News Article 31/01/2005

Oil majors praises Golar's software (Digital Ship - January/February 2005 - p.1, 2)

31/01/2005 - Digital Ship - January/February 2005 - p.1, 2

Oil major praises Golar's software

London based Golar Management, which operates 13 LNG tankers, recently won plaudits in an oil major audit, for its effective use of shipmanagement software.

London-based Golar Management, which operates 13 LNG tankers, recently won plaudits in a customer company audit, for its effective use of shipmanagement software.
It uses the Ulysses Systems software, to manage the tasks and make sure it can access and present the information it needs.
"Golar has a very effective and comprehensive management system with detailed and clear policies and procedures supported by computer based system for measuring, recording and analysing results, which provides management with a monitor of fleet conformance," the auditor wrote in the report.
"The introduction of Ulysses across the whole fleet will enhance this integrated view of the fleet status.''
"The modules work in a logical fashion and users find it is operator friendly," says Allan Phillips, superintendent of Golar.
"Of primary importance is that personnel follow the procedures of the Golar HSSE (Health Safety Security Environment) management system," he says.
''This will be aided through the use of Ulysses software to present the pertinent documents for each operation, to control maintenance and purchasing and maintain records of these activities.''
"New users who are computer literate can be trained to a satisfactory level in one or two days''
"It is easy to demonstrate to an auditor what maintenance has been carried out and what is due. Certificates and documentation can be accessed quickly."
''Ulysses helped us manage a vast and complex monitoring exercise by offering an approach that is intuitive and efficient in its requirement of user time. It is cost efficient in all the important ways.''

Easy to use
Mr Phillips says it is vary important that the software is easy to use, otherwise users won't like it.
"If any user has the perception that a software programme is slowing him up or causing difficulties then he develops a negative attitude using it,'' he says.
''The end result is to use it as little as possible."
The most important factors the company takes into account when buying software, Mr Phillips says, is reliability, ease of use and the ability to satisfy user requirements.
''It is vital that prior to buying new software that it is assessed by the persons who will be using it," he says.
''It is necessary to create a feel good factor, through a familiarization process, that makes users feel they had some input when the choice was being made."

The biggest cost of using software, Mr Phillips says, is the cost in handling and correcting usage errors made whilst using it.
The second biggest cost is training users, particularly onboard ship.
The third biggest cost is the software license fee (paid to the software company), followed by the annual license fee.
The next biggest costs are database population, installation / upgrade, and data integration.
"We do not directly measure the cost of using the software but it is obviously the highest when you consider how many people of high salary are occupied in utilizing the system," Mr. Phillips says.
The biggest challenge was persuading the staff who built the databases of the need for absolute accuracy and conformity to the planned layout.
Building databases for Golar''s older ships, including spares inventories, was also a large challenge, Mr. Phillips says.

The OGMF Tanker Management Self Assessment (TMSA) demands a large amount of accountability from the shipping company - they need to maintain evidence that they have done many different things, and all of these systems can be costly to maintain.
Mr. Phillips says he does not expect any problems from the TMSA, because Golar already operates its LNG tankers to a very high standard and monitors what it does very carefully.
"We have grown up and developed as these requirements have grown up and developed,'' he says.
"There is nothing entirely new to us here, our management system is very well aligned with the OCIMF guidelines and our policy of making continual improvement and staying abreast of industry best practice will keep us aligned with new requirements.''
However, Golar believes that it is not expensive so long as the company is clear about exactly what it needs to be accountable for and can plan accordingly; the extra costs are incurred if monitoring and verification measures are not carried out when the task was originally done.
"Good communication coupled with software that gives us instant access to all the documentation and data that forms our HSSE management system is vital, to maintaining control of our operations, and the maintenance of our ships,'' he says.
''The use of risk analysis and permits to work, which are monitored by the SAQ (safety and quality) department, gives a focus to safety in the course of day to day operations.
''The fact that we have to retain records is a fact of life. Such records are useful when it comes to experience sharing and providing objective evidence to auditors.''
Making proper checks at the same time things are done is a very good tool to help identify training needs, areas where money can be saved and areas efficiency can be improved, Golar believes.
''Golar''s approach to safety / inspections is training and monitoring,'' he says.
''We have a regular programme of onboard training by 3rd party and in-house trainers, accompanied by discussion at shipboard meetings and reinforced by computer based training programs."
"Our management system calls for a very stringent incident / near miss reporting regime. This coupled with computer based analysis and experience sharing across the f1eet has carried us through many inspections.