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Improved drilling performance

February 1, 2016

Exceed’s Tim Wigham tells us why investing in people, process and performance will yield significant long-term savings.

TENAGA crew attaching centralizers to casing in the moonpool area. Photos from Exceed.

With the industry in a constant state of change, now is the time to invest in ways to optimize operational efficiency, as the pressure on management is immense and demand for cost reduction is increasing.

Added to this is the requirement for operators to apply solutions, which enhance safety, increase reliability and uptime and reduce well construction time and cost. Implementing a proven systematic approach to planning and learning is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s an essential component in helping the industry to maximize efficiency and become more resilient.

Having worked with operators internationally, as well as in the North Sea, Exceed’s performance improvement methodology achieves these efficiency aims, whilst typically delivering a return on investment in excess of 10:1. That’s a significant US$10 million saved for every $1 million invested.

With clearly quantifiable benefits, now of all times is when investment should be made into a solution that is guaranteed to deliver a return that significantly exceeds the initial investment.

TENAGA rig crew gathered on the helideck.

Performance coaching

Performance improvement is not about reinventing the wheel or introducing new technology. It is to help operators achieve more of their potential by getting the most out of their existing systems and processes, working alongside their team inclusive of contractors and service partners.

Coaches work side-by-side with the rig leadership team to benchmark performance, identify improvement opportunities and ultimately accelerate the learning curve. The earlier the engagement the greater the opportunity for early learning, particularly on shorter campaigns where the operator has to get it right the first time.

Dedicated expertise ensures the rig leadership team can confidently focus their undivided attention on managing operations and logistics, with the assurance that they have the resources in place to track performance, close out lessons learned and drive the optimization process.

Exceed boasts a 10-year track record. Over that time, the engagement and delivery model has consistently evolved and we now offer a tried and tested approach, with evidence that it works. A recent example of the success of our approach was during a two-well project we completed earlier this year with an oil and gas supermajor in Southeast Asia.

  TENAGA crew conducting a planning meeting.

Case study

From April-October 2015, Exceed was contracted by the operator for a two-well drilling campaign in Southeast Asia to help alleviate planning and streamline processes for improved rig efficiency. The short project duration meant the team needed to make an immediate impact effectively hitting the deck ready to go.

Straight away some of the workload was relieved through the integration of offset analysis, risk management, HSE bridging documentation, drilling program, logistics plans and the transfer of plans to the rig team.

Thereafter, we worked to engage the rig team and service partners during the Drill Well on Paper (DWOP) phase, sharing past experiences, incidents, successes and failures and considering potential risks to the project, both positive and negative.

A strong focus was placed on what contributed to inefficiency and how time and cost savings could be made. Offshore we facilitated advance planning meetings focused on planning the work ahead, editing work instructions and ensuring offline preparation tasks were completed ahead of the critical path.

Weekly conference calls from the rig to the onshore team provided a forum to discuss and close lessons learned. Most importantly, solutions were applied to the correct governing documents to benefit future operations.

The key to getting the most out of people is to genuinely invest in them. This project also included a diverse workforce from Japan, Malaysia and Europe, so we developed a team identity that transcended all cultures and supported a legacy that will live on long after the job was complete.

The brand for this project was called TENAGA. A regional word for dragon, a protector of the sea, this clearly embodied team spirit and a culture of safety, both vital for the project.

With many challenges and significant lesson learned, the TENAGA team used each obstacle as a launch pad for tighter teamwork, better communication and continuous improvement.

Lessons Learned

A safe and productive work place relies on inspiring leadership, strong teamwork, committed crew and good morale. All of which were achieved on this project.

Going back to basics with the rig teams helped them embrace new ways of working, and resulted in impressive savings. As it was a two-well project, we were able to learn from issues that arose from the initial well and immediately implement and apply key improvements.

Research consistently proves that visual learning is the most effective means of transferring and retaining information. First to introduce videos as part of our performance improvement process, Exceed coaches also film, edit and produce rig activity and safety videos.

The resulting videos are used as planning and learning tools, integrated with the relevant work instructions and accessed via iVISION. This is our online knowledge management platform designed to enhance safety, accelerate learning, encourage transfer of best practice and promote standardization,

With zero recordable incidents throughout the project, 350 lessons were captured, closed out and implemented, with a further 170 WorkSmart ideas submitted. This led to the project coming in safely on time and under budget, whilst the TENAGA team spirit improved throughout the campaign.

By dedicating a committed resource and developing a continuous improvement model from DWOP through to final review, sizable cost savings were achieved on the two-well project. Overall, the team realized savings in excess of $15 million on the campaign.


In the current climate where operational efficiency is key, performance coaching should no longer be considered an optional luxury. Combatting inefficiency is a responsibility. It is an essential part of rig operations, which demonstrably instills an improved safety culture and increased productive time and has proven to pay for itself many times over. 

Tim Wigham,
head of performance improvement at Exceed, joined the firm in 2007, bringing with him a wealth of management experience and a strong track record in operational leadership, performance coaching and facilitation. His early career includes nine years as an officer in the British Royal Marines.

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