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Winner Best Practice Project Award

Sponsored by the Construction Best Practice Programme of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

Britannia project, Central North Sea

A massive change of culture in procurement methods rendered a marginal project fully viable.

Offshore construction costs had to be cut substantially from petrochemical industry norms to make the Britannia gas field viable. This was achieved and all members of the budget-beating team were rewarded with a share of the savings.

Partnering, benchmarking and a host of acronyms are bandied about to demonstrate that this or that scheme is setting new standards in project delivery. Britannia took things a lot further.

The client set out five years ago, along with the designer and contractor to 'be different and change everything we do'.

This cultural change hinged on eliminating the traditional methods of work where parallel teams from the client or designer constantly checked the work of contractors.

With Britannia, clients Conoco and Chevron created a totally integrated alliance with design contractor Amec, drilling contractor KCA and fabricators Kvaerner and Odebrecht.

The alliance had collective responsibility for cost and performance and members were rewarded with a large share of savings against budget from the entire supply chain. The client received 55% of the savings and 45% went to the contractors.

The overall result was that what had been considered a tightly estimated £1.5bn project was delivered £300M under budget and was in production in August last year some two months ahead of schedule.

A key aim was to cut the cost of a tonne of topside steel construction from the industry norm of between £26, 000 and £32, 000 to £20, 000.

The final result was £19,500/t. Along the way, the team marked up one of the biggest single offshore deck lifts at 11,000t, an enviable safety record, and more than 98% reliability in the finished product.

Development of the marginal Britannia gas field 180km north east of Aberdeen has reached the point where it delivers 8% of the UK's total supply.

Judges' comments

Winner of Construction Best Practice Award

'With a shared stake in Britannia's success, the alliance introduced and sustained a culture of continuous rethinking and refinement, embracing every facet of the project's design and construction and every person engaged. This was an object lesson on how to achieve success in technical, commercial and human terms.'

The Construction Best Practice Award is a new prize for 1999 sponsored by the Construction Best Practice Programme, a joint initiative of the Department of Environment Transport and the Regions and the Construction Industry Board.

The object is to recognise a UK scheme which best demonstrates innovative new approaches to construction procurement combining faster delivery, higher quality, improved technological solutions and safety, reduced waste, client satisfaction, and better environmental solutions - all at lower overall cost than previously.

Projects shortlisted for the BCI Awards were judged against these criteria both on site and with the help of a specially formulated questionnaire on key performance indicators.

Six projects were found to have performed particularly well against these criteria. But Britannia was outstanding in its delivery both in setting new standards for the offshore industry and in the initiatives taken by those involved to pass on what had been learned.

Judges' comments

High Commendation in BCIA Major Project category

'Ease of construction and high reliability at lowest cost are essential to enable exploitation of marginal North Sea fields. The way in which these were achieved on the Britannia Project has established new benchmarks for the management of design, fabrication and installation of such facilities.'


Britannia Operator



Principal designer

Amec Process & Energy


Amec Process & Energy

Other firms

KCA Drilling

Kvaerner Oil & Gas

Odebrecht Oil & Gas Services

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