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Operations Readiness & Assurance (OR&A)
Operations Readiness is the process of preparing the custodians of an asset under construction (and the supporting organisation) such that, at the point of delivery and handover, the Asset Organisation is fully prepared to assume ownership of the asset, accepts responsibility for, (and is capable of), performing the safe and efficient operation of that asset in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.
Assurance, in this same context, refers to the act of providing assurance to the various stakeholders in a project or venture that both their asset and supporting organisation has achieved that ‘Ready to Operate’ status, (or that it will, by the time acceptance/handover occurs).
It is too late, at Project handover, to realise that errors or omissions have been made during design, that key requirements have been overlooked or that the operator is not ‘Ready to Operate’.
The Operations Readiness process is applied throughout the early life-cycle of an oil, gas or energy project. The main thrust of the process is to provide assurance to the project sponsor (eventual asset owner) of progress towards the achievement of 'Ready to Operate' status.
The process is used to monitor the myriad of interactions between the various actors in creating an asset, from the point of identifying an opportunity until stable operations are established. Those interactions are essentially three-fold:
- Project Deliverables Those activities defined in contracts and agreements used to design and build the asset, usually the responsibility of the Project Team and specified contractors. During the Project life-cycle, these activities will include:
- A 'Feasibility and Concept Selection' Team, who will hand over a selected concept for further development;
- A 'Front End Engineering Development' or FEED team, who will refine the concept and create a Design Specification;
- A 'Value Engineering' team, who will review the design specification and may modify the design or concept;
- A 'Detailed Design' team who will finalize the design for construction;
- A 'Construction Team' who will attempt to build the asset to schedule, often for the lowest price.
- Operations Team Interaction with the Project Team The interactions of the Operations Team (OR&A Team) with the Project Team, including participation in Project activity, contribution to project deliverables, FATs, witnessing, review and approval of documentation, or direct work on behalf of the project team (e.g. commissioning, introduction of hydrocarbons, start-up, ramp-up and performance testing. If the Operations (OR&A) Team is excluded from this process, it is not unusual for the final completed asset to be significantly different from the intended concept and may no longer perform in the manner originally intended by the Project Sponsor (Asset Owner/Operator). Furthermore, due to the loss of information during changes or at each handover interface, it is estimated that some 80% of valuable information is discarded or lost. This degrades the NPV of the asset and may also detrimentally affect Operability, Availability, Maintainability and Performance.
- Operations Preparations Activities that are neither Project deliverables nor interaction with the project, but which are required to enable the Operations Team to accept the responsibility for, and be capable of, operating and maintaining the completed asset in a safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly manner (to achieve what is usually called Operations Excellence or OE).
There is ample evidence from a range of authoritative publications that documents the failures of large 'megaproject' developments and the need for a process to manage those failings. This can only be done by deploying a robust, structured and auditable process to monitor and manage the above interactions.
Done properly, Operations Readiness & Assurance (OR&A) has been shown to save $20 for every $1 invested in deploying the OR&A process from the early phases of a project. A return of 20:1 on any investment should not be ignored!
Operational Readiness (OR), Operations Assurance (OA)