Introduction to Commissioning and Initial Startup

Projects, Facilities and Construction

Course Description

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.



  • 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/water 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 integral to successful and cost effective operations. Anyone working in this area should be aware of the most developing issues.

Who Attends

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) are awarded for this 1-day course.

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations must be received no later than 14 days prior to the course start date. Cancellations made after the 14-day window will not be refunded.  Refunds will not be given due to no show situations.

Training sessions attached to SPE conferences and workshops follow the cancellation policies stated on the event information page.  Please check that page for specific cancellation information.

SPE reserves the right to cancel or re-schedule courses at will.  Notification of changes will be made as quickly as possible; please keep this in mind when arranging travel, as SPE is not responsible for any fees charged for cancelling or changing travel arrangements.

We reserve the right to substitute course instructors as necessary.

Full regional cancellation policies can be found at the Cancellation Policy page within the SPE Training Course Catalog.


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, FPSOs, 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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