GOM: P&A Operational Excellence on the Deepwater Champion

 Case Study  09 November 2016

In July last year, the Deepwater Champion sailed into the Gulf of Mexico. The project: Plug and Abandonment (P&A). ExxonMobil’s (EM) P&A program of 7 wells, in partnership with Transocean, some of which were completed as far back as 20 years ago is not without its challenges. At times down-hole technology/tools can be stubborn, and the wells can be less predictable than you would expect from a ‘spent’ field and the daily surprises were ongoing. So what did we learn?

As many of the DW Champion team had little or no prior experience with P&A operations, Beyond The Break (BTB) were invited on board to assist with the safe Start-Up of the campaign in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). Promoting the Champion’s team unique ethos of ‘time does not matter; a successful operation does’ from the beginning, Colby Watkiss and Craig Churches developed a safety culture that was honest, professional, and inclusive of all crews.

Working with the leadership team and the crews on deck, BTB sought to remind the team to establish reasonable goals that remain safe and sustainable. Setting the pace that is appropriate for a campaign start-up that is to aim for an ongoing hurt free operation. By nature, it’s easy for rig crews to become task focused – ‘Just git ‘er done’, as a determined man might say, does not correlate with ‘get it done safely’. Craig and Colby were recognised as the guiding hand to build high performing teams that operate safely and with high operational efficiency - ‘first time, every time’. Achievable? Without question. Our data consistently supports the evidence that successfully high performing operations are a direct result of safe operations.


August brought the introduction of the Champion’s first Well Control Wednesday® initiative. A versatile vehicle for BTB’s coaches to engage with crews, educate the whole team on subjects of well control, and have a few laughs along the way. Service providers have been engaged in daily space audits and hazard hunts to encourage effective integration into the Champion culture, and BTB’s signature ‘Boomerang Catch of the Week’ (for recognition of exceptional commitment to safety leadership) has brought some well received Australiana to the operation.

With P&A’s complete the Champion’s commitment to operational excellence established the team as one of the best performing rigs in the Transocean fleet and under engagement to ExxonMobil Drilling.

If you’d like any information about our approach to Start-Ups, our Coaching methodology, Inductions, or any other of our services, holler. Here’s a link to the Induction Video that set the tone for the Deepwater Champion.  


GOM: P&A Operational Excellence on the Deepwater Champion

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