04 12 2023

Joint team brings structure, focus and impetus to Aramis project

Recruitment for the joint team is advancing well, and the team will soon take over responsibility for the Aramis project management. The multidisciplinary team will comprise more than 40 staff from Aramis initiators TotalEnergies, Shell, Energie Beheer Nederland (EBN) and Gasunie. James Flynn, Project Director and former Project Development Manager at TotalEnergies, will lead a sub-team that he has put together. In this interview, James describes the work he has been doing for Aramis and the goals for the upcoming period.

James took up the position as the first of four joint team directors at his office in Paris exactly one year ago. He has been working with the concept development team on the planning and preparations for the FEED phase (Front-End Engineering Design) in parallel with developing the staff recruiting process and initiating the recruitment of the project team. Looking back, he says, “It was at times a little lonely and challenging but definitely worth it.”

James has gained 20 years’ knowledge and expertise from working on offshore oil and gas projects in Australia, Africa, Asia and the North Sea. He will be able to put his insights to good use with Aramis and further develop his skills: “Although there are similarities, developing large-scale CO2 transport infrastructure (platforms, pipelines etc.) has many unique challenges. It has never been done quite like this before.”

More structure, focus and impetus
Once established, the joint team, including James, will be based in The Hague. He regards the assembly of a dedicated team comprising staff from all four partners as a key step in the ongoing rollout of the Aramis project: “We will all be working to the same timeline, and this will help to create added impetus and make our decision-making process more structured and focused. This is vital because we have already signed several contracts for engineering studies, as well as with external companies. We must deliver in a timely manner.”

Working together in one place will be invaluable. James explains, “When four company cultures and different nationalities come together, it’s important to get to know each other and discuss the work method.”

Close cooperation will also help James as team lead. He will be responsible for allocating tasks and communicating the Aramis culture, core values, objectives and procedures and says, “It means we can develop a no-nonsense, structured approach to get the project delivered on time.”

Major talent, huge challenge
“We are selecting the best people from each of the four partners”, says James. “This means we have access to a significant pool of talent, which is a luxury in the current labour market and one of the real strengths of the joint team.”

Aramis, a key energy transition project, has created a palpable sense of optimism. This, as well as the scale and technical challenges that go along with a first-of-a-kind project, attracts high calibre applicants.

FEED phase start in sight
James continues, “Over the next few weeks, we expect the four partners to greenlight the FEED phase budget, planning and strategy. We can then begin. A significant milestone! During the FEED phase, the team will work to refine the concept and mature the execution strategy and planning. Risk mitigations and contingency plans will be developed, and the organisation will be further defined to ensure that we can present a convincing case to the partners and move towards a final investment decision.“

The FEED phase is expected to take approximately 22 months. “The contracts are currently being finalised and will be awarded when partner approval is granted”, says James. “This means a team of around 10 Aramis engineers will be collocated to work alongside the FEED contractor in its offices. The rest of the joint team will remain in The Hague.”

Keep moving ahead
But realising this is still a long way off: “Aramis is a significant undertaking involving many stakeholders and a wide range of challenges. But those are the reasons I was drawn to the project in the first place.”

James concludes that remaining focused on the mission, being resilient and bringing positive energy will help move the project steadily forward.