RAGUNATH BABU, SENIOR ENGINEER, PROJECTS
With almost two decades in oil and gas, Ragu has been with Petrofac for the past nine years, and also worked on Phase 1 of the Ghazeer project. As a Projects Engineer, he was responsible for the delivery management and vendor coordination of electrical, instrumentation and telecom systems.
The teamwork was particularly close and productive… Teamwork is always strong at Petrofac but, on this project, it seemed to go to another level. As a team, we were given a freehand to forever look for more efficient ways of working and to propose and explore new solutions. The sense of shared purpose and camaraderie was very strong.
Strong sequencing and forward planning made all the difference… The aim was to feed the site with the right materials at the right time. With some projects, the availability of materials can dictate the construction sequence. With this project, we wanted our preferred construction sequence to dictate everything else, so we had to make sure the right materials were always to hand.
The shipping of the materials is just as important as their completion… Coordinating with the vendors on manufacturing is simply not enough. You also need to think about the freighting, especially if shipping options are limited and the journey takes many days. So, for example, we looked at the advance availability of ships and the routes they would be taking, and pushed vendors to meet those schedules. By planning ahead like this, we could keep the site fed with the right materials. We could also keep airfreight to an absolute minimum, which saved considerable cost.
The more you can work with local vendors, the better it becomes… For this project, I worked with an equal proportion of Omani and non-Omani vendors. The local vendors were very receptive to our input and guidance, and were keen to perform at the same level as the international vendors we might otherwise select. By working on both Phase 1 and Phase 2, you could see the transfer of knowledge in action. And, of course, if systems are being produced locally, you benefit from added convenience and control.
Everything depends on everyone meeting the schedule… For some tasks, like the powering of the new electrical substations, there were lots of interdependencies, and several vendors to coordinate. If I had overrun on the schedule, I would have delayed everyone and everything. These are high pressure moments. I think every detail of them will always live on in my memory – I don’t think I will even forget the purchase order numbers assigned to me.
“With some projects, the availability of materials can dictate the construction sequence. With this project, we wanted our preferred construction sequence to dictate everything else.”
WORDS PETER HALLIDAY
PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 2020