This project started about five years ago through an initiative launched by BP who asked the many industry players to challenge the way they were laying pipelines and to come up innovative solutions to substantially reduce construction cost. This change was needed to respond to the new deposit locations that are no longer next to the main markets but in many instances in very remote areas, thus increasing considerably the transportation cost.
BP first idea was to take advantage of the more rapid development of the off-shore industry and try to adapt their new technology and process to the on-shore laying. BP mandated RACHCO International of Spokane Washington in the USA (a specialized firm in manufacturing tailored equipment for construction and mining) to study the possibility of adapting an off-shore laying operation into a land barge. The project was presented in early 2003 to a selection of Engineering Firms, Contractors and Manufacturers, who rejected the project unanimously. In late 2003 BP appointed a dedicated person to the project who started to work closely with IPLOCA and in early 2004 BP founded a cost analysis exercise, where a dozen of projects in various parts of the world and different terrains were analyzed. The cost was split into various key segments of a pipeline construction job, so our future studies could focused on areas offering the least difficulties and at the same time the largest return for cost reduction.
BP and IPLOCA realized that for successful results the pipeline owners and the contactors had to work together. A partnership started between IPLOCA and BP, who decided to work together towards innovative solutions for pipeline constructions. At the time Graham Freeth who was the BP person in charge of the Project and Luc Henriod from IPLOCA decided to drop the original project name: “BP Cost Reduction Initiative” and replace it by: “NOVEL CONSTRUCTION PROJECT”. This new name reflects better the magnitude of the project and along with the name change, the objectives were reset as follows: a) Cost reduction, b) Eliminate casualties, c) Reduce environmental issues, d) Reduce project duration. With these new objectives, the project was open to other partners and a steering committee was created, involving three major contractors: Bechtel from the USA, Amec Spie Capag from France and CCC from the Middle East. The steering group decided to hold a two day work shop that took place in Windsor, in June 2004 where about 60 participants from Oil and Gas companies, Contractors, Engineers and Manufacturers work together in establishing innovative solutions for the pipeline business, and defined a way forward including a project priority list.
We are now at the stage where the first product, cosponsored by BP and Ruhrgas, is about to be tested by a contractor and others projects have been defined waiting for partners that can offer the new technologic solutions that will bring the changes expected. Our hope is that through the Hanover fair BP/IPLOCA will find new partners that will team up wit us and work on subjects as diverse as: new methods for rock trenching, one path welding, transportation vehicles, logistics, etc…