Introduction to Commissioning and Initial Startup

Projects, Facilities and Construction


This course will speak to the important phases of commissioning and initial startup of a project. Engineers and operators new to commissioning will learn what the important issues are. Design engineers not involved in commissioning will gain insight into design requirements imposed by commissioning and startup. Topics include:


  • The two phases of commissioning: planning and execution
  • Managing safety during the commissioning phase?
  • Commissioning team organization
  • Commissioning management systems/databases
  • Handover and acceptance of systems–the process
  • Pre-commissioning and commissioning
  • Oil/gas/sater process systems
  • Common problems during commissioning/start-up
  • Subsea commissioning
  • Spare parts and consumables
  • Measuring progress and schedule
  • Differences between commissioning and normal operations

Initial Startup

  • Scope and objectives of initial startup
  • Regulatory requirements
  • Flow assurance
  • Well unloading
  • Treatment and disposal of flow back aqueous fluids
  • Solids management and monitoring
  • POB management
  • Flow line and umbilical displacement
  • Control system evaluation (valves sizing, loop tuning)
  • Well beanup and choking plan
  • Well testing
  • Data collection plan
  • Chemical use at startup
  • Methanol contaminated crude
  • Risk management
  • Operator training and competency assessment

Learning Level

Introductory to Intermediate

Course Length

1 Day

Why Attend?

The initial startup and commissioning phase are intrical to successful and cost effective operations. Anyone working in this area should be aware of the most developing issues.

Who Should Attend

Operations staff with five years’ experience who have been assigned to a new build project to represent operations.  Experienced process engineers and facilities engineers who want to learn more about how processes are started and operated.


0.8 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) will be awarded for this 1-day course.

Cancellation Policy

To receive a full refund, all cancellations must be received in writing no later than 14 days prior to the course start date. Cancellations made after the 14-day window will not be refunded. Send cancellation requests by email to; by fax to +1.866.460.3032 (US) or +1.972.852.9292 (outside US); or mail to SPE Registration, PO Box 833836, Richardson, TX 75083.


Grant Gibson is founder and president of Gibson Applied Technology and Engineering (GATE) in Houston. He is a practicing commissioning and start-up manager for major projects in West Africa and Gulf of Mexico. He holds a PhD from the University of Manchester. He has been working installation, commissioning and start-up of subsea systems, FPSO's, waterfloods, and new build projects for over 10 years.

Howard Duhon, PE is a process engineer with over 30 years of experience in process design and project management roles. He is currently systems engineering manager for GATE LLC in Houston, TX.  He is also chairman of an SPE Applied Technology Workshop series on Final Commissioning and Initial Startup, a member of the SPE Projects, Facilities and Construction Technical Advisory Board, and a member of the Editorial Board of the new SPE magazine, Oil and Gas Facilities.

Duhon earned a BS in chemical engineering for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1974.

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