last year's most successful offshore explorer, has already taken a leap in cutting costs.

It told Aker Solutions to reduce engineering costs by up to 30 percent, potentially $900 million, in the initial phase of its Johan Sverdrup oilfield, a North Sea giant with up to 2.9 billion barrels of oil.

To get that kind of saving, Aker Solutions has to get involved earlier than in past projects, combine work with another field and reuse design elements from past projects - instead of starting from scratch, Chief Financial Officer Leif Borge said.


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Reid V. Williams  |  April 29, 2014
I totally agree with Ben Lehr. I too have 35 plus years in the O&G Industry worldwide. I was last in Kuwait where a big French Integrated Service Company had a sweet master contract with KOC. They priced items out of sight and KOC didnt say a thing. This ISC MC gave the service company cart blanc to charge whatever, to put inexperienced personnel in place and equipment that rarely worked the first time. Without completion there is a lack of incentive to make positive change. I will never consult with KOC again. .
Ben Lehr  |  April 05, 2014
On integrated services. It does not work, it breeds inexperienced personnel at the well site with very little support from office managers. It is costly and inefficient as the personnel know that they have a contract and they are backed by the service company. The integrated service company will never take accountability for anything, believe me they will try to pass the buck on everything. I work in a project in Central Africa where we have integrated services and|I can tell you with having over 40 years of oil & gas experience from the wellhead to corporate office I have never seen such a disorganized inexperienced and costly operation in my entire career. In my opinion stay away from integrated services and keep the competition at the wellhead.