Owing to complexity and dynamism of the industrial settings, the business environment today is more prepared to adapt different competitive strategies to retain profitability and growth (see for instance, Click & Duening, 2005; Tidd, 2000; Wang, Heng, & Chau, 2007). Smart use of cooperative technologies and establishment of prudent business-to-business (B2B) partnerships are very central to manage risk when business activities are exposed to a much wider range of uncertainties (Shaw, 2006; Wang et al., 2007; Wroblewski, 2002). This is particularly so for high-risk businesses such as oil and gas (O&G) exploration and production (E&P), which is far more sensitive in socio-economical and political terms. This chapter presents such an emerging collaborative and dynamic network environment within the O&G industry on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) through a case study. It provides a background of the industry, describes the organization of the network, its structure, and the active strategic components. At the end it also highlights some of the major challenges that need to be addressed in the establishment of a fullyintegrated and fail-safe network and an operational enterprise to manage complex assets. This is based on an ongoing industry-wide new development process termed integrated operations (IO) commenced very recently in 2004-2005 dedicated to establish smart offshore asset management practices on NCS by 2015 or so (OLF, 2003).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Point-to-Point Connectivity: Advanced ICT and web enabled technical connection established between different discipline groups, technical departments, and business partners to allow active sharing of data and knowledge.
Collaborative Dynamic Networks (CDN): A secure dynamic network established through multiple point-to-point connectivity allowing active commercially important collaboration between members of the network.
Secure Dynamic Networking: Large-scale high-security network solutions for industrial applications that provides technical infrastructure to actively share data and knowledge through point-to-point multiple connectivity on 24/7 online real-time basis.
Virtual Enterprising: An organizational form established through point-to-point connectivity and secure dynamic networking involving geographically dispersed discipline groups, technical departments, and business partners to serve a common purpose of industrial importance.
Secure Oil Information Link: A large ICT-based active data exchange and communication network in North Sea that has opened up a secured pathway using a fibre-optic net laid on the seabed and wireless capability for data exchange and communication between different processes or businesses.
Onshore Support Centers: Land-based expert centers equipped with key technologies and discipline competencies to provide remote support to manage offshore E&P activities.
Virtual Support Enterprises (VSE): A virtual enterprise established for the purpose of providing a set of pre-defined remote support services to manage an industrial plant or a facility.
Need-Dependent Network Transactions: Transactions between different nodes in a secure dynamic network that are commercially pre-authorized on the basis of clear identification and definition needs and requirements.
Net-Based Stakeholder Interactivity: The interaction that takes place between different stakeholders of a virtual enterprise who represent active nodes of a complex high-secure industrial network.
Integrated Operations: Integration of an array of decisions and activities pertaining to management of an industrial plant or a facility using advanced ICT solutions and other application technologies enhancing collaboration between different technical departments and business partners.