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SAS Helps ConocoPhillips Norway Focus on Performance and Control Costs

SAS Strategic Performance Management is enabling a major integrated energy company to target resources and manage its business more effectively.

When you're working offshore in a hostile location like the North Sea, or in potentially hazardous environments such as gas processing units, conditions can change and the risks to people and assets can multiply in the blink of an eye. At the same time, operations on this scale are costly to maintain and, with fluctuating energy prices, controlling costs without compromising health and safety is a major concern. This is the situation facing ConocoPhillips Norway every working day. With a decade-long history of SAS usage, the company is now deploying SAS Strategic Performance Management to help target resources and manage its business more effectively.

Ensuring Safety, Controlling Costs
"SAS has greatly helped us in managing our maintenance performance," explains Pål Navestad, Senior Advisor Maintenance/IT. "Maintenance is our biggest cost, but it's not just about putting in resources, it's about doing the right things." In 1997 the company started implementing SAP R/3 worldwide and, in 1999, SAP replaced the Norwegian subsidiary's finance, purchasing and materials management systems. "ERP systems have many strengths but also limitations, especially in detailed analyses of business processes, in providing management overviews and answering specific queries," continues Navestad. "SAP is a jungle of data. Using SAS, we could see if we were getting maintenance jobs done and how we were doing them. We could detect errors in work orders, identify problem areas fast, and show the regulatory authorities what we were doing." Users were all working with the same data, information delivery speeded up and management became more focused.

Companies like ConocoPhillips look to make continuous improvements in their operations, which led Navestad's team to implement scorecards powered by SAS as part of more formal approaches to strategic performance management (SPM). "In 2002 we started mapping the metrics required, looking at our strategy and various issues around planning and performance," says Navestad. However, the business environment was about to get rather more complicated.

Mergers and Management
"To a certain extent the Conoco-Phillips merger took place at a high level and we've been working to bring things together at an operational level," says Navestad. As the business reorganized, he says, a number of disconnects emerged because of what should be measured and where in different parts of the business. In this challenging environment, he believes SAS SPM is already proving its value. "It's very versatile. You can put a lot into it, and get meaningful results out. You can get information out extremely quickly, and it's very fast in terms of development and prototyping."

ConocoPhillips' top-level scorecard will cover the four areas of Costs, Health and Safety, Production, and Resource Replacement. However, several operational scorecards are already in place, using SAS to extend the exploitation of SAP data into other areas. One such system deals with safety barriers, described by Navestad as "extremely operational." It provides a snapshot of where things stand today – we can measure if we've carried out preventative measures on time. For instance, making sure that anything flammable or held under pressure stays that way and doesn't leak, to avoid people getting hurt while also protecting assets. And if a leak did occur, how would you detect it? If a fire started, how would you detect it, how would you put it out, and how would you get everyone offsite?" The system combines data on various events (triggers) and their day-to-day follow-up within agreed procedures. "Applying any rules we want to the data gives us more control over the five-step safety barrier process, providing knowledge we can apply in a preventative way. With SAS, we can see what's under control and what isn't."

Seeing the Bigger Picture
Another major project involved combining all planned maintenance data so it could be analyzed as a whole, rather than focusing on specific issues or functions. Analytical business intelligence enables ConocoPhillips to make sense of all this data. "For the first time we can produce reports that show our combined Planned Maintenance program up front – we generate between 5,000 and 6,000 work orders each month, and you can't schedule too far ahead because you'd get too many orders in the system." ConocoPhillips can now see "the big picture" and thus plan activity and target resources more effectively. "I don't know of any other Norwegian company with a capability like this in terms of using planned rather than generated data," continues Navestad. "We were able to clean up mistakes that had evolved into the process over many years. Further, by avoiding duplication of work and reducing the number of work orders generated, it helps us get our budget down."

Flaring – when oil or gas is burnt off – is also covered. "Goal setting was easy here, in terms of how much flaring we can do to stay within what's permitted by legislation," says Navestad. "It's a very successful system. When people need the information, it's there in exactly the form you want, and it's accurate." Garbage disposal is yet another example, with a SAS-based system helping to ensure that targets for scrap metal and recycling are met.

With middle management using the various systems daily, the challenge now is to ensure that executives have easy access to the summary information they need to effectively manage their areas of responsibility. Navestad concludes, "We're looking closely at the whole area of performance reporting, where cost versus budget can be the only constant across different parts of the business. Costs are, of course, of particular interest to executives. In terms of performance management we're looking to measure how specific processes are performing at an operational level, to better manage activities and control costs in incremental steps by fixing problems at their source. As we move forward, SAS will be able to support us across the board in terms of analytics, performance reporting and performance management."

 

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ConocoPhillips Norway

Business Issue:
Support performance management and reporting
Solution:
SAS enables better decision making and cost control

SAS SPM is very versatile. You can put a lot into it, and get meaningful results out. You can get information out extremely quickly, and it's very fast in terms of development and prototyping. 

Pål Navestad

Senior Advisor Maintenance/IT, ConocoPhillips Norway

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