Drilling, Downed

Although much has been written about the relationship between communication and project outcome, there are still many projects that have failed--and many that continue to fail--because project managers did not adequately or quickly communicate vital project information to project stakeholders and decision-makers. This article discusses the impact that such inadequate communications practices had on the reputation of oil and gas manufacturer Royal Dutch/Shell. It describes a project implemented to upgrade an oil and natural gas processing center on the Russian island of Sakhalin, an effort that was initially estimated to cost US$10 billion but which quickly doubled to US$20 billion because of rising steel prices, overly optimistic original estimates, and the weak US dollar and inflationary Russian economy. It describes how this escalated budget undermined Shell's reputation, a mar that could have easily been avoided had the project's managers kept the stakeholders better informed.
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