Success Stories

Case Studies

Oil & Gas

Shell Oil, one of the worlds leading energy company’s – needed a clear understanding of the current state and future state of three critical, high consequence, communication systems as part of a re-design and engineering project for their North Sea onshore and offshore operations.

The Client

Over decades Shell has invested in over 50 oil & gas fields in the North Sea and in 2012 invested a further £1.3 Billion in more than 30 platforms, 30 Subsea installations and 3 onshore production plants.

The major players involved in the Oil & Gas industry have recognised that the UK Continental Shelf has many decades of oil production remaining. Across the industry, programmes of work have been put in place to rejuvenate existing rig, plant and infrastructure assets.

To maximise the rewards, owner operator companies like Shell are continually seeking to upgrade their business processes and technology. This is from a dual perspective of both business optimisation and improved governance to push the bounds of safety standards and industry regulations.

Oil & Gas technology has developed during the industry’s evolution from analogue to digital to the point where flows of data are now just as critical to operations as the flows of the other support utilities.

Data flows are just as essential to exploration, recovery and processing as flows of steam and electricity.

The Challenge

The project was to design and engineer a new line-of-sight microwave radio communications system and supporting network to provide duplex connectivity between Shell’s North Sea natural gas processing plant and onshore and offshore loading terminals.

The new microwave radio communications system and network had to co-exist with, support and serve as a backup to the Plant Process Control system network (DCS) and also the Common Services & Administration IT network. Both of these networks are safety critical networks.

From a quality and design perspective, clear communication with existing suppliers and vendors would be vital to ensuring the project was a success.

The Project

Process Control System (PCS) engineers in the Oil & Gas industry have always relied on pictures to communicate effectively. They need to be able to clearly understand and articulate the impact of change on other systems and utilities; evaluate the risk; simulate the possibilities; and ask the ‘What if’ questions.

Through interviews, meetings and field investigation detailed OBASHI B&IT diagrams were created of the two existing high consequence systems (the Process Control Network (PCN) and the Common Services & Administration IT Network).

  • The PCN forms the communications backbone of the main production computer control system
  •  The Common Services and Administration IT Network is the main business system and IT network in Shell. The Network has grown and evolved over three decades.   Management of the system was recently outsourced to a global IT services company.

During the project every relevant component part of the networks was mapped and modelled. The ownership of the data was analysed and evaluated at every stage of its journey through the business.

Following discussions with Shell’s plant operations management, domain experts and microwave system vendors another set of OBASHI B&IT diagrams were created showing the ‘future state’. These ‘future state’ diagrams showed the proposed new microwave radio system, its supporting network, and how it would interface with the existing PCN and corporate networks.


Detailed B&IT diagrams providing the big picture of the current state of the existing PCN and Corporate networks.

Detailed B&IT diagrams providing a big picture of the ‘future state’ of the new Microwave Radio system, its supporting network and how it interfaces with the existing networks.

Clear discussions with the IT service providers about their responsibility for asset management.

Clear discussions with the IT service providers about the roles and responsibilities of their staff.

Clear discussions with vendors providing new equipment and services.

Clear discussions with Shell management and service providers regarding the demarcation of operational boundaries, ownership and contractual responsibilities.

A set of project documents (B&IT diagrams) that formed the basis of the tender package documentation.


Shell Case Study.pdf


  • Shell – upgrading their business processes
  • Big picture needed of existing systems & networks
  • Clear communication needed between suppliers, vendors and project personnel
  • OBASHI diagrams used to model current and future state
  • OBASHI diagrams formed basis of tender documentation

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OBASHI diagrams helped the project stakeholders clearly understand their roles and responsibilities

North Sea Project Manager 6th July 2015