Large-Scale Innovation at Sea: The Digital Overhaul at BP

An interview with Ken Nguyen Digital Program Manager, Mad Dog 2, BP




An interview with Ken Nguyen Digital Program Manager, Mad Dog 2, BP
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As a speaker for the upcoming Digital Twins in Oil & Gas ONLINE event (July 7-8), we sat down with Ken to find out more about the modernization and transformation of their capital projects - specifically the Mad Dog 2 project - BP's greenfield development in the Gulf of Mexico.

The event is FREE to attend for In House Industry Professionals - register online here. 

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OGIQ: Can you tell us about Mad Dog 2?

Ken: Mad Dog Phase 2 is a greenfield development in the Gulf of Mexico, building a brand new facility into the Mad Dog field. The field has about five billion barrels of oil in the reserve. Our goal is to build a new floating production unit, or the FPU as we call it within BP. It’s a semi-submersible hull type.

The entire FPU facility is currently being built in Korea. It will be dry towed back into the
Gulf of Mexico for final integration, and then deployed out into the field in 2021. It’s a $9 billion project, so it’s a significant capital project for BP. BHP Billiton and Chevron are partnering with us on the project, but BP will be the operator of this new facility.

It comprises of 22 subsea wells, 12 producing wells and 10 injection wells – and it’s capable of producing up to 140,000 barrels of oil a day. Mad Dog, or BP in general, and the the project team, have been proud of what we were able to do. At the time that the project was sanctioned, oil had hit a major downturn around 2014 - 15. We were able to kind of transform the project from what it previously was, which was a different hull factor. It was to going to be the largest so far, but we’ve transformed it to a more common one that we’ve used in the past with BP.

So, we were able to significantly cut down the cost of the facility. We had to transform the project, introduce new technology in it. Some that are subsurface in the way that we detect a reservoir, all the way to subsea in the way that we bring the
hydrocarbon up.

We’ve also undergone an initiative within BP Upstream called Modernisation and Transformation, which I will talk about at the IA in Oil and Gas Summit 2020. We’ve used a digital approach, using Agile method and changing our mindset, to really transform how we do business and how we continue to deliver, even in today’s low-cost environment.

OGIQ: At this year’s Digital Twins in Oil & Gas Summit you’re going to discuss the Modernisation and Transformation of this project. Can you Tell us a little bit about Digital, Agility and Mindset?

Ken: Those are three areas that comprise what’s in the Modernisation and Transformation initiative that we have ongoing within Upstream, and so it covers three areas. The first part is that we wanted to be able change the way we think, which is our mindset. We wanted it to disrupt our ways of working by changing the way we think and approach things.

We believe that real change can only be undertaken by us disrupting business as usual with different ways of doing things; sometimes it’s for the better, sometimes there’s
not enough value, so we reset. Hopefully, all the things we’re doing are for the better, but the key is that we believe our mindset has to change if we want to disrupt the status quo.

The second part is to use more agile techniques. A lot of the Agile is borrowed from
the software and IT world, a lot of the same concepts, but there is applicability in oil and
gas. We are doing that by setting up Scrums & Kanban activities and techniques.


We’re able to have our team do, through iteration, more rapid delivery. That has increased the velocity with which we can deliver, as well as improve the quality, because we have much more feedback when we do iterations. This plays into mindset, we have got people to change the way they think. Agile gives them a way to change the way we do things.

The third element is Digital, which is all about embracing technology to facilitate disruption. We have been able to use various types of digital technology that revolutionise how major projects are not only delivered but, longer-term, how the FPU and the subsea equipment are also managed and operated.

To read the full interview, click on the button below. 

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