OE talked to Steve Knowles, president and CEO of Wood Group Mustang, asking ‘what will be the most important things in the coming years?’
Knowles: I think that, although it’s not the expected subsea technology of big projects, rather, it’s data integrity associated with the projects. We need to focus on ‘What is the ease of being able to input changes to facilities?’ ‘What is the ease of being able to retrieve that information and what is the ease of updating it?’ ‘How can we get our information delivered in a digestible manner?’
We see a major trend toward assurance. And, the regulatory bodies [are] moving in that direction, as well as the operators, including the engineering and design firms. That brings more robust quality systems, more emphasis around competencies. Having the right people with the right backgrounds, doing the work that you’ve given them to do. And then, checking that [work]. It’s finding a balance between getting the assurance right and getting these facilities completed in an economic and timely basis.
I see a lot of trends in the direction of looking at the appropriate safety cases, looking at the competency of our folks, and ensuring that we have the tool systems and procedures that will drive integrity. We’ve all known for many years that safety was our business but we’ve been getting better and better at implementing that. And then, we’re seeing the metrics of that [process] start to improve.
I know these things are less fascinating than say, subsea separation, subsea pumping and underwater facilities, FLNG and so on, but underneath those things are these core competencies that we’ve got to continue to address and see that those move along with it.
OE: But those technologies are still important to firms such as yours?
Knowles: Yes, definitely. Brazil, for example, continues to be on the cutting edge of HPHT. They’re using 20,000psi systems now. That will unlock those HPHT discoveries.
In terms of big themes, we’re seeing a trend-line toward mega-projects: mega-FLNG, mega-FPSOs, and more behind that if you look at stranded gas.