Marine Well Containment Company: doing an ocean of good

With Christopher Miller,
Transformation Strategy VP at Capgemini Consulting USA

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Marine Well Containment Company: doing an ocean of good

Offshore oil and gas exploration and production relies on small man-made metal islands sitting above massive stores of high temperature, high pressure, and volatile product—an inherently risky environment. The world was catastrophically reminded of this fact following the 2010 Macondo well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. Offshore oil and gas companies rapidly launched a company dedicated to containing offshore oil and gas wells—a bold challenge that Capgemini Consulting successfully completed to put the oil and gas industry back to work.

$25-50 million
The oil sector’s combined daily losses in the Gulf of Mexico between April and October 2010

A critical emergency

The situation made headlines around in the world. On April 20, 2010, BP lost control of its deep water Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico. The drilling rig exploded, killing 11 people and causing an enormous spill. In July, US authorities instituted a moratorium on Gulf oil drilling until the industry could demonstrate its ability to contain a future well control incident.  

“Marine Well was a very exciting project both for us and our clients. The authorities and the entire industry were watching to see how we would make this happen.” Christopher Miller

The world’s largest energy companies—ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and ConocoPhilips—came together to launch Marine Well Containment Company (MWCC). The real challenge was to get this company up and running quickly. The situation was not good—with the moratorium in place, the industry was losing $25-50 million per day! MWCC had to be set up right away and begin operations immediately.

90 days
The time it took Capgemini Consulting to launch a company bringing together the world’s leading oil companies

A colossal challenge

Capgemini was called to the rescue thanks to the breadth of capabilities and in-depth oil sector knowledge that were brought together in a very simple delivery model. “Through Capgemini’s work in the Oil & Gas sector, we had frequent contact with industry leaders such as ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips. They knew our approach and our way of working,” says Christopher Miller, EVP of Capgemini Consulting. The Group’s consulting division was known for creating new businesses from scratch and having them ready to launch under tight deadlines—exactly what the oil industry needed! “Given the urgency of the situation, we committed to developing a business plan, recruiting teams, setting up an initial budget, transferring company assets, building an IT system, purchasing computers, seeking out company offices and even making business cards—all in the span of two months. It was completely unheard of—an incredible challenge!” adds Christopher Miller. When Capgemini shared this ambitious plan with its clients, they were skeptical, but extremely hopeful and supportive.

Within the first few weeks, the company formation was completed and Capgemini had supported the founding members of MWCC in bringing the other top energy companies into the fold. Anadarko, Apache, BHP Billiton, BP, Hess, and Statoil were also backing the company.

“Marine Well incorporated all our skills at the same time: finance, sales, logistics, purchasing, human resources, information technology, and so on. There are very few people and organizations on the planet that can pull something this complicated together on this scale.” Christopher Miller

And 90 days later...

Starting in January 2011, 25 consultants were put to work full-time on this unusual project. One additional difficulty: “Every major decision had to be approved by all 10 oil companies involved. We needed to proceed with tact,” recalls Christopher Miller. Another precarious undertaking was setting up a new IT architecture capable of handling all purchases, invoices, maintenance, logistics, and daily management tasks of the future business.

$2 billion
The value of Marine Well’s assets at its inception

In the end, an SAP solution was proposed for MWCC. Deadlines were adhered to with military precision. It took 10 days for Capgemini Consulting teams to locate offices in Houston, 30 days to recruit staff and form a management team, and 90 days to design and deploy the IT system. In March 2011, the first drilling permit under the MWCC system was issued by the US Government; MWCC was officially operational.

“We told our clients that the company could be launched within three months, and fully operational within six. They believed in us, and we pulled it off!” Christopher Miller

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