Saudi Aramco strives to implement new and innovative techniques and
approaches to assist in meeting the industry’s increasing challenges. One of
these is the new study approach, "the Event Solution," which leads to
better synergy among different stakeholders and enables faster decisions that
fully encompass the complex uncertainties associated with today’s gasfield and
The Event Solution is a short, intensively collaborative event, which
compresses major decision cycles, embraces uncertainty, and provides a wider
range of alternative solutions. The Event Solution approach has been
implemented successfully on 24 major studies worldwide, with the last eight
projects conducted on Saudi Aramco megareservoirs.
The concept is simple: Identify the most important study objective, and
focus the collective skills and creativity of a team of experts to meet the
study objective in a special event that lasts just for 2 months. The team is
enabled with the latest hardware and software technologies in a large team
room, specially designed for collaboration, where they can work together. A
facilitator leads the team to implement the Event Solution process that helps
the team to see "the big picture" and understand what matters to the
bottom line. The team composition is enriched with representatives from all of
the stakeholders (including technical experts, management, facilitators, and
sometimes government and joint-venture partner's representatives) so the
results can be concluded and implemented immediately, with maximum buy-in.
The Event Solution process includes detailed uncertainty analysis and
risk-assessment workflows that have been implemented successfully in many
events. The most important deliverable of the Event Solution, however, is that
all the stakeholders develop a clear and common understanding of the critical
uncertainties, project risk, and the agreed plans to move forward--the
decisions. This volume of work, which traditionally requires years, is
completed in 2 months on average using the Event Solution process.
This paper presents the elements and processes of this new approach.
Critical elements to a successful Event Solution include software, workroom,
team members, and a facilitator. Once the elements are in place, the
facilitator leads the team through processes that include project preparation,
parallel workflows, uncertainty analysis, critical information plans, project
risk assessment, and mitigation plans. Note that uncertainty analysis is not a
simple byproduct of the study, but an integral component of success.
The oil and gas industry spends more than USD 130 billion in capital and
exploration expense worldwide each year (OGJ 2000a, 2000b) on complex
and uncertain ventures, highlighting the significant added value that can be
achieved through processes that create synergy while reducing the decision
Warren (1994) notes that the success of an individual team can be variable
when he states, "the fundamental idea of cross functional teams and goals
appears to surface about every 10 years with a new label. Usually, attempts to
implement this concept in the E&P business ended with utter failure for a
variety of reasons" (Ching et al. 1993) The Event Solution extends the
crossfunctional-team concept by formalizing key success factors: (1)
identifying the most important study objective, (2) focusing the collective
skills and creativity of a team of experts on meeting the study objective, and
(3) collaborating in a special event that lasts 2 months rather than years.
In the 1980s, the concept of asset teams was introduced by E&P companies
around the globe to downsize and streamline operations. Unfortunately,
integrated software was not mature enough at that time to enable real
integration of the asset-team members. As integrated software became available
and hardware became more powerful in the early-to-mid 1990s, asset teams began
to achieve more success.
By the late 1990s, common processes were adapted by most major oil and gas
companies to ensure consistency and repeatable success across teams. Highly
formalized processes, often employing gatekeepers, were developed to integrate
the management (decision makers) and technical (asset) teams.
Although integrated software and formalized processes enhanced the quality
of the decision process, generating fully synergized analyses from a wide
variety of data and skills was still a lengthy process. Furthermore, the
decision makers often received different messages from different disciplines,
which may not have incorporated a comprehensive image of uncertainty
surrounding the decision.
Between 2004 and 2005, several synergized study approaches (Williams et al.
2004; Landis and Benson 2005) were introduced to the industry as a means to
bridge the gap between the technical asset teams and decision makers. These
approaches were set either as workshop-style projects or facilitated teams
focused on a set of business objectives.
In 2001, the Event Solution approach was introduced to the industry (Ghazi
and Elrafie 2001). Like asset teams, the Event Solution is a group of
multidiscipline professionals working on a dedicated project. The Event
Solution focuses on creating better synergy among all stakeholders (asset
teams, managers, decision makers, and partners) by enabling faster decisions
that fully encompass the complex uncertainties associated with today's
projects. The focus is on specific, well-stated business objectives aligned to
company strategy. The team follows a process in which each team member assesses
uncertainties within his/her own analysis, with outputs subsequently rolled up
into a studywide uncertainty assessment.
© 2008. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- Original manuscript received:
11 December 2006
- Meeting paper published:
11 March 2007
- Revised manuscript received:
16 May 2008
- Manuscript approved:
24 May 2008
- Version of record:
25 October 2008