How to Use Weather Data at Every Stage of an Offshore Project
It’s perhaps obvious that the offshore companies require some form of weather data during project execution. But using it just at this stage misses the real value that can be unlocked when it is used at every step. In this blog post, we’ll demonstrate how you can use weather data throughout an offshore project.
Tendering: Use weather data to establish when projects can take place
Regardless of the location, there are certain weather conditions where vessels cannot operate. Bidding companies will analyze their requirements based on Alpha Factors, such a maximum wave height, wind speed, and wind direction and put all of this information in the Metocean database. Based on the outputs, they’ll establish when in the year they can do the work and they’ll submit their tender with this information included.
Investing in weather data while tendering will help you price competitively, by giving you confidence in the downtime that you can reasonably expect during a project. It reduces the risk of unplanned downtime and helps to maximize efficiency and profitability.
Planning: Analyze the design, location, and structure of your offshore operations, and above all minimize the associated risks
Planning is all about ensuring the right vessels, equipment, and crew are lined up for the project. Every consideration, from establishing how to get people back and forth during the project, down to which vessel to use, needs scoping out.
A crucial part of this is recognizing the restrictions of the job and finding answers to the following questions:
- What are our limitations?
- What are the safety thresholds for all the vessels?
- What are the conditions where we have to stop work?
- What contingencies do we need to have in place?
Understanding the likely weather conditions will impact on the answer to all these questions. During the planning stage, weather experts help offshore companies to analyze the expected conditions, so that they can make the most efficient use of crew and other assets during the project.
Start-Up - Plan safe and reliable offshore operations
The planning has been done; we’re into the operational stages. For the offshore company, this means mobilizing teams and starting work. For the weather company, it is a transition from providing data for analysis, to active forecasting.
The offshore company briefs what they’re trying to achieve; for example, they need a 72-hour weather window to complete a job from start to finish. The weather company can then make a recommendation based on the weather data.
The decision of whether to work or not will still lie with the offshore company, but the weather company will help them identify when to work and when to stop based on conditions.
Execution - Access to the most reliable weather data to ensure optimized processes
After identifying the weather window, they're mobilized, now they're actually doing the work. That 72-hour clock has started ticking. Now it’s about continuous monitoring of the weather, querying any discrepancies, monitoring confidence in the forecast, and establishing if it's marginal or continuous. Accurate weather data, which enables operations in the margins, can help uncover weather windows.
The execution phase can run concurrently with a start-up phase for the next part of the overall project.
Review - Evaluating performance and lessons to be learned
At the end of every offshore project, there is a review stage to evaluate the weather forecasting accuracy. It’s about establishing and analyzing the performance of the forecasted weather compared to the actual weather. Key questions to answer at this stage include:
- What impact did the weather forecast have on the project?
- Could the company make more go decisions, rather than no go decision based on the forecast?
- What lessons can be learned?
Not every weather company offers a post-project analysis service, but it is an essential bridge to closing the loop and maintaining trust.
Planning and executing projects is complex. Knowing the likely conditions at each project phase puts you in the best position to ensure projects run on time and budget.
Download our one-page quick guide which will show you exactly how you can use weather data at every stage of an offshore project.