--> Project Management: A New Approach to International Consulting, by James M. Hollywood and Robert C. Olson; #90052 (2006)

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Project Management: A New Approach to International Consulting

James M. Hollywood1 and Robert C. Olson2
1 Confidence Resources, Houston, TX
2 Consultant, New Castle, TX

Recent developments in the oil industry have changed the nature of international consulting. In the past, consultants were often brought in as specialists to address specific needs. As staffing levels decrease and independent companies expand internationally, there is growing demand for consultants who can conceive and implement projects. This role requires that a consultant have not only technical but also knowledge of commercial and business issues.

In 2003, we developed a business plan advocating low-cost entry into the UK offshore. Improved licensing terms and increased acreage availability made this an attractive investment climate. We specifically targeted independents with the UK entry proposal and this strategy succeeded as a Houston independent agreed to fund the project. After sanction, we licensed 3D seismic, selected blocks for application, and applied for acreage in a competitive bid tender.

The UK government awarded us seven blocks and we then had to conduct the technical work necessary to acquire partners. In the marketing phase of the project, we attended prospect expositions and also developed a corporate image in Europe where the company had not previously been active. Successful partnering has enabled us to make plans for two wells, likely to be drilled this summer.

We are very encouraged by the results of this project and believe that the model offers a cost-effective approach for companies to expand into new business areas. Rather than hiring a multidisciplinary team to conceive and implement projects, a company can retain consultants and reduce costs. As such, this approach may appeal to both large and small companies.