The application and adoption of collaboration centers in the exploration and production (E&P) industry have increased significantly in the past decade. The benefits of collaboration-center use have been clearly identified including the delivery of cost-effective and fully integrated multidiscipline field, reservoir, and well management decisions.
Saudi Aramco has established a number of collaboration centers that directly capitalize on large-scale, multidiscipline, value-added technical and business collaborations. These centers, for instance, cover areas of exploration, geosteering, real-time drilling, field development, and production and intelligent-field management. Tangible economic and technical benefits of such collaboration encompass improved recovery, improved technical workflows, technology innovation, enhanced staff-skill-set development, and significant reduction of critical field-development-study cycle times. This paper outlines Saudi Aramco's experience from 5 years of using multidiscipline collaboration centers with a focus on facility design, technology (software and hardware) support, and lessons learned.
Advances in interactive, high-performance technology solutions (hardware and software) and easy-to-use visual communication technologies present additional opportunities to extend and enhance the value-added impact of collaboration centers, including virtual collaboration. The need for physical, localized centers will be discussed, compared, and evaluated in the context of virtual-collaboration-center potential. The paper presents a "checklist" methodology for collaboration-center design, layout, support, and maintenance incorporating the challenges of continuous technology advancement and multidiscipline project complexity.