Mid-sized chemicals companies are invited to join a community of practice (CoP), launched by Independent Project Analysis (IPA), Inc. last year, to share ideas and practices for improving the performance of their capital projects.
Dubbed the Mid-Sized Chemicals Company CoP, the IPA-led group seeks to build on the success of the first year of the CoP, which generated interesting insights into the challenges mid-sized chemicals companies are facing today in delivering capital projects. In general, CoP members want to look at how capital project execution and development practices followed by large chemicals companies might be tailored to benefit smaller project groups.
“Mid-sized chemicals companies feel they are at a disadvantage compared to companies with much bigger capital expenditure budgets and project portfolios,” IPA Senior Project Analyst and CoP Coordinator Lara Keefer said. “Their smaller projects might be regarded by EPC contractors as small fish in a large pond, but getting these projects right can be vital to a mid-sized company’s future.”
The goal of CoP is twofold, according to Keefer. The first is to continue the working group’s practice of sharing information and project experiences and shining a brighter light on the challenges mid-sized chemicals companies face in their efforts to deliver capital assets. The second is to leverage IPA’s experience evaluating and conducting research on larger chemicals projects to identify how small project teams can increase the cost competitiveness of their own projects. In extending an invitation for other mid-sized chemical companies to join the CoP, current member companies hope to establish a knowledge-sharing body that can agree on areas worthy of more extensive capital projects research.
In its inaugural year, the CoP decided to survey mid-sized companies’ use of project controls. IPA analyzed the information from the short survey and then compared it with a subset of high-level chemicals performance metrics from IPA’s database. The projects ranged in value from roughly US$0.1 million to US$20 million.
The survey revealed various approaches to staffing project controls and how the project controls function supports projects. The survey results were shared with all participants. IPA has agreed to continue to facilitate CoP meetings and assist in steering discussions that might result in future project evaluations and areas of research. Challenges in the areas of capital project governance, organizations and teams, and contracting are potential areas of further investigation.
IPA has more than 30 years of experience conducting capital project evaluations and research and counts global industry leaders in the chemicals industry and other processing industrial sectors as well as many smaller owner companies among its clients. IPA maintains a proprietary capital projects database containing detailed data from more than 18,000 projects located worldwide—many of them chemicals projects—ranging in value from less than one million to several billion dollars.