Statoil Initiates Mega-Projects Initiative at UC Berkeley’s Project Production Systems Laboratory

December 1, 2009— One of the world's largest crude oil and gas suppliers, Statoil, has teamed up with UC Berkeley’s Project Production Systems Laboratory (P2SL) and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) to establish a Mega-projects Research Initiative. P2SL members of this initiative, including faculty, students and industry researchers, will document, analyze and deepen understanding of the management practices needed to succeed in leading international mega-projects in energy production, sustainable development, and other areas.

Professor Iris Tommelein, the principal investigator for this research, said, “In today’s global marketplace, large-scale projects must meet an increasingly complex mix of technological demands, geopolitical and regulatory constraints and stakeholder interests. Many of today’s project management practices are not up to the task. New theoretical understanding, combined with best-practice management standards, are needed to develop and manage such mega-projects successfully.”

Mega-projects cost billions of dollars to deliver. As they increase in size and stakeholder involvement, their complexity increases disproportionately much more. Mega-projects are therefore significantly more difficult to deliver successfully than are smaller projects. This initiative will bring together an international and multidisciplinary group of academic researchers and industry colleagues with expertise in mega-project management to collaborate on case-study research in mega-projects.

The “Understanding Success and Developing Management Leadership on International Mega-Projects” research initiative will be led by UC Berkeley’s Project Production Systems Laboratory (P2SL), part of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS).The goals of this initiative are: (1) To deepen and advance the state of knowledge pertaining to successful management and leadership on mega-projects, by working on a multi-disciplinary basis in close collaboration among research institutions and experienced industry personnel and some of their key contractors, and (2) To exploit these insights by developing educational materials to enhance supporting companies’ capabilities in managing mega-projects in geographically and geopolitically diverse settings.

Researchers in P2SL’s and NTNU’s Mega-projects Initiative, with Statoil not only as a founding member but also as an active contributor, will conduct case-study research to promote the hands-on organizational learning that ultimately will lead to improved project leadership and business performance in challenging new markets. P2SL will also be inviting other national oil companies to actively engage in our research by contributing case study data and sharing findings.

Statoil ( is an international energy company, headquartered in Norway, with operations in 40 countries and 30,000 employees worldwide. Statoil is one of the world’s net sellers of crude oil, and the 2nd biggest exporter of natural gas to the European market. Statoil’s equity production in 2009 is estimated at 1.95 million barrels of oil equivalent per day. With 2009 revenues of USD 116,000 million, Statoil is ranked as no. 39 on Fortune magazine’s list of the world’s 500 biggest companies.

The Project Production Systems Laboratory (P2SL – is dedicated to developing and deploying knowledge and tools for the management of project production systems and the management of organizations that produce and deliver goods and services through such systems. Project production systems include construction, product development, software engineering, air and sea ship building, work order systems, job shops, performing arts productions, oil field development, and health care delivery.

P2SL is a laboratory housed in the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS – CITRIS facilitates partnerships and collaborations among more than 300 faculty members and thousands of students from numerous departments at four UC campuses (Berkeley, Davis, Merced and Santa Cruz) with industrial researchers from over 60 corporations. Together the groups are thinking about IT in ways that have not been thought of before. They see solutions to many of the concerns that face all of us today, from monitoring the environment and finding viable, sustainable energy alternatives to simplifying health care delivery and developing secure systems for electronic medical records and remote diagnosis, all of which will ultimately boost economic productivity. CITRIS leverages one of the top university systems in the world with highly successful corporate partners and government resources.

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU – is the foremost technological university in Norway, and also has a broad activity within science, medicine, humanities and social sciences. Participating units at NTNU will be the Department of Production and Quality Engineering and the research unit Studio Apertura at NTNU Social Research.

The Department of Production and Quality Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering Science and Technology ( covers production management, safety and reliability and manufacturing systems. The production management group works with project management from a technological point of view. It has a strong cooperation with industry, especially the oil and gas industry.

Studio Apertura ( is a cross-disciplinary research group working with basic and applied research in organization studies, especially within the fields of operational safety, innovation, distributed work/collaboration technologies, and development and change processes. Studio Apertura has been working closely with Statoil for the last 17 years, and is also engaged in projects with other industrial partners.