The Global Producer III (GPIII) FPSO sits above the Balloch, Dumbarton and Lochranza fields in the Quad 15 area of the UK Central North Sea. It’s a mature installation, but last month GPIII showed experience counts, producing more than 33,000 bopd.


It’s a strong performance from a production facility that has faced a number of operational challenges in recent years, with production efficiency as low as 43% in 2013. So what’s driven the change?


“We’ve focused on fixing the key issues that held us back operationally and enhanced our wells, reservoir and facilities management, and we’ve done this while maintaining an incident-free mentality,” says Brian Welinder, Quad 15 Asset Manager. “The biggest change has been in mindset. First, we are now truly working as a team across the asset and functions to create enduring incident free solutions. Second, we have pivoted in our performance culture from reactive to proactive. We’ve always had great people, but now we say ‘why not?’ instead of ‘here’s why we can’t‘. That’s what’s  driven the positive challenge to taking us from 18,000 bopd to 33,000 bopd and pushing our production efficiency to 85%.”


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“It’s nearly three years since we last saw these production levels,” says Chris Petrovski, Operations Manager, GPIII. “Since then, we’ve had a number of operational challenges, not least with gas compression – and that had affected the team’s confidence in the installation. Over the last year, we’ve developed a plan that we all trust and that’s meant we’re more confident in pushing for improvement and results. But we’re not complacent – this is still an installation that needs a lot of care and attention, so we recognise we’re only as good as our previous day’s production.”


Securing future barrels

The willingness to push for results also applies to sustaining GPIII, as Development Manager, Tim Heijn, explains. “Achieving predictability in current production has meant we’ve had the space to focus on creating the future of GPIII. Short term, we’ve just brought on the Balloch-2 well, with the drilling of further Lochranza and Balloch wells later this year. Longer term, we’ve created a potential development roadmap with our exploration, development and commercial teams, which can ensure the success of the asset for many years ahead.” >>


At the sharp end, a dedicated gas compression team and control loop and optimisation specialists have ensured the offshore mechanical stability to underpin solid production improvement. This positive development has been supported by close collaboration between the asset team and the onshore functions, with effective stakeholder engagement enabling the asset to challenge its maximum production potential (MPP).


“The important first step in terms of production was to improve single compressor operation and sustainability, as GPIII has often only had one compressor available,” says Mark Fotheringham, Director, Facilities and Projects and acting Operations Director.


“After that, the next step was delivering the asset plan to shift the MPP from 18,000  up to 24,000 bopd and now, with dual compression coming on, up to 35,000 bopd. Working alongside the asset team, our job as a function is to ensure that it is sustainable and to seek to support and engage in the right - and sometimes creative - solutions.”


Step Change

The theme of collaboration has been critical, according to Andy Maddrick, GPIII Offshore Installation Manager (OIM). “We’ve really gone after the issues that have made our production performance so unpredictable in the last 18 to 24 months. To a large extent, that has been down to asking for and receiving the right support from functions like facilities and projects. I think you can also see the benefits of collaboration in areas such as shutdown planning. For this year, we’ve locked down early and managed to reduce by half the planned shutdown days through good communication and challenging ourselves to do better.”


The Quad 15 team aims to build on its improvement journey, balancing production from a mature asset alongside maximising the potential from its near-field opportunities.


“Just because you operate a mature asset, it doesn’t mean to say you can’t deliver a step change in performance and realise more potential,” says Brian Welinder. “We’ve made the first strides on a journey that the team is keen to continue. There will be challenges along the way, but I’m confident we have the mindset and support to make the achievements sustainable and look for further opportunities to safely boost our MPP.”