Industry veterans will remember the late 1990s when the price of oil had slumped south of $10. It was a critical time for the future of the UKCS leading to the industry initiative CRINE, Cost Reduction in the New Era.
CRINE aimed to reduce costs by 30% and secure a long-term future for the North Sea. As part of the CRINE process, procurement chiefs from operators and main contractors could see the waste and duplication of effort involved in running their own internal vendor databases.
Their answer was to set up First Point Assessment or FPAL. So in 1997, FPAL, a service provided by Achilles Information, was created by a group of far-seeing individuals from Amec, Amerada Hess, BP, Brown & Root, Conoco, The EIC, Kvaerner, McDermott, Saipem, Shell and Total.
Achilles FPAL enables suppliers to register their capabilities, products and services, qualifications and certifications on a community database. Achilles FPAL has been adopted by almost all UK and Dutch operators and main contractors and by 3,500 suppliers.
Almost 20 years on, the efficiencies offered by FPAL remain even more relevant as the industry endures another and rather prolonged period of low prices.
What has been the effect on Achilles FPAL? Malcolm Wilson, FPAL director said: “We’ve noticed that many suppliers are spending more effort on ensuring that their FPAL registration is accurate, comprehensive and compelling. Features such as Performance Feedback and the Verify audit are being used more than ever before as suppliers seek to differentiate themselves from their competition.
“Some suppliers are having a very tough time and some are going out of business, but I’ve been in this business long enough to know that things will improve. It’s rewarding to see so many suppliers attending our workshops and webinars and making every effort to maximise their chances of securing new contracts. We work tirelessly to help suppliers in these difficult times through initiatives like the PILOT Forward Workplan feature that contains information about new opportunities.”