Advanced Work Packaging for Hydraulic Fracking Operations

How Concord incorporated agile management in AWP to support delivery on-time and on-budget of Hydraulic Fracking Development Projects

The shale gas revolution has transformed the energy landscape in the United States, driving natural gas prices to record lows, upending established markets for coal and oil, and creating unforeseen challenges to emerging renewable energy markets. Extraordinary advances in hydraulic fracking technology have made this revolution possible, and today, Concord is the only consultancy working directly with hydraulic fracking operations to deliver on-time, on-budget through the application of the Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) and Predictability Thinking™ methodologies.

In a recent engagement with one of North America’s leading hydraulic fracking operators, the Concord team provided training and support to leaders tasked with managing the many challenges of this unique energy development process. We examined processes around fracking the wells, as well as all of the development work associated with construction: civil and mechanical work, pipelines, instrumentation, insulation of pumping units and more. The leadership’s primary concern was unpredictable costs and schedules in general, and more specifically, a marked increase in cost-per-well.

Working alongside our clients, the Concord team developed and implemented a robust Project Predictability Package™ centered around the adoption of the Advanced Work Packaging and Predictability Thinking™ Methodologies. This marks, to the best of our knowledge, the first time that AWP and Predictability Thinking™ have been applied to a project of this type and scale. Here are three things we’ve learned.

The most important thing that I have learned is that there are multiple ways to plan and execute work based on discipline.

1 | Developer Leadership is Essential

On a complex hydraulic fracking site, it’s important to have the entire leadership team educated and on board from project inception. Concord works as an extension of and support to the owner team in developing the Predictability Framework™ by completing the training and formalizing a process to achieve those goals. This process typically begins with a gap assessment to determine the business case for AWP implementation — in this hydraulic fracking portfolio, we looked at the business case for implementation objectives in terms of both cost and schedule in well construction. Given that the drilling order was driven by the owner across the portfolio, incorporating AWP and the Project Predictability Package™ and centering them around the drilling order to determine the optimal path of construction was key to our success.  

2 | Cross-Stakeholder Engagement and Capability Building

Implementing Advanced Work Packaging in a hydraulic fracking operation required us to ensure that all discipline contractors working on the various wells and pads had upgraded their work packaging capability and their ability to collaborate and deliver using these crucial methodologies. Concord works virtually with all contractors, both individually and in groups, to help meet these crucial business objectives. 

 

3 | Achieving Agility Through AWP Implementation

Applying Advanced Work Packaging in a hydraulic fracking operation required that we incorporate agile management practices as a key component of the approach. Agile is an alternative approach to project development that works well in a fracking application because teams work on several pads at once, moving between them as necessary. This additional movement benefited from the introduction of certain elements of the agile management methodology, incorporating it with Advanced Work Packaging and Predictability Thinking™.

The benefits of this robust, predictability-driven approach include reducing cost, bringing wells online on-time, and safer development. All of the client team members who took part in the work with Concord said in a quality survey conducted as part of Concord’s customer satisfaction campaigns that they found the AWP implementation process valuable, and said that project planning was either better than before or significantly better than before.

“The most important thing that I have learned is that there are multiple ways to plan and execute work based on discipline,” one participant said. “Some disciplines will have limited need for information in their Installation Work Package, whereas others may require more.” Other participants highlighted the importance of planning, documentation and detail, as well as the importance of getting everyone on the same page, from customer to contractor.

Are you a company with a portfolio of hydraulic fracking operations? Concord can help you meet your business goals through the application of Advanced Work Packaging and Predictability Thinking™. Contact us today!

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