A report on Saharan Mega Project in Oman- a natural gas pipeline project

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Project Management

Saharan Mega Project in Oman

Executive summary

The development of this report is related to a natural gas pipeline project named as saharan mega project. Different perspectives that are of major importance in context of a proper project development process is covered in this report is a much organised and adequate manner. In the initial sections, the report provides operational and the theoritical objectives that are focussed by any project of this size and capacity for providing a development based analysis of the available segments. In the later sections of this report, different factors related to issues and complications associated with project management are taken in to consideration for understanding the operational practices related to a gas pipeline project management. The report also includes a sections of perfectly assessed rexcomendations in order to provide improvemental suggestions in a project of this type and capacity. These recommendations are made on the basis of their relative effectivity and effeciency so that they can contribute to an overall development of the project. 

1. Introduction 

Project management is an important as well as difficult task when it comes to the operational possibilities and time constraints associated with a project. Especially, in cases of large and government sponsored projects it is of highly relativity to maintain the project specifications according to the proposed requirements. It is considered and a majorly important factor as it helps in developing some for the most initial applications that are related to its failures and discontinuations. Availability of managerial as well as coordinative possibilities in a project helps it to grow further and that too in a much organized and effective manner which is one of the most initial requirements of a project management process. In addition to this, the association of the mega projects with interests of a large section of people also builds an additional pressure for its proper development. This report is based over an analysis of the Trans-Shaharan Mega Project which is also known as NIGAL pipeline and Trans-African gas pipeline. This project is aimed to diversify the natural gas supply in European Union. The report will be discussing different operational as well as theoretical perspectives that are related to this mega government associated project. The majority of discussion will be related to the association of various factors that are overlooked in a mega project of this type and thus result in their failure.   

2. Methods 

This report is based over a real time application of theories and practical implications that are associated with a major gas pipeline project of European Union named as Trans-Shaharan Mega Project. The project is related to effective extraction and transportation of natural gas from different African countries such as South Sudan, Uganda, Ghana, Kenya and Mozambique to different European countries. The affectivity and overall developmental perspective based discussion is to be carried out in this project overview report in such a manner that the relative understanding of different lacking and disorientations that instigate delays and incompletion (Mubin and Mubin, 2016). The report describes various aspects and responsibilities that are related to each of the fragmented operational structures related to such public interest projects.      

3. Findings 

3.1 Different roles of project management

Project management at such a vast scale is a very complex process and thus in order to maintain a sustainable amount of efficiency and accuracy, different stages of operational responsibilities are subsequently divided. All of the major roles that are associated with a major project like the Trans-Shaharan Mega Project are discussed in the following sections.  

Executive sponsor

Executive sponsors are the fragments of a project who have one of the highest interests in successful conduction of project roles. Controlling of spending and monitoring of budget related aspects are some of the most important aspects which are covered under working of executive sponsors. In addition to this, executive sponsors are also responsible for making decisions, utilization of resources and acceptance of deliverables (Park et al. 2015).

Project Sponsor

Project Sponsors are subjective to the executive sponsors and work according to the provided instructions from management team. This role is also similar to the executive sponsors but has limited control and responsibilities.    

Project Manager

A project manager is responsible for acting as a link between what resources are available and what the expectations of project are. This role is also assigned with the responsible for monitoring different phases of developmental proceedings that are related to a project management process and its success. Adhering to deadlines and delivering quality in final work are some of the major responsibilities of this role in context of a gas pipeline project (Borraz-Sánchez et al. 2016).

People Manager 

The role people management is largely associated with association of different workforces that are included in basic framework of project. A people manager is responsible for providing adequate facilities and keeps a reality check over the working conditions of workers.    

Delivery Manager

A delivery manager is highly important position in context of a major project as this role makes sure that all the respective deliveries whether fragmented or final, subject to time frames related to them. It improves the development of success ratios for any project which is carried out in fragmented way of completion (Tubb, 2017). Resource allocation and prioritizing deliveries are some of the main operations assigned to this role.  

Process Consultant

Any project requires the availability of adequate informational perspectives and relative understanding of the subject taken in to consideration and thus this role comes in to picture. This role is responsible for providing relative information to the project teams and initiate suggestive improvements for the associated processes. The main responsibility of this role in a gas pipeline project is to enhance productivity through process information and knowledge assessmenet (Paltsev and Zhang, 2015).  

Steering Committee

Stakeholders and representatives from management teams largely comprise of this role. The main function of this role is to oversee, monitor and control different operational perspectives associated with project. It is also responsible to provide a required firm leadership to the project development process. 

Project Management Office

Development of important policies and standards in order to facilitate efficient productivity in a project is the main responsibility of project management office. It is highly associated to delivering of a similar operational structure throughout the entire project and improvide productivity standards (Drouven and Grossmann, 2016). 

Team Lead

A team lead is responsible to guide and support a team that is associated with project in any manner. This position plays an important role in developing the project in its required form and initiate reflective support for each of the team members. Status reporting, coaching, information sharing and coordination are some of the major responsibilities of a team lead.   

Project Coordinator

Project coordinator is assigned with the responsibility to facilitate smooth operations throughout the entire project and facilitate an overall progress for each of the fragmented operations (Demierre et al. 2015). 

3.2 Causes of failure in mega projects

Project Failures are an important aspect which can take place in any project for any point of time. This failure can be related to any fragment of the project. In most of the cases it’s out of control of a project manager or the team members but in some cases this failure can be controlled. All of the failures have some basic irregularities in common (McBride, 2015). In order to fix these irregulars in a compressed time interval, sometimes steps taken have proved to be of less affectivity and in many aspects have caused adverse effects over the other sections of the project in terms of performance and development. Management commission, project teams and managers are largely responsible for undertaking the developmental steps and thus are responsible for failures up to a major extent. Mega gas pipeline project generally fail to retrieve back any significant proportion of investment capital and the impacts of these failed investments are felt at multiple scales (Mahmood et al. 2014). This instigates that the causes related to a project failure can be complex and varied in terms of their respective causes. 

Lacking attention and availability of correct effort in terms of project performance factors can be a major reason for development of these failures:

Lack of technical detailing due to excessive focus over business value         

Availability of strategically implemented practices and project requirements in order to access required benefits are some of the most effective causes that at times lead to project failures. Planned delivery, benefits realization and assessment of change requirements are some of the important factors that need to be implemented in order to facilitate the overall development of a gas pipeline project (Stephenson and Agnew, 2016).

Clear accountability examination for measured result.

A project must be clear in terms of its operations and their respective impacts that can be assessed in order to develop a issue resolving mechanism. Development of judgmental criteria for any further development needs to be taken in to consideration so that requirements and respective results can be highlighted.  

Availability of process consistency for management of unambiguous checkpoints.

In the current scenario of project development, factors such as costs, schedules and quality are assessed prior to the completion of any project with the application of available software and innovative technologies. It helps the project managers in getting the perfect guidance for their team and avail the required implications in basic organizational framework (Hafner, 2015).   

Building a methodology for project planning and executing.

Major projects are complex and thus need a detailed planning in order to execute its operational requirements and attain respective goals for the project.

Availability of adequate people management and motivation for gaining optimal performance throughout the project life cycle

A major part of the project management is related to management of people who are related to its operations. The workforce needs to be highly skilled and productive along with properly motivated. The availability of training and adjacent personal learning is highly emphasized in a project development process for each of the individual related to project (Pi et al. 2015).

3.3 Differentiation of issues on the basis of continuous and significant issues

Issues are a major part of any project management process and thus it needs to analyzed in a more simplified and organized manner. In context of gas pipelines projects which is associated with huge public interest and investment factors, the availability of mega projects issues are a common phenomenon (Pirani and Yafimava, 2016). Issues related to security, operational management, availability and sustainable utilization of resources are some of the most important aspects that specify the development of issues. In addition to this, one major fact that is largely considered as an important deciding factor is the economical perspectives which are related to mega projects. The economic perspectives can be defined in the form of infrastructures availability, proper tools and technologically advanced techniques which are required to facilitate the success of any project. According to the views of Barati et al. (2015), unavailability of any of the initially mentioned amenities leads to development of minor as well as major issues in any project that is under progress. The differentiation of issues makes it effective in terms of their respective solution extraction. Different issues have different factors as the source for their development and progress throughout the project and thus need an involvement of different amount of time segments as well as resource utilization in order to facilitate their resolution. This is practiced through to obtain a successful application of effective approaches that can be taken into consideration for their respective development.         

3.4 Paradox, perceptions and phenomena related to mega projects

Mega gas pipelines projects are implemented in a complex social and political environment, with a range of relationships between public and private investors and stakeholders. In most of the developed world, Mega-projects are often implemented in a model of business-in-community. 

The combination of core business and social investments in context of a project development process is of major importance as it helps to instigate region and community based development (Fitzherbert et al. 2014).

Embedded in this paradox is that the social and environmental impacts of these projects are often not taken into account or miscalculated when considering project cost.

Historically, the concept of mega-project paradox has been used to describe the pattern of failures of European and North American infrastructure projects. 

In order to understand the impacts of these failed gas pipeline mega projects on communities who believe they have an agreed understanding on a social licenses to operate, it becomes important to consider the nature of these psychological contracts which is a perception of an exchange agreement between oneself and another party (Anifowose et al. 2016). It is not a specific expectation, but a social tie that is different from regular business practices and feeling of security that is related to diffuse notion, general obligation of exchange and reciprocity. The phenomena related to Saharan gas pipeline project are, in order to maintain position within the market, gas organization need to maintain and develop a pipeline of projects (Tang et al. 2015). However, to be approved, many of these projects must significantly reduce cost and increase the certainty with which they are able to meet their targets whilst using the same technology, supplier base and workforce.

4. Analysis

4.1 Discussion over the mega projects gaps, strategies, tactical and operational constraints 

A mega project like the Trans-Shaharan Mega Project relates with a number of obstacles which are associated with different fragments of the operational management perspectives of project. According to the views of Cafaro and Grossmann (2014), in order to proceed with developmental possibilities in a mega government associated project, assessment of factors such as strategies, tactical, operational and issue specification is highly important. Apart from different climatic and instrumental difficulties a major issue that is associated with this project is availability of security issues. The starting point of this project that is Nigeria is highly active in terms of Islamic activists and their various operations. In such situation it is a major responsibility of the project management team to facilitate the security of their people and belongings (Gregory et al. 2014). In the process of emancipation of the Niger Delta, the project is highly opposed by militants and thus the project demands a significantly high level of security. Even after the installation of the pipelines there will be a constant need of their safety and security as a minor disintegration can be highly destructive. In addition to the security issues another major issue that is associated with this project is the economical irregularity. A project of any size and kind is highly affected by the availability of cost control and management factors related to its completion (Prontera, 2018). In order to maintain the economic perspectives that are related to a large scale project like the NIGAL pipeline and Trans-African gas pipeline development of cost, benefit and value control methods are highly required. The availability of usefulness in context of gas pipelines and the sources in comparison to their operational and setup costing is highly involved. Supply security is another major issue that is related to projects like NIGAL pipeline and Trans-African gas pipeline, availability of important policies and theoretical approaches reflect the association of long term availability of these setups and respective production factors (Chapman and Cooper, 2015).        

4.2 Impact and use of constructive project management techniques

Constructive project management techniques are one of the major requirements of the present day projects especially when the project cost and public interest is of major concern. According to the views of Tkachenko (2016), availability of an efficient and constructive project management technique initiates an overall development in the basic as well as operational structure of the project and impacts its time orienteers as well as economic sustainability. These include measures initiated for an effective utilization of all the available resources along with the respective monitoring of factors such as scope, budget and quality. This constructive approach helps to keep a check over each and every section of project development process and thus leads to an overall development of project (Dey et al. 2004). Less building cost, requirement of modest maintenance and a less overall impact on environment are some of the major qualities that need to be satisfied in order to maintain a constructive project management process. Another major factor that is associated with a constructive project management technique is its waste management possibilities. A project like NIGAL pipeline and Trans-African gas pipeline has huge waste generation and that must be treated in an organized manner in order to maintain their hazardous impacts. A constructive project management technique also has an organized product sourcing that helps it to deliver a sustainable amount of performance at times of need (Cevik and Topal, 2013).     

4.3 Implication of governance, strategic risk management, change management and supply chain management. 

 The Trans-Shaharan Mega Project is known as NIGAL pipeline and Trans-African gas pipeline. This project is planned for gas pipeline from Nigeria to Algeria. As such there is an opportunity that diversifies the European Union’s gas supplies. The idea was generated and proposed in the year 1970 and the feasibility of the study is been measured effectively.  The implications of governance, strategic risk management, change management and supply chain management is been considered while analyzing the project (Rayner and Reiss, 2013). 


The implication of governance includes transparency and accountability, effective control and monitoring systems and lack of control mechanism. The control of government is immense due to the operations in terms of partnership between Sonatrach and NNPC. The Republic of Niger is been included by the company and thereby it is important to make sure that the business operations and the project has transparency and accountability. There is effective control that has been observed in the project as the expressed interest of the Royal Dutch Shell is in the project. The project should bring something more than money, it should be exclusive and thereby government hinders with the specifications and rules between the partnerships agreements (Allport, 2010). There is lack of mechanism that is projected in the Trans-Saharan Mega project. It is important that government would make effective measures so as to consider the major consequences and provide benefits to the society. 

Strategic risk management

Risk is present in all the business and this seems that it is important to manage the risk effectively. Nigeria is the largest oil exporter yet the project is big to be considered in exporting natural gas. There is unhappy dependence that is observed in the Russian Federation and thereby the government should take effective steps for liquefied natural gas. This produces the large volumes and the production is hampered with the lack of infrastructure that has been observed currently. There are several recent and natural gas projects that are mainly been focused with a flare. The risk is about the increase in the cost of project that is estimated and thereby strategic considerations by the government need to be taken effectively. The long terms agreement is not secured and is not possible with the human rights records. There is a geo-political challenge that is been observed in the project (Merrow 2011). 

Change management 

Change management for Trans-Saharan project should be effectively managed as it is important to note that the project carried a huge amount of resource and money to be invested on. The technological changes should be adopted in the project so as to considerably move towards sustainable achievement (Allport, 2010).

Supply chain management

Supply chain management consists of strategic procurement and strategic purchasing. The project is highlighted with the aspects of supply chain management concept. There is intensive pressure that has been noticed in Algeria about oil and gas supply through pipelines. With an increasing focus towards core competencies an increase in the supply components is measured with a greater emphasize. The pipeline will be beginning with a starting point in Nigeria and this runs through Hassi in Algeria. There is a connection of pipeline that exist Trans-Mediterranean and Galsi pipelines. There are safety concerns that are taken during supply of oil and gas through pipeline. These are the middle stream routes of the project that have been emphasized in the supply chain process (Greiman, 2013). 


4.4 Complex Business, Organizational and Commercial Environment in mega project management

The Trans-Saharan TS project is a mega project that includes oil and gas supply from and in Nigeria, Algeria and Niger. The business environment is studied with Macro and Micro environmental factors that emphasized the complex structure of the business. There are political and social factors that affect the supply of oil and gas from Nigeria to Algeria (Cleland and Gareis, 2005). The European Union’s gas supply opportunity is been emphasized so as to get advantage in cultural diversification. There are certain rules and regulations that affect the planned proposal which was proposed in the year 1970. In between the year 2002 o 2005 there are certain contracts and agreements that were signed with Penspen Limited that ascertains the feasibility of the study. There are organizational complexities that are measured due to difference in culture and political aspects within the countries. As such there is an institutional level complexity that has been measured within the system so as to eradicate the factors that hinder in the project performance. The project has been opposed by the militant group of Nigerian for the Emancipation Niger Delta. The issues that are highlighted need to be resolved as soon as possible until then the project will no longer have a success and the money that has be utilized in the project will go drain in the project. Nigeria is Africa’s largest exporter that deals with the natural gas export in Brussels. As such this was an unhappy dependence that was observed from the Federation. Due to the involvement of Sonatrach and NNPC government the estimation time can be longer and the issues are not solved for the first phase of Trans Saharan Gas pipeline (Rayner and Reiss, 2013). 

With help of project management tools and techniques, the planning and execution of the project need to be improved for putting it together the solutions and the commercial environment circumstances. There are complexities that are observed in Trans-Saharan project that are discussed with complex project management trends. The model consists of complexity dimensions that solve the programs and discuss the dimension in detail. The project management tools will result into competent and experienced manner by the government (Flyvbjerg, 2003). NNPC will be authorized to take care of the project when the proposal is engaged into designing the pipeline. The work had begun for the project and the front end project is estimated to be complete. It is important to carry out the revalidation of the project that helps to bring on the feasibility of the project. The project has become the part of collective determination that helps to make sure the supply of gas sources are marked within the project with market opportunities in Europe. The project helps to integrate the economies of the country in order to boost the vision of the countries. This will help to improve the standard of living of the people and wealth in the region. 

5. Recommendations 

A detailed assessment of different issues and complications that are related to high scale public sector projects management has been conducted and it has been identified that there are several areas which need a significant amount of improvising and development for enhancing the quality perspectives of projects. 

Some of the most important recommendations that need to be applied in order to eliminate above mentioned issues are as follows:

Development of a more safe and secure operational environment as the parts of Africa which are involved in this project are highly influenced by factors such as availability of week law and order. It can help the project to gain a significant amount of loss limitation. 

Assessment of economic needs of the project in accordance with the available resources. Availability of economically sound project management process is highly desirable in terms of any project as these costs a large sum of investment, thus project economics must be built around the basic as well as advanced needs that are associated with it.

Consideration of available policies and regulations are also a major factor of concern when it comes to effective project management. Different assessments related to the project must be categorized on the basis of their respective importance and thus individual goals and objectives can be fulfilled for each sections of the report. 

Factors like optimum biasness, strategic misinterpretation, prioritizing and de prioritizing of stakeholders are some of the most important factors that must be taken in to account while dealing a project of this importance. 

The gas pipeline projects are also highly important in terms of safety of operations as these can be highly hazardous at times. In order to deal with this, development of a strategic risk management process is highly recommendable.  

6. Conclusion 

In order to provide a sustainable development of gas pipeline and other similar projects which involve huge interest sections of the society and government inclusion, a strategic approach of project management is highly important. It provides the system with a huge level of support and assistance in order to facilitate the overall usability and importance of the processes. It helps the project to justify the relative impurities reduction and overall plan execution. It provides the projects with a reflective aspect which can be very helpful in guiding through its success. The report provides a relative informational perspective that can be utilized by any of the projects of this size and operational structure in order to facilitate the overall development and calculative measurements of the particulars. In addition to this, a significant amount of recommendable ways is also suggested in the later parts of the report in order to gain a particulate perspective which can be utilized for issue resolution. These recommendations are perfectly inclined with gas pipeline project that are associated with huge public interests and government involvement.  The associative impact of these recommendations can be felt in order to drive the project from a virtue of incompletion to the path of success. Each and every aspect that is mentioned in this report is based over proper research and theoretical knowledge that is available from different sources.

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