The Need for Specialist Consultancy

Any project, whether it be the development of a large new compression facility or a small one to rewheel a centrifugal compressor, will necessitate varying levels of team size depending on the position within the overall project life-cycle.

When to Apply Larger Teams

As the activity progresses towards the latter stages of the project life-cycle, through detailed design and on to physical installation or modification of plant, it is beneficial to have the work executed by a medium or large sized contracting company. They will have the human resources, procedures and systems to perform such detailed work. To make sure that the new or modified plant functions correctly and adheres to the requisite standards, a more procedural way of working is beneficial. This ensures that ‘everything connects’ – right down to the ‘nuts and bolts’ level of detail. In these project stages it is appropriate to utilise larger general teams.

A Different Team to Answer the Big Questions

Mirade believe that different methodologies, philosophies and approaches are necessary in the formative period of a project life cycle. In these early stages, the solution is unknown and the unanswered questions are both disparate and very significant in consequence. They are different to those posed during the later detailed engineering phase, during which time a question might be “which parts of the HAZOP will need to be repeated if this change is made to the LP scrubber”? In contrast, early in the project development (e.g. during a concept design study), examples of questions might be:

  • In what year in the future will compression of field gas be necessary?
  • What would the production consequences be if compression installation was deferred by two years?
  • What should the overall installed power be?

It is obvious that the consequences of such decisions have far-reaching consequences – not only for the latter stages of the development project cycle and plant CAPEX, but also on later productivity and operability of the asset once it is in service.

The resolution of such fundamental questions requires a different type of team to that which is applied in the later detailed engineering and installation phases.

The Advantages of Small & Specialist Teams

The project environment during the early stages of its life-cycle is very different to the more heavily defined and structured one present closer to installation. It is these early project stages that necessitate a different mind-set; they require one which can readily answer broad questions (such as those above) without the comfort of having key system elements already defined. Such a challenging project environment is present during, for example, feasibility and concept design studies.

Engaging a smaller and more specialist team of consultants at this time in the project life-cycle provides the necessary experience, skill-set and working approach that facilitate the resolution of fundamental questions.

A small specialist team can also more readily react to the results of exploratory simulation work, which can sometimes identify solutions that differ to expectations formed prior to project start. A small specialist team is more dynamic and ready to embrace all the possibilities discovered during a feasibility or concept study.

Once solutions are identified, the same consultancy team can then develop, validate and define them to a level that allows hand-over to the next phase in the project life-cycle when a larger team will be engaged; for example, FEED.

To successfully complete complex projects, Mirade has specialist teams which have the experience, knowledge and mind-set required to work in project environments where the solution is not bounded by pre-determined concept designs or approaches. Mirade can therefore provide unique solutions to unique projects.

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