Alan N Cairns | email: | 0774 327 9921

Independent Project Management Specialist

Star Project Associates are an independent Project management specialist with over 30 years of Project, Engineering and Design delivery experience working in the energy sub-sea and topsides industry for a range of clients including operators and EPIC contractors.

Project management isn’t a dark art. It isn’t a secret code closely guarded by a select few who can magic results out of the ether where all others fail. It is, put simply, a structured set of rules and principles with definite starting and finishing points that projects should follow in order to achieve defined objectives and protect safety, cost and production.

It allows a dedicated focal point to ensure the optimum solution is found and work can be executed on time and within budget whilst ensuring quality and technical compliance through a more structured approach to technical safety management.

A project is a unique set of coordinated activities, with definite starting and finishing points, undertaken by an individual or organisation to meet specific objectives within defined Schedule, Cost and Performance parameters

Project Management Specialist


STAR Project Associates believe that opportunities for project and work scope success are increased by working as a combined team and keeping things simple ……….. confusion costs money.


Our experience working with brownfield projects and modifications in oil and gas suggests that while best practices and experienced talent are essential, they are not enough. Successful managers of workscopes follow a coherent, consistent reference framework that guides their decisions and processes.


STAR Project Associates have adopted their own F A R E delivery framework.


Project delivery and workscope control is based on the following principles:

  • FORMAL project lifecycle phases and checkpoints

STAR project associates operate on recognition, ownership and co-ordination of decision stage gates which mark the end of formal project phases allowing the project to move from one stage to the next with a suitable level of assurance and understanding of risks.


STAR Project associates are firmly of the opinion that value can be unlocked to smaller modification and repair activities by applying methodical checks and balances like those adopted by project management teams. This ensures focussed ownership on managing and delivering the key functions without delay that are essential for project success: cost and budget, planning and maintaining production without confusion and waste.

  • ACCOUNTABILITY and Decision Making

Project success requires effective accountability and sound decision making. Often Projects that run late or over budget find the main reasons are “not making good decisions with the right people or not supporting the right people to do the right things .” This may include failing to invite technical or construction input at the concept phase, disregarding stakeholders or misaligning decision makers objectives and project goals.

An integrated project team with defined roles and responsibilities, and a shared interest in the overall project objectives, helps ensure accountability and a valuable outcome.

  • RISKS and Opportunities

Risk and opportunity management is a continuous process that requires Project Managers to consider not only the more common delivery risks, but also to have the experience and ability to mitigate unexpected events. By adopting a systematic approach consideration respects how the project fits with the client’s business strategy along and agreed priorities.

In the oil and gas industry, it’s never been more important to manage health, safety and environmental risks, given the rising complexity of operating aging assets along with the detailed examination by regulators and multiple stakeholders.

Project delivery managers generally concentrate on negative risks and overlook potential positive outcomes that are opportunities. Project management is value management therefore Project goals, capabilities, risks, and opportunities must be recognised and evaluated against each key attribute of desired value.

Project directors and sponsors are increasingly suggesting that the links between risks and opportunities need to be acknowledged and actioned by their Project managers. This requires the need to develop project risk and opportunity management practices that cover both negative risks and positive opportunities to allow maximum value to be realised.


Over-engineering can contribute to unnecessary complexity and expense in projects, while simplicity in design can ensure efficient and competitive solutions.

Star Project Associates demand simple, safe, proven design and construction principles and continually challenge design methods along with estimating norms.


STAR project management is underpinned by recognition and challenge of commonly accepted delivery breakdowns including; Poor definition of scope, Unrealistic time-scales, Lack of Planning, Lack of resources, Incomplete or changing requirements, Lack of Senior Management engagement, Lack of project reporting and communications and Poor stakeholder management


Services offered, in part, or as a complete project delivery include:


  • Extensive leadership experience, combining practical and theory.
  • Demonstrating and leading safety leadership
  • Challenge to outdated standard protocol and processes
  • Selection, building and managing focused project teams,
  • Fit-for-purpose solutions challenging outdated processes or procedures
  • Delivering to agreed overall project performance and KPI’s
  • Robust Management of Change (MoC) protecting Scope, Cost and Schedule
  • Reviewing, agreeing, reporting and satisfying Project gate expectations.
  • Quality and Risk management
  • Aligning and developing budget and resource profiles
  • Engineering contractor engagement
  • Stakeholder engagement, alignment and Interface management
  • Onshore fabrication management
  • Construction and commissioning management,
  • Operations and Engineering interface management,
  • Stakeholder relationship Management.
  • Knowledge Management (Lessons Learned)
  • PEER assist and audits


Star Project Associates Managers can provide a dedicated service remotely from our own office in Aberdeen, Scotland or locate within the client’s office environment to suit project phases or your agreed requirements.


Oil and Gas Operators.

Embedded EnQuest focal point for Sullom Voe Terminal (SVT) projects delivery in Aberdeen with technical, budget and delivery ownership of Brownfield Projects

Project focal point for SVT Transformation Programme Charter assuring delivery of 2019 programme of capital projects including the review and compilation of a revised SVT Project Process.

Project Manager on Lyell Subsea MPBP Re-Instatement and Controls Upgrade Project. Presenting project status at regular multiple Stakeholder meetings (including SVPs, VPs and Managers)

Lead Project and Assurance Engineer, part of the Project Leadership team responsible for delivery of overall project performance, reporting and CVP gate extensions. Overall responsibility for management of the projects Interface Management, Report Management, Action Tracking, Decision Making and Management of Change processes

Tier 1 Multi- Engineering Contractors

Co-ordination and issue of detail design and construction estimates and plans for potential 2019 Tiffany multidiscipline work scopes including third party costs and resource allocation.

Focal point for 2019 Flowline Engineering, Procurement and Construction workscopes

Study Manager: Lead and align engineering, risk, planning and commercial discipline teams to complete the Concept study and commence FEED/Detail design for the CNRI NCP Additional Accommodation

Functional Support: Evaluate the existing Project execution model, Engineering estimation process and performance procedures and presentation of an improvement plan

Champion and coordinate the Project Risk Management System

EPC project delivery performance to ensure progress is within approved budget and project master schedule constraints

Asset Focal Point responsibility for the delivery of all engineering, fabrications, procurement, construction and project activities on CNR assets.

Direction and leadership of a major Oil and Gas Brownfield project through design, fabrication, construction, commissioning and close out Participation in Steering Committee and IRP’s. Lead a multi-discipline engineering team on design and offshore delivery of Chemical Injection, Water Injection, Instrument Air, Produced Water and Hot Oil work packages for the Talisman, Tweedsmuir Project including:

Management of replacement Waste Heat Recovery Unit Fabrication, offshore lift, installation and commissioning.

Offshore reline of Produced Water Caisson including offshore jacket modifications

Engineering Focal Point for ISC engineering project work from initial inception through improvement review, estimate development, detailed design, implementation and close out.

Supervision of Mechanical Design contractor, system procurement, fabrication and on/offshore commissioning of FPSO 20 man Accommodation Module

Design, system procurement, fabrication and on/offshore commissioning of temporary mechanical systems in support of ongoing Water Ballast tank repairs.


Tier 2 Multi- Engineering Contractors and Consultants

Primary engineering and project focal point for a number of varied projects including:

  • Montrose De-bottlenecking Study
  • Piper B PAGA replacement
  • Oxy (Doha) Subsea ITT
  • Bleo Holm Liberator tie back study
  • Piping and Structural repair orders
  • Claymore Water Injection Pump replacement (Project Sponsor)

Provided management and leadership to a focused Brownfield Infrastructure Improvements Project and Subsea Interface team including recruitment of personnel and development of project management processes and systems for control of cost, planning, engineering, interfaces and quality.  Project activities covered engineering studies, detail design, procurement, fabrication, offshore installation, commissioning and close out

Topsides project group leader with focus on applying the same rigorous process the industry used on large projects on small-scale brownfield projects, valued at under £2 million, in the UK continental shelf modification works.


Tier 3 Engineering and Construction contractors

Fabrication and fit out management of Modules (Electrical Switchroom, Driller Cabins, Nuclear Overbuilding) in client workshop and commissioning at end user facility.

Supervision of system design, fabrication, installation and commissioning of 60 man Living Quarters Module at Burntisland Fabrication Yard, Scotland.

Development and design of new Shale shaker unit including drawing office, fabrication and project focal point supervision.