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The key to success in managing Energy Projects: Communication

The key to success in managing Energy Projects: Communication

Energy projects are long-term investments with the purpose of building new energy infrastructure assets such as oil & gas platforms, processing plants, chemical plants, solar farms, etc.


By Noe’ H. Saenz – Editorial Board Chairman, Energy Capital Magazine

These projects involve multiple disciplines for their planning, financing, engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning, and startup activities. They also require large amounts of resources (financial, labor, materials, technology) to develop, improve, or maintain.

Managing energy projects is extremely complex. Mainly because many people of multiple disciplines, from many different organizations, multiple locations, and different ways of doing things, must come together in a very short time to plan and manage these multi-million-dollar initiatives.

The key to success in managing energy projects is communication. Not communication systems or procedures only, but communication among stakeholders -with a people focus.

Today’s project management teams must make sure to identify and engage all project stakeholders (internal and external) early, so they can understand their expectations and concerns and make sure they are aligned with the project objectives. And to do this, they must communicate and connect as people, not just based on reports and emails.

Who are the typical stakeholders of an energy project?

Internal Stakeholders: an individual or group of people who are involved in the project from within your organization. And external stakeholders: those affected by the project’s outcome even though they are not involved in the project directly.

Here is a high-level checklist of stakeholders you need to consider in your project planning and communication efforts. From this list, a well-defined and updated RACI (Responsible, Approve, Consult, Inform) Chart will be your best friend.

Types of organizations

  • Owners
  • Partners
  • Lenders
  • Market Consultants Business Consultants Technical Consultants Technology Providers/OEMs
  • Contractors Landowners
  • Local Communities Federal Agencies State Agencies NGOs
  • Trade Associations Research Institutes
  • Educational Institutions

Business disciplines

  • Business Management Marketing & Sales Legal
  • Finance
    Accounting & Tax Human Resources IT/Telecom Systems Real Estate

Project disciplines

  • Project Management Civil / Structural Mechanical Electrical
  • Chemical Environmental/Water Instrumentation Construction
  • Management Startup &
  • Commissioning

Site disciplines

  • Site Supervision Health & Safety Masonry
  • Steel Work Carpentry Pipefitting Millwrighting Electricity IT/Telecom Systems

Successful energy projects are those that implement not only a good project plan, but they communicate it (the project plan) on an ongoing basis alongside a people plan. I call this Managing Projects with a People Campaign approach, one that enables good stakeholder communication and relations throughout the project.

Noe H. Saenz is Energy Capital’s Editorial Board Chairman.

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