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Ahmad Al-Qattan

DBA Graduate - 2014

Thesis title

What is an optimal project management system for evaluating project in the oil downstream industry?

Supervisor(s)

Jean Paul CASSAR

Dr. Qattan has had experience and knowledge in the oil downstream industry for more than two decades. He actively implements initiatives to raise the performance of the organization and supports management in facilitating decisions. He has been a speaker in many of the largest oil and gas conferences in Kuwait and abroad. Dr. Al-Qattan has unique academic qualifications in both the business and engineering fields.

The objective of the thesis is to establish a Project Management Methodology/Framework or a manual (PMM) that could be used in the oil downstream industry for different types of projects (small, medium, large, mega including also mergers & acquisitions and divestment of assets). After deciding on a methodology, testing was done on real downstream projects to validate the customized methodology (Enhancement was made and the manual is revised every two years as per ISO requirement). However, the testing for this study was carried out on small, medium and large sized projects since the timing for these types of projects fall in the time span of this research. The PMM was developed, and was intended to be simple and flexible through a structured approach to provide shared model to ensure that projects are run in a controlled and well-succeeded way. The aim was to build a unique system, available for an oil downstream company specifically and oil companies in general. In the organization under study it was found that individuals - even within the same international organization - used different PM systems which caused a variation in evaluation. In some instances there was a loss of knowledge due to a failure to register the lessons learned so that others may benefit from it and not repeat the same mistakes, at the same time learn from the success stories. Discussions with other International (IOCs) and 2 National Oil Companies (NOCs) showed many oil companies face or faced the same problems. Most oil companies drafted methodologies to suit and cater for its business, geography, culture and mix of assets. The thesis delivered a broad and methodical understanding of PM. Reviewed and validated of what is recognized as a “Best Practice" in the area of PM through a search of the latest academic work, practical world, and case studies with preference to those completed in the oil sector, when was available. The field of project management is growing and gaining recognition world-wide. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has established few groups dedicated to developing standards for PM, of which the Project Management Institute (PMI) is taking the responsibility for these committees to succeed. Entities are often geared to streamline their PM procedures and processes and depend on the detailed substance (checklists and templates) of these tools. Thus, this thesis was not intended to create a customized system from scratch but validate the available systems and determine what is missing from the most suitable system to be used in the oil down industry, in order to contribute to the development of a simpler, user friendly project management system. It is important therefore to identify a system, or even customize a blend of systems, in order to save time and money and increase efficiency.