Neptune Spar Life Extension Assessments

Hua, David (ABS Group) | Paradkar, Mayuresh (ABS Group) | Garcia, Sharon (ABS) | Young, Sam (Noble Energy) | Hogelin, Pat (Noble Energy) | Webb, Tyler (Noble Energy) | Farmakakis, Kim (Noble Energy)


AbstractOil and natural gas producers continuously strive to control costs, and that goal becomes even more important when market conditions are challenging. To maximize the return on their capital investment and continue to extract reserves on legacy fields, many owners and operators are looking for ways to extend the service lives of aging assets.The Neptune Spar was the first production spar platform in the world, when it was installed in 1996. Currently owned and operated by Noble Energy, the unit continues producing at Viosca Knoll 826 in the Gulf of Mexico. As the platform ages, there is an interest in extending its service life to allow continued operation in the field. As requested by Noble Energy, ABS Group initiated a life extension assessment project.This paper describes the process of the Neptune Spar life extension assessments and challenges encountered during the process. One of the critical aspects of the life extension process is regulatory approval. Since the life extension for floating production platforms is a relatively new trend in the offshore industry, the regulatory compliance process is still under development, and this project is providing a significant contribution to the development of guidance and criteria.The purpose of a life extension assessment is to understand the history of the facility and its current physical condition to determine its structural integrity and outline what is needed for the unit to be maintained for safe and responsible extended service. The life extension project began with a roadmap for life extension assessments that included conducting baseline inspections, reviewing historic inspection and repairs records, undergoing gap analyses that compared the spar's current condition with the original design premise and calculations, and performing additional engineering analyses.As part of the regulatory approval process, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) require that a Certified Verification Agent (CVA) verify the entire process of life extension and submit reports that document findings and recommendations. ABS served as the CVA. During the life extension assessment process, ABS Group and Noble Energy consistently coordinated with ABS, BSEE and USCG.Based on the life extension assessments, ABS has granted class certificate for the life extension of this platform. The process of the spar's life extension assessment provides industry with a better understanding of the technical requirements for life extension of other floating production assets, which will have a long-term impact on future asset intergrity management for these types of facilities in deep water.