The digital tech system powering oil & gas operations
by The RedEye Team
Headquartered in Brisbane, WestSide Corporation is an oil and gas production company operating in Australia and New Zealand. The Australian operation produces Coal Seam Gas, while the NZ operation produces conventional oil and gas.
The organization’s focus is on growing production and reserves, and improving drilling and connection efficiencies in its strategically located acreage, in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.
For WestSide, maintaining control of engineering drawings and documents is critical for many reasons, not the least of which relate to operational efficiency and safety.
According to Rob Trout, WestSide’s Digital Transformation Leader, “we understand that our engineering drawings are essential for our operation as well as the documentation that supports those drawings. The drawings are essential obviously for the purchasing of equipment and cost control.”
“They have all the construction details, what we want to build. They help us complete building facilities, switching them on, making them work and making them work safely. So we need that documentation to be available in the hands of the people who are operating in the hazardous industry, which we actually are running,” he said.
WestSide prides itself on running a very safe operation, and stays within the design limits of its operation.
“The design limits are written into our design documentation - so the guys in the field need to know those limits. There are lots of controls in place so that they can't exceed them, but it helps understand and operate within those limits. It also helps us design changes to those existing networks, which we are doing all the time,” said Rob Trout.
“Almost every day, we are designing changes to our network. I've certainly never worked in an industry, in my experience, which is going through so much change with their existing asset, the same existing asset - every day, every week, every month, we're adding to that. We're adding new wells to our operations so we can keep developing our assets there.”
WestSide became increasingly aware that its key documents and engineering drawings were stored in multiple locations across its own and contractor organizations, in various drives and databases.
“Some of those documents came from other companies. They came in all sorts of formats and with numbering systems, but we did not know what we had until we put them into RedEye,” said Rob Trout.
“The other challenges we faced were because we're a small company, we didn’t have our own in-house engineering design team - we don't design our work. We leave that to the experts in the design companies. What they produce for us is external to our business. So we have to somehow get that into our business, and manage and control the information they produce.”
To rectify the challenges and costs associated with having some 220,000 documents, engineering drawings, 3D models and other media not in a centralized, digitised format, WestSide chose RedEye's EDMS to create a single source of truth.
The oil and gas producer ran two separate projects, each taking six months to complete. The project for New Zealand assets began in January 2019. The project for Australian assets was completed in June 2020.
WestSide now uses RedEye to manage some 53,000 critical artefacts including as-built drawings, documents, photos and videos, with more than 200 users accessing the system.
How Westside grew efficiency to save 16% of their engineering budget annually
With safety and operational efficiency as key priorities, Westside sought to take an integral step in its digital transformation journey by bringing together their 220,000 engineering drawings, documents and related media, in a single digital source of truth.
This case study outlines in more detail how WestSide effectively created a digital representation of its operating facilities, and how head office teams can more effectively manage or troubleshoot issues without necessarily being onsite.
The case study also outlines how WestSide was able to realize total cost savings of approximately 16% of its engineering budget.
Rob Trout highlights that the clean-up of, and adding metadata to, existing and new documents and drawings is an ongoing process, which in turn ensures that WestSide’s data remains available, usable and valuable.
“We have 16,000 drawings, 25,000 documents and about 12,000 media files in RedEye. And we are adding to that every day. But we're also reducing those numbers as well, as we go through the rest of the cleanup process, where we have multiple copies of the same document. That's shrinking down to one source of truth now. So both those processes are happening every day,” he said.
WestSide’s engineering teams, field crews and contractors are benefiting from the improved metadata, which makes key documents and drawings much easier and quicker to find.
“What used to take hours to find, now takes seconds…Even a little instrument out in the field has hundreds of program settings in it and all those are stored in our datasheets. Now, we can quickly call that up and see what we need to do if it’s not working. We can search by facilities. We can search by any of our metadata fields - and we have quite a few metadata fields,” said Rob Trout.
“We are seeing reduced operational costs because we have the information for the operations people in the field. They can do their tasks more easily and more effectively, because they have a better understanding of what is installed with the information available at their fingertips. That enables faster shutdown and startup of the equipment as well.”
Together with the productivity savings, WestSide can now avoid re-work and the re-creation of documents like survey information reports.
“There's also avoided costs of redoing things we’ve done in the past. We're able to find survey information reports done 17 years ago by previous companies that we had on file. We'd never have been able to find them, but now, we can find them within a few seconds - and that means we don’t have to go and spend additional funds redoing a study because we couldn't find the old one,” said Rob Trout. "We estimate that we've avoided about a 1% saving in our annual engineering budget by not having to re-create lost documents."
Looking ahead, WestSide is keen to look at how it can integrate the robust repository of engineering drawings and documents it now has within RedEye, to other parts of its business.
“We really have digitally transformed our engineering process. We now have a single source of truth now that we can trust, and we can trust the information in there. We have accurate, up-to-date drawings which are available to everyone. And now, we certainly achieve more efficient design processes, which help change the way people work.” said Rob Trout.